This is an article I wrote for Inquirer ages ago, and I thought that with it being published already, I can repost it here. Where all the thoughts I share go online, and can be read in one place.
Choosing to Live Happy
Change is the worst process of life.
One day you are happy and comfortable in your shell, with the people you trust, love and care for. And then, out of nowhere, life starts rearranging everything you stand for, and all this comes without any kind of preparation on your part. It’s like a guest coming unbidden into your house, and you are forced to make the hasty preparations in order to make that guest a blessing in your life.
I have never been one to express. I have always been a firm believer of the adage “Some things are better left unsaid”—and this time, those things are my feelings. Fear always gets ahead of me—fear of being rejected or of not being able to express myself well, which may result in people leaving me. Call it trust issues in some sense, but there’s always this need inside me to protect my heart and make sure it does not get hurt by the people I care for. In my head, I can count the people I trust that much, and truthfully, their number matches my combined sets of fingers and toes.
But what can you do when these people are suddenly the subjects that change slams on your face? How can you prepare for the hurt and pain it brings when suddenly the people you trust are the ones who break your heart? Change comes in the form of separation from them, pulling you out so that suddenly, you are gone from their lives. You see one another often, but are so distant each to each that you are at a loss for ways to get them back.
I value relationships over everything else. True, I will give my all to succeed in a tangible sense. But true happiness for me comes from knowing that I have people I can count on and live for, and that there are people who will welcome me home at all times and who will accept me for what I am, even if I do get on their bad side. True happiness comes from knowing that there will be people who genuinely care for me and who will hold me when I am at my lowest and weakest point.
If I am to count on someone completely, it only means that it has been tried and tested that that person will become my inspiration and part of my support system in my every endeavor. Thus, I have learned not only to invest in the tangible things but also, like a farmer, to sow seeds of trust and care that will produce the best results when the harvesting season comes.
And yet, now, I see the people I love and trust traveling so far away that my deepest feelings are unable to make them come back. My tears fall but they are totally irrelevant. They will not cease falling no matter how many times I try to stop them. No matter how much I care about certain people and how much I want them back, there is this part in my heart that is unable to let go of the hurt I felt when they pulled away from me. This part keeps me from asking them to be with me again. Now, I am left to figure out a way to solve my own little dilemma: Should I chase after that belief of always having them by my side, or should I just let go and shield myself from feeling pain all over again? I want them in my life for always, but exposing myself to pain all over again is not the most tempting option right now.
Change also compromises my initial stand. Should I suddenly express everything I have kept in my heart or should I continue keeping everything to myself, to prevent my feelings from coming out wrong and making things worse? Should I open myself, should I take that confrontational path where tears are sure to fall all over again? What do I owe these people more—the truth, or protection from myself and my life issues?
I guess the hardest thing about change is the fact that eventually I will have to start accepting it. It is no easy task, especially when I am yet to understand exactly what has happened, and why. Because change happens in the blink of an eye, it is hard to fully comprehend everything at once. As in dealing with that guest who unceremoniously enters my life, it is hard to take a deep breath, to take a step back, and to fix every messed-up space while trying to be cool and to regain control.
It is hard to understand why this much pain and inconvenience had to happen. Is it because I did something wrong? This question serves as the icing on your cake of shaken beliefs, which leave the heart troubled and the mind wondering more than ever. It is like being given a math problem in school. You choose to silently berate your teacher for presenting such a “hard” problem—disapproval being a clear sign of denial—because of the difficulty of comprehending and analyzing the numbers and their relations while trying to work under the time pressure you set on yourself so that you can live your happy, normal life once more.
I am left so confused and desperately trying to make sense of why this had to happen. If it was meant for the better—and being an optimist, I do believe that everything happens for a reason—why this method? What good will this bring to me? True, it does make me stronger, but I’d rather take physical pain for that kind of therapeutic growth. It’s like being a child tossed into the ocean and trying to find the right direction toward the shore—an almost impossible task against the chaotic tide. Imagine having to analyze that math problem while the tide constantly slaps across your body.
Change works that way: It is about as hard as you can imagine it to be.
Now, the only thing left to do—at least the only one that I can think of—is to keep on trying no matter how blindly I have to navigate toward safety. To hope that if life does not bring me back to my initial safe haven, it will at least lead me to a new, or, if the heavens approve, better one. To hope that life will at least compensate for this challenge by balancing it with a new life on a new shore with new experiences to positively commemorate in the new future.
I now realize that the only thing left to do is to trust life itself. I choose to live happy, therefore I have to trust that this setback will eventually vaporize into thin air. I must learn to trust life to bring back the people I love and, if not, to lead me to a better part of the web of humanity. Change must be received with an open heart, they say, and even if it does not account for a broken one, a heart will always remain a heart. Change may suck, but it is what keeps life going. It makes living as dynamic a process as it can get, thus letting people move forward to where they are supposed to be.
Even with all these realizations, however, it still stands. Change remains the worst process in living a life. But ironically, with the right attitude and set of principles, the outcome of your battle remains the best part of living a life.