chrysanthemum on pile of books on table

Words of Wisdom

I am lucky to have the most amazing family members. Because of them, I have lots of great advice from over the years. But today, I’m going to share two of my favorite words of wisdom that I hold closest to my heart.

“Accept the fact that you’re a dork, & your life will be a lot easier.” – My Dad

While I forget the context, this is one of my favorite things my Dad has ever said to me. In life, we often get too caught up in how others view us. Too many people are prisoners to their ego. Instead of being authentic & genuine, they’re too busy trying to look “cool”, desperate to not be labeled as weird or different. By accepting the fact that I’m a dork, I’m able to escape my ego. I can be myself without fear, which in turn makes my life easier as well.

“It is your greatest misfortune if you have never met me.” – My Great-Grandmother, Leonora San Agustin

My great-grandmother, Leonora San Agustin, is one of the most influential women in Asia. She became the first female Chemical Engineer in the Philippines in 1939. This quote is one of my favorites. She inspires me to always be myself, & anyone who isn’t for me. The loss isn’t mine. It’s their misfortune if they never get or want the opportunity to meet me. My Lola Leonie is a go-getter, & she always succeeds in anything she put her mind to. She is brilliant, & I know that she passed down her intelligence & writing skills to me. Please check out this brilliant article she wrote in 2007 at 92 years old!

What are the best words of wisdom or advice given to you? Please share them in a comment below.

XO Denise

black punching bag

Fight Productively

I think we can all agree that fighting with others is never fun. My older sister, Danielle, is a Libra rising. Libra’s hate conflict & disharmony when it comes to their life, among friends, family, & even pets. As a little girl, she once screamed between two little boys on the playground who were about to fight. Ironically, her scream stopped the two boys in their tracks. They stood there wondering why she was screaming & forgot all about why they were fighting to begin with. My sister is also usually quick to yell & break up any fights between our dogs. Growing up with someone who highly values fairness & justice taught me a lot. We’ve only been living together again since June. But in these past 10 months, I’ve learned about my communication & what I need to do to keep the peace. This is something that I’ve decided to term as learning how to “fight productively”.

The Importance of Communication

My sister & I’s communication has always struggled since we were kids. After my younger brother was born, I felt like she abandoned me. She suddenly didn’t want to spend time with me or play with me anymore. She became a 2nd mom to our brother. It hurt a lot the way she would completely ignore me at times. As a Capricon sun (me) & a Cancer sun (her), we also have completely opposite personalities. We fought pretty regularly until I moved away for college when I was 18.

I am very blunt, direct, & solutions-focused in the way I communicate. She, on the other hand, is overly emotional, sensitive, & talks through her thoughts. She tends to ramble on until she finally gets to her point. I need to constantly watch my tone with her because she often assumes that I’m mad at her. In reality, if I’m focusing, the tone of voice changes because my mind & thoughts are elsewhere. Sometimes, I respond out of courtesy, but this usually leads to a fight, due to her assumption that I’m being snarky.

Finding a Solution

To combat this issue, we ask each other non-work-related questions whenever we’re on a break from work, during lunch, or after work hours altogether. I always want her to feel heard & comfortable with talking to me because it’s never my intention to be mean. By limiting important discussions & questions to certain times of the day, I’m able to focus on the topic at hand & devote all of my brainpower to fixing whatever issue or upcoming plans that we need to sort out when it’s easier for me to be focused. There’s a huge difference in the way we communicate. We prevent a lot of unnecessary, meaningless fights.

Another way to think of it is if you have a favorite sports team… it’s natural to always want your team to win. You will automatically brand any opposing team as the enemy, so when your team plays well & gets that win, you’re more likely to celebrate. Having winners & losers are definitely more fun when it comes to sports, but not so much when it comes to your relationships.

Key Takeaways

If you continuously fight with your family members or your romantic partners with the intention of “winning” the argument, there isn’t actually a good reason to celebrate. Because in shouting & shoving your opinion down the throat of the other party to “win”, all you’re really doing is ensuring that they “lose”. When you proactively chose to make the other party a “loser”, you both lose in the end. By making someone else feel like a “loser”, you lose empathy, intimacy, togetherness, & so much more in your connection with them.

