How I Raised My Child Alone

Attending the 2017 single parenthood summit is the best thing that ever happened to me. Because after all those years of trying to figure out my situation, the event became a blessing. Honestly, being a single parent is quite hard. You get judged, criticized, blamed, and hated by almost everyone. It is as if your decision becomes someone else’s misery. Well, I can’t blame them because that is how society blinds itself from the truth. So instead of focusing on the negativities, I managed to incorporate strategies on raising my child alone.

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I Removed Guilt – My decision to have a child is not someone else’s problem. It is my choice, and I know I have to deal with that. Removing the guilt that everybody tries to input in me is the best thing that I did. I realized that for me to be able to start with my life, I must practice the art of minding my own business.

I Set Limits – Raising a child alone requires double the effort. Honestly, you can never do both. The whole process is exhausting, and sometimes it makes you want to quit. However, setting up a limit on things that you can and can’t do manages everything. You need to understand the difference between responsibility and priority before you make a move.

Stay Positive – Yes, in certain situations, you can never stick to positivity. Life can be a mess, and sometimes it drags you to the pit. However, when you think about your child, and how life would be for your kid, things change. You begin to realize that the grass is always greener on the other side.

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Always Show Love – There is nothing more precious in this world than your kid. Giving everything is not enough if you cannot love unconditionally. Yes, single-parenting can drive you crazy. But the whole effort and sacrifices are everything that makes the struggle worth it.

Being A Single Parent Makes You Stronger

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It is ideal that a child has both parents growing up. The role of the father and mother are both equally vital to the wellbeing of a child. Fathers provide strength and courage while mothers give love and tenderness. Unfortunately, not all families have both. Some have a father but don’t have a mother and vice versa. Many instances may result in this kind of situation like the death of one parent, abandonment, or other more complicated reasons like the father not knowing that he has a child.

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Suits (Series): A Story Of A College Dropout

[You Can Be Great If You Choose To]

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Suits is an American television series which tells a story about Mike Ross, a college dropout who has a photographic memory or eidetic memory. He can extraordinarily recall everything he reads in a book, even if he had just read it for the first time. His skill was promising and made him aspire for greatness. Unfortunately, his best friend, Trevor, sold a test to a fellow student who happened to be the dean’s daughter. Mike took the blame and lost his scholarship and got kicked out of college. To make up for literally ruining Mike’s life, Trevor rented an apartment for Mike, but it doesn’t make any difference. Mike’s life turned messy as he got involved with Trevor’s illegal activities involving illegal drugs. He also was taking the bar exam for students who were not confident to pass.

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Words Of Encouragement After Losing Your Better Half

[You Can Still Succeed]

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One of the most devastating events that could happen in a lifetime is losing your better half, primarily when you have not yet achieved your goals. “The impact of bereavement and grief over the loss of a loved one causes most people to grieve and mourn.  It is a mistake to set a time limit for so-called “normal” bereavement,” says Clifford N. Lazarus Ph.D. How are you supposed to move on and continue with your plans? This kind of tragedy can mark a turning point in your life where you can choose to drown in grief or rise. Losing your spouse doesn’t make the world stop spinning. It will continue to do so no matter what, and that’s how life is.

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Why You Should Never Get Married When You Emotionally Unstable

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Some people think that finding a better half will make them whole. Some are emotionally unstable, confused, or lost. They believe that if they have someone to share everything with, they would be able to find meaning and direction in life.

“Sometimes people of all ages feel like they need to do things to make their partner stay with them, even if those things are unhealthy.,” according to Brian Mustanski Ph.D.

But most often than not, it doesn’t solve the problem. It just makes it worse because when you try to be in a relationship when you are fighting a personal battle, you will only pass the negativity to your partner, and instead of moving forward, you will both be held back.

According to Grant Hilary Brenner MD, FAPA, “Anxious attachment leads to a tendency to jump into relationships, becoming sexually intimate before emotional intimacy develops, potentially leading to bonding with an incompatible partner.”

 

Here Are Some Of The Reasons Why It Is Not Advisable To Get Into A Relationship When You Are Emotionally Unstable:

 

  1. You will unintentionally have someone to blame. When things and don’t go according to plan, you will tend to blame it on your partner. For instance, you consult her about a decision you are uncertain about, as a partner in life, she will voice out her opinion, but once it fails, you will have someone else to share the blame. “When you’re alone, it creates opportunity for being more in touch with something inside of you,” says Dr. Niloo Dardashti, a New York-based psychologist and relationship expert.

 

  1. You will unintentionally make your partner a stress absorber when you have a lot of issues in life, for instance with your parents or siblings. You have to sort out your differences with your immediate family first before bringing in a new member to it because you might end up giving her tons of things to think about at night.

 

  1. You cannot take someone on a ride in which you are uncertain where you are going. It is unfair to your partner to get lost with you. If you love someone, you will try to give the very best as much as you could, and to make her suffer from all the things in your life is somewhat

 

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  1. It is an advantage when you can figure out yourself first before trying to get involved with somebody else. It is better to know who you are and what you want in life because you know what you can offer instead of being confused and letting another person carry the burden of figuring “you” out.

 

  1. When you are emotionally unstable, chances are you are financially as well. You would not have the capability to decide on financial matters. Or if you are lucky enough to be from a well-off family, you would still rely on your parents because you don’t have the conviction necessary to succeed in life.

 

It is for a fact better to be with someone when you can love and know yourself thoroughly. Your relationship is more fruitful because you already know and accept your flaws as an individual. It will be easier to open up and compromise with your partner when you are knowledgeable about your feelings and emotions and what triggers your weakness such as bad moods.

 

It also makes it less complicated to know your expectations and her expectations about your relationship because you already know what your preferences are. Yes, the term better half is used to refer to a husband or wife, but it doesn’t literally mean half of a person because a relationship is ideally composed of two imperfect people who have learned to accept and love themselves as they are which what makes them whole.

5 Ways Online Counseling Can Help Introverts Reach Success

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Today, most people rant on social media. They share everything that’s happening in their lives. Well, not everyone at least. There are those who prefer privacy. They think of their life as something personal, and as much as possible, they are discreet when it comes to things that should not be of interest to others. “Introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation,” says Kendra Cherry, MS.

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A Broken Marriage Doesn’t Necessarily Have To Be A Broken Family

 

I blamed my mother for everything that has happened to our family for the past two years. You know why? Well, she had multiple affairs, and just couldn’t keep her legs closed. I know… You think I’m a repulsive child – speaking about my mother that way. Well, that was me, and I may be a different person now, but I just want other “broken” teens such as myself to learn from my life experience and never make the same mistakes that I did.

 

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Hating My Mother

 

It’s true that I have hated my mother to the core. My dad neglected us and was always busy with his work and business. I know for a fact that my dad doesn’t even remember my birthday. One time, I messaged one of his mobile phones, which happened to be in possession of the assistant to his assistant, one of his private assistants. I know! It’s crazy! He is that hectic and unreachable that even me, his daughter, had to reach his 5th level assistant.

 

Anyway, I “told” him that it was my birthday, and you know what “he” did? My bank account had an extra five grand. It would have been nice, except it wasn’t my birthday. If I needed money, I did that once every few months, and I’ve been doing it for years. He never caught on to it. What a life, right?

 

Did I blame my dad? Hell, no. In my mind back then, “dads” are not the “nurturing” kind. Loving and caring for the children is supposed to be the mother’s responsibility. And where was my mother? There she was sleeping around with our gardener, driver, mover, and all the other employees in our household. Apart from that, she would chuck down a bottle of Jack Daniel’s every day. That’s how motherly she was and why I blamed her for everything; even as to why dad was home once every month, if we’re lucky to have his presence. Their marriage was just “the best,” right? It was my mother’s fault. All of it. That’s how I saw it back then.

