Sunday, July 31, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
You’re Not As bad As You Think You Are
I was reading Family Flavours and I came across the article Generation Give, which basically says how teenagers give back to the community, and it made me feel guilty that I don’t do more. Then I realised that I was wrong to feel that way.
If you can read this, you’re among one of the 8% richest people in the world. You live in relative ease and all your basic needs are pretty much covered. You’ve got a house, food, education. Also, you have internet, central heating, a shower, a cooker. You probably have a mobile phone, an iPod maybe. You’ve got friends, transport, a television. A comfortable life. You should be happy.
On the flipside, there are people in places like Somalia, India and Afghanistan who don’t know what a computer is. They don’t worry about how which make-up will make them look best, or what programs they have to record, because they can’t. They’re too busy trying to stay alive. These people are born into poverty and starvation, and that’s how they stay, before they die. Young. They spend their time working, or searching for food or water. They dream of an education. For a better life for their family. Yet, as so many people will tell you, and as I know from firsthand experience in Kolkata, they are happy. They shouldn’t be happy, but they are. They sing, they dance, they love. And that’s enough for them.
Looking at the two situations, you couldn’t possibly imagine that we, as well off people, could ever find anything to complain about.
But we do.
We complain about EVERYTHING. We complain about work, school, friends, appearance, relationships, even about things like the television, or the internet. We go so far as to complain about other people complaining. The killer is when we complain about charities, or giving to the poor. “Oh, I’ve already donated this month, I wish they’d get out of my hair.”We take everything we have for granted. Our friends, family, technology, education, heat, clothes, everything. We take it all for granted, and we “couldn’t survive” if it was taken away.
Inconsiderate, isn’t it?
That’s not a good sign, right?
Wrong. We are a product of our surroundings. We, either as humans, or as what we’ve become, have developed this trait. We will complain. We will rely on other people. We will take stuff for granted.
We say that we’ll change, and we really do try, but we can’t. It’s a natural part of living. Life is a complex thing, and the only way to not take anything for granted is to remove everything that could be taken for granted.
But that isn’t practical. Our ancestors have worked hard to get us where we are now. We reap the benefits of their work, which seems selfish, but wouldn’t it be a slap across the face to them if we ignored it? And also, I think you have to realise, or believe that, in some way, no matter how small, you’re changing the world for the future too, just like they did.
If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants
Isaac Newton said those words, and he was right. It’s okay for us to use what we have now to change the future. It’s okay to forget about other people, and focus on ourselves, because we’re human, we make mistakes, and, if by being selfish and focusing on ourselves, we end up changing the world, is that not worth it?
I’m not saying ignore those less fortunate than you. By all means, do all you can to help them, if that’s how you want to change the world. I support that so much, and I do it too. But I’m saying it’s okay to forget every so often. It’s okay to be wrapped up in your own world for a bit. Never feel guilty that you’re taking stuff for granted, because you never know what might come of it.
Do you think someone like Adi Roche (or any other prominent charitable figure) never had personal problems that swayed her course? Everyone does it sometimes, and it’s okay.
All I’m saying is that when you feel guilty, it’s a good thing, it shows you care. Also, instead of letting it get you down, use it as a driving force, an inspiration to change something. And by change something, I don’t mean you have to go out and donate all your life savings to the Red Cross. Just change something minor. Help an old lady, talk to a friend in need, anything. Do some good. If you can do some good, then you’re helping someone less fortunate than you.
And that makes you a pretty great person after all.
Monday, July 18, 2011
The Teens Speak Out section of Family Flavours in the July edition was all about freedom of expression and it got me thinking how teenagers show their personalities through their appearance. That made me wonder is it necessary to appear a certain way just to make the impression you want to make? For years, people have had the debate. What’s more important, appearance or personality? Well, there’s a quote:
“Appearance gets you in the door, but personality keeps you in the house.”
By that logic, it would seem that personality is by far the more important of the two. But in hindsight, is it really? If it is, then why do we, as humans, constantly strive to look better? Why do we put ourselves through pain and turmoil to make ourselves more attractive? The answer is that, in reality, appearance has always been more important than personality.
Seriously, look at history. From the days of the Ancient Egyptians (inventors of make-up), to the changing styles of clothing in the Victorian Era, right through to the founding of modern-day make-up and perufme companies in the early 1900s, people have always tried to artificially enhance themselves.
In the harsh world we live in, people who are attractive will always find an easier way to excel in their individual situations than those who are genuinely talented or who have great personalities. Those who have both soon rise to the top. A prime example would be the world of film and television, but this scenario exists right down the scale, to social standings in schools or clubs.
Is it wrong that the world works this way? That those who have true inner beauty are not recognised, or have to work twice as hard to be noticed? Is it wrong that those with looks get an easy ride to the top? That nearly everyone, no matter what they say, first judges a book by its cover? I think the answer is quite clearly yes, it is very wrong.
Sure, people get better as they grow up. Or so you’d think. That’s the case in relationships, and friendships, but think in terms of careers.Someone could be the most amazing singer in the world, but they could also have a facial disfigurement. As we all know, they would be instantly shot down, due to their lacking of “the look” it takes to become a superstar.
There is no “look”. There’s just this savage mentality that exists amongst people, instilled in them from a young age.
Nobody was created perfect. Everybody has their flaws, but in the same way, everybody has something to contribute to the world. It isn’t fair that this mentality exists. It isn’t fair that from secondary school onwards, we are taught by the world that looks equals popularity. It isn’t fair that so many people’s self confidence is shattered so early, just because God created them in a certain way.
That’s just my opinion, I can’t actually change anything. Society says I’m wrong. Unfortunately, this is the one we’ve created, and the one we’re now forced to live in.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Indulge in the heart-to-heart stories people shared with us about their lives and experiences, concerning divorce and giving back, in the July issue of #Family Flavours magazine in stores now!
Whether you're looking for creative ways to refresh your summer or just craving some "me time" with a good read, all you have to do is take some time off and spend it flipping through the pages of our latest edition. Unwind with unconventional, homemade recipes for light brunches, heartwarming egg bakes and tasty desserts. And read all about what men want, retro sunglasses' comeback, local Sufi-inspired art and much more.
So, get your day planner and pencil in some quality time with yours truly.