Facing Your Giants

 

Fearless

We are currently embarking on a big project for my son and his baseball teammates.  We were invited to a week-long, out of town tournament where the boys will be playing against ten teams from different places.  To say that it is a privilege to be invited will be an understatement.  This would be an experience that is good for the boys.  They will be playing as a team… and they will be playing as friends. 

However, since there is an age requirement and the games will not be until July, the more senior players will already move to the next bracket, thus, leaving the younger ones.  But given the fact that they have been playing together for the school for two or three years now they all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  You would think that the confidence will still be there despite the fact that some boys are already moving up.

Talking to the parents about the invitation elicited various reactions, though.  At first most of them were excited… REALLY excited.  They saw that this is a great opportunity for their kid.  It’s not just an interschool tournament… the kids will play against teams from other countries, even.  Some parents were just plain gung-ho.  They were very thankful that their son was given the chance to join the team.   They even offered to help in whatever way they can just to get the team there. Their first question was, “When’s the first practice?”

But then, there were parents whose first reaction was fear.  Followed by doubt.  Coupled with disbelief.   Fear: “What if the boys there are twice as big as our boys?”  Doubt: “We don’t want them to get clobbered.  It will be devastating.” Disbelief: “Are our boys good enough?  Maybe they should send more senior players… ours are mostly at the lower age of the bracket .”  (Goodness, the age level’s 11-12.  It’s either they are 11 OR 12.)

And so the strong team that we saw in the beginning started disappearing right before our eyes.  Mainly because there were parents who apparently didn’t see their kids as good enough to add value to the team.  What they focused on were the big players of the opposing teams.  Players they have not even seen yet. 

It is just plain sad.

~ * ~

Who's your Giant?

We all have giants to face at some point in our lives. 

Life is like one baseball game… we are all on the same playing field, but the players come in different shapes and sizes.  You don’t always know what or who you will be up against.  That’s why we equip ourselves… we train, we improve our skills, we build our confidence… we try to make ourselves better.   

We ready ourselves so that when time comes that we come face to face with ‘giants,’ we don’t cower in fear.  We slug it out. 

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.  But losing isn’t all that bad if we know that we fought ‘til the end and we gave it our best.  What’s sad is if we give up even before we try.  The game hasn’t begun, yet we have already succumbed to defeat. 

Yes, we don’t always win.  There are giants that are just too big and too powerful.  It is easier to give in to fear and self-doubt.  But then again, what about those times when we win over problems, issues or challenges that seemed bigger than us? What about those times when we made that extra step which led us to victory when all along we thought it was a hopeless situation?  What about those times when we believed in ourselves, our capabilities enough to prove that not every difficult situation is a hopeless one? 

~*~

Thinking about our baseball-parent-friends and their reasons for not wanting their children to join the team… reasons that are basically motivated by fear, I can’t help but feel sad and disappointed.  Here is an opportunity that practically fell on our hands… something that other children (and parents) would die for and could only hope for… But they are willing to let go of the opportunity because of fear.  Fear of losing.  Fear of having bigger opponents.  Fear of things not being easy. 

But then life ISN’T always easy. 

Yes, everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion.  Maybe these parents don’t believe in the other boys enough.  Maybe they don’t believe in their kids enough.  Or maybe they just don’t see the value that this tournament will bring to their child.  I think for my part, I just have to learn to respect their decisions.  I also believe that maybe this is for the best.  We wouldn’t want to have someone in the team whose heart is not in it.  Maybe we are better off with other players who are willing to train, willing to fight, willing to face their giants.

Devastating loss?  I believe that if you give your best, there’s no such thing as a devastating loss.  You may not win the game– but the bonding, the team work, the memories… the over-all experience, these are reasons enough to make one feel victorious. 

Do you only win because you scored higher… or do you win because you lived the experience?

It is all a matter of perspective.

very well said...

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photos via weheartit.com

Mean Girls

girltalk

I had breakfast with one of my mommy friends last week.  We didn’t get to see each other over the holidays, so I decided to visit her one January morning to catch up on things.

We’ve been friends since our children were in Sr. Prep (they are now in Grade 5).  Her child is a girl, while mine is a boy.  The gender was never an issue, though.  They hang out with other boys and girls whose moms are friends of ours, too. We have had a number of Christmas breakfasts with the kids, as well as Halloween parties and lazy summer afternoon get-togethers.

When I apologized for missing the last Christmas breakfast, she had this to say… “You wouldn’t believe it.  The kids DON’T talk to each other anymore!!! The boys were at one corner of the room playing PSP, while the girls were at the other side, talking in hushed voices.  It’s like they don’t know each other!  When I asked them if they wanted to swim, they all gave me this stare like I said something silly, and then all looked away at the same time.” 

“They have changed. All of them.  I wonder if they really ignore each other in school,” she sighed, “I don’t know what happened to those kids!”

I think I know what happened.  They grew up.  They all grew up – right under our noses – and they started choosing their own friends.  They found the friends they want to be with in school.  Unfortunately, mommy’s friends’ children aren’t always the people they prefer hanging out with (or being seen with, at the very worst).

Friendship isn’t something that you can force on someone. 

 ~ * ~

I asked my son if he’s still friends with my friend’s daughter and if they talk to each other in school.  He answered yes to both questions.  Then I told him about the Christmas get-together and how the other kids didn’t mind each other.  He just gave me a knowing smile.

I told He-Man about the incident.  This was his explanation, “They are at that age where they are starting to choose their group of friends… or who they want to be associated with.  You know the groups… athletes, nerds, mean girls, misfits.”  And he continues, “Come on, you should know.  You were a mean girl in high school. Did you talk to the misfits?” 

I was stunned.  He-Man called me a mean girl.  But then again, I couldn’t deny it.  I WAS a mean girl in a high school.  Shamefully so.

~ * ~

now you know why i like pink

 How can a shy girl* end up being a mean girl, you may ask? 

Oh, I was a nice, mean girl.  I wasn’t really nasty.  I never did anything bad to a schoolmate just for the heck of it.  But then back in high school, although I was pretty active and joined clubs and school organizations, I wasn’t really friendly to just anyone.  I used to regard people at arm’s length.  I chose the ones I would talk to.  I wasn’t warm and friendly.

I think I was more mean to boys than the girls.  There were boys that you wouldn’t catch me talking to.  The boys I went out with basically just came from the two groups of popular boys in our batch.  I don’t remember having a conversation with the lesser mortals. 

Boy was I mean.  And immature.

My best guy friend from before told me that I seemed to have this fortress built around me.  Self-preservation, that’s what I called it.  Or maybe I was really just a self-centered and egotistical person who thought everybody else is beneath her. Perhaps it was my need to prove myself, my worth, that compelled me to act all high and mighty.

Eventually I attributed my haughtiness to my being really shy and insecure.  Unfortunately, nobody bought that reason. I am pretty sure they thought I was just a snob.

Half of the Facebook friends I have right now are people I NEVER talked to when we were young. A quarter of them I didn’t even know existed. Believe me, I chose the people I would converse with in high school. It’s surprising they still wanted to be Facebook friends with me today.

 ~ *~

I have come a long way, really.  From being shy and insecure child to a mean girl to a nice, happy, sociable and smile-a-lot adult.

Perhaps it’s because I have come to realize that one should not judge other people by their mere appearance.  Maybe it’s also because my experiences taught me that it IS much better to be liked than feared.  It feels much better to open up your heart to people than to live inside your fortress all by yourself. 

People do change.  People mature.  People mellow down.  As you age, you get to realize that everything’s not about you.  You get to value people more.  You tend to be less critical, especially since you know that you are not perfect, as well.

But then again, some people DON’T change.  There are mean girls who grow up to be mean adults. Am I glad I am no longer one of them.

At this point I know I cannot choose my child’s friends for him.  He has his own experiences that will dictate that. Yet I know I can always give a gentle reminder… Be nice to a misfit, he might grow up to be someone really important.  Okay, that was a joke.  That was not exactly mature. 

Be nice to everyone just because.  Much better.

