Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Positive Space

Positive Space

I've mentioned before that I see my blog as a simple exercise book. It is just a place for me to practice putting thoughts and ideas into writing. A place for conteng-conteng. Once it is written, it is done. No need to fuss about it anymore, unless there are glaring grammatical or spelling mistakes which I happen discover later on.

I've also written about the "spiritual" value of blogging--looking at it as a sacred act of commiting thoughts to public, through which they acquire a certain weight and seriousness. It doesn't really matter if anyone reads them; for as long as they published, they are in the public domain, and they can be accessible anytime. The very act itself carries with it some measure of personal responsibility.

But how can one conteng-conteng with "responsibility"? You see, I view writing as a very powerful way to reinforce certain qualities which I personally wish to cultivate. Which is why I don't have a habit of ranting very much (even though I do enjoy reading other people's rantings). I try to be positive all the time, simply because I want to be positive. If I write positive thoughts, I program them into my mind and after a while they become a mental habit.

Isn't it healthy to vent out one's frustration or anger through writing?

Sometimes. When anger has come to the point where it is already boiling, it has to be channelled out. If it is repressed, it often creates more damage, by finding an outlet in some other perverted form.

But venting and ranting is like vomitting. We vomit because the body wants to expel certain contents of the stomach which is causing discomfort. After vomitting, we usually feel much better. But one must ask: how did the discomfort arise in first place? Did we eat something wrong? Or is it due to our bad eating habit in general?

Tackling the root cause of the discomfort, I think, is more important than venting it. Venting/vomitting gives temporary relief, but it doesn't prevent it from happening again. We wouldn't want to stick a finger into our throat everytime we feel a certain discomfort in the stomach.

Anger, hatred and all negative emotions take time to build up--through the accumulation of many small irritants. If we are mentally aware of these buildups, we can prevent these negative emotional peaks from developing at a very early stage--an early warning system for the mind.

I've mentioned before, anger can be very seductive, even pleasurable. We can get addicted to being angry, because it makes us feel right. Having someone or something to blame and hate gives us a sense of purpose and reinforces our sense of self-righteousness.

Usually we can still achieve the same sense of purpose without being driven by anger. However being human, there will always be things that anger us, such as blatant acts of injustice, senseless violence, betrayal or treachery. Anger arises automatically. But do we really need to reinforce this anger in order to act? Probably not. Anger clouds the mind and drives us to act senselessly. We need to be wary of that.

Which is why one needs to be careful about venting too much because it reinforces and justifies our negative emotions.These emotions will inevitably arise; find out why they arise in first place; let them subside, then act on them. If you indulge and nurture them, it becomes a mental habit, which will then be very hard to erase.

Like what Dr Stephen Covey likes to say, there's a space between stimulus and response. If we control this space, we control our lives. And everytime I start a new blog entry, I'd stare into an empty page, and I'd see that page as my space between stimulus and response.

And I choose to insert something positive.

No comments: