Friday, March 5, 2010

photos by Karine
1987 Glendale, CA.

Self-help articles by Berjik Kurkjian. They were published in Farsi in Fogholadeh Magazine.
Translated by her daughter, Karine Armen.
Copyright Karine Armen
March 26, 2010.
You may use the material for educational purposes only.

No. 1 Happiness and Sadness

“Happiness and kindness make people more human and sadness, and hatred burns the roots of humanity.” I heard these words on the Radio Iran on a Friday. It’s a quotation by Simin Dareshvan. These words remind me of my life; back to old days when I felt that my whole essence was filled from my head to my toe with sadness, despair, and bad luck. I had no hope to continue my life.
I asked myself, why people love sadness and pain. We are so fascinated by pain that we make a big deal out of all the small stuff. We transfer this bad habit of negativity to our innocent children and burn the roots of their existence and create a painful body and a confused and restless soul. With all the learned pain we still expect them to be successful. This despair and sadness can trap the body like a spider web and keep them from seeing the blessings that others enjoy. They become negative, and dead inside. They move and live but have no life inside. Why? People live like that because they grew up with the habit of loving pain and sadness. Fortunately with the help of God and my own efforts I got out of depression. I walked into a beautiful world of light. I have inner peace, and a clear mind. I feel fully alive. I don’t deny that sadness exists, but why get so preoccupied with negativity and despair that we can’t see any light and happiness.
Let us help each other to get rid of negativity and replace it with positive thoughts and kindness. Smiles can be the spice of life. We can see happiness in small events of our lives. We can enjoy life and being alive. Live life fully and show life to our children.
Don’t forget: “It’s not important to be alive, it’s essential to live life.”

July 4, 1987

No. 2 Happiness and Despair

“Kindness makes us more humane and hatred destroys humanity”. After reading this quotation we think about becoming kinder to feel happier.
Happiness and despair are two different emotions that exist as Positive and Negative Channels. They are like lightness and darkness. Recognizing the difference between the two emotions, how to use them and in what context will help us to deal with them appropriately.
Unfortunately, due to lack of self-awareness and wrong cultural upbringing many of us are deprived of happiness. We are used to negative thinking. With today’s knowledge we can become self-aware and distinguish between positive and negative thoughts and emotions.
Statistics show that 5% of the world population feels happy, another 5% are emotionally damaged, and 90% need self-awareness and spiritual awakening.
July 11, 1987
No. 3 Positive and Negative Words

To be healthy we need to have a peaceful soul. We can have inner peace by self-talk, by listening to our thoughts. Half of ones self is the outside appearance, a frame for the other half of our existence, our soul. When we have a physical injury it is visible and we heal it with medication and treatment. However, when we are hurt emotionally nobody can notice it except ourselves. We feel hurt by listing to hurtful thoughts.
Usually we are the creators of the negative and hurtful words. We express our pessimistic thoughts, and create an anxiety and restlessness that can cause physical illness. We communicate our pain to others without resolving anything. We just transfer negativity to the people around us. Instead by using phrases with hopeful messages we can feel loved. A sense of security is essential for healthy existence.
We have two inner, emotional channels, one positive and one negative. Sense of fear is a destructive feeling we carry from childhood.
Unaware actions of parents and adults can cause children to grow up fearful. Sense of fear is good when it is meant to prevent harm, but when it prevents healthy growth and maturity it can be paralyzing. We need to learn to tell ourselves encouraging words to be aware of our own inner voice.

July 18, 1987

No. 4 Positive and Negative Channels

As I have mentioned before we have two emotional channels, positive and negative. Our emotions are the product of our thoughts which are connected to these two channels.
We express our thoughts by language. Healthy positive and useful thoughts come from the positive channel. These hopeful thoughts create a positive environment and a healthy society. If everybody uses their positive channels we will have healthy, happy and sympathetic people.
We can use negative channels and allow unhealthy thoughts in our lives. The negative sentences can hurt us and the people around us. This leads to dysfunctional families and societies.
Negative people are victims of their own thought process. They lack self-awareness and self-control. When one finds out the root of the problem and thoughts that effect our emotions they can change them. Pride is an important feeling and helps us to stay moral and healthy. Pride and arrogance are different. Nobody likes an arrogant person. Arrogance makes us isolated and depressed. Self-awareness and recognition of our emotions can help us to be healthy and happy.

July 25, 1987

No. 5 We Create Our World

We can create a happy and fulfilling life by focusing on the positive aspects of our life.
Even though our lives might have many shortcomings, and problems we can still see a beautiful picture if we get energy from the positive channel of our thoughts. On the other hand, if we let the negative channel give us energy in fact we would feel drained and sad. Life would be unbearable.
We need to be aware of these two positive and negative channels. We can let the negative thoughts come forward. Then by awareness we can turn that switch off and turn the positive thinking switch on. This is a self-awareness and positive approach. By verbalizing our positive thoughts and happy feelings we can make others happy too. Happiness can be contagious.

