Between Dusk and Dawn…

Some *scribble* *scribble* by Ameera

At Face Value

Lately, I’ve been waging several battles in the limitless confines (an oxymoron, if there ever was one) of my brain – or rather – my mind. Personal issues, relationships and associations need analyzing, understanding and proper responses. Too science-y?

In simple words, I’m coming to a point where I need to understand the value and worth of relationships amongst people. Whether it be parents, relatives, friends, colleagues… how do I assess people, how do I behave with them? What makes me like them and respond positively? What turns me away from others?

What hit and really horrified me, about myself, was how I was coming to associate the ‘good’ with material possessions and great ‘looks’. You’ve got a good car, you’re cool! You own a great big house, that’s amazing! That automatically means, if you don’t have a good car, a good house… you’re not worth any attention or association.

Most would confess to thinking along the same lines once in a while and they’d also call it pretty normal, or in accordance with our nature, as human beings, to seek out comfort, luxury and what pleases the eye. In other words, whatever comforts our five senses, is perfect!

What we forget is what our five senses perceive are nothing more than that – only perceptions. These pereceptions are then integrated in our brains with other ideas, past experiences and preferences to give the final picture. It is that final picture which we analyse to give the correct response. So it isn’t what our senses perceive but what our minds evaluate that is important to us. And the good news is, we can always alter the final picture according to our views and opinions on life!

Honestly, I figured that out five munutes ago and if you’re laughing at that being ‘so obvious’, you’d better know that there are scores of people who don’t figure that out untill their hair turn white – and some never understand it anyway.  So what good does this do to me, understanding that what appears is not the entire truth of the matter? It does a world of good, certainly.

Firstly, wordly success and owning material possessions is not the idenitifying mark of a good person, a good friend to be with. Sure, it’s great to have a good car and a decent house is everyone’s dream but that’s not the end of it and that’s no basis to judge anyone.

Then, the looks! This goes especially for those who’re seeking life partners. Good looks are NO (with caps) guarantee of a good human being and I’ll vouch for that anyday, having too many experiences in the bag to think otherwise. Yet, when we meet a person who doesn’t fit our mould of ‘perfect’, we’re ready to dump (excuse the word) him/her at this first step. Physical features should then be towards the bottom of the assessment list. What if your idea of perfect is “good looks – funny – optimistic – kind – loyal” and you’ve meet someone who’s all that except perhaps that his looks are not your idea of perfect. If you turn down this friendship, you’re losing out on all the other qualities that were actually important.

Another way to look at this would be to start with your own self – what if I am not acceptable to another person? What would happen if people start assessing me by looking at things I somewhat lack, instead of the great qualties that actually define me? In my own case, I find many such areas where I’m definitely not on the top… in fact, I don’t fit my own mould of perfect – how could I expect others to?

Once you start thinking outside this crazy, superficial box, you’ll see how open the world has become. There are approximately six billion people walking this Earth and without looks or material possessions getting in the way, I’d say there’s lots to chose from!   

More than anyone else, I hope this teaches me a lesson not to judge people by their appearance or the famous ‘first impression’ but rather to understand that in the long run, what’s going to matter is whether I’m a better person through their friendship, or that I am able to enjoy my life fully in their company. That’s what is important and that is something that good looks alone, or a car or a house alone, can never fulfill!

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4 responses to “At Face Value

  1. Rabz June 7, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    You made some extremely noteworthy points. It may seem as though you’re only talking common sense, as you pointed out, but it’s true that many people do not abide by this philosophy. We always tend to go for the superficial, outer aspects of a person rather than what builds his or her heart. It’s sad, but that’s reality. We place so much emphasis on first impressions, but first impressions really are quite meaningless because they tell nothing about a person. I have so many friends tell me that to them, I came across as snobby and reserved at first because of the way I dressed and looked in general, but as they got to know me, they realized there was actually so much more to me, and I really was not mean at all! I’m living proof that the first impressions philosophy means nothing 🙂 Unfortunately, the most we can do is work on correcting ourselves and possibly remind others whenever the chance arrives.

  2. Ameera June 16, 2007 at 12:56 am

    JazakAllah for commenting. 🙂

    Haha, that was good – you’ve already experienced this whole thing. You’re right also that this does seem pretty obvious when you’re talking about it’s much more than that. I didn’t realize how far I was into this stuff before I realized I was judging someone according to that person’s appearance rather than the actual being within. That really put things into focus!

    Your advice was good… it’s what makes a community strong – try to keep a check on one’s own self as well as strenghthen others by correcting them wherever possible. Let’s hope I remember this later on, to pass to others too!

    Assalam-o-alaikum!

  3. Nauman June 21, 2007 at 8:18 am

    It’s easy for many of us to look at the superficial aspects of a person but I’ve also learned the hard way that looks to a person do not necessarily translate to great qualities on the inside. I think over time many of us come to that conclusion – the question really is when we come to that and how we go about it once we’ve realized that.

    For some, it comes after they get divorced from that person later in life. For others, they may be enlightened enough to learn that much earlier. Where do we fit in? The answer lies within each of us and it’s good to hear that you’re going through that. Inshallah, you’ll make the right move in regards to that.

  4. Ameera June 25, 2007 at 5:57 am

    Nomi bh:

    Your comment was exactly on the dot. It’s true that we each learn this ‘fact of life’ at our own pace. I wouldn’t say I’ve really learned it yet! 😀 😀 However, it did hit me rather hard one day when I was in the Library at Univ – very strange! 😀

    For stronger and healthier relationships, I’d wish we could all ‘learn’ this lesson earlier on in life. 🙂

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