 

My Mother’s Request

 

One day, everything changed. She miraculously had the time to pick me up from school. It was usually my mama (I call my long-time nanny mama) and that day, four months ago, it was my mama and my mother in the car. When I got in, mama was obviously crying, and so I asked her why. My mother answered bluntly, and she said that she had cancer. She also said that from that day on, she wanted to repair our relationship just in case something happened to her.

 

How selfish, right? Just because she’s sick, she wants to “fix” things with me? Lucky her! I was so angry! How could she ask this after ignoring me for years? Do you know what I did? I didn’t listen to her request. My mama was also asking me for the same thing, but I didn’t budge. For months, I just went with my days not even looking at my mother’s way. My dad? Like he could be disturbed! He just sent money. That’s what he was good for, anyway.

 

 

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Reality Revealed And Understood

My teacher approached me a month ago and asked how I was doing. Apparently, she knew of my mother’s condition because my teacher’s twin sister was her oncologist. I said I was fine and that everything is ok from my end. It was a lie. I haven’t been fine for years, but I thought I was good at hiding it.

 

She told me that she knew of my relationship with my mother and that however angry I am with her, I should make amends. My teacher said that if in the event I lost my mother, I would be devastated no matter how I hated her. Her words crossed my mind, and I gave in. I said to myself that day that I will try to be a better person and forgive her so we can have a good relationship.

 

Life Can Be So Ironic

When I went home, I was too late. Mother’s cancer was terminal, and I didn’t bother to know about that. If only I listened to her request, it could have been an incredible few months before her last breath. But I was too proud and too stubborn. She died, and it was too late for me.

 

My mom gave me a letter which came from my mother. Basically, in the letter, she was asking me for forgiveness, and she explained why she wasted herself all those years. My mother was depressed and had some mental health issues. I should have been a better daughter, but I can’t do anything about it now. What I can do is move on and try to release the guilt that I have been feeling for treating her so bad on her last few days.

 

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Counseling Helps Me With Self-Forgiveness And My Grief

Mama said that we should go to grief counseling and I agreed. It’s been a month now, and I think I’m on the way to forgiving not only my mother but also myself. It’s been very challenging since I’m an orphan now. I do try to reach out to my dad and expressed my intent of having some relationship with him. If he doesn’t answer, it’s his loss. At least, I know I’ve tried.

 

You… Yes, I’m talking to you. Don’t let anger fester in your heart. Love your parents every single day. You’ll never know when they’ll be gone and when they do leave this place, trust me when I say, the emptiness is excruciating. Don’t make the same mistakes that I did.

Let Go Of The Past: Things Happen For A Reason

 

 

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Do you believe that things happen for a reason? That somehow, someday, all the pieces will come together and make you realize that all you fret about are just a part of something great that is bound to happen? Well, you should because things do happen for a reason!

Some of us are so stuck up in the confusion and struggle with life transitions. “Many women do not know how to cope with change, and depending on the severity or amount of trauma the change has inflicted, women can face a difficult and painful time,” according to Avery Neal, M.A., L.P.C. We fail to get the courage to rise and start all over. But if we let the past control and stop us from going where we’re supposed to go, then there’s no point in living.

 

What Are The Life Changes And Events That Could Cause Our Temporary Death? 

  

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  • Breakups

It is natural to feel devastated after a failed relationship with someone who we thought was going to be there for a long time. All our plans are suddenly going to change, and we just don’t know where and how to start.

“Dealing with setbacks can be exhausting, so it’s important not just to push your way back too hard, but to rest and recharge along the way,” shares Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D.

Bad breakups are a poison that if we can’t see past through the pain, it can ruin our lives. Keep in mind that nobody is ever sure that the person we are with right now is bound to be with us forever. Sometimes, these people we meet are only meant to prepare us for the right person in the future.

