Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I hate that person!

Some times we get so mad and say, 'I hate or dislike that person'. By saying a sentence like that we bring more negativity into the situation and in the relationship. 

Next time, you feel that you dislike a person, try to think what exactly you don't like about that person. For example, the person lies, is rude, doesn't have a good sense of dressing or is biased. 

Try to narrow down your disliking as much as you can because very rarely would you dislike somebody in totality. Actually, nobody deserves to be condemned. We can condemn specific actions, beliefs or words of those we have a problem with.

Next step is to think (and you may have to make a little extra effort here), what is it that you might like about this person. For example, their hairstyle, their cooking ability or their intelligence. I promise you, everybody has something good in them, all we need to do is to discover that. 

My friends, if you have to, dislike a specific trait, words or actions but not the person. The more good we can discover in human beings around us the closer we get to our inner peace and the one who created all of us. 

I will search for the 'hidden good'...


by Joseph O. Prewitt Diaz[1], PhD

I usually begin my day by looking at news carriers from several parts of the world. These ten or so sources provide, what I think is, a balanced view of the world. -My place- This morning as I went through my daily ritual, I became increasingly aware of the “person/ environment/place blame”.  The economy is faltering because the president has not exerted leadership. The University of Puerto Rico is in turmoil because the government wants to privatize the public university. Air travel has virtually stopped because of a mega snowstorm in the eastern United States. An earthquake near the Fiji Island has affected the preparation for New Year’s celebration.  “My place has really decayed”…. “The population has decreased by 2% in ten years, crime has increased, and the government has reduced its payroll”. “The place is beautiful but I can no longer live here.”  These are common sayings among the hundreds who out migrate monthly from their “place” to what they perceive to be a “better place”.
There are some messages that escaped the media and thus the potential millions of consumers:
1.     Our place is “ours” we are accountable for its well-being.  The transparency that we exhibit and model in identifying the needs and wants of our place and our role in solving those needs, enhance resilience and lead to peace for all.
2.     I am responsible for an increase in relationships, understanding and peace in my place. We have to identify behavioral strategies within ourselves to reduce walls and build bridges to reach those around us.
3.     The more we play the “people blame games”, the more agitated we become. We need to become more passive. We must reduce environmental and personal turbulence. Let us all resolve that peace is achieved as by giving each other space to ask for forgiveness and to forgive.
We human beings want things solved “now!” no matter whether they are real issues of figments of our imagination. Peace in place occurs when we realize that all matters on our emotional, spiritual, social, ecological, and physical spectrum are solved in God’s time.
Prayer and meditation bring about peace! Peace, inward and outward, bring about well-being…

[1] . Dr Prewitt Diaz is the recipient of the 2008 American Psychological Association, International Humanitarian Award.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

“Umuntu ngumuntu ngbaantu” (I am a person through other people)

By Joseph O. Prewitt Diaz, PhD

This is the time of the year when we take time out to reflect on renewal, and spiritual reconstruction. I started my process by visiting family and friends during “Noche Buena” (Christmas Eve) and sharing in a meal, snacks and prayers. My family and I were visiting very dear friends when an earthquake struck. This is not uncommon in Puerto Rico, but this one was a little more intense, and not only shock us physically but spiritually. The question that immediately arose was: “are you at peace with your kin, your friends, people in your community, or the world community.”

After this experience we arrived the last reunion of the evening. We were going to visit a childhood friend. Much to our family’s surprise their were all kind of people there: tall, small, male and female, Spanish, English and Hindi speaking, poets doctors, teachers and common people. There was plenty of food and plenty to drink. From a macro level everything was well, but as we talked to different people and smaller groups their was a lot of sharing: happy moments during the year, loss of a child, exclusion of family activities, meetings and photographs, honors and awards, and merry making combined with sadness for those that were no longer…. or were not with us on this evening because they were in far away lands waging war with some unknown enemy.

It was then that I realized that peace was not only being resilient as an individual and family. Not only enduring hard times and moving on with a healthier perspective of life, but what this was about was being socially resilient. That is hard times mandated not independence but interdependence. The people of South Africa explain peace through interdependence as “ubuntu”. Roughly translated this means the spirit of the community.

My learning during this Christmas season is that my peace, security and resilience is tied to the level of relationships with other people. In South Africa this is called “Umuntu ngumuntu ngbaantu”, in Puerto Rico it is called “Yo soy a trav├ęs de otros”, and for the purpose of this commentary I assert that “I am a person through other people”.   

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keep Smiling, Keep Shining!

We all know we look better when we are smiling. That is why, we mostly smile when our photo is being taken. We know that the camera will cease that moment and we want to be remembered at our best. But do we realize it is not only the photos through which we will be remembered but also through our daily interactions with people around us, actually more so with the daily interactions than the photos.

So, my request to you... get ready to smile for the next interaction/s you're gonna have :-) :-) 

Smile adds a beautiful flavor to our conversations, it makes us look good, makes our point more effective, even if the conversation is serious, a soft sentence with a smile does wonders and moreover, it fortifies peace in our environment...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Loosen up!

Live a simple life with less and less conflicts with others... smile to the beauty around you. Yes, there might be bad things in your environment but your focus must be on the good ones. For example, children, flowers, fresh air, music, those who love you and understand you, water that quenches your thirst, pillow that eventually puts you to sleep, food in your plate, the fragrant soap you use to bathe, the ability to move, morning sunshine, evening that brings in shining stars...

Anything inside you that doesn't love and is not patient is ugly! Work to diminish the ugliness inside you!

Loosen up... enjoy each and every moment, smile to life and be thankful to your creator!

May God bless you all with peace that passes all understanding!

Monday, December 20, 2010

I know I am right!

Knowledge of being right is one of the most common reasons for our conflicts with other people who think differently. Being right should help make things right for us but sometimes they don't. What a sad reality! 

If we know we are right, we want others to agree to it and if they don't agree to that, we think they are wrong. And, God forbid, if we get into a discussion with somebody who thinks differently, we may end up in a heated argument and bitterness. In other words, we ruin a relationship just because we know we are right. 

To restore internal peace and peace around us, we need to understand that while we may be right on an issue, others who may have a different opinion may also be right in their own way. We must respect them for their opinion and also accept that they too might be right. Like they say, respectfully agree to disagree.

We form our opinions based on our world view, which is based on our background, our values and our experiences. Because we all have our own set of background, values and experiences, it is but natural to have different opinions and feel strongly about it. 

To disagree respectfully while keeping a healthy relationship requires broadmindedness, maturity and sometimes forgiveness. What is the point of thinking 'I know I am right' and loose meaningful relationships? Therefore, the better way to think is 'I know I am right but he/she is right in their own way'.

In any case, the best way to nurture a relationship is to focus on what we share then to waste time on where we differ. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Orissa, we see your beauty but hear your cry!

Orissa, now known as Odisha,for me, is a very important State for many reasons. For e.g. (a) even though, it has abundance of natural resources, it is the poorest States of India, (b) it is also called the 'disaster capital' of the country because of the frequency different disasters including the floods and cyclones, (c) it hosts important religious and touristic sites with international acclaim, (d) it has a rich culture with beautiful music, dances, food, handicrafts and (e) I started my career as a humanitarian from this State.
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The worst disaster in Odisha was in 1999, the super cyclone. It killed 9,893 according to government records, however locals report that many more were killed including the undocumented migrants from Bangladesh.  About 11 million people, nearly a third of the state's population of 35 million, were estimated by the UN agencies to be directly affected, having lost their shelter, crops, cattle and livelihoods. Another seven million people were partly affected due to the large-scale collapse of infrastructure, including communications and surface transport.

Although, substantial assistance came to Odisha, it did not help much to improve the living conditions for the people living in the coastal areas. I remember, fours years after the cyclone, it was still difficult to reach some of the affected villages. People are still struggling to meet their basic necessities. 

