Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Likes and dislikes

Why is it that i find it so much easier to point out what i dislike as compared to what i do like?

When anybody asks me something pertaining to this in whatever category of things i find it almost automatic and immediate that i list the things which i hate/dislike first then only, after some pondering i might add, the things that i love/like.

In fact, sometimes it has come to the point where i relate to people the things i like by telling them what i don't like and as such the ones left out from the list of dislikes... are my 'likes'.

Sure, with regards to the 'bigger' things in life it's 'easy' to tell what i love and like... but i'm talking about the details that make me up... food... movies... music... etc. You know, the little things that are part and parcel of someone's personality.. a microscopic window into their overall make up.

Perhaps... this tendency or ease with pointing out what's not to like and what's 'wrong' is part of the 'Asian' upbringing that we are all known for to varying degrees.
The concept of negative reinforcement.
Don't do this.
Don't do that.
You're doing this wrong.
You made a mistake here.
This doesn't look good on you.

Perhaps it's the expected repercussions of years of being told what's wrong and what's bad and what needs to be improved with a lack or even absence of emphasis on the good and praiseworthy.

i'm not saying that children should be brought up denying their faults and mistakes. Pointing out where one has gone wrong is essential to improvement and allows the person to grow and develop in handling 'failure' (something which is an unavoidable reality in life one way or another). i guess what i am saying is that we need to perhaps pay as much if not more attention to the 'good' in our children... or even people in general for that matter.

We all know that people are not perfect (and yes, it shouldn't be an excuse) but sometimes we demand 'perfection' while totally disregarding other very positive attributes.

It's not just a matter of simply building self-esteem but in my humble opinion it contributes heavily to a person's idea of himself and the world around them... about life in general... and therefore can have some very serious and life-defining consequences.

Someone who's never been told she's pretty... could very likely end up in an unhealthy relationship with a guy who's abusive and manipulative... perhaps because she fails to see how she could 'deserve' any better.

Someone who's only been told where he lacks in skills and talent... could very likely live a life way below his actual potential without realising some of the talents he does have and worse still not daring to venture to explore them.

Now, this is probably oversimplifying things... but i guess you get what i mean.
We need to make a conscious effort to try and see things 'positively'.
Even in the areas where we lack, we need to approach and treat these 'inadequacies' in a positive light.

God Himself is exemplary of being 'positive' while not disregarding the 'negative'.

Take the case of Moses...

When God commanded Moses to go back to Egypt to deliver His people the almost immediate response Moses gave was that he was incapable and inept at doing so... one of the reasons being his speech impediment (it's interesting to look back at Moses life and realise that he left Egypt and went into exile after being overwhelmed by the 'negativity' of failing to set his people free by his own strength). To which God, while not disregarding the fact that Moses did have a speech impediment, persisted in His intention to send Moses while ensuring His ever present support and help.

So ya.... i think maybe i've still got a lot of learning when it comes to looking at myself and others 'positively'.
Perhaps the next time someone asks me questions regarding my 'taste' and preferences.. i'll start with what i do like ;)

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