For someone who has always seen himself as lesser superior than others; for someone whose confidence is always behind the scene; for someone who has never really seen himself any bigger than a green pea; for someone who has acquired numbers of rejection which, apparently, outnumbered number of acceptance from people around him; for someone who used to just exist – just exist – who would have thought it would come to this point? Review I cannot consider my life as an extraordinary this world had ever had. Each person has a story to tell and I must say mine is not really something different.
While some people spend their lives with lots of colors around them, some just do not – and as much as I hate to admit, I spent many years of my life belonging to the second group. I go with flow and that has always been the case. It goes this way: I knew I need to attend school and so I did. I have to do well in school or else I will suffer from all the criticisms – the usual criticisms. It is never easy to live in other people’s expectations to the point that it is what they want that drives you. It is your body under their minds. I can now imagine how pathetic that was.
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All the while, though, I do not think I was as inspired as the rest of the class was. I did not make lots of friends from school. No big deal! But there were times when I also deal with thinking of the reasons for the ‘empty’ life. Those days would usually end with me getting no answer than ‘It must be me…’ Although I acknowledge the fact that each of us has our own set of preferences and all the while, I lived in the thought that I just prefer to live my life like this – lonely, detached, alone. It was tiring when you care for no one and more when no one cares for you.
This probably exhibits the self-centered approach known to men. My being careless about others exhibits my being self-centered while others being self-centered is signified by how I saw them treating me. I started my career as an advocate of science and technology. Yes, my first degree was Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. I used to get fascinated with breakthroughs science gets to offer – all those inventions and advances in technology. Awesome! Hale great! Breath-taking! Fantastic! All those praises… Nothing can beat the feeling of having invented something out of nothing.
Or the feeling of being the one to drastically improve the current state of something for the benefit of people around the globe - it is always satisfying! Or so I was told. But who could tell it was not really a career of choice? I was one of those high school graduates who do not really know what they want to happen in their lives. And so, without any particular basis, it was Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering that I ended up with. Not a bad call anyway. I am aware of the good future this field has to offer. I have known of lots of people who have succeeded in this career and, yes, that is, somehow, something to look forward to.
I, at least, had this driving force to continue with my study. Fair enough to push me to strive harder and harder. I just told myself I need it or else I will end up with nothing. Although I appeared to be so passive all the while, in my heart I know I long for something. That something, however, is unknown. I do not know if I am just one those people who experience wanting something they do not exactly know what or looking for something they do not know, for sure, if existent. Can you just imagine how if feels to be in the dark? Be somewhere without any clear direction? They say that every little thing just takes a little of getting used to.
Oh, well, probably, as I seemed to have been used to the feeling of being lost. It was sad but true. At this point in my life, I can never consider this as self-centeredness as I cannot even put myself at the center of everything. Myself was put on dark – not in the center but in the darkness. Despite the lack of light in my life, I never questioned the existence of the Great Someone Up There. I perfectly know he is there. I do not recall how often I scream for His help. Maybe not that often but, of course, I do. I do and in my heart, I know I am not essentially alone all the while.
However, there are moments when I tend to question the number and quantity of challenges facing me. There seems to be imbalance in load allocation. How come I am so lost while others follow certain direction? How come I do not know what I want in life while others are so certain of what they want in theirs? How come I do not seem to possess enough reason to be happy and complete. I often envy happy and satisfied people, I must admit – but I do not harm to them. I just envy them, that is it. And more often than not, I wish I were in their shoes. I even envy my own family members who seemed to find satisfaction in this life.
Self-centered, I was, that time. In all the insecurities I have inside, there were times when I ask myself if this is something I caused. What is that something I failed to do? What is that something that I can probably change to make a difference? What could be missing? I have heard of success stories about people who started with nothing and ended up having the life they have always dreamed of. Can I not be one of them? My concern is never monetary. I did not wish for the whole world. I just want a piece of it – a piece of it where I can enjoy life to the fullest.
I did not ask for extravagant things. What would a loner do with those? I doubt if anybody could really enjoy everything alone. I did not wish for fame. I have lived my life not having the attention of the whole world. I just want some compassion and feeling of belongingness. I did not wish for power as I have never ever seen myself mandating others or controlling the world. It could be that I long for power but that power is the power to appreciate and enjoy life, the power to make people see me as a sensible being worth the company, the power to contribute to the ‘real’ things in this world.
