No to Fear, Live a Courageous Life

Courage is such a big word. In the old times, it is included in the virtues one strong man must possess. Today, it can be consider as a precursor to success.

Each of us want to change the world, in our own little ways. But we are afraid to take the first step, or we are just clueless whether we’re old enough, good enough, willing enough? I myself have times when I question my capabilities, but through my journeys, I have learned that courage isn’t just being strong. There’s more to it. Let me share with you 5 insights I have learned through my journey:

1. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

I was just an innocent 21 year-old when I left my job in Malacanang. People might ask “Are you crazy? You are working for the President of the Philippines, then you’ll leave your job!” I know I wanted more. I was hungry for learning. I resigned from my office, packed my bags then flew to Seoul, South Korea to earn a Master’s Degree. Until know, I can’t thank God enough because that was the best decision I made after graduating from college. I didn’t just earn a degree, I learned to be independent, met great friends and I have widened my horizon.

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When I returned to the Philippines, I landed to another job in Malacanang. This time with Philippine Commission on Women, which was my dream job. I was working in the Policy division. When Yolanda hit the country, for unknown reasons I was so affected. I prayed to God is he is calling me to the field. He said Yes. After my contract ended, I resigned, packed my bags, then traveled to Tacloban and Borongan, Samar. It was somehow different w

ith my Korea trip, because I will be living in the Philippines’ third poorest region. I left the comforts of living in Metro Manila, then lived humbly in a small city away from home. But it was working in the communities, seeing lives changed that kept me going.

I have no regrets with those decisions.

2.    You cannot survive life, by yourself.

The most cliché’ saying “No man is an island.” I have proved it 101 %. I am blessed that God has brought people in my life to finish the race. One of my favorite movies, 3 Idiots, has helped us figure this out. The friendship that Rancho, Raju and Farhan have was something that helped them survived the challenges at school, and the greater challenges they faced outside school.

Our families are there to support us no matter what. Friends and spiritual family fight with us and finish the race with us. Cherish moments with them. Spend time to nourish relationships. Go beyond the simple “hi and hello”. Fight for your relationships.

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3.    Pursue what you love doing.

The biggest challenge we often face is to know what we really love to do. It is not something that we realize in an instant Eureka moment. It takes time. But we have to start looking for something that fulfills our purpose in life. I am grateful that early on, I was able to understand that fighting for women’s right is what I love to do, that providing a safe, fun and happy environment for women is what I can bring to make a dent in this world.

Pursue your simple passions – blogging, photography, art. I love checking museums and coffee shops when I travel. It can be as simple as that. Or as difficult as finding a career path. Whatever your passion may be, learn to know it and live for it.

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4.  Dream big. Act on it. Fight for it.

547445_10201994158114088_1479886025_nIn 2009, I applied for an internship with UNFPA to go to New York. I failed the application, I was not shortlisted. I forgot that I dreamed of going to the City that never sleeps.

Fast forward 2013, I was informed that I will be a delegate to represent my organization, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, guess where? New York!

I was too excited. Then came a challenge – applying for a visa. I want to share how miraculous God was. In less than a week, I got a US visa, granted multiple-entry! Wow.

As what Paulo Coelho on The Alchemist narrated: “And when you want something, the whole universe conspires for you to achieve it”

I was able to spend 2 weeks in New York, all expense paid. And not just that, I was able to represent the Philippines. I was the short Filipina who kept on speaking at events fighting for women’s rights.

I have more dreams. I will act on then and fight for them to come into reality.

5.    If there’s something in the world that you don’t like, CHANGE IT!

You know my pet peeve? Seeing a man shouting at his girlfriend/wife? I will never accept violence against women. No one should. We should stop blaming rape victims for what they wear being the reason to be raped. We should not discriminate the rights of girls to be educated. A child is to enjoy her education, and not be a bride.

Violence against women is pervasive in our society deeply rooted in patriarchal belief systems. It is abuse of power and human rights. I am doing every single act to advocate for women’s rights. Even by just being the voice for them.

I urge you to be advocates, for social change. It can be against corruption, or clean living. Each one of us has something in this world that we don’t like.

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Leo Tolstoy, a famous storyteller and a survivor of the holocaust said that “The Opposite of Love is not Hate, but Indifference”. I may say, the opposite of Courage is not cowardice, but Fear. We don’t act because we fear we might lose the game. But how can we start if we stay in the comfort zone, and forget that the world is a much bigger place.

And do not fear, because God, when He appoints us, He supports us all the way!

 

You can check the presentation I prepared in Prezi. Check it here.

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