“It is not the thing that upsets us but the meaning we give to it that causes the lasting harm.”

Lately, I’ve been confronted with the extreme situations in my life and I’ve been giving a thought on myself on how often I look at the situation from the different angle it shows. It’s so easy to label a situation as something ‘good’ and something ‘bad’ and we do just that without even probing deeper to what it really is. I’ve had this situation before, where a challenge posed over a site on the internet dared me to guess whom the killer was between the pretty faced little girl and the man who had multiple piercing and a body filled with tattoo and an overgrown beard on his face. As human as I am, I chose the man who had multiple piercing, tattoo-filled body, etc. rather than the girl. So when the result was shown I was shocked that the killer was the girl, I took the challenge again to know why my answer was wrong, and this time I activated my keen senses. That was when I saw the bloodstain on the hand and the hidden knife on the flower she was carrying.

Labeling something quickly and classifying it generally is like limiting ourselves from the world around us. It’s just living inside the four corners of the box. Sure, it can really be tempting to directly look at a situation in an all-or-nothing outlook but if we do just that, we would surely miss out the true complexities the situation presents. Most things have larger meaning even though how small the image it presents to us. We sometimes ignore the underlying meaning and go with the flow to the assumed theory about it. The same goes with culture, as defined in the sets of properties that constitute social order and allow people to manage daily life.

Culture constitutes action. As what Scott highlights, “To confine the analysis to behavior alone, however, is to miss much of the point.… The symbols, the norms, the ideological forms they create constitute the indispensable background to their behavior.” In other words, culture is a framework for interpreting the actions of others.

Culture constitutes personal meaning. It says that, “The underlying significance and rationality of one’s actions are thus derived from prevailing norms and beliefs “.

And sometimes, the value we put from the opinion o f others plays a great role in giving meaning to things. Oftentimes, we accept the judgment of people over something as truth even when its not. In other words, we are products of the environment. We learn something that isn’t true and accept it as truth no matter what that’s why there’s so much hatred in the world because we learned it from others and accepted it as truth. Therefore, nothing has meaning except when you give meaning to it. What is meaning but a narrowed down point of view. We make judgments about something, judgment we most likely learned from others which we think is its meaning. A great example would be the ‘THERE’S-A-TSUNAMI-BUT-THERE’S-NONE’ event. Just because a man shouted a false assumption that there’s a tsunami that will wash awayCebu, everyone else has gone panic, throwing away all inhibitions without confirming and pondering if a tsunami can really happen at that time.

All it really takes is simply waking up to the fact that your life is what you make it. If you are easily threatened or influenced by the judgment of others, then most probably it will affect all areas of your life. Think outside the confines of your box, better yet don’t seclude yourself in a box and don’t simply accept the judgment of others as truth. Life has its meaning or purpose you give it. Nothing more, nothing less.


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