Friday, January 24, 2014

The Single Dot Metaphor

Inwardly, I am a problematic person. By that I mean, I feel I've become a problem myself because I usually THINK I got an awful lot of 'difficult' things to deal with. Well, surely there are a bunch of people out there who think like me (I'm just trying to console myself). Anyhow, the point is we are the ones who create our own problems. A psychologist/writer, M. Scott Peck, said in his book The Road Less Traveled that the things that mar us or affect us emotionally are what we repute as problems. Thus, the question is: however bad the situation you're into may seem, would you allow it to emotionally deface you?

One day, in the middle of a diversion, I realized that M. Scott Peck stated a downright truth which deserves a second thought. I came to put it in analogy with the 'single dot metaphor.' I remembered that several times in my life, I looked at that one tiny dot in the middle of a white sheet of paper. That I've become, metaphorically, too "OC" or "Obsessive Compulsive" to notice the single dot and ignore the vast clean space around it. I rigidly thought that the paper isn't 'clean' anymore because of that speck of dirt. And as I erased one dot, another filled in a little space. Then, another dot, and another, and more. I was overwhelmed by the seemed-to-be-black-nits on the paper, but I ignored the empty space which remained wider than them.

Sometimes we tend to focus too much on a problem. We don't know that the more we look at it, the bigger it gets (or so it would seem). The more we submerge our thoughts in it, the more we become emotionally involved in the problem. More so, we usually forget that life isn't perfect. That in life, there's no such thing as 'clean slate.' What solely exists is 'perspective.' Change your perspective, and you'll change your life. Don't get too swayed by failures; look at your successes. Allow yourself to falter; it will help strengthen your knees. Get hurt, and feel the pain - it only means you're still alive. Behold the brighter side of life. To a positive mind, the heart listens.

By this, I recommend the following books. Look 'em up in Bookstores!
  • Your Best Life Begins Each Morning by Joel Osteen
  • Make Today Count by John C. Maxwell
  • How Your Words Can Change Your World by Bo Sanchez

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Books Told me What Passion is

The first thing I did after I took the licensure exam was indulge myself in reading. I really did miss the chimerical world of literature; moreover, I missed reading books of my own choice. I even created a Goodreads account, just so to see new releases, reviews and prospect books I may soon read.

Fussy reader as I was, I felt that the novels I've read rendered profound effects in me. One remarkable abstraction which I think I've imbibed from books was passion - starting from Ayn Rand's Howard Roark (The Fountainhead) and Hank Rearden (Atlas Shrugged) to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous Sherlock Holmes. I realized that there was a resounding implication of passion that was personified in these brilliant fictional characters. I was moved by how they fought for, come hell or high water, and lived with what they love doing. They found joy in honing their skills. They found a reason for existence. In the end, these characters turned out to be, not only the experts in their field, but also the happiest men who ever lived. What would the world be if filled with passionate men? 

And so, I tried searching for that wonderful thing in me. They say, it's innate. People only have to find it in them.

The very first thing I did was ask myself, "What sort of person do I want to become someday?" I wrote down my answers to my journal notebook then reflected on them. Initially, I felt hopeless for I found my answers to be bum and indecisive. I, then thought of Google. I opened my laptop and made some research. Halloa! I found these:
  • How to Know if Your Dreams are God's Dreams by Bo Sanchez. (This is an eBook. Grab here a copy for free!)
  • Passion test and advice from the Attwood couple.
  • 11 Incredibly Simple Ways to Find Passion, Right Now by Henri Juntilla.
I obeyed the instructions indicated in the reading materials. I internalized everything it said. I tried to take Attwood's passion advice by heart. Plus, I talked to my sisters and cousin about this. I, as well, asked for God's help.

Aaaaand, alas! I found my passion. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

When things seem to not go your way...

In the last few months, I tried holding everything in my hands. I wanted to make sure that I was using my freedom enough to fulfill my deepest desires. I never dared to waste a single minute of each day. I woke up every morning, wrote my plans for the day, and followed them in every letter. I felt in total control, and thus in total responsibility of my future.