In short, I was never a materialistic type. There are things I lack from within and that is something I longed for to fill in. Looking at these things now, it was all, I – I – I. I was so I-centered. Self-centeredness, however, can be seen positively or negatively. Realization should start from oneself. Otherwise, there is no way one can share himself to others. There is no way sharing yourself if you are now whole. In this way, self-centeredness can be seen as a first way in building or trying to build relationships with others.
I used to have a, so to speak, very narrow view of things in life. I exist. I have to live. I have to survive. I used to find the question, “What am I here for? ” or “Why do I exist? ” as cliche that should have been buried decades back. Come on! You are here because you are here and there is just nothing you can do about it! It is not a problem needing solution. It is just a situation that you have to live with. You are left with just two options – either you continue to exist or you end your own existence. Is that something needing some sort of profound thinking?!
Life is as plain as that. You just have to go with the flow. I was never a person of confidence. I could not care less of what others might be thinking of me. Why would I? Could they care for me any better than that? I doubt… I am just me. With or without me, the world would still revolve around the sun. With or without me, people from any part of the globe would still have 24 hours in a day. With or without me, things still go precisely the same way as they do when I am here. I am a nobody to ever have the notion I mean something – that I am myself and this person counts.
As I started to look back, where did it all start? Where and when did I ever acquire this feeling of inferiority and lack of self-worth? When did I start to “kill” myself? After some self-scrutiny, these questions led me to this answer - the number of rejections I got from people around me. I was ignored for more than once, not just twice, far more than thrice, and to say it is four times is an understatement. It is never easy to be ignored. It is a feeling I would not want myself to dwell with – not anymore. As some people say, any attention is better than none.
And indeed, any attention is better than the countless rejections my past gave me. Life has never been that kind to me. All those moments when I wanted to say something and no one seemed to be interested to even turn a head to look at who is talking; all those moments when my eyes could not speak more of what I feel inside and yet no one seemed to notice; all those moments when the only resort I can think of is to walk and walk and walk until my life ends; all those moments when all I wanted is to disappear from everybody’s sight; all those moments contributed to the me that I used to be.
In which case, the concept of containment applied in me. It was during this time when I tend to control and keep all emotions to myself, given the assumption that no one will listen and no one will care. My life went on and on and on. I learned to care for myself and for myself alone as I do not want to meddle with any other people’s lives. Why would I? Is it not that for so long I am with myself and myself alone? Is it not that for so long, I could not seem to find anyone beside me? Who ever said, “No man is an island? ” I used to be an island and that is something I can attest.
Until this very day came – I happened to come across (accidentally or probably it is fate’s planned way) with this certain book entitled, “Teach Only Love”. I am not a bookworm, definitely. No, unless it is an Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics book. I cannot exactly recall what is in that book that made me read it through. It was not me that is for sure. Nonetheless, the next thing I know is I finished reading that book. This is not normal. This must be something. And, indeed, it was. Why? Because reading that book had been the key to discover the other self I have.
Yes, and it surprised me much more than any reader of this essay could ever imagine. What about this “magical” book? Nothing special at first glance… It is a simple, plain, ordinary book that discusses the importance of our every word and every deed. It emphasizes that what we are today is basically an aftermath of what we said and did yesterday. I then started to look back at my past once more – the past that does not possess any allure to be revisited if not for the purpose of wanting to see myself mourning for the nth time. After reading this book once, I must admit something in me felt a slight change in perspective.
But I was in denial. It is just a book – a fantasy created by someone, a perspective shared to others hoping there will be people to buy the ideas. “Count me out”, I told myself. But this book seemed to have a magical and magnetic property that made me want to read it over again. And so I did. This time, I cannot seem to put myself in denial as I did the first time. And yes, it opened my eyes in more than just one way. How could this certain piece of something, non-living, non-speaking, can speak of the things I have never heard from anyone in my life?
How could this piece of bound paper wake me up from the long sleep I have been? How could it be? These are the questions reining my head for days and days. I got tired of seeking for answers. And then came the answer – if that non-living thing happened to show the life out of me, I can do far better than that. If this thing that does not have a mouth spoke to me of million things, how better could someone with mouth do that? If this thing that does not have a hand touched me in a unique, special way that no one has ever done before, what more could my able hands do?
