To Grow and Be Authentic, You Must Feel

Photo: Courtesy of  Betina Libre

Photo: Courtesy of Betina Libre

“I’m going to ask you a series of questions, okay? For some questions, you can describe to me how strongly you feel by giving me a number from the range of 1 to 10; 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. You only have less than 10 seconds to give me an answer.”

“Hmmm, okay.” I answered slowly and cautiously.

“How organized do you think you are?”

“Rate your relationship with family?”

“How strongly do you feel about travelling? Writing?”

I’m seated comfortably on a chair located on the second floor of a little quaint store where my soul card reading session was taking place. An electric fan is a few inches away from my feet. A full-length mirror is positioned across me where I could catch a glimpse of my facial expressions from time to time. I squinted a little bit as the sunlight streamed in the small room. Sandy handed a box of facial tissue in case the session got a little bit too intense. She informed me that some of her clients get a little bit too emotional whenever she does their reading.

It’s Tuesday afternoon on the 22nd of September, 2015.

A few days prior, I wrote on Facebook that I had twenty-two days to accomplish everything on my adventure bucket list – which involved taking photos, seeing places, eating at various restaurants and cafes. Why the need for the status message? I was looking for partners-in-crime to keep me company. To most of my Facebook friends, it was just a project that made it appear like I had a lot of time on my hands. But, to my closest friends and family, they knew for a fact I was doing it because I was leaving home to move to another place.

I wanted to do a French exit.

You could say I wasn’t good at being in the spotlight and at saying goodbyes.

Meeting Sandy had been on my list. A friend had recommended me to visit her store for a while now. He mentioned it was quite an introspective experience depending how I treated the session. Studying Sandy’s Facebook page, she writes on her description that she is not a fortune teller or a psychic. She reads people through observation, calculation, projection and analyzes the answers she gets from the questions she asks her clients. I found this interesting enough to make it to my list of things to experience before I left.

Finally brushing up on the topics of work, leaving home and finally my hesitation towards all of this; I had told Sally that now that the opportunity was here and I had made the decision to move, I was hesitant. I was hesitant to leave my loved ones behind. When Sandy prodded for more answers, she finally figured it out.

Sandy perceived that I had difficulty with accepting my emotions. This applies especially when it would involve a negative experience.

She nailed it!

Whenever I would catch myself feeling terrible, I would struggle entirely.  I struggled for the reason that whenever I felt any amount of sadness, I would criticize myself and tell myself to snap out of it. I would tell myself, there’s no room for pity, there’s no room for sadness or anger. Not only that, I would try to convince myself not to linger on the negative experience and try to get over it as soon as possible. Without processing the experience entirely, the feeling would come back to me when I would least expect it and hit me with an even greater magnitude.

To come into terms with this reading, Sandy wanted me to imagine placing my favorite food in a box. Next, she wanted me to seal it tight and leave it for a few days. Coming back to check up on it, she asked if I expected it to be in good condition when I opened it days after. Being a little bit too graphic, she assumed that it would have been rotten being left in the box. Comparing this to pent-up feelings, most of the time, it would eventually have a terrible outcome.

Of course, it sounds simple enough.

But what’s funny is, we forget about the basics sometimes.

The basics? For example, that there’s nothing wrong with feeling. It is what makes us authentic, it is what makes us alive. We’re only human after all.

Not too long ago, I met up with my close friend, Paulina. Paulina and I loved coming up with made up situations and asking each other how we would handle them. There was one question I was faced with that I could never forget.

She asked, “If it were possible to compress all the pain you’re bound to experience in your lifetime for a few hours of intense hurt to live the rest of your years without so much as an ache, would you do it?”

For a moment, I considered it. Think about the long-term benefit of the proposition. Sitting through what seems like an endless hell and never again suffer the stabs of pain afterwards. 

It does sounds tempting, I thought to myself. 

What’s funny was that a couple of weeks later after that conversation with Paulina, I found myself a prisoner to my bed, my blanket tightly wrapped around me. There I was – buried underneath my mountain of pillows. 

I had my heart broken and I questioned, how do people even survive heartaches and heartbreaks? How does one deal with the pain that never seems to go away? How does the cliche, “Time heals all wounds” even work?

Grief, anguish, jealousy and sadness are emotions that slowly creep into our thoughts. They are so intense that we find ourselves powerless – feed on those emotions and linger on them.

Though in time, with patience and trial and error, I learned that struggling was useless. Allowing the emotions flow in, going through it and being mindful of it is an experience itself. Later on we realize with a different perspective and mindset that, without sadness, we would not be able to know what happiness is like. Without hate, we would not know love. There is no fight between the good and the bad emotions, we need to take care of them both for transformation to take place.

Moments of pain are planned out throughout life. They should not be compressed and experienced in one sitting. Moments of pain are essential to our lives. With the pain experienced, we are brought back, we grow, and we see a different perspective eventually. Pain is supposed to be taken in right amount of doses. You have to go through these emotions for you understand what it means to be alive.

Another reading that Sandy managed to breakthrough was the fear of letting go of my loved ones. She asked if it was the fear of being forgotten and replaced that made me to leave. Before I could even answer, Sandy began telling a story.

One day, she was grocery shopping when she bumped into a close friend of hers that she hadn’t seen in years.

Her friend said, “Sandy! How have you been? I missed you!”

Sandy replied that she had been doing well and the both them should catch up soon. Her friend had been a little thrown off-guard and emphasized that she had missed Sandy, and Sandy, yet again responded with a smile. To her friend’s annoyance, she called her out and said, “I just said I missed you, didn’t you miss me too?!”. Sandy replied she hadn’t and her friend asked how come.

Sandy asked me, “What’s there to miss, if you never stopped loving the person?”

Sometimes, we’re too focused on the physical aspect of things that we tend to forget what matters most. Someone could be there physically, but could lack in different aspects. Sandy explained that at the end of the day, those who truly love us and care for us would never truly go away or forget about us. At the end of the day, they’ll be the ones rooting for our growth even from miles away.

Reaching out for the tissue slowly and discreetly during the reading session to wipe away my tears, Sandy softly tells me that our time is up. She told me that I had one question that I could ask after all of this.

Not wanting to disclose my question, I’ll tell you her answer instead.

Sandy said,

“Go, it’s okay. Let go. The world is waiting for you, only if you allow it.”


It’s been a while since the writer, Betina, has moved to Hong Kong. Life is as always, unpredictable, but Betina looks forward to every chapter waiting to unfold.

Words by Betina Libre

IG: @betinalibre

Cola Paclibar