Warning: this is a personal post. I still have lessons and reflections embedded though.
If there is one word or phrase that people will use to describe you, what will it be? Do you think it’s a positive word/phrase, or a negative one? Is the word/phrase related to your physical appearance, attitude, or character? Do you accept their description of you? Do you think there is truth in it?
Not too long ago, a colleague pointed out to me that I was considered or often described by many of my colleagues to be “masungit”. This revelation alarmed me because (1) I did not view myself that way, and (2) many people thought that about me but only one told me upfront. Outside my workplace, only 2 or 3 people in a span of 5 years has described as masungit.
Since I chose to write this post in English, I used Google Translate to look for synonyms, and this was what I got:
I would like to think that there is no word among the translation synonyms that would accurately define what masungit means. Though most of the words mentioned are harsher than the actual meaning, it would still be a cause for alarm for someone like me. Since high school, I have often been described as someone who always smiled, and was often quiet, someone you’d barely notice. The closest to masungit that they used to describe me was that I’m snobbish, especially when I’m not talking.
Perhaps things changed. I think that I am no longer a simple phlegmatic-sanguine, as my melancholic “side” has been taking over, especially emotionally, in the past few years.
A well respected Professor once asked us why we cared so much about labels. This was a person who, though brilliant, was not always popular among the people. I know very well that we should not seek popularity or acceptance to a point of being a people pleaser, but I also know that one can be “unpopular” in a negative sense. One thing I know,masungit is one label that I don’t want to stick with me, moreso take to my grave.
So what should you do if you have encountered a seemingly negative truth about yourself?
- Pray about it. Ask God to show you if there is truth to the statement(s) or labels.
- Try to understand why people say that about you. Ask questions and try to imagine yourself from a third person perspective. Try to be aware or conscious about yourself.
Why do they say that I am masungit? Is it because I don’t smile as often anymore? Is the tone of my voice anything but gentle whenever I speak or respond to them? Does it have anything to do with my gestures or lack thereof? Is it because of the habit of sarcasm that people sometimes confuse with seriousness? Is it because I often declined to go with them on events, or to order food whenever they plant to have food delivered?
- Accept the truth. Do not deny or rationalize.
“They just don’t get that I’m just sarcastic.”
- Understand what makes you act or behave in such a manner.
“I wear headphones and shut off from the world whenever I try to concentrate”
“I’ve been used to giving sarcastic answers to the point that I don’t always apply discretion on when and where to use it”
“I’ve been smiling less ever since I noticed that smiling in pictures make me look like my eyes are closed”
“Stress affects my mood and subconsciously, my voice’s tone”
- Act upon the situation based on what God says.
Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.– 1 Peter 2:12 (The Message)
This verse tells us that how we conduct ourselves, and what people think about us, are both important. Thus, negative labels based
even on the slightest bit of truth must be dealt with by submitting our character to God, and asking him to change us. The end goal, of course, is not for ourselves but for God to be praised.
Now, I bring you back again to the questions I posted at the start. Take some time to reflect and see if there are areas in your life that need change.