Of Love, Like and Self expression

 College is a critical time in a young person’s life and one’s transition to adulthood. Relationships during this time in their life can make or break them — happy and healthy ones can help them grow while destructive and depressing relationships can ruin their self-esteem and leave them emotionally scarred.

Unilab, a trusted brand in healthcare, recognizes the importance of educating the youth about different issues in relationships as well as the importance of self-expression. Unilab sought the help of comedian and Internet superstar Ramon Bautista, spiritual adviser Arun Gogna, and Unilab’s family counseling expert Joji Racelis to share their thoughts on issues as love, family and self-worth in an “Expression Session” it organized for college students.

‘Love’ vs. ‘like’
Is it “love” or “like”? Too often, young people find it hard to differentiate whether what they feel toward someone is just appreciation or something deeper. Addressing this age-old dilemma, Bautista remarked in the vernacular, “You have to realize that you are all still very young. You still don’t know how to distinguish kilig from love.”

Ramon Bautista, spiritual adviser Arun Gogna,
Unilab’s family counseling expert Joji Racelis

Love is an especially powerful and confusing emotion, Bautista explains. Infatuation and love are usually treated as one and the same. “You’re at that age where hormones rage. Here at this age, take the time to grow—don’t be too obsessed with love and being in love.”
“Love is a mystery of life,” Gogna reiterates. “You can’t fully understand it and you can’t exactly explain it. That’s it, that’s simply love.”

A positive self-image is essential in creating a good relationship. Liking yourself is crucial if you want to build healthy bonds with a partner, friends or family, Gogna advises. “You cannot give what you don’t have. We need to love ourselves first before we can give love to others.”

Respect: What good relationships are made of
When it comes to a destructive relationship, the line “nobody’s perfect” simply becomes an excuse. More often than not, those who are in such difficult relationships do not recognize what’s happening. So how can young people deal with or overcome this situation?
“Love and respect yourself so that others can love and respect you as well,” says family counselor Racelis. “When you love a person, you know that person will not deliberately hurt you even when you are vulnerable. Don’t take someone to change them or for them to change you. Take them as they are; if they change for the better, then that’s a bonus, but don’t expect them to.”

Young people must always actively seek guidance in relationships, says Gogna. He adds, “You don’t handle it alone, you have to be surrounded by good friends. You get energy, you get wisdom from them.”

Expression Session is only one of the many activities of the Unilab Fit To Win Youth Club, a pioneering health and wellness club that aims to foster a healthy lifestyle among college students. Unilab believes in a holistic approach to well-being, and providing young Filipinos with the right skills and knowledge will enable them to become better individuals.

“I realized I needed to change my understanding about relationships,” says Unilab Fit To Win student ambassador Angelique Chua from Mapua Institute of Technology. “Opportunities like these are very important to us college students because it helps broaden our views and perceptions.”

“Being part of this club allows us to express ourselves fully. Here we had the chance to share our problems without being judged,” said student ambassador Vincent Rebancos from the Philippine Women’s University.

To the young and restless, Bautista had this to say: “There are more important things than finding our one true love, especially if you’re still young. You need to find yourself first before building a healthy, meaningful relationship with another,” he said. “Work on being a better you, rediscover yourself.”

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