 

  • Bad Relationships

Breakups are not only for lovers. It can be between best friends or anyone we are attached to in our lives. We may fight and call it quits, and we may feel horrible about it. Well, we should! All relationships are meaningful, and the fact that they didn’t work is sad.

Letting go of people who don’t nourish us anymore is sometimes necessary for us to become what we’re supposed to be. Yes, you can feel awful, but don’t keep that feeling forever. Always find the silver lining and accept that it’s a path we need to take towards success.

“When we’re not in a relationship we really have some time to get clear about what matters to us and what we value,” explains Dr. Jenny Taitz, a clinical psychologist.

 

  • Death Of A Loved One

In life, we are born, and we’ll die. That’s a fact. Although it’s a hard thing to accept, we must be able to find the will to go on. Maybe it’s teaching us to be independent, to see the confidence in ourselves and to find the meaning of life on our own.

We are in charge of our lives, and sooner or later, the death of someone we love will happen, so we must be brave enough to face this difficult life transition and pick ourselves up.

 

  • Missed Opportunity

We are not meant to grab all the opportunities that come our way. Yes, there are opportunities that we would regret to let go, but think of them as a phase. There is always something in between the beginning and the end – the situation now which may be just the beginning, and success.

We all have to travel our journey, and we don’t have to take all the paths. We have to pass by some doors and pass through the one that’s meant for us.

 

  • Failures

Nobody’s perfect! We make mistakes, and we all fail at some point in our lives. We need to learn from these and move forward. They are mistakes because they can be corrected, and we can do that by making sure we’re not going to make the same one again and again.

 

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Life is all about choices, and we can choose to be successful! We have to learn to have the right mindset that will help us to achieve our goals. There may be struggles, challenges, and traumatic events along the way, but we just need to focus on what’s important, and that is what we’re still alive, and we have the opportunity to make things better.

 

Acceptance Is The Key – How I Realized That My Son Needed Help

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In Denial Of My Son’s Condition

 

I was offended by her remark and told her out of courtesy that I will look into it. In truth, I never did. I mean, my son just started school. He has particular “delays” since he doesn’t know these lessons and other things. As expected, he passed his playschool level with apparent difficulty in the Reading subject. Still, he got an F for Fair and moved on to the next level.

 

He continued to Nursery and what a coincidence! His Nursery teacher asked for a meeting after two months of classes and told me the same thing.

 

“Mrs. Smith, your son has some issues with focusing on his work. He is easily distracted and needs improvement in his reading and writing skills. Is it possible for you to bring him to a neurodevelopmental pediatrician? They can assess him properly, and we can all help your son with what he requires regarding after-school learning programs”.

 

This time I answered with a hiss. In my mind back then, these teachers were obviously singling out my son! Why are the teachers doing this? Is it because he is a slow learner? He is only five years old, and my brother was a slow learner too. It runs in the blood! My brother is a notary public now and works for one of the largest law firms in Maryland. He is brilliant at what he does! I know my son will overcome this “slow” period of his and emerge as someone successful in the future, just like my brother. I mean, he is my son! His sisters are all honor students. This can’t be happening.

 

I Didn’t Listen To The Teacher

 

The school and his Nursery teacher can’t compel me to bring my son to a neurodevelopmental pediatrician. I was also that stubborn, and I didn’t want to see the situation as a teacher would look at it. First and foremost, I am his mother. I am biased and maybe somewhat clouded by my son’s state. She is a teacher, and she has trained for spotting children who need special education. I didn’t like to accept that.

 

Source: defense.gov

 

My son barely passed Nursery and had to take summer classes. When I enrolled him in Kinder, they put him under a certified special education teacher. Within the first 45 days, the teacher expressed her concern.

“If your child’s mental health condition is affecting their functioning at school, your first step should be to identify their condition with either a mental health professional or pediatrician and present this diagnostic information to the school,” suggests Deborah Offner, Ph.D.