 "Orissa among all Indian states tops the incidence of  poverty. Orissa   emerges in the forefront of  all states signifying all indices. Poverty is a condition created by unjust society ,denying people access to and control over the resources that they need to live a fulfilled life.   Orissa   also lives in  villages. Almost 85% percent of people   live in rural area of the state . Around 42 % people in Orissa and 47% people of rural Orissa  live below poverty . Although it is the state of mineral resources and it spreads over 6000 sq km area . Iron ore occupies 33% of India ‘s reserve ,Bauxite is 50% ,Nickel is 95% chromite is 98% and coal is 24 % . Still it is difficult and  stupendous  task to eradicate poverty  in Orissa." (

One wonders, why Odisha should remain one of the poorest States in India, when it is rich in natural resources, it hosts thousands of tourists every year, it has received quite a bit of aid for disaster preparedness and response and has many educated and well placed citizens in and outside India?

On the positive side, the government has made and is planning to make more investments to facilitate the economic growth in the State. 

Peace cannot be achieved without meeting the basic human rights. I pray that the poor people of Odisha and other parts of the world may move on the way of progress and growth necessary for life with dignity. 

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Friday, December 3, 2010

The Greatest Purpose (Joseph R. Brown)

Sense of place as a tool to reduce bullying, enhance resiliency and promote peace

Dr. Joseph O. Prewitt Diaz[1]

Places shape human history--both collectively and individually. People who grow up in one part of the Island and within a particular culture develop a different set of attitudes, values, and behaviors than do people growing up in a contrasting part of the Island and within a different cultural group. Young people growing up in a “Caserio” (public housing) tend to differ in some ways from children growing up in a rural community. These differences are often reflected in what the children fear, like, or dislike, as well as in the types of skills they develop through their own set of experiences.

Qualities of an environment that contribute to a "sense of place" experience include opportunities for seclusion and quiet spaces, opportunities for exploring, and opportunities to effect change. Psychological or social factors contributing to a "sense of place" experience include complexity, diversity, opportunities for immersion or immediate encounters with the natural world, and opportunities for the experience of memorable moments.

Young people develop their sense of self and place in the world through their relationship to their parents, extended families and their neighborhood. A child’s self esteem is built on the notion that, “I am of value as a person to the degree to which my parents, my extended family and my community take interest in me.” Children feel interest in them and their activities by the amount of time spent with them by parents and extended family member. The best indicator of time spent is quantity and consistency. Children these days need ample and regular attention from parents, extended family, and significant members of the community in their normal living situations.

When a parents, extended family and neighbors  are not active in the life of  children, they may feel emotionally crushed, and a feeling unworthiness. As such, children may no longer strive to succeed socially, academically and later, economically. Some children may demonstrate these feelings of unworthiness through disruptive behavior. Other children develop rich fantasy lives to protect themselves from feelings of worthlessness. They tell themselves their parent and extended families must be doing very important things otherwise they would surely would pay them attention. Such children grow up with unrealistic views of other people and relationships.

Parents and extended families may notice the pain of abandonment in their children. Children who lack adult attention may feel broken hearted and view themselves as dying, a death caused by many emotional cuts. They wonder what to do for children to help them cope, recognizing the impact on their self-worth.

Parents, extended families and neighbors are the promoters of peace for their children. The following are three ways to reduce bullying, enhance peace and a ‘sense of place’ on children”:

1.     Express the value of your relationship to children. They must discuss and learn about the importance of their relationship to their children. Increasing the children feeling of self-esteem increases the desire of developing a “sense of place’.
2.     Remain calm. Do not exhibit your anger or frustration to your children. Rather, talk with your children about their feelings. It is appropriate to reassure them that you love them.
3.     Structure time. Always structure your children’s time so that there is participation with you, other adults, and children in the community. Children should not be left with nothing to do, otherwise they may become bored and upset, and get disruptive due to bad feelings. They may seek attention by bullying younger children or peers. It is better that they learn to use their time constructively. BY participating in communal activities the children learn negotiations skills, respect for others experience and behaviors that foster peace and increase self esteem.

There is no way to fully protect children from disappointment in life. The key though is to keep the disappointment from being felt as a reflection of their worth. By making sure their time remains structured, you can teach them appropriate coping skills at the same time. This will equip them to deal with the challenges and opportunities that life may throw their way, so that they can become resilient, and move on to a successful and healthy life.

[1].  Dr. Prewitt Diaz is a Humanitarian Psychologist. He is the recipient of the 2008 APA International Humanitarian Award.


It’s all about the roots! Our roots don’t pull us down, they enable us to grow farther away to explore the unknown skies! #roots #trees ...