The Importance of Developing Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem Heightens the Colors of Life

Brilliant colors and a happy design epitomize contentment and joy when self-esteem is high, and is cultivated with the help of true friends.

 

Birds are considered among the most joyful of creatures, being chosen to represent happiness in various works of art.

Their happy chirping serves as welcome interludes to the stresses brought about by modern life.

No matter what the hardships of life may  be,  it seems as if birds are always beyond the reach of feeling oppressed by such challenges. Their outlook is joyful. Or, at least, it seems to be, to most of us humans.

Building Self-Esteem

Children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds often do not have access to this kind of unself-conscious and carefree happiness. Their innocence often gets tainted by the struggles they witness and experience in daily life, coloring their world with insecurity, sadness, a lack of hope, and the absence of self-esteem.

But when hands are extended to help these children, their world becomes livelier, happier, and more imbued with hope.

When children are full of hope, their self-confidence also increases. Their courage to face the challenges of life is renewed, and their outlook becomes more focused towards succeeding, even in the midst of great challenges.

When we help children to develop self-esteem, we also help to shape the future into something brighter, more brilliantly colored, more positive.

Read about how a joint initiative among Macquarie, FCCHK, and PLK is helping to turn around the lives of disadvantaged children, in more ways than one, in this write-up.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Motivational |

Why Struggle To Be Perfect, When We Can Strive To Be Human?

It’s not easy being human, isn’t it?

We are prone to making mistakes, at the same time we need to protect our sense of self-worth, and so, we den y that we are capable to committing errors.

We are liable to make rash, impulsive decisions at times, and yet, we also have a stubborn streak within us that makes us refuse to accept being wrong, even to ourselves.

Many people struggle to be perfect, because they believe that if others only knew about the “real them,” they would not be loved or found lovable.

For example, if your officemate, whom you are friends with, suddenly found out that you despise dogs and often fly into a rage at home when you find that your neighbor’s dog made a mess in front of your gate, ending with you getting into a bad argument with your neighbor and calling him hurtful names – if your officemate found out about that side of you, would he still be friendly towards you?

Or would he start avoiding you like the plague, disgusted at your lack of control and inability to make allowances for the failings of animals?

You really don’t want to risk knowing the answer, right? You value your officemate’s friendship, just as highly as you value his assessment of your worth as a person. So, you keep that part of your personality hidden from him, and hope that he never gets to find out about it.

What does that make of you?

Does pretending that way make you perfect?

Of course not, it just makes you think that you are.

All it does is fool your officemate and yourself.

For as long as the deception all will be well. But once the real you peers through the mask, then what do you think happens?

Right. Your officemate could be shocked. He could be dismayed at being made a fool of, in fact, he could be wondering at his stupidity that he never got to see the real you behind the mask. And in so doing, he will end up resenting you for making a fool of him.

Or worse, he could start seeing you with scorn, perhaps still smiling at you on the outside, but sarcastically mocking you on the inside.

And the worst possible reaction of all, he could start to ignore you, to pretend that he doesn’t know you. In truth, he doesn’t. He never did, right?

That’s an example of what could happen when we become so stiff-necked with pride that we refuse to acknowledge our own shortcomings and end up sabotaging our real sense of personhood

Why struggle to be perfect, when we can strive to be human?

There is no harm in admitting our weaknesses. It is in doing so that others may find a way to help us.

David Garcia Hong Kong Charities looks forward to a world where we can all go past our pride and live as humanly as we can, in dignity and integrity, with genuine love for our fellowmen.

 

Posted in Motivational |

What Brings Meaning To Life?

The question of what brings meaning to life has been asked by so many people, for thousands of years, that it is actually puzzling why no definitive meaning has been arrived at, up to now.

Maybe it is because life is too complicated, too varied, too expansive, too personal, to be ever defined in a fixed structural form.

Then, again, it could be because life could actually have no meaning, that it could be senseless.

Could it?

Have you ever felt that way? Have you, like the writer of Ecclesiastes in the bible, ever been so dismayed by the thought that everything that we do, everything that we think about, everything that we say, in fact, everything that we are, as human beings, is actually pointless?

The writer of Ecclesiastes says that work is meaningless. That pleasure is meaningless. That all that people do is simply vanity, a self-serving illusion.

