All posts by nieldann

A DEMYSTIFICATION OF FEAR AND RESPECT

“Respect earned through fear instead of deeds, was not truly respect.”

Have you experienced respecting people in your life out of threat? Have you met people who coerce others to make them follow and respect? Have you known people who see themselves as powerful human beings just because they gained respect from others who feared them? If not many times, we got to experience all of these once in our lives. At times, we fall into the trap of confusing these two qualities- fear and respect. In addition, we tend to regard people as embodiments of power when they make others respect based on fear. These acts hold true even at this time. But what is really the difference between fear and respect? When is respect considered true?

Fear and respect are two contrasting things. Fear hinders the potential of an individual while respect strengthens it. Think of a time when you feared someone. Did you show who you really are and what you’re capable of? How about when you respected somebody and earned respect from him/her? Did you spend time thinking about what the person will say? You might have done it, but knowing that that person accepts your feelings, belief systems, principles, and needs saves you from worrying too much about yourself. In fact, when respect is served, you are inspired to hone your potential at the optimal level and transcend boundaries.

Furthermore, fear goes temporarily while respect lasts a lifetime. How many times have you felt incomparable joy when the person whom you fear the most is away? That person may come from varied figures- an inconsiderate boss, an obnoxious manager or a condescending leader. Yes, total authority is fine. So is perfectionism. What’s not fine is belittlement and intimidation by a person. Little does a person know that being abrasive not only robs one’s sanity but also breeds fear. It happens when we try to respect people merely because we fear them. In reality, however, we respect them a little or we don’t respect them at all. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow, so to speak. On the other hand, respect can go a long way if it stems from deeds, not fear. If you were asked about the person who left a significant mark in your life, you would probably choose someone whom you look up to- someone who respects you because s/he first respects herself/himself and who gives you value and importance. That is true respect.

Although others have feared someone and have thought of not giving respect to undeserving of it, but the stronger we hold on to this belief, the more we destroy our values. Refusing to respect someone defines more of ourselves than it does to the one we fear or dislike. As Dave Willis put it, “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” Thus, whatever engenders, respect. Whether it is through deeds or fear, respect. And if we are not willing to give respect to others, let’s try giving it to ourselves first. Let’s show one of the most pivotal virtues. Respect.

Am I Alone

As the sun moved over the horizon,
I walked along the shore;
Going out for an odd reason,
Wanting to ask myself more.

Am I a desert island
Which, for good, stands on its own;
Am I insane from a remote land
Who journeys to the unknown.

It wasn’t until I’d looked down
That I found someone walked with me;
In great surprise, I was drowned,
I could hardly believe what I see.

I continued to breeze in
With sheer bliss, I felt;
Having someone made me grin,
My heart began to melt.

The daylight slowly departed the place,
And my friend started to fade away;
Without much thought, leaving no trace,
I am now alone, why didn’t you stay.

From the pain, I’ve learned a lesson,
I’ll share before these words run out and end;
We can love, but we can’t rely much on a person
Even our shadows leave us in darkness, my friend.

Icons of Greatest Influence

Searching for answer, I traveled to places with the hope to find who has the greatest influence of all. I bumped into Family and immediately asked him. He replied, “Parents.” Because I was not content with the answer, I looked for another whom I could ask. I met Community and asked him the icon of greatest influence and he responded with a perfunctory smile, “Mayors.” I thanked and smiled back at him. Their answers were great. However, there was still a part of me that untiringly longed for the best response. My drive to know the answer went a long way. I journeyed to a known distant land with the continuous yearning and there I got to know Country. Without much delay, I asked him. I stood still with utter excitement studying his face for a word to come out. He gazed into my eyes and countered, “President.” “Thank you,” I said. His answer was correct and I fully respected it, but I was still looking for the best. “How about the world as a whole,” I pondered.

