by BCBP Editor

By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila
believing in doing
“You are what you are because of what’s going on inside your head.” This statement by Zig Ziglar, a renowned motivational speaker and author, speaks volumes about the influence of our personal beliefs on our lives. Thoughts have the tendency to create an inner picture of ourselves, and this inner picture subtly materializes in what we do, in what we become. In today’s computer language, garbage in, garbage out.

Our minds are easily programmed by our environment, by media, by our teachers, mentors and parents, by events happening around us, by the opinions of other people. If we readily accept what others say and think about us, whether it is true or not, we start wearing masks to reflect the others’ beliefs about us. Thus we end up being programmed by others.

Sometime ago I read an interesting and, in a way, shocking reflection about the damage social networking websites are having on the human brain. A prominent neuroscientist, Baroness Susan Greenfield, warns that the instant feedback associated with social networking sites like Facebook, as well as the impersonal manner of communication that friendship through a screen entails, condition the mind to instant feedback, compulsive and often violent behavior, a disregard for consequences of action (you can always replay the game if you lose), and a loss of social and interpersonal communication skills. This form of external programming can result in negative addictions, negative behavior, and lead to a loss of one’s ability to think creatively for oneself.

Back in the ‘90s we were listening to a talk on Christian behavior with a group of friends. The priest mentioned that our behavior and actions would eventually reflect themselves in our appearance; in other words, we would become like what we treasured most. He gave an example of a man whose life revolved around his roosters and the weekly sabong, cock fighting. That man would eventually end up looking and acting like a fighting cock. The priest meant this humorously. But when all of us turned as one to look at one of our friends who fit that description to a ‘T’, the lesson became personal to each one of us.

The good news is — not all programming is destructive or negative. We must believe in ourselves, in the person that God created us to be. A few days ago in “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis one sentence jumped out at me and made me catch my breath! “Learn to see yourself as God sees you!” Wow! We are usually concerned with how “I” see myself, with how others see me. But reflecting on how God sees me is a deeper step in knowing myself. To me, this is a ‘life-impacting’ statement that, until now, rings and echoes in my mind and my heart.
life giving thanks
Life is more than just believing. We all have a natural vocation to love, to be friends who care and are concerned with the welfare of the other. I believe that we must – and can — transcend the distortions of the garbage around us and focus on the good, the positive, the upbuilding, what is lovable, morally right, honorable, and just.

I believe that whatever my mind, in concord with my heart and soul, can conceive and believe, I can achieve! Therefore, I believe that, instead of limiting myself to an impersonal computer screen or text messages, I need to network, face to face, with family and friends, to spend time with each other, to laugh and cry, to nourish relationships, to become more human. Instead of following the pervasive suggestions of advertisements to become a shopaholic, I will network with the sun and the stars, with raindrops pattering on the sidewalk, with flowers and trees, with my dogs, with the wind in our mango tree.

I will appreciate what I have, be it little or much, raise my heart in thankfulness to God, and be content.

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