And yet, he also said that:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

If there is then, a time for everything, how can life be void of meaning?

To understand, we need to examine the way we approach life.

What do we really hold dear? Power? Fame? Money?

Those things are fleeting, and once had, become reduced in value.

That’s why the struggle more and more, becomes more intense as we get what we want while moving on in life.

But, if we give to others, if what we hold dear are simple things like the smile on the faces of children who used to despair of ever having a better life, suddenly shown the ways by which to attain it… there will never be a dearth of such pleasures.

If our struggle is directed towards the betterment of our fellow human beings, how can such a thing be lacking in meaning?

David Garcia Hong Kong Charities requests you, dear reader, to consider your life, and how it is being lived. Are you a man or woman for others, or only for yourself?

 

Posted in Motivational |

Is Ambition Bad?

Ambition is something that can be a source of controversy when discussed.

There are those who believe that ambition is evil, that it distracts people from being humane towards others.

In such a sense, ambition is seen to be self-serving, self-centered, self-promoting. In short, it is all about the self.

But is ambition really bad? Or is it one’s interpretation of what ambition entails that makes the concept bad?

Like any other concept and/or ideal, ambition can be positive or negative. Ambition is bad when it becomes ruthless, when it does not respect the rights of others.

When it fears nothing or no one, and what is all that is important is purely the attainment of the ambition itself.

On the other hand, there is the kind of ambition that is good, because it outward-directed. When a child says that he or she aspires to become a doctor someday, even in the face of dire poverty, because to be a doctor means to being able to help the sick – is there something wrong with such a kind of ambition? No, none at all, because the intention to do good, to help others is at the heart of the ambition.

It’s clear then, that to have a dream and nurture it, not only for one’s own good, but also for the good of others is ennobling and not bad at all.

But to wreak havoc on the lives of others, to disregard social rules of proper conduct, to disrespect the practice of human decency, then that kind of ambition is not only bad, it is equal to destruction.

David Garcia Hong Kong Charities reminds each one of us, that the quality of the ambition, the kind of the dreams and hopes held by a people, defines not only their society, but more importantly, their humanity.

 

 

Posted in Motivational |

Why Charity Is Love

Love is inarguably one of the most overused words in the English language. There are hundreds, if not thousands of songs that proclaim variations on the theme of romantic love:

  1. unrequited
  2. young and innocent
  3. betrayed
  4. faithful
  5. never ending
  6. passionate
  7. right person, wrong time, wrong place

And so on. The list can expand to as long as there are different ways by which people who are romantically in love can interpret their relationship and their experiences with the one that they love.

That is the kind of love that is known by many. However, love is not just all about romance.

There are certain forms of love that go beyond a need for self-fulfillment. There are certain forms of love that is outward focused and does not expect the one who being loved to love in return.

In Theology and Philosophy, there are three major kinds of love defined: Philla, which stands for non-sexual affection. It is the kind of love that is found in a spirit of brotherhood, or friendship. It is platonic, in other words.

Directly opposite to Philia is Eros or love of a sexual nature. Romantic love falls under this, because in many cultures, it is understood that the ideal end-goal of a romantic relationship is to have union and produce offspring. That’s the reason that Eros is romantic love.

The third major kind of love is the most noble of all: Agape.

It is a Greek word that in the New Testament has been identified as the love of God or Christ for humanity, and the love of the created for the Creator.

It is the kind of love that is enduring, selfless or self-sacrificing, committed in nature or willfully done without expectation of any sort from the loved one. Agape is a considerate kind of love.

Seen from that perspective, what kind of love is real charity?

Real charity, in the sense of giving without thinking of benefiting from the act of giving, as in expecting a tax break by donating.

Real charity, in the sense of going out of one’s way to help the poorest of the poor, to know their lives closely, to understand their weaknesses, to share their aspirations, and to seek their empowerment.

Selflessness. Involvement in the life of those who need help the most, and willingness to share one’s resources in life, out of the desire to make the love felt.

That’s true charity. That is love.

That is Agape.

David Garcia Hong Kong Charities thanks all who look beyond themselves and share their blessings with others, especially those that are not yet in a position to help themselves, so that ultimately, they will be strong enough to so and experience the fullness of their humanity.