Little by little, I saw my career plans being torn away. I saw how my dreams seemed to become impossible. I held on even to the tiniest spark of hope left in me. I stumbled several times, got frustrated and disappointed, but stood up again.

I'm warning you reader, that this won't end like any other successful stories you may be expecting. Because until now, I can't say that I've already reached my dreams and accomplished my career goals. Worst is, I'm now already shambling to different directions, confused of where the right path is. However, if there's one thing worth telling and sharing about all this, that is - I have learned how to surrender.

I learned that surrendering isn't a sign of weakness, nor of defeat. I realized that it is fine to surrender when you know you've done all you can, and still couldn't win the battle. Moreover, the question of how you surrendered is another thing. Did you just lie yourself there in the battlefield and feigned death? Did you step backward, and just took some time to rest? Or did you press the SOS button, and let your hero win the battle for you?

I loosened my grip and surrendered everything to God. I realized that some things, especially those which I can't control, really do need divine intervention. I realized that there is a God who stays on my side - a God who is far wiser and stronger enough to win any battle; a God who loves me and cares for me than I to myself; a God who always, always has better plans. Now, everything feels lighter. And I appreciate my freedom more than ever.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Remember This When You Are With People

I realized that more than anything else, our relationship with people especially with our family, counts as the most essential thing in the world.

Currently, I'm having difficulties reaching my career goals. I think I know what I really want, but I earned a different degree because I accorded to what my parents wanted me to do; now, I got to go back to square one. Initially, I felt so burdened by this. I spent time thinking about it over and over again, creating several revamps on my career plan. My eyes hurt because of non-stop research I did in the computer. My feet callused and sore from job hunting. My head ached perennially because of doubts and worries. However, one day, some sort of light came upon me and opened my eyes. I realized that I'd rather have problems with my career rather than with my relationships. I'd rather feel bad about myself for not yet seeing my dreams happening in real life than to feel bad about myself for shouting or insulting or hurting somebody I loved. I realized that it is a lot easier to resolve things that are still within my control than to amend things I've done and can't ruefully bring back. 

From such contemplation, I formulated conclusions. And this list, I'll regularly read as a reminder to myself:
  • Never ever burst out in anger. You don't know where anger can bring you or can make you bring to other people. At all times, in any situation, maintain composure. Think rationally. That's the wisest way to handle it. They say that the more hot headed you are, the weaker your mind or will is.
  • Do not look for people's imperfections. You don't have to care a lot about how others present themselves or express themselves. Mind you, you're not perfect. If you desire to be accepted, other people desire for acceptance too. 
  • Watch out of your words. Remember that if you, yourself, don't want to hear painful remarks from other people, then other people certainly wouldn't want to hear them too. Speak calmly and be nice at all times. If you think you have to assert yourself or to necessarily correct somebody, say it in the kindest way possible.
  • Don't hesitate to give compliments and praises. When doing this, your goal shouldn't be to please the person, but to inform him/her. Be sincere when uttering compliments and praises. Learn to appreciate beauty and goodness and everything else worthy of recognition. You do not have to overdo this. One genuinely expressed sentence would certainly suffice.
  • Help as much as you can. Doing good deeds can enrich relationships. Lend a hand whenever you can. What is losing 5 minutes or more when you're doing it for someone worthy of your time? Nevertheless, remember that you still need to have time for yourself. You shouldn't exhaust all your efforts for other people and leave nothing for yourself. Let me mark this however cliche: You can't give what you don't have.
  • Strive to be happy no matter how bad your situation is. First things first, let me assure you that you have the ability to be happy no matter how bad the situation you're into. This is putting your mind at will. Your emotions should be controlled by your mind, not the other way around. Figure out what can make you smile or laugh. Look for the things that send you delight and make you feel lighter. Don't focus on that small dot in the center of your long pad paper. There is a vast space that surrounds it. When you're done with this, you'll see how your glow will positively affect the people around you. Take note: People are nicer when they're happy.
  • Love yourself. Enrich your relationship with yourself too. If you find it difficult to love yourself, try to zoom out and see yourself as another person outside you. Appreciate her. Understand her. Take care of her. Show care and express your concern for her. Recognize her right to be loved. Try to see what your friends or loved ones can see in you. Be yourself's bestfriend.