 

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*see previous entry “Love Thyself”

photo via weheartit.com

 

Love Thyself

Supergoddess Me

Female:  “I can’t think of a name for my blog.”

Friend:  “Why not Supergoddess?  It fits you.”

Female:  “Hmm. You’re right.  It does, doesn’t it? Thanks!”

AND then Supergoddess Me was born…

~ * ~

I wasn’t always this cocky… confident… sure of myself.  Believe me, once upon a time, I was this shy, timid girl with inferiority complex who gets sick in the stomach and vomits everytime she’s nervous.  Okay, so maybe that still happens to me ’til today (old habits die hard), but I am far different from who-what-how I was years ago.

I grew up under the shadow of an older sister.  Older sister was smart, confident, outgoing, no-nonsense type of girl… a real toughie.  She was also the nanny’s favorite.  And since we were left with our nanny for the most part of our growing up days, well, older sister basically ruled.  Nanny just adored her and everybody knows about it.  I for one, knew about it.  How can I not when I was always, ALWAYS being compared to her?

She’s not as tough… She can’t be on her own, she might get lost… She’s so nice, people will take advantage of her… She can’t take care of herself… She’s NOT a lawyer she won’t know what to do…

Those were but some of the words I heard spoken about me.  And somehow, they stuck.  When you are young, you are easily influenced by what others think about you.  Give a child words of encouragement, and you will build her confidence.  Tell a child how disappointing you think she is, and you will easily see the change on how she sees herself.  Eventually she will prove that she IS a disappointment if that is what you keep ingraining in her. 

For some time when I was growing up,  I think my self-esteem was subzero.  Self worth… uhm, what self worth?

My confidence level improved somewhat when I was in high school.  I realized that I was smart enough.  I was a diligent student, too.  And so I studied hard, made sure that my grades were above average, so I had something to be proud of.  Something to feel good about.  I knew, as well, that my parents would be proud of me, too, if I kept getting good grades.  I was somewhat active in high school. I had a lot of friends, I joined contests and clubs, but I made it a point to hit the books whenever needed — which was all the time.  I was a closet nerd. 

College was another thing, though.  The university was big, the course was tough, I had to make new friends, so it was pretty much like going back to square one.  I had to prove myself all over.  I was a diligent student still, yet I guess my shy side prevented me from shining.

I think it was when I started working that my transformation took place.  It was then that I realized that there’s nothing wrong with being nice, or patient, nor is it bad to smile a lot.  In a way I looked at  my being “charming” as an advantage.  It made people warm up to me.  Being friendly and approachable helped.  Eventually as they found out that I had brains, too, well I guess I gained their respect more.

But more than what the others may think about me, my confidence level grew when I started seeing myself differently.  It was when I stopped comparing myself to others — my sister, my mom, my friends– that I began to value myself more.  It was when I accepted myself for who I am that I understood what self-worth is all about.

Oh yes, I still had my moments.  There still were people who tried to bring out the insecure, inferiority complexed person in me.  In my past life, I went out with someone who was emotionally abusive.  For some time I was inching back to subzero… It took the intervention of my best friends to make me realize that I shouldn’t let anyone trample on my self-esteem, nor should I start comparing myself to other women… specially when, according to them, I am already several levels high up.  Thank God for caring friends!

One YOU

We are all unique individuals.  Our differences make us who we are.  Our differences make us special.  We are all an “original” given our strengths, as well as our flaws and imperfections.  Our self worth should not be dependent on other people. 

You don’t need another person to define you. 

 

What’s important is that you KNOW yourself.

And LOVE yourself.

 

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photos via weheartit.com

The things money cannot buy

for how much?

For several days now, this song about wanting to be a billionaire (so freaking bad) has been playing over and over in my head.  And so yesterday, it got me thinking about the things that I KNOW I will spend money on if, by any chance, I become a billionaire.  The idea was to blog about it.  Come up with a list and share it with fellow bloggers — and even invite blog friends to share their thoughts on how they intend to spend their billions. 

