Thursday, January 28, 2010

Self-Centered?

My friends have described self-centered people they know as rude, flashy dressers, loud tone of voice, chatterbox without stopping and jumping from one topic to the next without relevance, they are the heroes in the stories they tell, they gripe and complain about everything and everyone, they have an ever-growing-smaller circle of true friends, they tend to be too demanding and least grateful, in a meeting or brainstorming session their ideas are the only correct ones, they can't maintain a long-term relationship, etc.

Funny, but inspite their outward appearance of having "power", they are mostly known to be hypochondriacs or those abnormally anxious about their health. They also tend to be devastated when the projects they are handling don't seem to flourish. Anyway, I know you would want to add more observations which will only further substantiate the deep-seated state of misery they are in.

We also know that the more you "go out of yourself", and the more helpful and compassionate you are towards others, the more peaceful and healthier you become! It's clear of course that you know problems will not magically disappear. They will still be there, but the magic is in the way you face them, with a lot of peace and objectivity, with the good ideas and solutions you have solicited from friends and from more experienced, wiser people.

You may want to add this small piece of prayer to your "Safety Vault" of antidotes to self-centeredness. Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, Italy in 1181. In it, you only ask for the things you can do to help others:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Monday, January 18, 2010

GRATITUDE

GRATITUDE

if practiced the right way, produces so many benefits

Personal:
- Sets your mind towards a more positive state
- Prepares you to be more aware of small and big things and how these benefit you, and therefore fosters a long-term feeling of satisfaction and happiness
- Fosters a "good" sense of wanting and eliminates the greedy, pressure-driven, type-A behavior in trying to pursue ambitions at any and all costs
- Reminds you of the goodness of other people
- Frees you from the tendency of being too self-centered

Social:
- Acts as some sort of "oil" to smoothen interaction with other people. Notice how a "thank you" makes life a little bit lighter for the other fellow, and how in return he puts in more genuine effort in his job of servicing your needs
- Encourages the recipient to continue doing a good job in the future
- Makes it easier to start a bond or friendship
- Encourages the donor to be more generous
- Gives hope to the recipient that after all, this is a nice world to live in, and not everyone is cold and uncaring

But the strongest and best way to establish the habit of gratitude is to include thank you prayers at the end of day, everyday, when you find that silent and intimate moment to talk with your God, and you acknowledge the fact that the good things that happened today also came from Him.

What should we be grateful for?

- past events that made us happy or made our tasks a bit easier to do
- failures, disappointments, aches, pains and sufferings, because these gave us the best lessons
- the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sunset, the cool breeze on a hot summer's day, birds tweeting merrily in the early morning, a full moon, a half-moon, an eclipse, a rainbow in the middle of the city, strong waves on a beach perfect for surfing, calm waves in a moon-lit calm night, etc.
- even if only in your mind, thank the many people who chose to work in their jobs, like the factory workers who helped produce your car, the doctor who operated on you or your mom, or who prescribed the right medicine which relieved your pain, people who worked in factories producing your laptop, your clothes, soap, shampoo, food, T.V., iPod, the inventors, the managers, bankers, insurance agents, etc.

How or in what manner can we show gratitude?

- A simple but heartfelt "Thank You!"
- A smile
- A bouquet of roses for the wifey who prepared a wonderful dinner
- A small tip to the attendant who did a good job
- A big donation to the Church or school in the community you belong
- Establish a youth club to help underprivileged kids
- Offer to be a resource speaker in the Rotary
- Be part of the Flood or Earthquake Relief Center
- 1,000 other ways limited only by your imagination

The key is SIMPLY TO BE THANKFUL, and not to analyze who, what, where, etc. The reality is that in this modern world, we will not be able to move without other people working at their jobs. This attitude of looking at things face-value also establishes the mental attitude of always looking at the positive things around us and how people have and are continuing to help us, which in turn also helps eliminate the feeling of helplessness or of being a "victim", or of "getting the wrong end of the stick".

I am also taking this opportunity to thank you for reading this blog as this motivates me to carefully choose the topics I talk about, and reminds me of my responsibility to keep on blogging and trying to spread good-will first within my sphere of influence and then maybe later to a much wider audience. As a way too, of "paying back" to the many mentors, teachers, my parents, friends, bosses, etc. and as manifestation to my promise to them to be on the side of the good by helping others.