“You are charming but you do not have the face to make it to a beauty pageant.”
“You look like a maid and you should not be part of Bb. Pilipinas.”
“You are damaged, no one will ever love you.”
Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in.
I will never forget these exact words. Even if I wanted to forget them, these have left a mark on me.
How did you do last week? Was the first agreement easy? Here is the next challenge from Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: Don’t Take Anything Personally.
Everyday we receive judgements from people who would rather seek perfection than kindness. Damaging words, yes, but only if you allow it.
As an awkward middle child, I always felt uncomfortable being in the spotlight because I knew that I would be vulnerable to others judgement and I admittedly allowed them to limit me. Despite my mother’s constant encouragement, others made me feel insecure and uncomfortable in my skin. I would avoid wearing clothes that I liked just because I felt that I had fat limbs (when in reality, I was underweight).
When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.
I tried to break free from it and prove others wrong by joining my first pageant 6 years ago. Admittedly joining a pageant in the Philippines when you are 22 is quite late. Most of the girls start really early! This country takes beauty pageant seriously. Some girls go as far as giving up a year of study to prepare for a national pageant!
Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally…
After my transition from a normal tomboy to a beauty queen, I became more vulnerable to judgement and criticisms. I can’t even begin to list all the harsh comments I got the minute I made it through the final screening in Bb. Pilipinas. From my teeth to my overall look, everyone had a lot to say. My primary purpose for joining pageants was to go against ideals of perfection.
I got sucked in and began to care so much about how I looked and what I wore. It got crazy that I would feel incomplete if I did not have my eyebrows done! Unconsciously, I was follwing the pattern, the stereotypical Filipina lady. I felt uneasy and ugly without make-up and had to be refined with my actions. I did not let the words affect me directly, it got under my skin slowly as I allowed myself to swim into the pool of expectations. I decided to break free.
It became easier when Bb. Pilipinas ended, I can leave the room without wearing make-up and be back to my boyish ways. I also become lenient with people that I do not expect much from them.
You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you.
When I went to Malaysia, I was relieved to know that the Ms. SCUBA International organisers preferred the girls wearing less of the chemicals. They preferred a more natural look (one reason why I think it is probably one of the better pageants that exist to date) focusing more on the cause.
I started feeling a huge amount of freedom once I started not taking anything personally. Those comments that used to stop me lost its power.
I am not completely free from it though, there are still times when I become upset over a lie, a gossip or a label but I am getting better at it. Once I understood, and refused to take things personally, I can’t hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others. It does take a lot of strength to brush things off specially with social media has these days. A little mistake or imperfection could spur a major lashout from online trolls. All you need to do is to practice it daily, it becomes easier with each day.
The whole world can gossip about you, and if you don’t take it personally you are immune.
I admire people in the fashion and entertainment industry who can put up with such, my non-conforming nature will never be able to survive. I am in awe of how they are able to go through it daily. The media is unforgiving most of the time.
This is why I will never be a mainstream beauty queen, it takes a lot to be able to put up with such tall order and I would prefer to use my time to do other things ( having perfect hair and make-up not being part of it).
If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you. You can say, “I love you,” without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need.
I am in a much happier and carefree state now. I have learned to stick to what is good and not to spread poison. I find it a bit easier to be vulnerable now (though there are still moments that the manhater in me is revived). I have less fears. More open to love people and embrace their imperfections. I dare you now to start the habit of not taking anything personally.
P.S. I will be adding more challenges for next week asides from the agreements, I assure you that it will be good for your physical health and the environment.