Marian Rivera knows all too well what it's like to be a public figure. With 18 million Facebook fans and close to 5 million followers on Instagram, the actress is one of the most popular personalities in the country. But along with the perks that go with the fame, being looked up to by so many people also puts her front and center of controversies and makes her a frequent subject of criticism.
Yes, being endowed with a beautiful face and being hailed the Sexiest Woman in the World three times by men's lifestyle magazine FHM (making her a Hall-of-Famer) does not exempt Marian from being judged online. But such is the nature of social media — you're vulnerable the minute you open yourself up.
Marian, who is happily married to fellow actor Dingdong Dantes and a mom to an adorably feisty 2-year-old daughter named Zia, takes it in stride.
"From the very beginning alam ko naman na hindi ako perfect at tanggap ko yun. Kailangan mong tanggapin sa sarili mo kung ano yung kakulangan mo, dahil pag tinanggap mo yun, walang dahilan para masaktan ka sa sasabihin ng mga tao," she said when Smartparenting.com.ph caught up with her during the Mega Prime Mom Club launch held in Quezon City.
This sentiment stems from the fact that social media, rather than being a place to find inspiration, has now become a venue for naysayers (aka trolls) to put people down and propagate negativity. In a study on post-natal depression published in The Daily Telegraph, Dr. Michael Gannon, president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), said, “There are examples of women being cruel to each other, like it’s some form of failure if you can’t comprehensively breastfeed your child, or if you ‘gave up’ and had a certain form of pain relief (during birth). That’s one driver of post-natal depression.”
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As a public figure, Marian has learned how to cope with online negativity. While it's by no means easy to overcome, she shares these three questions she asks herself every time she's faced with it:
1. "Mahalaga ba sila sa akin?" As an old saying goes, "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter." Marian believes that you should only give weight to comments when they come from the people you love. "Kung [ang criticism ay galing sa taong] mahalaga sa yo, that's a problem. Kailangan mong gawan [ng paraan]. Kung hindi naman sila importante at hindi mo naman sila kakilala, what's the reason para i-entertain mo sila at i-absorb mo yung mga negative comments nila?"
2. "Ano bang magandang nangyari sa akin ngayon?" Often, the best way to counter a bad day is to simply count your blessings. "Isipin mo, 'Sino bang naniniwala sa akin?' Dalhin mo yung sarili mo sa mga positive na tao na magpapasaya sa yo, ibu-boost ang confidence mo, at ili-lift ka talaga."
3. "Para kanino ko ito ginagawa?" There will always be people who will find fault in anything you do, no matter the intentions. Marian says to go back to your reason and your purpose, "[dahil] marami kang pangarap para sa pamilya mo. Dapat gawin mo para sa sarili mo. Maging healthy ka, maging masaya ka. Kapag nakita kang ganyan ng asawa mo at ng anak mo, walang dahilan para di ka nila mahalin."