I've always wished for a younger sibling. Actually, I was meant to have 11 (no that’s not a typo) according to my Filipina mum, who grew up with her nine siblings and dreamt of having a big family of her own. My Australian dad, however, didn’t see things the same way since he was in his late 40s, and he already had two sons from his first marriage. So, when a little girl (me) arrived he finally felt content. I have nagged them ever since! Seems I would never be destined to be a biological Ate after all.
I thought I was always meant to be an Ate. I always wanted to mentor someone on some life lessons I picked from my own experiences. If I had a younger brother or sister, I would have loved to teach him or her everything I knew.
Now that I have you as my audience—Hello, gorgeous!—I would like to take this opportunity and be your Ate. Watch me put my “Ate Cat” hat on (Ha ha! That rhymes!, and offer up these five pieces of advice that I wished I could have given my younger self!
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Lesson Number 1: Nobody is born Beyonce.
Well, that is, except for Beyonce herself. But the truth is the empire-ruling, iconic performer/actress/entrepreneur/designer wasn’t just “born” that way. It was a result of years of training, experience, hard work, and sacrifices. What I’m trying to say is nobody is born good at something. Sounds dead simple, but there were times growing up that I felt discouraged when I didn’t have a “natural talent” for something. If only I had realized that you, yes you, have the power to be good and successful at anything! You then have to take baby steps, learn the ropes, and develop that skill from scratch. So, don’t be disheartened—everyone starts from somewhere and we all have our own pace. But knowing that you have the power within you to be everything and do everything that you dreamt—that’s already powerful.
Lesson Number 2: Life has enough critics, don’t be one.
Naysayers, critics, and judges are everywhere. Life can sometimes feel like you’re on a reality contest TV show with a judging panel scrutinizing everything you do with nothing good to say about it. Well, move over, Simon Cowell, I’ve known a critic who’s made me cry more times than I can count and has said some of the meanest things. Guess who? It was and it is—I. (Am I the only one who reads that sentence in a Morgan Freeman-like voice? Proper grammar sounds so dramatic doesn’t it?) But it’s true, growing up I was my worst critic. The worst thing is, you can avoid negative people but you can’t avoid yourself. That’s why it’s so, so, so important to say nice things to yourself. Inner dialogue is indeed the introduction to self-love. So, next time you catch yourself in the mirror say, “Hi, Beautiful!” Or “You did great today”. Give yourself some laaaaahve. It’s for your mental health and well-being.
Lesson Number 3: You are, who your squad is.
We all have a pretty good idea of who we want to be, right? Well I want you to take a minute to think about the five people you spend the majority of your time with. What kind of attitude do they have? What’s their outlook on life? Are they ambitious or content? Are they moving forward or stagnant? Proton or electron? Positive or negative?
Lets call it our circle of influence. Did you know you usuallt become similar to these five people? That said, surround yourself with people who inspire you, who you can learn from, and who will help you grow! Find a squad who pulls you up and pushes you forward. You’ll be surprised how much it will affect you as a person. #SquadGoals
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Lesson Number 4: Don’t get caught up in the comparison trap.
So, there you are, scrolling through Instagram. Perfect holiday destinations, flawless bodies, chic and perfectly styled outfits, endless hauls, amazing interiors, always perfect lighting. It’s so easy to feel unsatisfied and discontent when comparing someone’s perfectly curated feed of moments, to your unfiltered reality.
The majority of posts don’t showcase someone’s bad days, their struggles, failures and true “behind the scenes.” I wanted to talk about this especially because even though I’m a “beauty queen,” I, too, have insecurities, down days, and bad skin days.
But I say don’t get caught up in the comparison trap. From the get-go, social media is not a good measure for self worth or self-validation. Always remember that everyone has his or her own journey. Everything will fall together in the universe’s perfect timing.
Lesson Number 5: Failure is only a redirection.
This is such an important lesson, one that I wish I had learnt much earlier on in my life. We’re all bound to make mistakes and to fail–it’s a part of life. But what defines us is how we react to that mistake. Do we let it scare us into a corner? Or beat ourselves up over it? Do we break out the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and decide to live in our room in pajamas forever? Or do we learn from it and use it as experience in going forward?
If you look closely at every failure in your life so far, it will lead you somewhere, right? You didn’t plan it, but it brought you here. All the great things that happened since may not have happened if you never stumbled back there. You may not have met the people you have or become the person you are now. That’s the 'magic' of failure.
So, embrace it. If I never failed in a relationship at 17, in a career pursuit at 18, went separate ways from old managements at 19, failed to support my parents as the breadwinner at 21, failed to bring home the crown at 22... I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be who I am today. So, next time you fail or make a mistake, don’t get down on yourself, you’re only being redirected to where you’re supposed to be.
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