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by Lionel Emil Javier |

By: The G


Illustrations by: LDR


As Filipinos, we are raised according to certain cultural standards that may or may not exactly be as healthy as the sense of tradition supposedly tries to maintain in a society. Many of us grew up in households where pressure was a natural thing. Among us are the ones our elders molded to be achievers and are expected to be steady with the goals all the way leaving no room for failures, but it is just human nature to commit mistakes. Besides, most of the essential lessons in life are learned from those errors. It is just too bad that even a slight pause on hard work is sometimes considered a failure to our loved ones.

I remember telling a loved one I needed a break because I was stressed and feeling unproductive, and they just told me I didn’t deserve it because I hadn’t even accomplished anything yet—that I was just maybe whining, thus bringing failure onto myself. It was as if I needed to do something huge first before I finally take care of my mental health that would have probably collapsed by then before I finally take a break. And many people I know have received the same reaction when they said they wanted to take a break mostly from their folks. They decided it was tough love. Don’t get me wrong we all love our folks, but does love really have to be that mentally draining?

Motivational stuff we see on social media mention these moments when you just feel so weak and perhaps exhausted in the process of accomplishing your goals, and frankly not once did I notice them value such time as much as they emphasize on their moments of picking themselves up on those falls.

In our culture, it is so common for people around us to just pat our backs and tell us to keep fighting when we are down and could barely function. “Keep yourself occupied, it will pass too.” they say all the time as if it is best to ignore that moment of opportunity to encourage someone to step back and rest for a while. We should encourage people to pull out of the grind in times of feeling burned out as much as we boost their esteems up to push towards reaching their goal when we know they are capable. But I guess that’s the problem—we think we should push our loved ones no matter what they’re feeling thinking it is the only positive way to handle such state of feeling defeated.

We must learn how to value that part of deciding on making that pull for yourself. As a significant someone always reminds me, “Even though you feel so tired that you don’t want to do anything productive and you feel like it’s a bad thing, don’t force yourself to do things just because ‘you have to’. It’s still your time; watch series, rest, just chill. You have to own that moment, because hating yourself for it will only make you feel worse than you already do. In the end, it doesn’t solve anything.” I say get you someone who would support you that way.

Sometimes, we have to stay off the road, because this life is a road trip wherein we are definitely going to be lost at some point and will certainly need a moment to recenter and find new directions to where we want to go or find maybe even new destinations too. Man, even Waze has that recenter option, so do you.

We have to give ourselves credit for the breaks we take for ourselves when things get stressful as much as we give ourselves credit for when we are able to push ourselves to fight and succeed in our endeavors. It’s not necessarily pulling of the grind for good anyway. It’s just you pulling the push back or a while to make a stronger push again when you finally feel better about yourself.