I have heard it all before – learning delays

 

Unwilling But I Did It Anyway – It Was The Best Decision I Ever Made For My Son

 

With a heavy heart, I made an appointment with a neurodevelopment pediatrician, and it opened my eyes. My son was diagnosed with ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder with signs of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. “Students with autism may have unique needs with learning, social skills, and communication,” says Dr. Paula Kluth. I cried so hard that night back then and too proud. For almost three years my son struggled, and I didn’t “see” that.

 

The neurodevelopmental pediatrician recommended therapy programs for my son. I enrolled him in all of it. He said my son needed Speech Therapy, Educational Therapy, and Occupational Therapy. For a year now, my son has been doing all of these, and the therapists all provided their positive reports. They said that my son has developed since his first session.

 

Looking At The Past But Moving On

 

I still regret the day when I was so stubborn. In my mind, the situation keeps on rewinding. He was just four, and I didn’t listen to his teacher. My mother said that what’s done is done and that I can’t go back to the past. At least now, he is under treatment and is improving. “Although autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often thought of as a childhood disorder, there is an increasing number of older adults who are being diagnosed for the first time,” Katherine K.M. Stavropoulos Ph.D. said.

 

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The doctor also said that it’s not too late. He was just six upon diagnosis and is high-functioning. I do see some problems now that I failed to “look” before. He is different, and now that I have accepted that fact, I will do everything in my power to support and help him.

 

Realizing Your Worth

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My mother gave me a clipping of a features article that she cut from the newspaper at work. There were no cell phones at that time since it was in the early ’90s and the news was delivered through a paper. The headline was RYAN CAYABYAB IS LOOKING FOR TALENTED SINGERS TO FORM SMOKEY MOUNTAIN 2.

 

It Was The Opportunity Of A Lifetime

 

I was very excited because first off, Ryan Cayabyab was the “man” if you wanted to get into the singing business, and Smokey Mountain was the “IT” group in our country. Of course, this was not in the United States since I grew up in Davao City, Philippines.

 

Let’s say for comparison, Ryan Cayabyab was the “Marvin Hamlisch” of the US (the multi-awarded composer loved by Ms. Barbra Streisand), and Smokey Mountain was “The Hanson” of the Philippines. The opportunity was truly enormous, and at 13 years old, my mom was handing me that clipping. She knew I loved to sing and it was like her saying that she approves of me auditioning for the part.

 

I Prepared Myself For That Chance

 

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And so, I equipped myself for roughly a week and practiced “Wind Beneath My Wings,” as sung by Ms. Bette Midler. I was confident that I got the song pretty well. You see, I came from a family of singers. My father used to be a singing champion in our city, while my mother didn’t sing, her sisters were local professional singers. One of my aunts was a jazz singer and a regular every Friday at the city’s posh steak restaurant. She serenaded VIP’s and politicians with her sultry voice. The other one was more successful, and had a singing career in Manila with a country-renowned composer – yes, the one and only, Mr. Cayabyab.

 

Anyway, I was ready, and my mind was made up. My godmother dressed me up and let me borrow her clothes. I can’t forget the white silk sleeveless blouse and long wrap-around skirt in an abstract design of white and blue colors. She also lent me her brown loafers and braided my long hair.

 

Night Of The Performance

 

I got on the shortlist. Out of 1,187 teens who auditioned for the part, only thirty remained. I was one of the lucky 30 who got in.

 

It is one of the most memorable nights of my life because Ryan Cayabyab was in front of me, and believe it or not, my voice CROAKED. Yes, you read that right. I croaked. It was due to nervousness (I keep telling myself that reason), and when I sang the first note, I went out of tune and croaked big time. It was awful! But with that mistake, the best thing happened to me.

 

Let me push back a bit and tell the whole story of that specific event.

 

The assistant called my name and the names of nineteen other kids. We went into a massive hall, and of course, we lined up, and there he was, right in front of us, Mr. Ryan Cayabyab. The first person sang her song, and I think I was number 13. While waiting for my turn, I imagined my young self as a guest singer in “Ryan, Ryan, Musikahan” which means “Ryan’s Music.” (This was the name of his music show on TV.)

