With her shy demeanor and soft-spoken personality, you’d never assume that Jerrili Malabanan grew up in a liberated environment. She was born and raised in California, USA, spending 18 years of her life in a city called Bellflower, before moving back to the Philippines and starting her career in the UAAP. While she considers California her home, it was also where she experienced being bullied by her peers.
"Since I was one of the taller Asians, I used to get bullied a lot. It's like someone I don't even know is calling me names," Malabanan says, holding back her tears in her interview with ABS-CBN Sports and Action. And while it's hard to not let the mean things people say get to you, this brave Lady Tamaraw shares that she was able to stand up against the bullies and change her timid ways through these four things:
1. Don't overthink things. Most of the time, we hold ourselves back from doing the things we love because we think too much. If you always tell yourself, "I'm afraid they'll judge me" or "I don't think I'm good enough to do to this or that," then you'll be stuck in one place, preventing yourself from pursuing your dreams. The key is to turn any negative experience into something positive and you'll be a lot less anxious and lead a much happier in life!
2. Build your confidence through your passion. Malabanan gradually came out of her shell when she started playing volleyball. Whether it’s through sports or music, you can develop your confidence by discovering where you’re good at. You have no idea how much passion can fuel someone’s confidence!
3. Seek advice from your family. “My family and I talk to each other about everything. I talked about [overcoming shyness] with my mom before, and she always told me the same thing: ‘You don’t have to go from the old shy Jerrili and become super outgoing.’ She said to just take a few steps one at a time and eventually, it will get better," Malabanan says.
4. Be true to who you really are. Malabanan says, "You have to show who you really are because if you try to change yourself for someone else, then I don't think you can actually be truly happy with life and the way you are."
Malabanan has certainly come a long way from the reserved, 19-year-old lady that she was before. On court, the middle blocker has become a force to be reckoned with, helping her team reach the semi-finals in Season 79. It just goes to show that if you #DaretoDream, you can do anything.
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Banner photograph from UAAP magazine. Photos by Leo Lopez (from Jerrili Malabanan's Facebook fan page).