It may be a dream afraid of waking up, or it may be a dream coming to realization in the next morning.

Monday, October 25, 2010

There Are More Realities Out There

Perhaps, before reading down what I have got to say, you can enjoy this one song by Jordin Sparks, "God Loves Ugly." Why I introduce this song first? Because it has the essence of what's reality is, of what confidence is. In the beginning of the song, she said that everyone is looking down upon her because of what she, and others apparently, considered "ugly." The blemishes, the weight problem, and the dirt that spiflicated her appearance made her feel so inferior, and probably one less of a woman. Then, towards the end of the songs (and some parts of the middle), she was starting to believe that she's beautiful, she's "apparently" beautiful.

You see, it's her reality. She believed that she's ugly, she knew that, she knew that confidently. Sometimes when people tell you one of their realities, you should know that it's not helping to just deny what they are saying. Saying, "No, you're beautiful..." or, "You're wrong!" even if it's true in your reality, it's not true in the person's own reality. It may work sometimes, aided by a couple other factors. This is also why comparing problem, "my problem is much worse than yours," will only make the person feel bad about him- or herself. So, if you want someone to believe in something, to believe in him- or herself, to be believe that it's his or her reality, then make one. Make what you say a reality to the person, by strengthening the reasoning with something that she feels important and powerful.

In this song, she was finally able to have altered her reality in which she now believed that she's beautiful. Why? Because God was an important figure in her life, and she learnt that God never discriminated anybody, for God, everyone was beautiful. If God was down here on earth, she knew she'd be able to face Him feeling strong, without the feeling that she might get judged by her own appearance, like other people did on her.

Carl Rogers, one of the founders of humanistic psychology, believed that people get their realities by experiencing them in the past. the experiences are deeply rooted in their system that they become, well, their realities. Rogers asserted that helping professionals should hold to the first cardinal rule, which is to accept the perception of the person unconditionally, which is why when you want to listen to other people's problem, empathizing is something you should do. How can a person feel better when all you do is, "You're being a crybaby. Move on already. Come on, your problem is so small compared to mine! You think it's hard to lose a friend? Try me, I might marry a jerk out of my family's force..."

Having to marry someone you don't love is not worse than losing a friend, and vice versa. The problem is a problem according to your own book, according to your reality. This is very important to remember if you want to be a good friend, a good spouse, a good family member, or even a good helping professional. What you have to do is to accept the perception of that person. Then, without being directive and suggestive, you can help the person realize that there is another reality in his or her life. A reality that helps the person build a better life. Remember this your whole life.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You'll Be Happier When You Realize It's Your Fault

Self-serving bias is a social cognitive error in which you most likely attribute your successes to your own personal factors and your failures to other factors that you can't control. Try to imagine what a person would most probably say why he got an A in a subject, and why he slumped his grade for another. And you also might think that you're exempted from having this error, but think again, harder (Halvorson, 2010). 

This kind of thinking might protect you from having a downfall of your own esteem. You might feel better when you think you're not the one who screws up the whole thing. But, there is an unfortunate dark side of self-serving bias, where it leads and teaches you how to be powerless and in no control of your own life. A lot of what has been found in research showed that happiness can be stemmed from our own perception on whether we have control on our life (e.g. Myers, 1992; Cook & Chater, 2010). Cook and Chater concluded from their research that people who are happier and with higher perceived control on their life and have a healthier eating behavior.

Can you see the relationship between all these things I've been babbling about? Why do you think people become so incessantly sad and depressed over the their own misfortune? Society, environment, their own family members, their friends, or even God are most likely the target of blame because these saddies think these targets are the ones responsible (i.e. self-serving bias) for their bad events.

What I'm trying to point out is that, once you realize that you also have an equal share of the blame, that it might easily be your own fault, you will see that you have a higher chance to make it right in the future. Try to ponder what you did wrong, what made it go the way you didn't hope it to. By doing this, you heighten your perceived control in life and you'll more likely feel happier. Seriously try it.
And this entry is inspired by my own experience when God used to be my target of blame. Forgive me Allah.


Cook, E. & Chater, A. (2010). Are happier people, healthier people? The relationship between perceived happiness, personal control, BMI and health preventive behaviours. International Journal of Health Promotion & Education, 48, 58-64.

Halvorson, H. G. (2010). In failure, we are all Alan Greenspan. Extracted from Psychology Today from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-success/201004/in-failure-we-are-all-alan-greenspan

Myers, D. G. (1992). The Secrets of Happiness. Extracted from Psychology Today from http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200910/the-secrets-happiness?page=2

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Life Is On Pause (A.K.A. The Art of Saying Goodbye)

Losing something significant, especially the ones you really care about, is a tragedy. Be it a dear friend, a beloved family member, an attached pet, or your loving spouse - it is never easy. What is worse is when you are very desperate to move forward, to go on with your life, you feel like there is this giant person with a giant remote who presses the 'pause' button on your life. You're not the one holding the remote, so you can't do anything but be frozen in the screen and wait.

There is a reason, well, two, two reasons why you're on pause, in my opinion. First, you need time to heal. They say that time heals and time doesn't certainly rush in doing its job. If you suddenly move forward, you never have time to think everything through. It's time to feel sad, to accept that you have experienced a tragic loss. It is the time when you have to accept that there might be no other kind of ending for that event. I don't mean to mourn and lock yourself inside the room, but give yourself a break. You have gone through a lot.

Second, this is the time when you have to properly say goodbye. Sometimes what hangs us up is the improper way things end and we don't like that. We keep wondering if things ended differently. So, rather than moving forward, we busy our mind with all the happy endings that could have happened. There's no time to regret! It's time to say goodbye, and for what's it's worth, you can do by your own. Admit that there's nothing between you anymore and that it's time to go. Say goodbye.

Moving on is tricky but it's not impossible. As I said, time heals, and time is your best friend that you don't want to lose here. It'll help you move forward, when you're ready.

I have to say goodbye too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How Are You?

How are you?

That's what people usually say to each other when they meet. It's a sign of caring and friendship, where it's the simplest way to find what's going on with our friends. It's the simplest way to know if our friend is happy or sad, up or down. What's the better way to ask your friend that you want to know what is up with him or her.

Unfortunately, 'how are you?' has been much of a ritual question rather than an actual question. Paradoxically, 'how are you?' can be a sign that we're bumping into a person whose closeness to us is just so-so, and the safest way to look like you even care meeting with him is by asking, "How are you?" And what's worse is you don't even stop to wait for the person to answer the question and you don't even accompany the question with the appropriate body gesture and and facial expression.

This question has been very imbedded in our mindset as a way to start and quickly finish off unnecessary encounter, that we even just ritualize the answer by setting it to an automatic, "I'm fine..."

You see, especially when we're a close friend to someone and he or she is struck with a big trouble. It could be tricky what to answer when we ask that person 'how are you?'. It's like, he or she wants to just answer, "I'm fine." but we're his or her close friend, so s/he really wants to tell you what's going on, what's really happening. But then, we are asking, 'how are you?' which is not so elaborate for a person who really wants to know what's going on with him or her. So, at the end, the most likely option of answer would be the over-ritualized, "I'm fine..."

So, who should we blame? The way people treat a redundancy in everyday communication to avoid having a cognitive overloading (humans are naturally constantly trying to reduce workload in their cognition)? The way our creativity dies whenever it comes the time to do or say things differently than the normalcy? Or is it that we're unconsciously obsessed with friendship status with everyone in our lives that who doesn't make it to the 'significant' list does not deserve our undivided attention?

My suggestions would be to make an effort in showing that you care. Just asking 'how are you?' might just backfire in the friendship itself. Couple the question with the right body movement and facial expression. Stop for awhile when meeting to really catch up with the friends.

I also need to do the same ~ ~

Friday, October 1, 2010

Departure Prayer


I know that you'll read this when you arrive there. I want to dedicate this entry to you. Today is your departure to Japan and you're living in your dreams coming to realization. You're making efforts that are so amazing that dreams have to listen to you. I'm learning a lot about determination and persistence from our friendships. It's so valuable a knowledge that I never forget to be determined and persistent myself, because I know if I spend even half of my time making efforts like you did, I'd see my dreams coming true too.

So, this is my hope and prayers for you. I pray to Allah that you're one day, a big and successful man who makes a difference to the world. You inspire people and make people realize that their dream, each one of them, is worth fighting for. Please be safe at Japan, and please have fun over there. If Allah helps you realize your dream, He'll help you make a fun and beneficial living over there. He'll help you face any enjoyment and problems. He'll help you continue being the person, the brilliant man, you were in your studies and in your friendship.