Standing: Dr. Ben Valdecañas, Dennis Valdes, Raquel Uy, Valerie Uy, Titus Bautista, Krisselle Gumaru-Posio and Jeric Posio.
Seated: Yna Mercado, Sea Princess, Linzi Arellano-Co, Vina
Francisco and Trisha Guillermo
My new favorite word is ‘authenticity’
Being true to yourself is fundamental to living a life of integrity
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”—Oscar Wilde
Everything you do in life should start with sincere intentions. Having a clear vision of the kind of person you want to be allows you to pursue a life where your mind, heart and soul are truly aligned.
We all have the ability to make decisions that bring us closer to this vision, while making sure to limit our interactions with negative distractions. It is a daily process that, in time, leads us to a healthier sense of self, one fueled by joy and contentment.
On the journey to actualizing your vision, one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is being fully present in each moment. Take the time to be aware of the deeper, more soulful meanings of why we matter to ourselves, to the ones we love, and to the world. When we recognize our inherent value, we can move with love toward our True North.
My new favorite word is “authenticity.” I feel it is the right time in my life to turn the light inward and reflect on what I see in there. After all, we have all discovered new priorities and ideals that define us, since this pandemic forcibly cleared unwanted elements.
To be authentic means what you say aligns with what you do. It means that your core values are the same both in your public and in your private life. It means that the life you live is a true reflection of your own values, not the values dictated by external influences.
Most importantly, it means having the courage to let go of any relationship or situation that goes against who you truly are. Being able to separate your ego from your true self—to acknowledge and let go of what does not serve us any more—makes one authentic.
A new skill
Learning to be authentic is like learning a new skill. It requires a significant amount of reflection, discipline and self-editing. Perhaps it is easier to understand self-editing in the context of decluttering. Marie Kondo, Japanese author of today’s bible on living an organized life, set off a decluttering craze across the globe as she inspired others to let go of what does not “spark joy.” Kondo says that when tidying up, one must put blinders on and focus only on the category of stuff at hand.
As I was cleaning up my room one day, I came across boxes filled with old letters and photographs. Not following Kondo’s advice, I found myself reading one letter after another, suddenly sucked down into a rabbit hole of nostalgia.
I see now that, if we are not careful, that derailment can also be present in the pursuit of our authentic selves: when you hyperfocus on the past, you can lose sight of who you are in the present, and subsequently, the future. It is vital to declutter the things in our life that do not spark joy, for it allows us to better appreciate the things that do, and in turn, live life more authentically in the journey toward our true path.
The time-tested advice of “be yourself” stands for a reason. It’s probably the best advice you will ever receive. Simple and clichéd, maybe, but as true as ever. Being true to yourself—following your own code of morals and values—is fundamental to living a life of integrity.
As high-character individuals, authentic people are deep thinkers who generate power from within and transpose it outward to add value to the lives of others. In thinking inward, we gain more emotional intelligence and act accordingly. Act with good intentions and motives, and you’ll be admired for your authenticity.
One thing’s for sure, I stayed authentic to my Assumption College (AC) values that I have lived by since 1981. There is one quote from our school’s foundress, St. Marie-Eugénie of Jesus, that has stayed in my heart and in the hearts of my high school batchmates, even after all these years: “To educate is to transform the world.”
Over the years, AC Batch ’81 has launched and supported various community outreach programs, many of them related to educating and empowering the youth. Some of our education projects include support for scholarships and learning aids for the students of the Healing Servants Foundation in Sorsogon; school supplies for public preschools and special education schools in Roxas City; and the building and equipping of three libraries to help the youth in Yolanda-devastated Samar.
A couple of years ago, we asked ourselves how we would celebrate our Ruby Jubilee in 2021. We thought that it could be fitting to honor the gift of our Assumption education—40 years after graduating from Assumption High School—by giving back 40 years of Assumption education.
So, we established a scholarship program in Assumption School in Passi City, Iloilo, that funded 20 deserving students for their two years of senior high school. Assumption Passi is one of the eight mission schools all over the country partially funded by Assumption alumnae.
Two years ago, I flew to Iloilo to start the project with Popsie Gamboa and Maripi Jalandoni. Together with Sr. Jo Concepcion, RA, principal Stella, counselor Jenny and coach Andren, we handpicked the “best and the brightest” in academics and athletics from the public schools in Passi City.
Fast-forward to May 26: A big congratulations to our 20 scholars who all graduated from senior high, many of them earning academic and athletic honors.
Jethro Ian Perez, our scholar, was one of only three seniors who graduated with high honors (average grade of 94-97!).
Ten scholars graduated with honors (average grade of 90-93): Ann Daphne Canlas, Mary Ghel Clarin, Rovic Estaca-an, Nichole Padernal, Mike Brent Palmares, Starwin Panes, Rowela Riano, Ashley Joy Sondia, Christia Marie Villalobos and Adoneram Villanueva.
Special awards for Sports Excellence were given to 13 scholars: Luke Emmanuel Andrada, Christian Aquino, Jophelle Arroyo, Adamson Casiple, Rovic Estaca-an, Jett Habiatan, Wendell Joshua Lambuson, Van Fronlan Palmares, Vincent Rafael Palmares, Lee Philip Rolloque, Ashley Joy Sondia, Adoneram Villanueva and Christia Maria Villalobos.
Scholars, congratulations again! Now go—take St. Marie-Eugénie’s words to heart, and transform the world!
Go forward and live an authentic life today. Watch as your mindful thoughts, words and actions change and influence the world around you in a bolder, more positive way! INQ