If this thing without eyes saw me the way I have always wanted to be seen, how better could these bright eyes of mine see those who are in need of my attention? If this thing without ears heard me like I was never listened to before, what more could these ears of mine do to those people who need people to listen as they confess? If this thing without shoulder happened to offer me a cradle of comfort, what more could this broad shoulder of mine offer those who need some rest? And if this thing without a heart happened to feel me, how can my heart not feel what other people have to express?
It is this moment when I finally decided to stop asking why but to start thanking God that for millions of wandering souls we have in this world, I was given the chance to come across this book that opened millions of wonderful and worthwhile possibilities. And so the confession above justifies the need for me to shift my profession from Mechanical Engineering to Counseling Psychology. These are far apart degrees and, yes, I did not see myself engaging in counseling. No, not even in my wildest dream. But this is not a dream. Yes, I am living in reality and the reality is that this is the vocation of choice.
This is where I find myself, my heart. This is where I belong. It is true what the “magical” book says – that it is from your past where you draw your present. If not for the thousands of rejection, if not for the feeling of inferiority, if not for the lack of self confidence, I do not really think this book would have as much effect on me as it had. What is in counseling that truly entices me? It is not the feeling of recognition. It is not the money behind every consultation. It is not to make a living. It is to live and to let others appreciate how wonderful it is to live. Experience, indeed, is the best teacher.
I know the feeling of being neglected. I experienced lots of it. And this leads me to wanting to help people feel important, feel needed, feel worthy. I know the feeling of losing self worth and so I love to boost people’s confidence in themselves. I love to see people seeing their value as a person and claiming it as theirs. I love to see people loving themselves. But going through all these things, all these aspirations for others required lots of self realization. I had to learn to love myself first. It is true that you cannot share something you do not possess in the first place.
How can I share love and confidence when I do not have it myself? I started with loving myself unconditionally, being proud of myself like I have never achieved anything before, and looking myself at the mirror with the courage to say, “This is me and without me, the world will never be exactly the same again. ” When I finally learned to appreciate my own self, that was the time I started to see others in the way they should be seen – no prejudgment, no bias, no unjust feeling. This is where I started to realize the positive side of being self-centered.
I took time to stabilize myself and when the time came, accidentally or planned, that I can tell myself I am whole, was the time I can start reaching out to others. Therapeutic relationship with others is where the essence of counseling relies. You have to build that kind of relationship to be able to counsel who are in need of help. When is it therapeutic? When you can ease others’ pain and when you can hear others’ grief without literally saying it. It is when your relationship with people tends to make those people feel relieved of their burden. It is the talent that no book can actually teach.
This is the spice of counseling career. The theories behind help, but the counselor’s approach to practice it can never be assured by the theories. Person-centered counseling is when you put the person you are counseling as the central consideration in every word you will say, in every piece of advice you will give, and in every gesture you will show to the patient. The person being counseled would want it done that way. Well, to start with, he seeks counseling to be paid with attention that he wants to get, to get the understanding that no one seems to give him.
The counselor should be able to give that. The central purpose is to make the person being counseled feel healed of the burden. As Jennie Rowden once said, “The best thing about counseling psychology is the face-to-face client work; it’s a real privilege to share in a complex process of change and deeply satisfying on a personal level. But I do so many other interesting things as well as therapy; with the research, supervision and the teaching and training of others, my job is endlessly fascinating and evolving. ” And I share this same gratitude towards this vocation.
It is more satisfying than having solved the most complex mathematical problem and far more complex than having invented a machine that could make the car fly. I am not saying these are fancy things. Let us just say, to each, his own. And this something that I won right now is something I will always be proud of. I claim the right to own it and be proud of it. Looking at my self now, I am far more self-directed than I was at a younger age. It is my responsibility to help others see the light of path and to be able to do that, I know I have to see the light in my own path first.
It is a must for counselors to have interest in understanding people’s interaction with others and with the social environment. Understanding people’s perception is also mandatory. These things can be too challenging and too complex and only those are whole-heartedly interested can bear the complexity. Prominent areas needing focus are motivation, thought, attention, sensory, and perception. One of the most important things a counselor should never take off the mind is the confidentiality of the story or revelation of his patients.
