relationships

Intersecting Orbits

Posted on

Expect to be disappointed by people. Even if they were your family or your closest friends. Inherently, we are driven by selfish needs and desires. At some level, our minds find themselves calculating, “What’s in it for me?” (Whatever it is)
The secret us to expect it and not to assume that just because you’re in someone’s orbit, their life somehow revolves around you. It doesn’t. It probably just revolves around themselves. And that’s okay.
Because at some level you’re the same. So don’t let the magnetic field of your star to greatly influence another. But somehow let the orbits intersect so the resulting pattern is much more beautiful than each individual orbit.
So expect to be disappointed.
Just don’t let it affect you.
About the image: I got the image online though I forget the source. I’m not sure how true what’s written is but I found it interesting.

20140831-194946.jpg

The Masks People Wear…Again

Posted on Updated on

Sometimes I find myself thinking that your friend’s answer to the question, “How are you?” defines the level of relationship especially if they’re having a bad day. If you two were really close and they were having a bad day, they would tell you, “I’m having a bad day but I don’t want to talk about it,” and you would understand. It wouldn’t effect your relationship. But if you’re not that close and you are honest about not wanting to talk about it, they might take offense, thinking, “They don’t trust me enough to talk about it.” That’s why it’s easier to just say, “I’m fine,” and leave it at that.

In general, there are two types of masks people wear (I can imagine a collective groan from you, Oh no, there she goes again since I’ve written about it here and here ), but anyhow…

There are those that are meant to be deceitful. They’re associated with cheating, lying, and essentially projecting a false image of oneself so others would approve of them. Then there are those you wear as a courteous move in order not to bother the world with your problems. Basically, you don’t want people to keep on bombarding you with ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and so you learn to hide under this mask. Which is not particularly that bad because our brain cells process tens and millions of thoughts, and having us project our thoughts incessantly can be both tiring for us and the poor listener. 

However, the existence of all these masks show you the standard depth (or not) of relationships nowadays. To really be friends with someone is to expose yourself, be vulnerable, and yet I guess we can concede that due to many disappointments it’s not always good to put yourself in that situation until the person proves to be trustworthy. So masks are easier to wear and take off when it’s appropriate. 

Then there is technology redefining relationships. It builds what could be called a virtual (online) mask. It can be deceitful and/or courteous. With virtual masks you can hide behind usernames, passwords, blogs and twitter handles and this is what I’m doing right here.

I personally find myself thinking about how technology seems to give us a false sense of connection. When I was young , I still remember how ‘calling home’ meant collecting coins, walking all the way to the call-box and screaming so people at the other side would hear us. But the people we called weren’t many. They were mainly relatives. And we called them on important occasions. Eid, wedding, …etc. Now years later, all it takes is a few taps on this device and you are immediately connected to people thousands of miles away…and you don’t have to scream (even though the older generation still do, but you get my drift). However, look at how long our list of contacts is. Just saving a number to your phone gives you the opportunity to immediately connect with them through whatsapp. And yet, how many of us really do? And when we do, how many of us go beyond the polite courtesies? If there is a story that needs to be told, calling works better. And even that removes the body language from the equation, so the impact isn’t as much as it would be if you can actually see people’s faces reacting to whatever you’re saying.

I was also thinking about how unfortunately dating has become so common in the Arab world nowadays despite it being unacceptable religiously. What I really don’t understand about people who get into it is how much can you really know somebody before marriage? Even if a couple has been together for so long (let’s say the eight years it takes for high school and university), one really can’t know a person completely until they’re married to them. The late-night phone calls and the outings…these are all controlled environments that help advance the plot and highlight specific character traits that the two sides intend on showing. However, when situations happen that really tests relationships after marriage, they end up breaking down completely at the seams, because they discover that this person they thought they loved before marriage has changed. But that makes you wonder if they have really changed or would that be the sound of the mask striking the floor as it is pulled off?

Think about it.
photo (6)

Don’t forget to add a comment to this previous post before Nov. 18 to get a chance to win a prize!

Well-Intended but Bad Advice

Posted on

So the other day I ran into one of my friends and in the middle of the conversation she said something interesting, about how sometimes you need to stop listening to the people giving you advice because they are giving you advice based on their perspective, not your own. Which made me think, it’s true. A lot of times, when we give well-intended advice, it’s based on our own experiences in life. How many times do we ask questions and get clarifications before tailor-making advice that suits the other person and not ourselves? How many times do we repeat something so much pretending to convince the other person when we are actually convincing ourselves?

Take for example people who discourage you while you pursue an exciting new idea, saying ‘things won’t work out’. Not everybody has your best interest at heart. Sometimes such advice is given out of pure jealousy, because such people never had the zeal to implement an idea they had, so they don’t want to see you try and – God forbid – succeed. But sometimes, the advice is given with good intentions. Maybe the person got disappointed by something and they don’t want you to go through that disappointment.

So the next time we want to give advice, we need to stop and reflect on whether what we are going to say is going to suit them or us. We need to give them advice with their best interests at heart not ours.

Alternatively, just state a liability disclaimer or stay quiet.

photo (5)

On Forgiveness

Posted on Updated on

So this is a requested note. A friend of mine asked me to write about forgiveness. Is it better to forgive and forget, forgive but not forget, or neither forgive nor forget?
Now I’ve written on revenge and how I personally find the task energy-consuming and pointless since you could have invested that same energy on advancing your own life. Also, once you’re done with your revenge it doesn’t make you feel any better. But that post did not delve deep into the topic of forgiveness.
It is well known that forgiveness is the best way to go but it isn’t easy to do. In general I was born with an inclination towards holding a grudge. So my Modus Operandi (MO 1.0) was neither to forget nor to forgive. But then the more pain you harbor the more you realize you’re hurting only one person; yourself. The person who has hurt you might not even know what they did (or did not do) or they might know but not care. So basically I upgraded to MO 2.0 to forgive but not forget. The thing is it isn’t really easy especially when you feel someone has done you injustice and then moved on like they did nothing wrong. But as my friend is, if we forgive and not forget then we remember the incident and get hurt all over again so how does it even work? I told her, that’s true but it is really hard to wipe a memory from your existence especially if it is something that has been woven into the fabric of your psyche and basically shaped you. So MO 3.0 is to forgive, not forget the incident but remember the fact that you’ve forgiven them.
Also don’t delve in the bitterness. As I said yesterday, don’t get stuck in the past and ruminate over it. Put one step in front of the other and move on.
As much as I claim that MO 3.0 works, there are processes I personally put into place not to reach the stage of getting hurt in the first place. Some are as follows;
1) Don’t take the things that people do personally. It really is not about you as much as it is about them and their own perceptions
2) Try to see things from their point of view. Just because something is important to us doesn’t mean it’s important to them
3) Rise above the pettiness. This is something you would experience a lot if you try to pave a way of your own and you end up with so many criticizes and haters.
Also there is an interesting story I heard recently that could help. When I was watching one of the news segments on the westgate victims, the segment ended with this shell-shocked man who went to search for his father. In the end he found him but he was dead. The reporter asked, “What are your thoughts?”
He said something like, There’s nothing we can do about it. The only thing we can do is forgive them and leave it to God.

Basically our version of it is
وكلت أمري إلى الله

And I guess that’s all I can say about the topic. This is an unedited post I uploaded from my phone (in a wedding) so don’t mind any mistakes.