I grew up in one of the most impoverished areas of Manila. Not similar to the dumping sites that you see in movies, but, almost. We actually live close to that place. Luckily, my parents did not opt to live in that place even if rent would probably be cheaper there.
My parent were migrants to the city. They’re originally from the province up North which is around 3-4 hours away from Metro Manila. Like most people who migrate to the city, you start with living with people you know – relatives or friends or friends of your friends or in-law relatives of your blood relatives. Once you get a job, then you can rent your own place.
What was it like in the place where I grew up?
I have a love and hate relationship with that place. Looking back, I felt that I was exposed to tons of things that a child should have never been exposed to.
People were drinking alcohol day and night on the streets. Fighting was common. Gang wars among teenagers were not unheard of. Domestic violence was common. And sadly, the list goes on.
A lot of houses there were made of wood, plywood, some concrete, etc including ours. Our house was literally connected to the houses of our neighbors, you often hear the fighting, the shouting, and the cursing.
If I wasn’t hearing all the dramas of our neighbors, I was hearing and seeing the drama unfolding in our own house. Our house back then was a small studio probably 10-15 sqm and it’s shared by four people. Our bathroom back then was outside our house, shared by our relatives who were also our next-door neighbors.
Luckily, despite the poverty, the violence, and the hopelessness, I was blessed with a mother who constantly reminded me that when I grow up, I could leave that place.
As a kid, she taught me to imagine living in other places. She taught me how to imagine, how to dream, and how to work hard to fulfill those dreams.
The constant fighting between my parents in our small studio apartment (imagine daily fights of your parents living with you in a 10-15 sqm studio apartment) was always about food, money, alcohol (for my father), and all other stuff that I don’t remember anymore. Sometimes the fight gets too physical for them (one time with a knife) that our neighbors always have to intervene by taking us (the kids) out of the house.
Every night, my mother would always apologize to me before we went to sleep. She told me that she was sorry she could not get me out of that place. She said that she was sorry she could not give me and my sister a better life. But she also told me that if I believe in myself and if I always think of where I want to go, then I’ll get there someday (OMG, I’m crying as I’m typing this).
She told me that even if she could not help me, she believed that I could get myself out of that place.
What did I keep telling myself when I was growing up?
I don’t know the phrase ‘Positive Affirmation’ when I was growing up. Heck, I don’t even know how to speak English fluently during that time. But I kept telling myself (in my local language) the following before I went to sleep:
- No more crying and I’m going to be happy when I grow up
- I’m going to finish my studies regardless if they help me or not
- I will work hard and buy my own house that no one could kick me out of (because I got thrown out of the house when I was a teenager)
How did positive affirmations help change my life?
I’m sharing these not to brag but to share how positive affirmations helped me changed my life and helped me in achieving small successes in life. This is to share with you guys that, regardless of how hard life we think is, if we stay positive and if we work hard towards our goal, then we could achieve whatever we set our mind to.
I finished my university degree under full-scholarship while being active in various extra-curricular activities. I don’t have any student loans or anything like that (it’s not a thing here).
I got a job and I got promoted multiple times in various companies that I became a part of. In my mid-twenties I was already managing various teams (in different geographic locations – East, West, and Down-Under) of a multi-national company. I was one of the youngest managers in that company that when I attend meetings in different countries, I get stared at because when I was in my twenties I looked like a high school kid (and also I’m Asian so I look way younger than my age).
I was able to travel to various places because of my previous jobs and I was able to buy my own apartment. I also helped my mother send my other siblings to school.
- All of these became possible because I worked hard.
- I worked hard because I believed that in doing so, I can change my life.
- I believed I can change my life because I always tell myself that I can do so.
- I kept telling myself that I can change my life for the better because my mother taught me how to believe.
Now that I have left the corporate world in my late 30’s to focus on my own gig, I still have not stopped using positive affirmations to help me get through the crazy world of entrepreneurship. I initially thought that managing multi-geo teams in different timezones and with multi-cultural staff in age groups way older than me was difficult. But man, entrepreneurship is like a crazy beast in steroids.
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I don’t think that my life story is unique. Some of my childhood friends share similar life stories. Fortunately for us, because of hard work, perseverance, and never-ending belief in ourselves that we could make it, we got out of that environment.
Regardless of the pain, regardless of the hurt, regardless of all the other negative stuff, we can all choose to move forward. I believe that we all deserve kindness. We all deserve happiness. We all deserve calm and loving environments.
And it all starts in thinking that what you want is possible! What you want can be achieved! Don’t doubt yourself and believe that you can do it, because you can!Whether you think you can or can’t, either way, you are right - Henry Ford Click To Tweet
Be careful about what you’re going to think and what you’re going to tell yourself. And be careful on who you will listen to. Your thoughts will be the foundation of your action. Your actions will soon be your habits if done repeatedly. And your habits will form your attitude. And your attitude will set the tone of your life.How Positive Affirmation Changed My Life Click To Tweet
How about you? How did positive affirmation help you change your life