Opening someone’s life to a person who is not even a relative or a friend is never a simple thing. The counselor should keep the trust and confidence of the patient. Sharing one’s life is never easy, especially if what you have to share is something not-so-wonderful. But who ever define what is wonderful and what is not? As I come across this vocation, I realize, appreciation of something starts it all. When you learn to love what you have, you will see you need not have anything else. The chance to touch someone’s life, in a way or so, is one blessing I will not forsake.
As I walk down the road, I wish my simple talk can speak of the things the lesser fortunate being would want to hear; my simple touch, I wish, could give them the comfort and shield they need; my simple smile, I pray, could bring them joy and hope that tomorrow is another day. There are people asking me what could have been – if I pursue the Engineering career… As for me, I do not see this as a question needing answer. But then, I answered, “I do not really know. The only thing I am sure of is that had I not choose this vocation I am currently in, I may not feel this very light spirit in me.
It could be that I will deal with problems of people in the world in addition to my own, but that is where the beauty lies. God gave these people challenges to work on, to give people like us opportunity to enlighten and uplift others’ souls. It is never easy but it is always true, always real, always sincere. ” Looking myself in the mirror now, I still look the same but I see a completely new individual within. It was a total change – something I love. My past taught me a lot of lessons and although life has never been too kind for me then, the sacrifices that past brought me served as the inspiration in my life today.
If not for this sad past, I doubt if I can see my life the way I see it now. Every bitter past, indeed, has sweet beginning if we only welcome the possibilities, if we only keep open arms for all the new changes. Fear is but a natural feeling. But to let oneself be drowned in it is another thing. The line, “I was left with no choice,” does not apply, I now believe. We are always given choices. The pick is ours. Sometimes we want something yet the apprehension is there and we let the apprehension rule. Realization does not have age limit.
There are very young bloods who are very positive with their viewpoint in life. There are people old enough to realize things they should be doing and yet not doing anything. Maturity, indeed, does not come with age. It comes with the exposure in life. It comes with faith. It comes with the mindset brought by home. It comes with everything that happens in our lives if we only see things in right perspective. Each day is a new beginning and in each morning I wake up, I thank God for the night that passed and pray that for this day, I inspire and counsel a soul.
If I will ever change someone’s viewpoint, from dim to positively clear, that is when my day would become worthwhile. That is when I can tell it was never a waste and this day is something I am proud to tell God. In every talk that I do, may it be counseling or casual talk with friends, I know it is not them who learn from me. Talking is always a mutual thing. You learn from one another. No one can tell he knows everything. The same line, when uttered by two different individuals, may mean different. Why? Because it is not solely the words but the feelings and meaning behind the words.
That is why talking about the same thing with different people results to a definitely wider perspective. It is not the subject matter, it is the people talking. It is not about the language used, it is the feeling behind every word. It is not length nor it is the brevity of the talk, it is the sincerity behind every statement. It is not important if the words are pronounced correctly or not. What is important is the openness of one another to talk and the willingness to feel and listen. There are, indeed, things no textbook can teach. There are things you can only learn as you get through it.
I now know the answer to my questions and the answer is that I had to experience all those to experience what I am experiencing now. That may be the only acceptable answer and I do not really intend to search for more. Life is so simple if we only know how to really live it. Life happens but once. I might have spent many years of it in a not-so-wonderful way but it life does not lead back. It only moves forward. And so I should. No one should really wallow about the misfortunes in life, as there is no such thing. There are instances – some are happy while some are not.
But those that are not are not really misfortunes if we are to scrutinize. Those are just God’s means to prepare us. He does not teach us how to see things. He can only provide us with tests that can help us see things the way He wants us to. Our God is never a spoon-feeding, pampering God. He is a just God who gives comprehensive examinations where we can learn great lessons if we only listen. The world is a very huge venue to learn. This life is a very comprehensive exam to pass. The beauty is when we learn to appreciate the class – when we go to it not because it is mandatory to go to it but because we love to.
If anybody would ask me now if I regret giving up my first degree to pursue counseling, I will answer, “The sad past led me to a wonderful today. Every bit of failure and pain did not really lead me to regretting anything because in each of those, I learned. And in each of those, I grew – not just as a person for myself but as a person for other people. ” And now, I no longer find the question, “What do I live for? ” mushy. I can tell, with chin up, I live for others to appreciate their lives. I do not just exist. I live. I continue to learn through others with high hopes and belief that they also learn from me. ?
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