Positive thinking is something I had to re-learn as family tragedies befell one after the other. With 5 deaths in my immediate family (including my son), it might seem I am immune to pain. It never gets easier. Along the way, I learned to improve my life, change and reinvent myself. Allow me to share (rehash) some of my recovery principles which may or may not be useful to you but worked for me.


1. Say Thank You everyday. Practice Gratitude. Everyday , I face interruptions, delays, changes and challenges. I have learned an important concept to get me through this stressful time and that is gratitude. I learn to say thank you, for all these problems and feelings. I don’t like this experience but Thank You anyway. I had to force gratitude until it became second nature to me. Gratitude helped me stop trying to control outcomes. Gratitude makes things right. It is the key that unlocked positive energy in my life.

2. Live life one day at a time which requires so much faith in us. Look ahead to make future plans. Don’t look back at the past unless healing from the past is part of today’s work. We focus on this day’s activity, living it to the best of our ability.

3. Love and Nurture Yourself. Nurturing is about how we show love for ourselves. I needed a loving relationship with myself that works so I can have a loving relationship with others that work.

4. Avoid Gossip. Direct , clean conversation clears the air and paves the way for good feelings about ourselves and our relationship with others. Gossiping about another for motives of diminishing him or her in order to build up themselves or to judge the person hurts friendships in the end. I resolved that I will resist and place boundaries when I am faced with another gossip.

5. Happiness is in your Hands. Healing comes when we are aware of how we attempt to use others to stop our pain and create our happiness. We will heal from our past. We will see that, all along, our happiness and our well-being have been in our hands.

6. Practice healthy and loving tolerance. When I learned healthy and loving tolerance, I learned tolerance for others. I also learned that the humanness I tolerated is what makes myself and others beautiful. There are some things I do not tolerate. I do not tolerate abusive behaviors or destructive behaviors towards others or myself.

7. There is a time to feel anger and a time to let it go.. Anger is a part of life. We need not dwell in it or seek it out but we can’t afford to ignore it. In recovery, I have learned that I can shamelessly feel all my feelings including anger, and still take responsibility for what I do when I feel angry. I don’t have to let anger control me but it surely will if I prevent myself from feeling it.

8. Laughter is the best medicine. Even just the expectation of a mirthful laughter involved in watching your favorite funny movie has some very surprising and significant neuroendocrine/hormone effects. Earlier experiments showed that viewing a favorite funny video can offset symptoms of chronic stress, which can suppress various components of the immune responses, particularly those related to anti-viral and anti-tumor defenses.

9. Turn pain into something positive. Help others. Start an advocacy , a cause, a charity. Helping others can both help you and the person who is in pain.

10. Set boundaries. I can love my family or friends but refuse their efforts to manipulate, control or produce guilt in me. I can learn to be assertive with family members without being aggressive. I can set the boundaries I need with them without being disloyal to the family or the friend. I can learn to love my friends and family without forfeiting love and respect for myself.

11 Take Financial Responsibility for ourselves. Each of us today, has a financial future. There are few future aspects of my life I can control, but one part I can play to assist our family’s future is setting goals. I don’t have to obsess about my goals. I don’t have to constantly watch and mark our progress toward them.Taking responsibility for my finances enable me to take focus off money. It frees me to do my work and live the life I want. I deserve to have the self-esteem and peace that accompanies financial responsibility.


12. Love God as you understand God. I learned that recovery is an intensely spiritual process that prods us to grow in our understanding of God . My understanding of God is based on my Catholic upbringing that God is real. Loving. God is Good. The more I turned my mind and heart to a positive understanding of God, the more God validates me. Whether one is a Christian, non-Christian or Atheists, I will respect their own understanding of God as well as my own. I will not allow others’ judgement of my beliefs to cause me anxiety or distress.

13. . Practice as IF. To practice the positive, I act as if. It’s a positive form of pretending. It’s a useful tool to use to get ourselves unstuck. Now, when a problem haunts me, acting as if can helps me get unstuck. I act as if the problem will be or already is solved so I can go on with my daily routine.

Do you have other ways that helped improve your life?

It takes two to make a relationship work. It is easy to blame the other partner if something fails in a relationship. I used to blame my husband for every little thing without even checking if I too had my faults. When I took away the focus from my husband and turned to myself, wonderful things happened to me, my family and my life, in general.

love yourself first

What did I do?

Loving myself unconditionally!

It means loving myself into health and a good life of my own. It meant loving myself into all that I have always wanted. Yes, love myself into peace, happiness, success, joy and contentment.

So how do I love myself?

It wasn’t easy at first. I had to force myself to and even “faked” it. By “acting as if“. To practice the positive, I act as if. It’s a positive form of pretending. It’s a useful tool to use to get ourselves unstuck.

Here is what I did.

1. Embrace and love all of myself including past, present and future. I forgave myself and as often as necessary, I talk to myself and list down my good points.

2. If negative thoughts entered my mind, I get them out in the open quickly and replace those beliefs with positive and uplifting ones.

3. I gently pat myself when necessary. I discipline myself and even ask for help when needed.

4. I give treats to myself. I don’t allow myself to work like a carabao, pushing and driving myself to stressful levels. I learned to be good to myself.

5. I stopped explaining and justifying myself. When I make a mistake, I let it go. I learn, I grow and learn some more and despite it all, I love myself.

I constantly work at loving myself. One day, I looked up at myself in the mirror and loved what I saw. I saw a new and lovely me. Loving myself had become habitual.


Loving ourselves sounds like an alien concept and even foolish at times. Some may accuse us of being selfish. But do we have to believe them? People who love themselves are truly able to love others and let others love them. People who love themselves and hold themselves in high esteem are those who give the most, contribute the most and love the most.

Self-love will take hold and become a guiding force in our life.

Remember, you are lovable and capable of giving and receiving love.

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. Robert Frost

valentine-dayYes, it is Valentine’s day, another ordinary day for my husband and myself. Just like any day, we make time to have lovey-dovey moments with each other and a special ME time.

Today is special for other couples but for us, every day is special. We have never been out on a date during Valentine’s day in all the 33 years we have been together. I never really understood why my dear husband loathed Valentine’s day until a few years ago. He can’t be the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Dr. Scrooge. Butch is a very romantic person. He whispers the most romantic phrases ever and that’s probably the reason I fell in love with him. Now back to the reason for this Valentine’s Day aversion. I teased him, ““Will you buy me a Valentine’s gift”. He said ““I already gave you my gift”. He reminded me, ““Didn’t I just give you___ pataca for our Macau trip?”

“No flowers?”, I teased.

He says “expensive during Valentine’s day”.

I laughed. ““So it’s an economic reason?”, I joked. He nodded. Ah now I recall, Butch was only 18 years old when we first became steadies. Naturally, he didn’t have the money to buy me the overpriced flowers or presents. All these years, I always thought that he wanted to be unique. Kuripot lang pala. (or is it being thrifty)

The non-celebration of Valentine’s Day on February 14th is our tradition carried through the years. While restaurants are filled to the brim with loving couples, we will just have a date at home. I am not even sure if I have time to cook as I have a lecture in the afternoon.

Most likely, he will just whisper sweet nothings as always, while I reflect on the Bible passage of love that has carried me through the years:

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

Love never comes to an end.

<< 1 Corinthians 13 >>

Since today is Valentine’s day, you don’t have to be a couple to celebrate it. Whether you are a couple or single, the most important relationship you will have with is yourself. And the most important person in your life is YOU.

““If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.”

Loving yourself is the best way to learn how to love.


I arrived home tonight and received a gift from Butch.