Everything comes with a price tag. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This morning, as I was drawing up a list in my mind, I couldn’t help but realize that there ARE indeed things that money cannot buy.  We have heard about the lines “Money can’t buy happiness,” and “Can’t buy me love” numerous times.  The great Beatles even wrote a song about the latter.  But other than happiness and love, I came up with other things that surprisingly cannot be bought.  

So I decided to shelve the Supergoddess shopping list first to dwell on…  

The things that money cannot buy:  

length vs width

1)  Height. We know that there are so many products out there that claim they “can make you slimmer in just so and so days.”  You may choose between popping slimming pills, buying a treadmill or even that Total Core equipment (that I so intend to buy).  Or you may go to a slimming spa where they will use all these gadgets on you “to break the fat.”  If you have the funds and the courage, you can go under the knife — have a tummy tuck or a lipo.  

Yes, if you have the means, you can buy your way to a sexier you.  Yet I don’t think I ever came across something that can make you taller “in just seven days.”  At some point, each of us stops growing.  And that’s it.  You can’t add or lose inches (in height) depending on your food intake — unlike how one’s weight can easily go up and down.  You can’t be 5’3” today and be supermodel tall tomorrow. 

Of course you can always wear heels, but that’s simply not the point.  Sans tall shoes, once you’ve reached your maximum height that the creator intended you to have, then that’s it.  Unless someone invents a stretching machine that can pull you vertically so you can add an inch or two (… but why would anyone want to do that?)   

2)  Time. I believe even the brilliant minds will agree with me on this.  There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week… and so on and so forth, in our world.  No amount of money can make you add more hours to your day.  We can’t buy more, nor can we buy back the time that was lost. We are pretty much constrained by what we have.  Best that we make good and full use of it. 

3)  Sheer Talent.  Some people are just born with it.  There are people who excel in various activities even without formal training.  Whether it is in the field of arts (like painting, singing, acting), academics (can mentally compute mathematical equations) or sports, there are people who were born gifted.  

Yes, we can pay for trainings and lessons, but the giftedness cannot be bought.  It was given.  Maybe that’s why it’s called a gift. 

watch the swagger

4) Confidence.  Admit it, some people were born timid and shy, while there are others who were born confident.  You can see it in the way they walk and talk.  You can see it in the person’s swagger. 

Of course it helps knowing that you have money in your pocket.  It somewhat gives one a sense of security, but it is not an assurance for self-confidence.  For some people, mustering enough confidence to speak in public is something that they really need to work on.  It’s not something that can easily be bought, basically because it comes from within. 

5)  Manners and Etiquette.  We can buy books on manners and etiquette.  We can go to all the personality development trainings and seminars.   But if we don’t internalize what we have learned, or we don’t apply in our lives the things that we were taught, then the whole practice will prove to be futile.  

You can have a successful social life! | Awful Library Books

Little Miss Manners

Regardless of how much money one has or was born into, if that person was not taught manners from day one, it will show in his daily ways – how he treats people, how he interacts, how he reacts under pressure.  You can pay for the training, but your actions and reactions are your own. 

6)  Respect.  I think it’s self-explanatory.  You cannot buy respect.  You earn it.  Bribing someone to respect you will make him NOT respect you all the more. 

7)  Inner peace.  I believe that no amount of money – whether in dollars, euro or whatever currency can guarantee one’s serenity and inner peace.  It takes a clear conscience.    It takes the knowledge that you have not wronged anybody and you are living a guilt-free life.  

Some people have loads of riches, yet are unhappy or are suffering from internal chaos.  There are others who live by the day, yet still have peace and joy.  

good times can't be bought

8)  Memories.  The time you spend with people you love, the big or little things that you do for yourself (or for others)… the smiles, laughter, even tears that you experienced…  all these are imprinted in your mind – and heart.  And we have these as we live day by day by day.  We can’t go to a store and say, “I want to buy this memory.”  

Memories are made, not bought.  It is really up to us to make good ones. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Contrary to my statement above, not everything comes with a price tag.  And when you really think about it, the things that don’t, somehow matter even more. 

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photo credits: price tag via google images ; other photos via weheartit.com