 

Of course, that was a perfect dream. I couldn’t tell him that my aunt was a regular on his show, that’s why I know I have a chance. If my aunt can do it, so can I, right?

 

Anyway, my turn came, and I made the ultimate mistake. Instead of singing the song from the beginning, I jumped to the chorus and bam! There was no wind beneath my wings, so to speak!

 

What made me do it? I don’t know! I think I got insecure when I heard two of my schoolmates who also auditioned. One of them was Julie Fernandez (angelic voice) and Mitch (forgot her last name, she was in a band). I decided to up my game by singing the high part, the chorus, which turned out to be a disaster.

 

A Blessing In Disguise

What can help is being as aware of how you feel and think as possible. Taking a moment to self-reflect can stop you from doing something you may regret or get you out of a cycle of obsessive thoughts. Taking time to evaluate the situation objectively can help tremendously, too, both in alleviating overwhelming feelings and making better choices.Darius Cikanavicius, Author, Certified Coach

I stopped singing, and Mr. Cayabyab looked straight at me. All I could say was – I’m so embarrassed, Mr. Cayabyab. I’m sorry. I did prepare for this. It’s just I was too nervous hearing everyone sing and well, singing for you; it’s overwhelming.

 

Tears were starting to fall on my cheeks, but then a miracle happened – Ryan Cayabyab spoke to me! I was told after the audition by the assistant that Mr. Cayabyab never talked to any of the auditionees except for me!

 

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“Kim, sing again. From the first stanza.”

 

I managed a weak ok, and then, I started singing. (Quoting the song “Wind Beneath My Wings”)

 

It must have been cold there in my shadow,

To never have sunlight on your face.

You were content to let me shine, that’s your way.

You always walked a step behind.

So I was the one with all the glory,

While you were the one with all the strength.

A beautiful face without a name for so long.

A beautiful smile to hide the pain.

 

And then, another miracle! Ryan Cayabyab, the composer, conductor, producer and recipient of the most prestigious music awards in the Philippines, SANG WITH ME! He never did such as any other person in the room!

 

(Quoting the song “Wind Beneath My Wings”)

 

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,

And everything I would like to be?

I can fly higher than an eagle,

For you are the wind beneath my wings.

 

We did a duet, and by this time, my heart was swelling with pride. The error, the croaking, and the embarrassment were all worth it! At least, I was able to experience singing with a legend like him.

 

What Happened Next?

Self-efficacy is built on one’s beliefs in the likelihood of future success; those who believe they have the ability to influence the events of their lives have high self-efficacy, while those who feel they are not in control and have little to no impact on what will happen to them in the future have low self-efficacy. – world-renowned psychologist, Albert Bandura

I didn’t make the cut. The part went to Julie, my schoolmate, but she declined it and formed a band. She did become famous, of course. Did it hurt my ego not winning the part? No, absolutely not. In all honesty, I can say that.

 

It was a fulfillment for me too, in a way, because Julie was once second place in a singing competition wherein I got the gold medal. I know that I have it and with these validations –I beat Julie before, and Mr. Cayabyab singing with me – it’s more than enough.

 

I was and is talented. I know that I have it, and no one can take it from me.

 

Did I Become A Professional Singer?

 

No. I am currently a writer, and a mom of five kids, one of them is a theatre actress and singer. I had my time, and I made my decisions. There are no regrets there, whatsoever.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the event with Ryan Cayabyab made me realize that I have so many innate talents and that if I harnessed it, I could have been a superstar. Right now, I’m just happy to get a score of 100 in a videoke challenge. Seriously! And maybe, a permanent feeling of self-worth and self-confidence because of that particular night.

Keep moving forward. As you do, recognize your successes. You will still experience disappointments in the future, but hopefully, you will quit calling yourself a failure and stop fearing others will think you are a fraud.Marcia Reynolds Psy.D.