August 1, 1987

No. 6 Worry

If we cannot our control our worrisome thoughts they can destroy our inner peace. Worry can change to anxiety and become self-destructive.
We have two kinds of worries. The thoughts that come from Positive Channels are there to prevent problems. The worrying thoughts that come from our Negative Channel can be problematic.
We get energy from food and our thoughts. Half of the energy is physical, and the other half is mental and spiritual. If we let the negative channel in control us, we lose our spiritual energy and feel tired and drained.
Many people eat healthy food and take their vitamins and minerals, and still feel drained. There can be a false sense of tiredness due to unnecessary worrying emotional and mental activity. Being aware of the negative can help to protect worrying.
Some scientists claim life events and problems are contributing factors. We are in control of 60% of our life events, 30% of our lives are affected by others, and 10% by nature. If we believe this then we can begin to feel a sense of control.
We can accept the disasters caused by nature, know that we did not cause them, and be at peace with that. Then we can focus on the 60% so the events that we can control. We have ability to be grateful for blessings. We are able to learn and strengthen this sense of gratitude. We can minimize our worries and maximize the positive thoughts. By using these strategies we will be able to deal with the 30% of social and family pressures. Using positive thinking techniques will give us an inner peace and sense of happiness.

August 8, 1987

No. 7 Work and Cooperation

Work, physical activity and cooperation are our healthy needs. Human beings who subscribe to this sense of helpful and teamwork have improved our civilization.
There is a saying, “Work is the bride of life and cooperation is the flower of life.” Life should have purpose to be sweet and meaningful. Work and cooperation give meaning to life.
Everybody has general talents. These talents are ready to sprout with the inner energy. If we don’t use the inner energy with work and productive activities it will change to a negative energy. That can cause inner restlessness. Also by working we can take care of our financial needs, and we will use our time productively.
There are two kinds of work physical and mental they are complementary. We use our minds and body in different jobs.
Our body and good are connected. We need to find work that is enjoyable. If we are forced to get a job that is not what we really like, but we need it for financial reasons, we can still do it with pleasure. If possible, listen to soft music during work. Remind yourself of the benefits of working and change your attitude.
Cooperation, collaboration and teamwork give us satisfaction too. We need to change our attitude and focus on the benefits of work. Then we can enjoy any task we need to complete with pleasure.

August 15, 1987

No.8 Fatigue

Feeling tired can become contagious. In many cultures people say, “Don’t work so hard, you will get tired,” or, “I am tired,” or, “don’t get too tired.” Many people use “I don’t feel like it.” All of these sentences reflect our attitude towards work, energy, and tiredness.
Not many people are aware of their patterns of when and why they feel tired. They just complain about that they are tired. The negative attitude towards work is contagious. We know that working and being active give us more energy. Our negative attitude towards work is a learned behavior.
Feeling tired can be due to lack of physical energy which can be regained by sleep and rest. Most of the time fatigue is due to our negative attitude and lack of knowledge about it. Awareness of our thoughts and attitude can help us change them and feel more energized.
The signs of emotional tiredness are restlessness, sleepless, and lack of energy (aptitude). By self-help and self-awareness we can become calmer. We need the support and understanding of our family members. Open discussions about change of attitudes can be helpful. We can accept the problems and difficulties in our lives and not be angry about them. Using the Positive Channels we can see the good in every problem.
Feeling calm and peaceful will give us energy and we will not feel tired and drained. We need to feel satisfied with our lives to survive and continue life with pleasure.

August 22. 1987

No. 9 Inner Peace

Human beings have been looking for inner peace for centuries. After invention of electric power and many electrical appliances people have more comfort but still feel an inner emptiness.
People look for inner peace and satisfaction in different places. Some go for higher education, others pursue physical beauty, or sex. Some people set high goals for their financial futures, and spend many years making money, yet they don’t feel satisfied.
Life is like a car with four wheels. We need to take care of all four wheels to function and move forward. The first wheel is the ability to love, self-love, showing love and affection to others, love of life, work, and people. The second wheel of life is ability to earn a living, knowing how to spend and save money. Earning money is a means of life not the main goal. The third wheel is treating us and others with love and respect. How one treats children is very important. Your own or other’s kids are all tomorrow’s adults. Careless treatment of children will affect our lives, their future, and our well being too, as individuals and as a society. The fourth wheel of life is work, completion of our daily tasks and chores. Feeling tired and procrastination causes distress and discontent.
Many people live with some flat tires, meaning dysfunctional and unfulfilled lives. Being aware of these four factors of life, self-awareness and self-help we can have fulfilled lives.

August 29, 1987

No.10 To Cry

Crying is natural phenomenon. From the first moment of birth babies cry.
The cause of crying can be sourced to our negative and positive channels. When we feel sad we cry and let out our pain. However we also cry out of joy and happiness. This kind of crying is our positive channel.
Unfortunately in our culture, we use negativity for manipulating or we look at it as a form of weakness. Usually we do not allow people to cry. We need to know the reason for the crying. If it has a good reason we should let the person cry and let the sad emotions out.
We need to learn not be affected by the crying of others and not to let it make us feel distressed. When we accept crying as a natural part of life, and let it take place for us and others then we can feel better. Controlling our natural feelings and not allowing our tears to come out can transform it into anxiety and depression.
Of course, unnecessary crying is due to depression and may call for professional care, but the release of emotions due to sad events or happy moments is totally acceptable.

September 5, 1987