I always thought I was a thinker. Logical, rational and very practical. That is why I had it as part of my blog title. Inside a thinker’s mind.
I always scoffed at women in particular who were very emotional and decided accordingly. Female protagonists in movies and TV shows who made stupid decisions because they were in the throes of some emotional breakdown were my pet peeve.
So imagine my dismay when I got the result of a personality exam I took online. No scam test this was. This test was considered reliable and suggested by our professor. http://www.16personalities.com
The other personalities were expected; I always knew I am an introvert but a Feeling person? Wow. I could not believe it. And not borderline either; by 30% more, I was in the Feeling zone as opposed to the Thinking zone.
Then I got to reviewing my life. And I confess in many of my major decisions, my emotions got the upper hand. I chose to accept O’s proposal despite my head not totally agreeing. I befriended somebody whom my head said was a no-good person. Our major business strategy came about because of the loyalty I had with the other party.
And finally what our professor explained made sense. The person that you hate the most for no reason at all, is who you are in your basic level. The person you revert to when you are stressed. And the one time I was stressed, I did something really stupid – something when you are in your right mind you would ask yourself -WHY?!! over and over. My reaction was so untypically me.
So now, I understand these female protagonists in the movies. I no longer gnash my teeth or get my blood pressure up every time these so-called heroines mess up the situations.
But knowing who I really am is just the start. The goal of course, in understanding yourself is to be able to manage yourself better in a crisis. That should be my next step. How do I manage these emotions that I have kept hidden for so long?
But it still says something that I hate this part of myself, that is why I try very hard to be a Thinking person. I guess knowing that deep down I am a sentimentalist will make it easier to find a balance between the two.
Funny how things turn out. Who would have thought that I am a closet-sentimentalist?
For the longest time in my teens and twenties I could not decide whether I wanted to marry a man known to my family and live in the same community where we have a history or marry somebody from a far off place and build a life in a community where we had no history. Eventually, I leaned towards the first scenario and I did marry and settle down in the place where my father and his father were born. Where both grandfathers grew up.
In my thirties and early forties I reveled in the easy camaraderie that you get with people with a shared history. I did not question the traditions that we practiced. Going to the cemetery on Nov.1, preparing misua for somebody’s birthday, celebrating moon festival, staying at home on the first day of the year… My mom was the keeper of these traditions and practices and I did not mind following them. It served as a sort of anchor, reinforcing my identity and keeping in touch with my culture.
My mom has passed on. Now, nobody is around to remind us of these traditions. And I have no urge to continue these traditions. I don’t think I am a rebel. I think I am just lazy to prepare for all these practices. But lately, I enjoy the freedom of not being tied to the past. It is a strange feeling to be free from your culture. This year my sons will not be home for November 1. We no longer prepare misua on birthdays. The autumn/ moon festival holds no meaning for me. And if my children decide to go somewhere for New Year’s day – I do not think I will mind at all.
When I was in the middle of a ceremony, it did feel satisfying to know where you came from and what helped define you. But now that its been a year that I have consciously let go of traditions, I also feel at peace at not being tied down to an identity. I do not know if this latest development is bad or good. All I know is it feels good to be detached from the past. A little trepidation at ignoring my mom’s teachings but also a little lighter without all the baggages.
Our topic in class last week was about ethics in business and CSR (corporate social responsibility).
Closer to home, recently a friend from Manila asked me to buy several reams of cigarettes for his personal use. This specific cigarette was not available in his area but was available in my area.
I didn’t know he had resumed smoking.
Personally I don’t care if other people smoked but he is a friend and I didn’t want to abet his habit. If he smokes and he buys his own cigarettes, it really is of no concern to me. But now I would actively be helping him in this non-healthy habit.
Of course I bought the cigarettes, but there was that few moments when I stopped and deliberated and questioned what I would do. Only for a few minutes.
Finally I decided that more than my personal views on smoking, I believe that man is fee to decide on his fate. Whether I approve or not does not matter. His life is his own. And I can only gently remind about the harmful consequences of an action but ultimately, the decision is his.
It was not illegal, it was not immoral. And eventually when I realized that recognizing the freedom of each person is more important for me than imposing my views on another, there ceased to be a dilemma.
I bought the cigarettes. But it was with a certain sadness that I passed on the cigarettes to my friend.