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5 Things Growing up Without a Father Taught Me

"We were once a picture of a perfect family but it all went crumbling down at some point."
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We were once a picture of a perfect family but it all went crumbling down at some point. There was once a man who I looked up to and now he's nowhere to be found.

Whenever I see a family at a restaurant, I would always think, "What went wrong?" There's always that tug in my heart then the hurt and envy would suddenly take over my mind and make me think for a moment, "Am I missing a lot because he isn't here?"

The answer is no.

After my father left us, I realized a lot of things, but that didn't stop me from enjoying life and cherishing every moment of it. I didn't limit myself from doing the things that I love. There's more to life than just sitting at a corner thinking of depressing memories of the past. 

They say that you should learn from your experiences and him leaving taught me a lot.

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  1. I learned to defend myself.

I was at a point where I thought I had nobody to protect me, but I realized that I forgot the most important person in my life: me! I stood up for myself to people who pushed me around and treated me like I'm a nobody. I let them know my worth and how strong I am even without a father.

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  1. I learned that family should always be first.

I wouldn't be here and be this strong if it weren't for my family. My best shared moments in my life have been with my family. Having no father taught me to value my family and myself more.

  1. I learned to live my life to the fullest.

I learned to enjoy every second, every minute, and every moment of it! Instead of thinking about what I didn't have, I spent my days with people who cared for me. I returned the love they have shown me.

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  1. I learned to be fearless.

I became fearless enough to face life's challenges. I saw it from my mom who was the one who taught me that I shouldn't let anything or anyone bring me down. I saw her break down but I also saw her rise up.

  1. I understood the value of unconditional love.

I grew up with my grandparents. My mom was working abroad when I was growing up so my grandparents were the ones who guided and took care of me. Because of this, I had the chance to feel a whole different kind of love from them. Even without my father, my grandparents made me experience the kind of love I deserve.

It wasn't easy growing up without a father. There's no one there to protect you, to rely on for advice when you have your heart broken. I know it's tough for some but for me, I had my family. They are the most precious gift I've ever received. The love and support they gave were enough to fill the hole in my heart and make me feel complete. If there's anything I'm now sure of is that not having a father doesn't make me incomplete and unwanted. In fact, I am thankful because if my father didn't leave us, I wouldn't understand the value of love, loyalty, and time. I wouldn't be stronger than I was before and I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the things his absence made me realize.

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About the author
Nicka Cassandra Jerao
Candymag.com Correspondent
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Serene Fae A day ago

"The paradoxical idea of attaining a happier life and how to withstand these beliefs."

The Revolting Truth About Happiness by Theserenefae

If people ask you about your vision of a happier life we automatically envision ourselves having more money, true love, a better job, Instagram-worthy vacations, etc. But let me break this to you this, According to Dr. Laurie Santos, Professor of Psychology at Yale University and the voice behind The Happiness Lab podcast, "Most of the goals we think would make us happy do not really make us happy." And why is that? Simple, being happy is all in our minds. The human mind ploys us with these lenses on how we envision ourselves and our lives to be happy. The perception of "having" or "gaining" is the exact opposite of what will truly make our lives better. So how can we really be "happy"?

• Seek happiness inside you. This is a quintessential reason for our vision of happiness: misconceptions about having a lot of money would make me happy; owning this and that would make me happy; entering a relationship would make me happy. This is not the case, if you want to be truly happy with your relationship, you have to be already happy on your own. If you want satisfaction from others, you have to be satisfied with yourself. And so on.

• Fill that hole righteously We all have that tiny hole inside our hearts, tampering it with temporary band-aids. Fill this hole with purpose. Have you ever heard about The Three "M's"— Master, Mission, and Mate? Define who will be your Master, is it God? If that's so, your Mission could be following his words and will. Mate would be the last for they will be the best companion to fulfill your mission. Now hear me out, it is important to do this accordingly. We often times jumble it or invert it which can lead to failures.

• Give gifts to others. The wonderful grace in giving. There’s nothing like the rush of pure joy when you get a chance to give. However, this may not be something that we're used to. But apparently, openhandedness is our soul's true shape. As Eugene Peterson put it, "Giving is what we do best. It is the air into which we were born." This doesn't necessarily mean we have to give away our stuff but we can also present love, kindness, gratefulness, etc. in our own simplest ways to anyone such as giving time, encouragement, helping hand, or even forgiveness. Try giving and you'll receive inconceivable gifts in return.

• Savor moments. Savoring deeply intensifies our positive emotions while doing something that we love the most by simply stepping outside of the experience to review and appreciate the moment. You can practice this by having a delicious meal, reading a good book, or any activity that you enjoy and love. It can also be enhanced by sharing these experiences with others, appreciating such amazing moments, or staying present the entire time.

• Choose to Love Deeper Today's society relentlessly pressures all of us to have this "perfect" lifestyle such as pursuing careers that drain you, finding value through virtual world and purchases, letting achievements become your whole identity, and yet after all that you still feel empty and failure inside. Consumption is just skin deep—a shallow perception of happiness. Deep life brings the best out of us and others. It is about nourishing what you already have, focusing on the relationships than material wealth, becoming vulnerable at times, and being self-aware.

• Understand that Sufferings and Pain are part of Human Being. Always remember that loneliness and sufferings are inevitable. That is completely how life goes. You may be happy for a moment or a month but sooner or later great tribulation will start to kick in. Combat despair with graciousness. Count all the blessings that you have (and will have in near future, claim it!) by writing it down on a piece of paper or typing on your phone. Viola! an instant boost for happiness. We all know the fact that this superficial happiness won't work, but why do I keep on wanting? I already have all this wisdom about how to be happy for ages, but why can't I apply it to my own life?

First, you have to understand that simply knowing doesn't change your behavior. Care to realize that all the tips that I have mentioned are all verbs? Because at the end of the day, it is all about how you choose to be happy and initiate actions towards success. Know, reflect, visualize, believe, and do something about it. All of these are Actions! This is the secret of all the happiest and most influential people in the world—actions. Furthermore, do know that some of these tips do not work instantly most of the time. It requires a lot of time, motivation, consistency, and effort. I do know it's easier said than done. Take each of them slowly, one step at a time.

If it wasn’t for pain, I wouldn’t be alive. It may sound contradictory, but it’s true. Pain reminds me that I can feel, along with other emotions. Pain reminds me that I can heal, just like how I did in the past. Pain reminds me that I am strong and I can do better. It reminds me that life can be bitter, and it is up to us to make it a little sweeter (or saltier, depending on what the person wants).

With this epiphany, I take pain in a positive light. It’s normal that it can break me and make me want to stay in bed all day, but having someone or something remind me that there is hope is enough. It’s normal that I cry my heart out, but it’s important to remember that there’s a calm after the storm. If it wasn’t for pain, I wouldn’t be who I am now. It has shaped me and how I look at things. It has changed the way I approach circumstances that can challenge me and my beliefs.

Pain, back then, made me cower in the dark. Pain used to be my biggest fear, and I used to do my best to avoid pain. However, I realized that avoiding pain is like avoiding life. Because of how I wanted to protect myself, I closed myself off to people and opportunities. I used to tell myself that “this will end badly”, or “this is going to hurt in the end”. I always focused on how much pain I might endure in the end that I forgot to enjoy the process.

It’s inevitable, you see? Endings, most of the time, may hurt. It’s natural for us to grow attached to someone or something, and their disappearance might bring us a lot of pain. However, one should always remember that the pain is a reminder of how close you became, how many memories you had. If it wasn’t for pain, life would be pointless. If it wasn’t for pain, we would be nothing.

margaux marie A day ago
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