August 2003 Vol. 3 Issue 10

An Internet Newsletter publication for all CIM Alumni and friends.

    Clem S. Estrera, Jr., M.D.

    Ma. Belen Rosales, M.D.
        Associate Editor

     Ray Castillejo, M.D.
    Binisaya Section Editor

Newsletter Contributors:

Clem S. Estrera, Jr.
    Class 1972

Ma. Belen F. Rosales
     Class 1970

Hector Vamenta
    Class 1972

Anny Misa-Hefti

Editor's Column

    "The fool tells me his reasons, the wise man persuades me with my own." ---Aristotle

Human Interaction and Personality

Clem S. Estrera, Jr. CIM 1972

The importance of social interaction
     Many people believe that if they can take care of themselves, they can easily live a happy life. I beg to differ because it's not enough. It's not that easy. I believe that we are put in this earth with the main purpose of doing our share in making things easier for others and for everyone. Otherwise our going to church and praying don't serve the real purpose if we are only doing it for our own welfare and well-being and don't consider the welfare and well-being of other people. Many of us pray for peace and prosperity so that everyone will have a better and easier life whether we are aware of it or not. We don't pray for the demise of others, or the destruction of our enemies, or the suffering of the people we don't like. Do we? We pray often to ask for God's love and mercy that in turn would make things easier for others or for every one.

    But prayers are not enough if we want to be happy. We have to act to fulfill our share in life. And we can only become effective in achieving happiness and in promoting harmonious human relationship when we discover that success and happiness depend on making others successful and happy as well. Harmony in human relationship and happiness in life are achieved mainly by those who seek equity rather than victory, choose to apply fairness instead of favoritism, and respect the truth even if it hurts rather than settle with a comforting lie, for success, harmony and happiness depend mainly on sensible consideration of other people.

     Our happiness and well-being depend on our strong self-esteem that in turn depends on better human interaction and relationship. To earn self-esteem is to have others regard you as good, skillful, kind, helpful, responsible, competent, considerate, loving, reliable, nice, fair, friendly and just plain great. So forget the old belief that you don't need others to achieve happiness simply because you can take care of yourself. It's others that judge us mainly by our performances or actions, not by our thoughts and feelings, that in turn gives us strong self-esteem.

     Self-esteem doesn't just develop spontaneously. Self-esteem is derived from your ability to relate to others socially and professionally; to perform an honest work and to fulfill responsibilities; to accept criticism as an opportunity to determine and review your error; and to admit errors and see them as signs that you're not perfect at least not yet, and thus have more room for improvement. You cannot earn self-esteem by simply looking at yourself in the mirror and smile.

     Notice that kids who are constantly criticized particularly with unfair criticisms grow up with poor self-esteem. Many of them are unhappy, some are destructive and some alienate themselves. They are uncomfortable with social interaction. The less they interact, the less friends they have, the poorer their self-esteem would be, and the more unhappy they become. As a matter of fact, some people even in Mental Health consider counseling and psychiatry as nothing more than paying someone to be your friend. Many of these people undergoing counseling are lonely because they lack the skill of interacting with others. They act on their emotions without the sensible consideration of other people. They become suspicious and cynical. The poorer they interact with others, the more suspicious they become, and the more they hold on to their disappointments, anger and grudges. They can take care of themselves alright. But are they happy alienating themselves, nurturing their grudges and disappointments?

The essence of personality
     Personality is the way others see us. It is not part of us. There is no such thing as intrinsic personality. For whoever knows what's in your mind or what's inside you? You are made up of the impact you have on others. They take you as you appear to them. And studies show that there is no correlation between personal appearance and human decency, although we can count on the fact that people who look irritable are probably irritated, or people who look happy and whistling a happy tune are probably happy.

     Suffice it to say, we can develop or build personality or change it through the choices we make and the actions we take. For some it may take a longer period of time to develop personality they desire, and for others it may only take a short period of time. For example, if we want a personality that can inspire trust and respect in order to promote cooperation and harmony in our relationship with others, we must make choices of actions that others see us as trustworthy and worthy of their respect. If we want personality that can inspire confidence, we must be firm and strong in our conviction, credible in our words, and reliable in our actions. We must be willing to admit error, apologize to the person who is hurt by it, and take corrective action. Unwillingness to admit error is a sign of weakness, a weak foundation for building personality. It is also a sign that one's abilty to let go is close to zero. Mindless making and breaking promises don't inspire trust and respect, let alone cooperation and harmony. They would only provide and promote disappointment and disrespect leading to discord and dissension, not cooperation; to disorder, not harmony.

    Sometimes people are attracted to others because they perceive them as handsome or beautiful. If they discover them to be unpleasant, cruel or unreliable, however, they would then alter their perception and see them as ugly. By the same token, a person who looks ugly or unpleasant at first sight can become attractive after experience demonstrates him to be good and decent person. So there is no such thing as magic in building personality. We cannot demand it. We have to work for it, because the essence of personality is connected with performance and the way other people see it. Suffice it to say, we have to learn to understand how unimportant we really are to everyone but ourselves. For we cannot read other people's minds, and they cannot read ours.

    Again, it's others that judge you by your actions or choices of actions. It is through our actions or choices of actions that we acquire values of character like we acquire in taking responsibilities and establishing a code or standard of principles by which we respect and follow. If the values you want to acquire are the best, you have to do the best you can for whatever job or task given or assigned to you in order to fulfill your responsibility and follow your principle. Then you give nothing but the best to others because the best are the values you've got. This is based on the simple fact that you can give only what you have. You cannot give what you don't have. If your values are bad or poor, then obviously, they're the only values you can give. And from that, you can figure it out what others would take you as. So choices are there for you to act on to keep your mind active and your personality from going into rigor mortis.