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Self-Full Living: Transforming Perspectives on Selfishness

Written by Sonya Go

In a world that often demands our time, attention, and energy, it's easy to fall into the trap of labeling self-care as selfishness. But here's the truth: nurturing your own well-being is not just acceptable—it's essential. Women taking time for themselves has always been an act of empowerment. It's a quiet rebellion against the notion that our worth is solely defined by how much we give to others. It's a declaration that we, as women, deserve to thrive in every season of our lives.

Rather than casting self-fullness as a mere indulgence, we’re sharing the stories of four Filipinas from the vibrant years of their 20s, through the enriching experiences of their 30s, to the wisdom-filled 40s and beyond, as they share how prioritizing their needs become a wellspring of strength, resilience, and radiance, demonstrating that by nurturing our own flames, we illuminate the path not just for ourselves, but for those who walk beside us.

Tina Erquiaga

Meet Tina Erquiaga, a dynamic 20-year-old student pursuing a degree in Bachelor of Science in Legal Management at DLSU Manila. Beyond her academic pursuits, Tina shines as a dedicated student leader, actively contributing her talents as a valuable member of the University Student Government.

Tina believes that self-care is a fundamental pillar of women's wellness. As she puts it, "If we, women, strive for paramount success, self-efficacy, and confidence is the outcome of prioritizing our own well-being." Recognizing that personal growth and confidence are direct results of self-care, Tina highlights the significance of putting ourselves first as a means to achieve our goals.

Her approach to self-care resonates deeply with Bernie Glassman's metaphor of "the supreme meal of life." Quoting Glassman, she emphasizes that self-care must be nourishing and shared. By nourishing ourselves, we not only foster personal growth but also gain the ability to positively influence others. This perspective helps dispel any feelings of guilt or selfishness that might arise when taking time for self-care.

Tina shares a personal experience that highlights the incredible impact of embracing self-fullness. “I never liked the way I looked when I was a teenager. I used to look to other people to compare myself and be the way they were to feel confident and be ‘in it’ with society. Fortunately, I realized to look within. I gave myself what I knew I needed, what I knew I wanted for myself and that made tremendous progress in who I am now. Who knew a closeted young girl would be able to reach her dreams by only knowing and giving what her mind and body needed?”, Tina says.

For younger women grappling with the idea of embracing self-fullness, Tina offers sage advice: don't be swayed by the stigma that filling your cup is selfishness. She challenges society's perception and encourages reframing self-care as a stepping stone to success. By doing so, she empowers young women to reclaim their well-being and prioritize their needs unapologetically.

Nicolette D. Galvez - Guevara

Nicole's journey commenced with a bold decision to change her trajectory—a testament to the immense courage it takes to seek purpose. Graduating from UERM with a major in Physical Therapy, she soon realized that her heart yearned for more. Guided by an advisor's keen insight, Nicole navigated toward a course that mirrored her inherent affinity for working with children—Occupational Therapy. Her transition showcases the power of embracing change to discover one's true passion.

The path she chose wasn't without its challenges, particularly in the face of rejections driven by preconceived notions. She poignantly remarks, "People turned me down because of where I graduated. They did not base their judgments on my potential and abilities but they based it on something superficial." Her journey serves as a clarion call to dismantle such barriers and recognize true potential beyond external labels.

Nicole redefines self-fullness as a pursuit of growth and progress. Her journey reflects the profound connection between self-fulfillment and the roles she embodies. Her goals, whether in her profession or personal life, paint a picture of a woman unafraid to evolve for the betterment of herself and those around her.

“Embracing self-fullness means meeting my demands and goals as I grow... to be a better therapist, wife, mom, daughter, and such."

Nicole's embrace of self-fullness extends to her professional life, where it unlocks unforeseen opportunities. Her involvement in international conventions and the enduring relationships she forms exemplify the powerful ripple effect of prioritizing oneself.

"With how I see self-fullness... I was given opportunities that I never thought I would have."

Nicole shares a powerful message of empowerment for women facing their own struggles. Her words ring true as a guiding light: to evolve, change, and become better versions of themselves, not just for their own sakes, but for the greater good.

"To all the young women who are struggling... evolve or change to make yourself better not only for yourself but also for the things that you do."

Rosevi Queenie Belmonte

"Women need to recharge often," Iligan City Councilor Rosevi affirms. She recognizes the tendency for women to place others' needs before their own, leading to emotional and physical depletion. Rosevi's perspective is one of positivity and happiness: "When we are recharged, we have more positivity and happiness to offer others - we are able to love harder." Her words remind us that by nurturing ourselves, we create a wellspring of love to share with the world.

Rosevi's approach to prioritizing well-being involves cultivating gratitude daily. "Every day, I think of all the people and things I am grateful for," she shares. This practice serves as a powerful antidote to negative emotions, making room for positivity and blessings: "Less hate, less stress. Less stress, more blessed." Rosevi's words underscore the transformative potential of gratitude in maintaining a healthy and balanced life.

Embracing self-fullness, Rosevi explains, is a journey of self-love. This journey often involves saying "no" when societal expectations dictate "yes," and letting go of what no longer contributes to inner peace. "You have to lose some to gain more," she wisely notes. The art of prioritizing oneself requires shedding what no longer serves and making space for growth and resilience.

When it comes to navigating societal pressure, Rosevi speaks to the challenge of jealousy that can arise when prioritizing oneself: "We are only humans, and sometimes people get jealous when you have what they don’t have, especially when they see you happy." Her response to negativity is simple but profound: "Jealousy is a negative energy, and the only way to ward off a negative energy is to stay positive." Her approach reminds us that positivity is our shield against external negativity.

To younger women navigating their journey, Rosevi's advice is both empowering and essential: "Prioritize yourself." She dismantles the misconception that self-care is selfish, stressing its necessity: "When you give yourself the attention, time, and energy that you deserve, you are able to give more of yourself to others." Rosevi's words resonate as a call to embrace self-fullness, knowing that it is a cornerstone of empowerment and the ability to positively impact the world around us.

Jennifer Reyes

Jennifer's insights on well-being and personal growth are beacons of wisdom. Her unwavering belief in the importance of personal values guides her—a principle unaffected by societal shifts or external approval. She advocates for self-reliance and self-awareness as the bedrock of a fulfilled life. Jennifer’s insights on well-being and personal growth are beacons of wisdom. Her unwavering belief in the importance of personal values guides her—a principle unaffected by societal shifts or external approval.

Jennifer's own self-care rituals illuminate her commitment to personal well-being: carving out moments for introspection, finding solace in spiritual retreats, cherishing family time, and allowing herself the luxury of self-rewards.

Breaking free from a toxic marriage, she embarked on a journey to reclaim her identity, rediscover her passions, and rewrite her relationship with self-love. This chapter has fortified her with unmatched wisdom, fueling her role as an advocate for self-transformation.

"The best things in life may be free, but they require striving. Set and work on your life goals—let them define and lead you to the self you were always meant to become. Never give up; keep moving forward. The best is yet to come!"

In Jennifer's words, we find guiding stars for young women navigating the labyrinth of self-discovery: "Know yourself, embrace your potential, chase your dreams, and defy societal pressures." Her message resounds—a call to self-growth, an invitation to learn from missteps, and a reminder that unyielding determination can reshape destinies.

Let their experiences remind you that self-care is not an act of negligence toward others, but rather a powerful affirmation of our capacity to love, nurture, and create positive change. Together, we'll challenge the old narratives and embrace the empowering truth: that self-full living is not just a choice, but a revolutionary act that shapes us into the strong, empowered women we were meant to be.

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