 

Posted in Motivational |

Looking Forward To The Future

Who hasn’t encountered any regrets in life? Young or old, rich or poor, whatever gender and whatever race we are, wherever we may be, at some point, each of us will experience something that will make us decide about a situation.

There will be times when our decisions may turn out to be correct, but there will also be times when what we decide turns out to be either not to our liking, or not what we had hoped for.

Those are the times when we might feel regret.

Some people say that they have nothing to regret about. That there is nothing in their life that they would have wanted to change the outcome of, and that their basis for saying so is that they consider every aspect of their life as something that defines them.

Whether what they experienced at any given point in time was a success or a failure, is no longer factored in, in their recollections.

Is it really possible to have an outlook like that, that is genuine? That is not a simple mask to hide one’s regrets, out of a sense of pride?

Nobody can really say for sure, aside from the person who has decided to claim that any life experience, good or bad, is taken for what it is: just another experience.

And if they are convinced deep inside, that what they say is true for them, then all is well and good.

But what about those whodo experience regrets?

For those do, it would be good to remember that everyons makes mistakes. And what’s done is done. Past deeds cannot be undone, past words cannot be unsaid.

As such, if we have made a mistake, we need to learn from it. We need to come out of a failure that we have experienced, richer in our understanding of ourself and our limitations.

What is important is not to repeat our failures. To try out a different approach, to explore better ways of doing things.

In essence, we do not have to be burdened by whatever sadness we may have encountered in our past.

To live life fully,  let us look forward to the future and empower ourselves to do better.

David Garcia Hong Kong Charities hopes that in your life, the spirit of endurance in the face of trials will always remain vibrant.

 

Posted in Motivational |

Gratitude

Even if Hong Kong is highly urbanized and cosmopolitan, there are still plenty of pockets in the city where one can breath fresh air. While vehicular traffic can be moderate to heavy, for many Hong Kong residents, walking remains a common and even preferred method of getting from one place to the other. This says much for the cleanliness of Hong Kong’s environment, compared to other densely populated cities of the world.

This brings us to an important consideration: the air we breathe, which is necessary for our lives to go on… how many times in a day have we ever stopped to think about the fact that such air is free? How many times have we been grateful for the air that we breath, particularly when it is clean?

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The beauty of nature is often ignored in daily life. Gratitude for nature's blessings should be a priority in our lives, to achieve sustainable development of societies. (Photography: Aurelia Mascherini)

Air that isn’t heavily polluted is a blessing in these day and age. Too many times, toxins are present in the air, getting inside us as we breath. Damaging our lungs and other vital organs. Threatening our health and very lives. Yet, for all of these realities, people still continue to put the environment at risk. Factories keep on emitting dark smoke, disposing contaminated particles in waterways. Instead of practicing sustainable development, many societies just focus on the here and now, sacrificing the resources of the future for the conveniences of today.

Instead of being grateful for the blessings of nature, which are free and readily available, people abuse the environment. In many areas worldwide, exploitation and wanton disregard for the environment and natural resources has become a pattern. Through such actions, we, in the present, are compromising the generations of the future. Why are we letting this happen? Why aren’t people uniting to motivate their leaders to enforce laws that are pro-environment, to actually prove how grateful we are to live in a planet that continues to sustain life, despite the abuse that humanity has done to it?

Maybe it’s because there are still a lot of people who haven’t really felt the impact of environmental despoliation. Let’s not wait for the time when environmental crises become a global reality. Let us unite to protect our planets and its resources. Let us be grateful for the blessings of nature, that we receive.

Posted in Motivational |

Hope

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Depression is often called "the blues" because "blue" is associated with sadness or a lack of enthusiasm and interest in life. (Photography: Michael Jastremski)

“Depression” was a word that wasn’t very much in use, much less a condition that was understood a few decades ago. Today, it is one of the words that get bandied about in many conversations that have to do with one’s situation in life, particularly when the going gets tough.

In your whole lifetime, how many times have you heard someone say that s/he is depressed? More than once would not be far from the truth. The alarming thing is, depression cuts a wide swatch across various demographics. It doesn’t matter what your gender is, where you are located, what your civil status is, whether you are rich or poor, young or old… none of these things matter. When depression strikes, it strikes hard. It shakes people to the core and leaves them stunned, many times unable to do anything more than retreat into an inner world where their heavy feelings can overtake them, resulting in something drastic and dire.

