2005-12-02 / Columnists

The Inner Voice by Marilyn Gelfand

Perception is such an individual process, but it is influenced by the surroundings of the person. We all have had different holiday experiences and expect different things from festivities and the people we celebrate with. However, the surrounding society may play a role too. If self-doubt or fear becomes part of how we view anything, we probably doubt our selves.

We do not trust our instincts on that particular issue. For example, if a holiday has always been about just having fun and playing with new toys and gadgets, and suddenly someone you know may start talking about the religious aspect, it will have an effect on you if inside you believe it to a certain extent. If you are sure you don’t, the other’s comments will be dismissed without another thought. If you feel a conflict in your own values, you will feel them both pull at you, and the stronger one will come to the forefront.

When someone else expresses what he or she may feel, it may pull the other value up to the front. The key is to remember that when I feel the fear or self-doubt, I should look at myself and decide what is important to me.

I have always believed that all mothers would protect the lives of their children at all costs. However, the mothers of suicide bombers have expressed their pride in their children taking on a national self-sacrifice. The outside can definitely play a role in our actions.

It is so important to be able to separate myself from those around me and make sure that what I am feeling is what is coming from my instincts. Everyone knows the extent of brainwashing that is used to control others. But, with detachment, I can observe myself and make sure that I believe in my own actions. I would question those who tell me what to do and see if they are actually walking the walk or just spouting propaganda.

I have often heard people question the motives of people who believe in kindness. Love or kindness can be interpreted by some as weakness, or just an action to get something in return. Some believe giving should be about one way giving rather than two-way give and take.

I have watched a few people continue to observe a kind person knowing that if they wait long enough the true motivation will come out. There is no changing that perception. They will even come up with some interpretation of an action that may seem ridiculous. But, they will feel right. I am happy to know how the other people think because it gives me clues to who they are. Their perception guides their actions.

Personally, I prefer to surround myself with people who can appreciate love and kindness and look for equal relationships.

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