Hi! And how are you all? April was a ‘cool’ month for me. I celebrated my birthday; I met up with my old primary schoolmates and importantly, two teachers who were my favourite in Bandar Hilir Primary School in Malacca. They were Mrs Syed Alwi and Mrs Shirley Lee. I have not had the pleasure of meeting them until now and it was so good that Mrs Syed upon meeting me said, “You must be Heera”. WOW! That was electric i.e. a teacher remembering me by name after all these long years. Cheekily I asked, if she remembered me for positive or negative reasons. I felt all flushed, when she replied, positive. The rapport was wonderful and the night ended with me informing them that I would very much like to go out with them on a ‘double’ date. I am really looking forward to that day.
The other day, I was reading the newspapers and I came upon this statement by a politician that he was going to ‘teach his opponent’ a lesson. And from my experience, this is quite a common statement made by people, whenever they are really angry with someone, for negative things that have been done to them. They seek revenge and retribution by wanting to respond with similar action or else something negative and think that this will ‘teach’ the other person a lesson.
In all my life’s experiences, I have never met someone who has learned a lesson, when revenge or retribution is the objective. So the question is, wouldn’t it be better for us to actually ‘learn a lesson’ rather than ‘teach a lesson’. In this particular example of rumour mongering, a good lesson to learn is that spreading unfounded rumours is bad and hurts people. Shouldn’t we have learned this lesson that we should not spread rumours about other people? By us doing the same (spreading rumours), we have in a sense adapted the very practices and behaviour of the people that we dislike!!
As an example, when someone passes bad remarks about us to management, we will tend to get angry. We then adopt this attitude of wanting to ‘teach a lesson’ to the perpetrator by doing the same i.e. spreading unfounded rumours about that person. What happens in the end: the spreading of rumours becomes more vicious, stress levels go up and people in the organization will get a little angry and bored with us getting them involved in our personal conflict. But importantly, did the other person ‘learn a lesson’. Most certainly not! Our actions would have merely motivated that person to be even more vicious in their rumour mongering. So ironically, instead of ‘learning a lesson’ to stop the rumour mongering, they continue it even more and more viciously too. This is only one example and the analogy is as relevant in other situations.
And what should we have done in the first place i.e. the rumour mongering case. My advice would be ‘ignore it’. If we have not done anything wrong then there is nothing to be afraid of. If we do the same, then we have descended to the very level of the people who started the rumours in the first place. I do understand that this is difficult to do, but my view is that in life, the difficult things are always the ‘right’ things to do and will always bring you more happiness, honour and success. We will gain more respect when we abstain from taking revenge or seeking retribution. In short we will have to learn our own lessons first before wanting to ‘teach others’.
Thank you so much for reading this newsletter. I do hope that all of you will take the trouble to vote on 5 May for the future of this country! Have a great month of May and do take care.