These days, even children are not spared of depression. In fact, in the USA, depression has been identified as one of the leading causes of erratic behavior in children. Even those who have not yet reached their pre-teens can find themselves immersed in a black cloud of despair. A feeling of futility. A total lack of hope.

What causes such feelings even in children who are traditionally seen in many cultures as unaffected by problems in the same way that adults are, because of the innocence inherent in their youth?

Stress is the number one factor for feeling depressed.  Stress happens, wherever one is. In Hong Kong, people in the remotest parts of the New Territories can also be as stressed as they are in urban areas such as Kowloon. The same goes for little quiet towns in France, and the bustling cities, such as New York. True, the pace of life in one location can be a factor, but it is not as big a factor as the other aspects of life that bring unbearable pressure.

In the case of children, a dysfunctional home environment, pressure in school, lack of responsible social support, and sometimes, the absence of faith in their daily lives, can be triggers for stress. In early societies, the welfare of children used to be a priority in societies. However, as time went by, this special and very high regard for children gradually became eroded, until eventually, the family as a unit, ceased to be the safe harbor of many children.

As divorce cases and instances of separation grew, and broken families became an “accepted” manifestation of modern life, children lost their mooring and their values became distorted. Ideals such as politeness and consideration for others became buried in the rush to “look out for number one,” always.

Popular culture even promoted such an idea. Eventually, it became “natural” to be rude, to be self-centered, to look down on others as means of raising one’s self up. When faced with such a situation, children become very stressed. Young people are still unequipped emotionally to handle stress. For that matter, even adults may collapse under the weight of their problems. So, if adults can feel that way, what more the youth?

David Garcia Hong Kong charities believes that young children should be given ample opportunities to learn about the world and how to handle its realities.  In this day and age, it is no longer applicable nor logical to shield children from the realities of life. Instead, children should be taught to cope. For the neediest orphans of Hong Kong, David Garcia believes that continued education is the key to achieving wisdom sufficient to let needy children grow beyond the painful realities of their and turn their energies and focus into helping better themselves and the world. Education is hope.

Posted in Motivational |

Compassion

David Garcia Hong Kong charities presents this blog post on Compassion as the start of a series of motivational articles.

Animal lovers, specifically those who have pets, would be among the first to point out that animals have personalities, in the same way that people do. This belief, which is not yet a fully established scientific fact, could be met by derision by those who believe that humans cannot by any means be compared on such a level to animals, regardless of how humans have been classified under the animal kingdom for the longest time.

Respected psychologists such as Dr. Samuel Gosling of the University of Texas at Austin have conducted research on the possibility of non-humans as having personalities. Yet for all the studies and the findings that have been released to the public, and made widely available online, there is still appreciably strong resistance to the idea that people and animals may share certain  psychological characteristics that highlight the existence of a personality.

Perhaps the reasoning behind such resistance lies in the fact that to acknowledge the presence of a personality means that character is also being recognized; and when character is recognized to be present, it means that thoughts, values and the distinctiveness of a being is manifest or being seen by another.

In Hong Kong, there are strays and abandoned animals that would not survive for long without the compassion of humans. But in a place where most households do not have expansive living areas, animals that require care and space to live and grow, such as most dog varieties, and even cats, do not have a chance of living with an adoptive family. Euthanasia then becomes the option.

Does “mercy killing” fall under the realm of compassion?

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To be compassionate is to spread warmth and light where there is cold and darkness around. (Photography: Mike Rohig)

It could be argued that there are certain cases when a suffering creature may be more fortunate if its trials were to be ended through death. After all, what quality of life could there be when even basic necessities could not be met? When there is so much uncertainty day-to-day, that the chances of survival in the long run are almost non-existent?

But that is exactly the point of compassion: the capacity to be conscious of the suffering of others, and to move in ways that seek to alleviate the pain, to make it more bearable.

Compassion requires that we extend ourselves beyond our zones of comfort. To be compassionate means to have both empathy and sympathy, and to express it towards another.

David Garcia Hong Kong Charities pose this question: in the scheme of things, can we tell ourselves that we are compassionate? Or is our focus more inward-driven, that we do not see who or what truly need our compassion?

Posted in Motivational |