People: As Filipinos return to face-to-face life, beauty queen Zara Carbonell advises Filipino youth that self-love is key to success, happiness, and fulfillment in a new book

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Philippines entered level 1 on March 1, 2022, marking nearly two years of government-mandated lockdowns. This new normal may also bring with it a new level of anxiety, as young people return to school or work – many for the first time face-to-face – since the start of 2020. 

Such seismic changes in the way we live and work will undoubtedly spark some level of unease in many Filipino youth. Zara Carbonell, beauty queen and 2018 winner of Miss Tourism Worldwide, calls for young Filipinos like her to practice self-love. The concept of self-love has seized popular culture globally – with many books, shows, and other media extolling its virtues – but it is still making inroads in the Philippines. 

“Because we demand excellence of ourselves as Filipinos, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being overly critical of yourself. But this kind of orientation is counter-productive. By thinking negatively about where you are, you tend to place limits on what you believe you can accomplish. Self-love, on the other hand, is empowering: By embracing who you are, you can achieve anything,” said Carbonell. 


Carbonell explains this philosophy in her new book, Lost You, Found Me, published by Bookshelf PH, a book publisher in the Philippines that helps self-published authors and brands find a wider readership. The book centers around one of Carbonell’s personal experiences that all Filipino youth can relate to: the breakup. She detailed her painful breakup with a former long-term boyfriend, and more importantly, how she used the experience to discover who she was through a steady helping of self-love (hence the book’s title). 

The book is not just a confessional, but a guidebook. The book’s tagline is – appropriately enough – Navigating through life, heartache, and purpose in your 20s. She leverages her own experiences as a springboard into providing Filipino youth with a guide to self-love, one that succeeds with the context of Filipino culture.

In this vein, Carbonell’s first book is similar to the other self-help books that have captured the youth’s imagination abroad, such as You Are a Bad Ass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Live an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero or The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson.

Carbonell believes that self-love can and should be more widely exercised in the Philippines.

Malasakit is already one of the great virtues of Filipinos. We simply need to extend this same level of care and compassion that we give others to ourselves as well. Promoting self-love as another Filipino value will improve individual well-being, enhance personal happiness, and move people toward the success they seek with more confidence,” said Carbonell. 

Joining Carbonell in her mission of promoting self-love were editor-in-chief Mio Borromeo, managing editor Sam Balinado, cover artist and creative director Bettina dela Paz, and deputy editorial director Kyle Nate, who is especially proud to publish this book during women’s month.

“Women’s month should not just be a call to celebrate our history and our heroes. It should also be about celebrating yourself as a woman. Though you may still be far from where you ultimately want to be, it’s the kind of self-love that Carbonell advocates for that will help you get there. Self-love propels success,” said Nate, who – with her team – has helped many women leaders and organizations tell and share their story by assisting them with writing, editing, printing, or marketing.  

Lost You, Found Me can be pre-ordered here: 

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