Family, journalism, marriage and society

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A few days ago, I was asked to shadow the photographer Silvia Razgova to learn night photography. That day, I started a late shift and arrived home around 8pm.  My brother and father were sitting in the hall and both welcomed me upon my arrival.

I know my brother is not pleased with my job choice. He is not authoritative, but he fears that my coming home late from work might give people the idea that I am  someone who has excess freedom and am not accountable for my actions. Although my family trusts me, however, they do not want anyone to think badly of me.

I do not blame my brother for that because the seed of saving face was planted in some of our hearts in childhood, which shows the importance of that concept among Arabs as well as other societies. But I fail to understand one thing about this concept: why do we pressure ourselves to please "others" when we are different individuals with different goals in life?

The majority of society was not present to celebrate my achievements, happiness and successes, so it is illogical to fear people who do not even know you. The "What people might think if" phrase has slowed many of our achievements. Many families still use this as their life motto, particularly for their daughters. If trust is lost, nothing can replace it.

My mother always told me while growing up: as long as you're not doing anything wrong and you have your family's support and trust, there is nothing to fear about what people think and say.

We fear people more than ourselves. I believe no matter how integral and sincere the path of life one tries to lead, someone will surely stand in the way and, unfortunately, it is how we think that holds us back.

I do not plan to sacrifice my success and happiness to please others because as Steve Jobs said: Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking.