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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year Resolution: The Gift of Truth and Trust

"Hey Ary, daddy! Look at my turtle! It can spin!"
I sighed and braced myself for the upcoming reply. Sure enough, a fraction of a second later her brother started to protest, "I want a turtle too! Share with me!" I quickly made a mental note to myself to have a talk with our little girl about how bad bragging is. Yet as the car took us closer and closer to our destination (and the fighting was averted because of the virtue of children's short attention span) I can't help thinking, do I really have to talk to a six year old about bragging?

As an adult, I have had my share with flaunters and braggers. It was always unpleasant not because I want what they have, but because these braggers made me feel I am of lesser value than they are. It is hard to believe though that our little human has such malice to made her little brother feel bad about himself. What most likely happen is that she was tired from the long trip (at that point we've been on the road for 9 hours) and was trying to amuse herself, thus the plush turtle remark. It is unfair to tell her that she can't brag about her toy because her brother might be jealous, especially if her intention is only to share her feeling and excitement.

Sadly, this pure intention doesn't always come through. Time and time again we are told to keep to ourselves and not making other people jealous. That is why there are tons of memes that sneered and jeered about people who share (excessively) in social media. It seemed that with every posting and status update you made you are in danger of being labelled as braggers, which in a way worked like Miranda's Law: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be use against you in the court of law" or something like that. It's like you can't make a move without offending other people, and for me, it is not a good feeling. I wanted to be nice but it is not fair to have my freedom of thought and speech restricted just because somebody else decided to be touchy. Which brings me to another thought: since I can't change how people perceive me, can I change how I perceive other people?

The real braggers, the malicious one that flaunt their wealth or body or any good things they have (be it in the social media or the latest family events) were pretty easy to spot. They were the ones that we would so dearly love to give a nice kick in the rump, without much thought. Their obvious intention to put our existence to its rightful place (which is below their own - at least according to them) is easily recognisable thanks to the loathsome feeling that grew in our stomach everytime these people made remarks on how better they are than us. Yet these loathsome feeling can be difficult to differentiate with jealousy. Were we upset because the person who posted his/her European trip mock us and made us feel bad because we can't even afford a weekend getaway, or is it because we are jealous with his/her luck? Were we mad because that friend in Facebook deliberately flaunting her awesome husband to emphasize how much better she was than the other women, or was it because we were stuck watching re-run of Pretty Woman all by ourselves for God knows how many time?

It is easy to spot the malicious and evil people. Yet when the offence was not that great, it is harder to  decide whether the maliciousness and evil and unhappiness come from within us or from the other people. Sometimes all we have to do is to trust people and opt to see the goodness in them; to believe that they did not mean to offend us or made us feel bad about ourselves; to understand that they just want to share their feeling and what's precious to them. Sometimes we just have to believe that the six year old just wanted to show how cool her plush turtle is. And when we can't do that, when it gets too much for us or we can't decide whether that person's intention was malicious or not, then there is only one thing you can do: turn it off. I turned off notifications/news feed of a friend that has a private jet, and another one that spend her days travelling to beautiful places. I had to do it not because they are malicious (and they are not), but because I can't cope with my envy. I feel I betray them, but it is much better than ending up hating them just because I am jealous of their lifestyle.

After the over-priced-show-and-excessive-partying-and-massive-alcohol-consumption on New Year's Eve had past, the New Year Resolution will surely follow. Do yourself and the world a big favor this time: forget about the gym and diet resolution (that you will flunk within the first few months anyway) or the vague promise that you will be a better person (and realize on the first day of the next year that you haven't change at all. This year, look deep inside you and control your own emotion. As a human that lives together we can't escape from hurting or being hurt. What we can do though, is prevent ourselves from deliberately hurting people and to accurately decide whether other people deliberately hurting us or is it our self that inflict the pain from the jealousy that we have. This year, give yourself a gift of truth and give the world a gift of trust, and see how good life can be. Happy New Year dear readers.

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