When you choose to fight productively, you focus on finding the best solution for both parties, not winning. Resolving conflict in your everyday life should be about respecting each other’s point of view on the issue & working together to ensure that everyone feels heard, loved, & respected. The best possible outcome will always be one where you feel happy & positive that you’ve both won with the final solution. At the end of the day, ensuring to always nurture & create a healthy relationship dynamic is the real “WIN”.

XO Denise

you got this lighted signage

The Importance of Communication

Being empathic & intuitive runs in my family. My innate gifts definitely help me with my Oracle & Tarot readings. But being a “psychic” healer doesn’t mean that I automatically know everything that is happening, did happen, or will happen in the future. If I tried to channel the energy of every person on the planet, I’d be exhausted & overwhelmed all the time. I keep my energy protected. I don’t attempt to channel the energy of another person until I’m about to pull cards for a reading. Once in a person’s energy, I trust my intuition to create a narrative. I chronologically sort the messages I receive to help me give the best advice, depending on the person’s unique situation. But at the end of the day, only the person that I’m reading knows their truth & story. That’s why I always promote the importance of clear communication.

Communicate Your Needs Clearly

During a reading, I may pick up that someone is keeping secrets or doesn’t feel confident enough to express their feelings when it comes to their connection. I’m not a licensed therapist. But it’s general knowledge that keeping secrets & not expressing how you feel is detrimental to all relationships. A lot of women want their partners to read their minds without having to communicate their expectations. But that’s not realistic. Even my own father who is very intuitive needs my mom to tell him when she needs or wants something to feel appreciated & loved. After 37 years of marriage, it’s my parents’ ability to communicate their needs that make their relationship so long-lasting & successful.

Clearly communicating your expectations to your partner will ensure a happy & healthy relationship dynamic. If you need your partner to attend every social event that you’re invited to with you, say so. If you want them to make a huge deal about planning something special for your anniversary & birthday, tell them. The average person is not a mind reader. Expecting someone to cater to your every desire & wish, without telling them what you need, will only cause disappointment.

Release Your Expectations

My parents have always set a great example. My mom attends social events without my dad. While both of my parents are introverted, my mom is more of a social butterfly. My dad needs more alone time to rest & recharge on the weekends. Mom often goes to family gatherings with me & my sister or one of my aunts. My mom never drags my dad to a party because it’s “expected” as her husband.

Don’t get me wrong – my dad will still gladly attend weddings & milestone events with my mom with advance notice. My mom just knows her husband, so she sets her expectations accordingly. For example, my mom doesn’t expect my dad to surprise her flowers, take her out to fancy dinners, or plan weekend getaways. My mom has only received flowers from my dad three times, & each time was when one of my siblings or I was born. My mom prefers to have a fancy dinner as a family, & she prefers to plan vacations all together as a family as well.

Expectations without clear communication will always cause disappointment. But at the same time, expecting your partner to drop everything in their life to cater to your every need, is extremely unfair & one-sided. It is not your boyfriend or your husband’s “job” to read your mind. If you don’t clearly tell your partner what you need, it’s not a requirement for them to attend every social event, buy you flowers, or surprise you with gifts. If you’re upset that your partner can’t read your mind, that’s not their problem. It’s up to you to communicate your needs & wants. Then, it’s up to them to step up to fulfill it. And if it’s not something they’re able or willing to do for you, tell you.

What do you want?

The average woman doesn’t give out “gold stars” to their boyfriend or husband for doing what they’re “supposed” to do. Most women expect their partner to attend every party & buy them presents for every occasion. When pointing out that a partner feels under appreciated, most women are shocked. They often think that their partner could be doing much more to make them happy. But I always do my best to truthfully point out that no one likes to feel under-appreciated. I advise that what they may consider as “expected” behaviors, their partner may consider to be above & beyond anything that they’ve done for any of their exes.

In a relationship, I personally love good morning & goodnight texts, sporadic kisses, & bouquets of flowers, just because. I also consider a man cooking me breakfast, lunch, or dinner as the sweetest gesture. It’s also a dream of mine to be surprised with a trip to a new destination that I’ve never been to but have always dreamed of going to or simply being told to “pack a bag” & be whisked away for an unexpected weekend adventure. Since I haven’t had a man step up to give me these things yet, I choose to regularly give them to myself. My morning wake-up alarm says “Good Morning”. My pug, Pogi, gives me sporadic kisses throughout the day. I have a monthly fresh flower subscription from Bouqs. And I plan trips for myself within the US & internationally as often as I can.

Key Takeaways

It’s important for you to identify what you need & want in a relationship. Then clearly communicate those expectations with your partner. And when they do good, always show them your appreciation. Do your best to not let your expectations cloud your judgement. Especially if you haven’t communicated what you need to your partner at all, speak up. Until you do, you are the only one responsible for ensuring those needs are met.

Not even a “psychic” will automatically know how to cater to the needs of another individual. We’re all unique in our own ways, so what one person may want & expect in a relationship may be different from another. Take responsibility for yourself, express your needs, & communicate as much as possible to prevent any unnecessary conflict in your relationship. And when your partner can’t give you what you need, evaluate what’s a deal breaker & what you’re capable of giving to yourself, before starting a fight or threatening to break up with or divorce them. Take my parents as good example. If you know your partner & you know yourself, you shouldn’t have to worry about being happy & staying happy in your relationship.

XO Denise

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The Tower of Babel

One of the most frustrating situations that I come across daily on Twitter is customers who are upset with support agents who are unable to speak perfect English. If you’ve ever been this person, I invite you to take a step back & consider that there are roughly 6,500 languages spoken around the world. If this person who is trying to help you struggles a little bit with English, it’s most likely because they know at least one other language fluently that is not English. If their ultimate goal is to help you solve a problem in a language that is not their native tongue, I ask you to please consistently show compassion & understanding with those who are trying to help you.

Whenever this happens on Twitter, I immediately recall the first job that I ever had as the hostess of a hotel restaurant near the SFO airport. At 5 am every morning, I had to deal with flight attendants & pilots who needed a drip coffee or an espresso drink when they were already in a hurry trying to catch a flight. One morning, a pilot looked directly into my eyes & asked me “Do you even speak English? Because there’s clearly something being lost in translation.” I was completely taken aback & insulted, but luckily, my manager was there at the time, witnessed the entire interaction & handled the situation, defending me & asking the pilot to leave.

On the flip side, when you’re traveling in another country, do you get frustrated when you need help, but everyone around you wants you to speak their native language? That’s a difficult experience when you’re feeling misunderstood as well right?

When I was in Spain in March 2019, I will admit that my Spanish was & still is nowhere near perfect. I almost missed my train to Barcelona from Madrid when I was trying to find the right counter to have my tickets printed & locate the correct train platform. Even though I do my best to always have a traveling knowledge of the native language of the country that I’m traveling in, I must say that Google translate has been my savior on several occasions.

While I haven’t directly read any excerpts from the Bible since I was forced to at my Catholic grade school, & I don’t own a Bible, this reoccurring situation makes me think of the Tower of Babel. In Genesis 11: 1–9, the Babylonians were attempting to build a tower that would reach the heavens. God decided to disrupt their construction & progress by confusing the languages of the workers so that they could no longer understand one another. As a result, the tower was never finished, & the people dispersed themselves around the world, only interacting with those whom they could understand, agreed with, & spoke the same language.

From this story, I’ve come to realize that it’s in our refusal to want to meet in the middle & find ways to better communicate with one another that prevents us from finding harmony & accomplishing our end goals. When you decide to force someone else to confirm to how you want them to communicate with you, nothing gets accomplished in the end. All parties are instead left frustrated & upset by their own expectations & walk away from the situation surrounded by the individuals who act, communicate, & agree with the same beliefs.

It’s safe to say that humanity is more divided than ever. While standing up for your beliefs is good, I believe that cooperating with the opposing side to find understanding for the greater good of all mankind is more important. Be kind, be compassionate, & be understanding to anyone you may not agree with. It’s through trying to communicate clearly with the intent of reaching the best solution for all parties involved that allows us to find the optimum outcome.

XO Denise