If you browse through singer-songwriter and cellist Coeli San Luis' social media pages, you'd be amazed at how much positivity this tangerine-haired sweetheart radiates. From feel-good tweets that can totally turn your day around to selfies that exude a contagious kind of confidence, this budding musician is a girl you'd want to have in your corner.
But if you listen to her music closely or read her relatable bursts of emotions online, you'd know that Coeli also bares layers of her vulnerability and struggles, showing what it took and continuously takes to be the strong individual that she is.
Her musical journey was a tedious one. She's been in and out of music school, isolated herself for years, and experienced varying heartaches that all eventually helped her to rebuild herself and make music that stays true to who she is at present.
And while it was an uphill climb, Coeli has banked enough self-love to get her through the bad days. And it's something that she wants to cultivate among the community of like-minded people that her affecting music drew in.
Here, the "Magkaibigan O Magka-ibigan" singer shares her learnings and secrets to inner love that allowed her to be the truest, most loving version of herself:
1. Communicate with yourself.
If you've been in a state where you felt crippled by self-doubt, it's not easy to find the inner strength to pick yourself up and focus on the good in you. But for Coeli, she finally found herself at a point where she learned to be kind to herself, be it through pep talks in front of the mirror or releasing her thoughts in her journal. She claims, "It's important to acknowledge the things that you love about yourself and tell yourself that you're proud of you." Coeli even confessed that she wrote an essay about appreciating every part of her body. "Writing that essay made me feel loved. I felt that I don’t need validation from anyone kasi importante na galing siya sa atin mismo," she says.
2. Acknowledge every emotion.
While learning to appreciate yourself is a sure step to self-love, it's also important to strike a balance and acknowledge the bad. "I thought that it's not loving to express hate or doubts, but it's important," she shares. "I used to make 'gratitude lists,' but now I also write down the things that I'm anxious about, the things that are heavy in my heart. It's a step to healing." This is where songwriting comes in handy for Coeli who uses it as an outlet for her bursts of emotions, saying, "What really saved me is music. Somehow, I was able to get myself back up."
3. Take good care of yourself.
What you feel inside will soon find its way outward. From cleaning your room to pampering yourself with a skincare sesh, Coeli's inner positivity manifests through self-care. But beyond that, she also claims that taking care of herself allows her to spread the love to others. She says, "It’s so important to take care of myself para talaga mas marami 'yung mabibigay ko sa ibang tao. It’s also to encourage them to take good care of themselves." Truly, you can't give what you don't have, so Coeli starts from nourshing herself from within, so she can radiate it to the people around her. #SML!
4. Be mindful of what makes you happy.
One thing that has helped Coeli to find her way back to a good place every time she feels lost is the habit of asking herself, "Does this spark joy?" Whether it's old belongings or a challenging situation, she makes sure that everything in her life contributes to an encompassing happiness. If it doesn't, then she lets it go. She elaborates, "If people are toxic, bitawan mo sila. Self-care ‘yon. You really have to surround yourself with people who are loving, who believe in you."
5. Embrace the present moment.
Being heavily concerned about your future and what your loved ones expect from you is normal. Coeli experienced being pressured to stay in music school just to have a secure career path that her parents hope for her, too. But when she felt the urge to pause and make music in her own terms, she couldn't deny herself from it. She says, "It’s about embracing the present moment. I felt that the moment was calling me to stop and just create." And thus, her EP entitled Here Today was born which turned out to be a beautiful piece that allowed her truest self to shine through.
6. You always have a choice.
While it's easy to be swayed by our emotions, Coeli shares that acknowledging her power to choose became her secret weapon. Whenever she feels down, she lets herself breathe and asks, "What am I going to do about it?" And after learning to value herself, she reaps the fruit of her labors by feeling secure enough to choose and act from a place of love. "It's really choosing to love what you do, choosing to love yourself, and choosing to love the people around you especially when it's hard without any feeling of regret or bitterness."
As the saying goes: self-love isn't selfish. It's not without effort to get to that place, nor is it easy to stay there every day. But once you get the hang of it, that love can anchor you wherever life takes you. All of us have battles that need to be won. It could be painful, but Coeli's story proves that the struggle is always beautifully worth it in the end. Here's to loving ourselves more at all costs!
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