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Awareness: a blessing or a curse?

As a child, I was extremely quiet and shy. Some of my friends and family can’t probably imagine that I was as I am quite spoken and express how I feel when the situation demands it (at my discretion course).

I couldn’t find the reason for my shyness, so I allowed myself to just be for many years. I had a very happy childhood, was paid attention to and deeply loved by my parents and siblings.

Until I was about 16, at boarding school, and a good friend told me that it makes me seem arrogant, as I do not look at other people when I am walking, don’t greet them, and totally ignore them!

Partly, I was short sighted and did not want to wear glasses all the time- but no one knew that. Mostly, I just did not want to disturb my “personal peaceful” state, and the thought of engaging in a trivial chat ups wasn’t on the menu for me!

I did realise then, however, that I was unintentionally giving off the wrong impression; while I thought I was just observing life around me in or to decide how I would interact with it.

Of course, I now have the words to describe something that I could not back then. Looking back, I think me being shy was by design rather than by default. A blessing and rather than a curse.

I grew up in a large family of uncles, aunts, cousins and second cousins who always visited and stayed for a while, a few lived with us for some time.

Politically, it was a dramatic time, we lost our homeland, Palestine, and many family members had to be uprooted and seeking the four corners of the word to settle and build a life for themselves. Someone always had something to say, some drama was always unfolding in their life, and I just listened thinking “this is interesting, as a child, what could I add?” So, I remained quiet and just observed- the reason I learnt a great deal about life.

I also learnt a great deal by just listening, about politics, the news, how the life of people who were close me was unfolding, and why they made the decisions that they did; etc. I developed the ability to listen and to be able to empathise with the life of “the other” was about – at least what their point view was.

As a child, real life was more fascinating than fiction! Family members who came over to study and lived with us, others who were getting married, or getting divorced, moving countries, what kind of education us children should have; what country is stable enough to build a life in, start a business and raise a family – pretty much issues we all go through in life. Later, these abilities became to be the reasons why clients come to see me.

I realised that were patterns to the way people behaved, and if these patterns were to continue unchecked by the person creating them; then can they be changed?

Sometimes, it is easy not easy to see what needs to be done, particularly when we are amid a crisis, or a life transition.

However, if we allow ourselves to just observe, the patterns become apparent; and gradually the courage to acknowledge them arises and then the will to change them creates the path forward.

Just observe or cast your mind back a few years and you will become aware of the patterns that lead you to this juncture in your life. Sometimes, I do it just for fun- contemplating how I could have acted differently; and I am still learning!

Did you grow up believing you were cursed rather than blessed by what you considered to a misfortune? I would like to hear from you. Leave a comment below.

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