BrainTeaser | Sherma E Benosa

Life is a puzzle; we are the clues, and God is the answer.

Transparency and Self-betterment

A sequel to my Transparency in an Opaque, Self-Limiting World essay.


I don’t understand it, but many of us wear masks so thick that it’s difficult to know which face is real and which isn’t. To be accepted, perhaps? To be loved more, maybe? Or to belong? I don’t really know.

transparent-glass.jpgI believe that it is our responsibility as humans to know ourselves very well — our strengths and weaknesses, our potentials, our purpose. To capitalize on our strengths to become a better person; to actualize our potentials and to use them well; to acknowledge our weaknesses and make up for them, or to correct them if they prove to be something about which something can be done. To know our purpose, to try to understand what we are here on earth for, and to work hard to fulfill that purpose. To try to reach the higher plane of understanding, of living, of dealing with ourselves and with others.

Weaknesses are not a reason for us not to do good, but only a reminder for us to seek guidance when we are faced with things that seem to be bigger than us. They are not here for us to use as an alibi for the mistakes we commit, but to remind us that we have to constantly try to make ourselves better.  

If only everyone could look at a single thing and be able to look at it in its entirety and view it from every angle possible, then what a better existence we would have. And if only we try to understand every aspect of a thing first, before we make conclusions, then how much easier life on earth would be.

But often, we are already judged even before we have had the opportunity to be known better. By a single word that came out of our lips, by a single act that we did before, by these we could already be judged. People tend to remember us as we were, forgetting that we are dynamic and that, by the time they would look at us again, we may have changed, hopefully for the better. People tend to think of us as photos; still and unchanging.

Pity, but often just by the “snapshots” people have of us, they already think they know us well, and that their judgment of us is right.

I agree it might be nice to be transparent; maybe if we were, people would just take one look at us and they would readily have a good grasp of who we are as a person, as an individual.

But the truth is that we are multi-faceted, multi-dimensional. Each of our dimensions may be transparent, but when put together, they make a very complicated totality that is us, and so we become veiled. Veiled, but not necessarily wearing pretentious masks.

I like looking at individuals, and wondering what kind of a gem they might be inside. I like peeling things slowly, patiently, layer by layer, my heart filled with wonderment at every discovery I unearth in the process. I like looking at things from different perspectives, recording my observations, yet withholding judgment or making conclusions, knowing that what I am seeing is just a part of a whole.

I am well aware of my weaknesses and I am doing something about them. I know my strengths, and I thank God for being so blessed. I am perfectly happy with who I am, despite my scars and my failures. From time to time I make evaluations of myself, making corrections where I’ve erred.

So yes, my quest in this life is to become a better person; and if I could, to help others become better, too. To put to good use the things I am gifted with, and to overcome my weaknesses.

Yet I am veiled, not in perspective, but where transparency is concerned. I share myself, but not everything of me. Not because I fear I may be misunderstood, but because I am reserving it for the people who would want to come to know me better. It is my way of inviting people to come closer, try to know me more. And to be invited in return, so that I may also learn about them, from them.

I am also transparent in some things, but hard to decipher in many others. One moment, I am somewhat this thing, yet showing traces of other qualities at some other moments. At times I am easy to figure out, at other times I am difficult to fathom. I am veiled, but I don’t wear masks.

To be transparent (or be seen through and through) is a beautiful thing; I will not deny that. But so is being veiled. There is nothing wrong about withholding some parts of us, and showing only glimpses of the deepest recesses of our being from time to time, to the select few, if we so choose.

For being veiled (as opposed to being transparent), for me, is not such a bad thing. Not being able to look at things from different perspectives yet making judgments too soon is.


One comment on “Transparency and Self-betterment

  1. VF
    May 30, 2008

    Remember that Ilokano song, “Manang Biday” Buddy?

    “Alaem dayta kutsilio
    Ta abriem toy barukongko
    Ta tapnon maipapasmo
    Dayta guram ken sintemiento”.

    Holy cow, how transparent an Ilokano lover can be!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This site has moved to a new address: P[e]NORAMA


%d bloggers like this: