2018 is almost over and I look back to it with a grateful heart and a well-nourished soul.

This year was a breakthrough year for me in many aspects, even though it had its own unpleasant surprises. What I’m learning though is that it doesn’t matter what comes your way, what matters most is how you respond to whatever comes your way.

After being a certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner by Genos International through People Dynamics in the Philippines, I’m realizing more and more how much our emotions greatly affect the way we deal with situations we find ourselves in. Even though we claim to be objective as much as we could, our decisions in any given situation is always colored by how we felt upon getting involved with it.

Our emotions are largely influenced by our experiences, education, and ways of thinking about ourselves and others. The way we show up with our emotions could either be a blessing or a curse to people around us.

In Matthew 5:2-11, the word “beatitude” inherited its blessedness from the Latin word “beatus,” meaning both “happy” and “blessed.” In the Bible, the Beatitudes are a series of blessings.

Despite the difficulties I experienced this year, I do my very best to keep the right attitude to count them all as blessings knowing that my “attitude determines my altitude”. Here are my eight be-attitudes from 2018.

1. Be discrete because not everyone could handle the whole truth well.

Every now and then I’d see people posting on Facebook personal matters that could’ve been better of not shared in public in the first place. I see the same congruence in personal life.

When I practiced being “brutally honest” with a few people this year, I’ve seen how our relationships suffer from my total disclosure. But that also makes me think twice about just how much they really care for me. 

Unconditional love is truly rare these days.

The rule of thumb I’m applying now is know when to be totally honest and know when to hold back.

This reminds me of a scene from “A Few Good Men” where a guy is shouting “You can’t handle the truth!”, while in a court trial.

2. Be big because being small will limit your capacity.

Get rid of small mindedness by stretching your buying and giving capacity. This year, I bought the most expensive pair of leather shoes I ever bought. Looking back in previous years, I realized I did this before in much smaller amounts.

I avoid being extravagant like a plague, but I also know that my fear of lack is a manifestation of poverty mindset, which I’m getting rid of.

This year, I’ve also shared many material and in kind resources to those I love (i.e. family, friends, mentees) because I believe that practicing generosity is a good way to impact people’s lives positively, and a way of letting people know how much they mean to me.  

3. Be intentional in building relationships, because people matter more than things.

As I do my annual “Facebook withdrawal”, I learned that people have become so dependent on social media to communicate with people. I realized that when only a few people found out that I’m no longer there, even as they reached out to me. These few people are part of my “treasured dear ones”. And I’m committed to show them how much they mean to me, not only in verbal or written words, but through intentional (not just “random”) acts of kindness.

I’m writing this in Davao City where I met a 69-year all chat support BPO worker, Maya Ginete, one of the titas of my good friend, Milo. She used to be an English high school teacher. When she applied for the job, her interviewer happened to be one of her former students. Because she’s remembered with fondness by this student instead of interviewing Tita Maya, they just reminisced with good old stories of the past. And when we got deployed in the operations floor, she also has former students there as her colleagues. Small world indeed!

It’s the principle of sowing and reaping in action.

When you’re kind to people, love will always find its way back to you.

4. Be present in the moment because you can’t be here forever.

I’m hitting the big 40 next year and I’m getting so pressured with my failed plans while still dreaming of a better future. I’m consoled by my good friend’s wise words while having my Christmas break in Davao. We just walked around his community one morning and after we got tired, we sat outside a 7-11 store by the road. And if I remember correctly, Milo said something like this that really hit me hard, “I don’t worry about what may happen in the future anymore. I just live for the moment.”

Among other life updates, I was also telling him that I felt like “I’m next (to die),” referring to two of my beloved cousins who died in their 40’s, and they happened to be still single too like me.

After getting that out of the way, I just realized what do I really care about? Do I care much about what other people will say about my life’s progress? Shouldn’t I be comparing myself to my who I am and my past successes rather than other people’s?

Why will I worry too much about the future when I know Who holds my future?

  1. Be kind because everyone is fighting their own battles.

While I was going through a really difficult adjustment period working and living in the farm, I am blessed by a few people who really took the time to be there for me and listen to my struggles and challenges adjusting to the way of living and working there.  

I felt the magnitude of the “power of presence” as they call it the GK (Gawad Kalinga) way.

I learned how truly valuable and life-giving it is to listen to others and really be there for them because it makes a whole world of difference.

Being kind to one’s self is important too. This year, I learned how to take good care of my physical and mental health because it is of primal importance not only for me, but for the people who love me (same goes with you!).

  1. Be assertive because people will continue to abuse you if you don’t stand your ground.

2018 is also a year where I became an avid follower of Brene Brown, a researcher specializing on vulnerability, courage, and shame. I learned how to see vulnerability as strength and how to do “the rumble” (indulging in difficult conversations).

With that in my life skills, I am exercising the courage to know and pursue what I really love and what would make me truly happy.

Learn from your suffering, but know too when to end it, if you must, especially if it’s in your power to change the trajectory of a situation.

  1.      Be a lifelong learner because life, in all its complexity, is teaching you lessons every day.

Even though living and working in the farm is still difficult for me, I am applying myself in the process of adapting myself to the way things are done.

I am embracing every bit of lesson I am learning along the way, because I don’t want to miss a thing.

I once read that the world is made better because of those who have suffered greatly, and I want to become a part of that league of change-makers.

  1. Be grateful because the attitude of gratitude turns what you have into enough.

In the spirit of lifelong learning, I stumbled upon this video by Marisa Peer, a famous psychologist to famous Hollywood celebrities while scouring for substantial videos on YouTube relating to mental health. Because of her influence, I started putting the affirmation “I am enough” in my smartphone’s alarm so I’d always wake up with that feeling of fulfillment and not with heart-breaking insecurities.

Even though I still have much to accomplish in life in terms of my life goals, I choose to be grateful to where I am so far in my life’s journey. With God’s help, I choose to be content in who I am and what I have.

I commit to live my life with wide-eyed wonder of life’s surprises. Like a child, I will embrace all of what life has to give, good or bad, while learning from it all and living life to the full.

Hooray to the new adventures of 2019!

Let me know in the comments section which one of the above could you resonate with, or share with us what be-attitude could you contribute here that you learned from this year?

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Adrian is a professional Events Host, Writer, Teacher, and Change Catalyst. He's a world-class emcee creating fun, memorable, and meaningful events. As a change catalyst, his mission is to inspire personal development so people could have better lives with brighter future, against all odds. An IELTS- and TESOL-certified English Trainer, he's also a prolific Tagalog Tutor.