I headed back home hoping that one day, I would meet the right person who could answer me with what I’ve wanted for so long. I arrived at my house and hurriedly went to the sink to wash my horrible face after the long quest. Thereafter, I got the towel to wipe the trace of exhaustion left and I looked at myself in the mirror. All of a sudden, my towel fell off while I was shocked to see World. “Hey, my friend Dann,” he said. At that time, I couldn’t utter even a single word. I convinced myself to take the chance to talk to him. “Y-y-e-s,” I replied. “I know you’re tired, but I am here to help you,” he said. “Oh, that’s very kind of you. Could you tell me who has the greatest influence of all,” I asked. World responded with conviction, “Haven’t you seen yourself in the mirror? It’s you, my friend. A teacher! Teachers!” I looked at myself in the mirror again while World was completely out of sight. My colleague touched my shoulder and said, “You have a booked class.”

After conducting classes on that day, I realized that teachers are truly the icons of greatest influence. Besides the noblest professionals, teachers create all other professions. Additionally, they are contributors as they mold future generations, but more so stand as the heart of recovery in the realm of education especially in these trying times. It is said that when someone asks why anyone would ever become a teacher, remind them why it’s worth it. Every job has its ups and downs, but not every job can change a life. Without question, teaching is one of the most grueling jobs; however, it is one of the most fulfilling ones- one that can touch lives and change lives. Indeed, everyone needs teachers whom s/he can bank on. Teachers are embodiments of significance and influence. Hence, they deserve the highest accolade for their meritorious service to the family, community, country, and the world as a whole. They are worthy. They are icons of greatest influence. They are the best. They are TEACHERS! Happy World Teachers’ Day!

Uniquely Designed

I’d rather be alone
Than follow the crowd and get lost in it;
I’d better be on my own
Than feel fed up if I don’t fit.

What is going with the stream
If it means feigning in the end;
Valiant, it may seem, 
I’m not afraid to defend.

So don’t change yourself only to belong, 
Music’s still art when it’s out of tune; 
Make a difference, prove them wrong,
Your time is right, it’s opportune. 

You’ve got to be real, uniquely designed,
No to the facade, you needn’t be in rhyme; 
You’re distinct, none of them can find, 
Greatness favors those who are different in time. 

LET MY PEN CRY OUT

Why could I not think of someone
When someone remains a memory;
Why could I not fall in love with someone
When only she accepts me as me.

So long have I been waiting
For the time when we could meet halfway;
My heart’s skipping a beat, but I’m just dreaming,
So I’ll never hope it will be.

If only writing could bury my feeling,
I wouldn’t be tired of hiding it anyway;
But it couldn’t be happening, not happening,
My thoughts of you still stay.

Only my paper knows
The dreary pang and the heavy burden I carry;
Nothing but only it, it shows
The tears that flow through me.

So I let my pen cry out
Until it runs out of tears;
I let my paper be torn out
Until this enigmatic feeling disappears.

The Most Important Things

Twenty-three years of bittersweet life passed yet another one unfolds. And I’m more than richly blessed now because God gives me another story to write and another life to live. Today, I just want to share a message of how grateful I am to make this far.

I went to a mall in Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines yesterday to reward myself with a gift- a new pair of shoes. Too advance, right? So I bought the one that really suits my preference. I was in sheer bliss because it was the first time that I had bought an expensive one. It was by far one of the most important things I have. But, I was wrong. Absolutely wrong! 

Just this morning, I received a message from my mother and sister sending their warm birthday greetings. I was thankful to them because they never get tired of loving me. But apart from that, I remembered the time when I surmounted the greatest challenge. I was in a depressive state last year (2020). I was jobless, helpless and desperate. However, I was fortunate enough because my former colleagues never led me astray. They were there cheering me up when I was feeling low. I also looked back on the days when I was so down because someone caused me great pain and it was the least thing I could handle. But I’m still thankful because I have the most important things in my life. It’s not literally “what” because…

The most important things I have right now aren’t really things, not even the shoes I bought yesterday, but they are the persons who have been there through my ups and downs and who have become part of my life.

Unfathomable Silence

“Speak less, listen more, ” the wise author advised. Those words are more than just being written because everytime I want to speak up, they always hold me back. They somehow pierce my soul. They always reverberate in my mind. This experience kept me close to being mute. 

There was one time when a lecturer disturbed the silence and asked, “Which one is better, a good communicator or a good listener?” One person replied, “Both.” “You’re correct!” the lecturer countered. Unbeknownst to them, I was skeptical about their views. I could hardly understand their responses. Thereafter, the lecturer added that it’s better to be a good listener than a good communicator. Their opinions mattered to me, but I wanted to argue behind my approval nod. So I gazed into the slide and expressed my viewpoint. 

“What the hell are you talking about? I couldn’t figure it out!”
“Seriously! Are you dreaming while waking up?”
“Or haven’t you drunk coffee all day?”

Gladly, I was talking to myself and did not use any of the those. My gorgeous friend beside me then asked, “Are you okay?” “Yes, I am, ” I responded. I was about to even speak less, but I couldn’t. Perhaps, it’s because I was poisoned by the author’s words. So I just let my silence be unfathomable. I continued conversing with these thoughts of mine. 

A good communicator can always be a good listener, but a good listener can’t always be a good communicator. By listening to someone, reacting to what he/she has said and subsequently understanding each other, that makes you a good communicator. Conversely, by merely and attentively listening to someone talking, that makes you a good listener- nothing more and nothing less. Well, I’d rather be a good communicator than a good listener. 

When the discussion was over, I realized that you can learn out from speaking less and listening more. But it’s not always the case. I became a good listener during that time which showed whom I was influenced by (my favorite author) and not who I really am, but I never regretted because I learned. The truth may be quite elusive, but there is a hidden message to decipher behind the esoteric words. Knowing the truth, it is best to be a good communicator. One who listens. One who speaks. And one who has the capability to understand and be understood. I guess that is enough for me.

Never Too Late

At times, we need to reassess ourselves- our dreams, our habits, our viewpoints and our core. And yeah, it’s never too late to dream of something others find impossible. Never too late to replace our mundane hobbies with more productive ones. Never too late to do away with the negative perspective. Never too late to get rid of the things that don’t matter in the end. It is never too late to start something new regardless of how old we are and how bad we were. 

When our bad parts outweigh the good ones, then change. Only then you would get to know the most important person in front of the mirror. 

A beautiful soul,
A ray of light,
A blessing from above; 
The most precious gift. 

So, make a change! Better yourself! It is never too late. Never too late.

Silver Lining of Struggles

These days, we have been facing abrupt disaster that utterly engendered increase of death tolls and downturn of economy. Many countries around the world, whether well-off or impoverished, are tested. However, despite these changes, relationships are strengthened. This undeniably substantiates that silver lining appears in every cloud.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us deep sadness mixed with tremendous fear caused by a myriad of infected persons. Yet, this challenges us to see things at the brighter side and teaches us to accept that change is the only permanent thing in this world. Furthermore, instead of indulging ourselves over sadness and fear, we better replace these with joy through means possible to us. But, joy is no more a perfume that we have to spray on ourselves before we spray it on others. Conversely, joy is a stone that is thrown into the pond which means that we have to be heedful of our actions and intention of making others joyful. It is because even sole action can have a great influence to others. For instance, you hung out with your friends because you wanted them to be happy and unknowingly, you were infected by one of them. Now, are we making our fellowmen happy with our actions? Certainly, not! We can effectively bring happiness to others by following the safety protocols implemented by our government officials and even by affirming the people on the front line to boost their morale rather than discriminating them. In these pressing times, we ought to consider that others’ happiness lies on our actions and not on our happiness.

Moreover, the pandemic has strengthened relationships. In fact, there were organizations who willingly shared their resources to people in need. Apart from that, there were people who voluntarily gave money to strangers amid this crisis. All these acts have shown that regardless of economic status, people can still lend someone a hand. Impossible becomes possible even when we are faced with challenges. In addition, these times have made us do the things we did not value before. We prioritize our health more than luxuries. We devote much more time to our families than our friends. We pay attention more to our needs than our wants and the like. Things have changed dramatically. Particularly, what we can do now is to adapt to change. We cannot gain something from starting up an argument with someone or spreading erroneous information to the public, etc. Let us do our positive part!

No wonder, this pandemic is either advantageous or disadvantageous. It depends on how we see and value things. Besides, what we have experienced and how we have responded to it would greatly contribute to who we were and who we will be. After all, this pandemic will soon turn out into a learning opportunity and a learning experience. May we not be petrified of challenges because according to Robert Tew, “The struggles you are in today are developing the strength you need tomorrow.” Let us see the silver lining of struggles!