Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How does it matter?

How does it matter what people say?????
I was at my daughter’s school this afternoon, helping with the organization of the forthcoming fair. We were trying to hang the streamers in seemingly unreachable places , contorting our bodies and our minds. I could not figure out how to get those streamers up around the tree branches without using little monkeys to do that for us. My friend….let’s call her Sue had a brilliant idea. She started tying the rope to a thick tape role and hauling it over trees and I was at the other end to catch the role and viola we had the tree wrapped.
Amongst all this craziness my friend started complaining about how miserable she was, living where she did, because the maids/helpers in her street were constantly bitching about her and were making it rather difficult for her to find a new helper.
Living in HKG has its perks. Most of us are lucky enough to afford full time help. There are over a 100,000 Pilipino domestic helpers in HKG, making them the most popular domestic helpers and especially their command of English makes it easier for the expat community to communicate with them in comparison to the locals, Indonesians , Sri Lankans etc. Unfortunately, these helpers spend far too much time away from their families and are sometimes treated with disrespect by some people. Some of them get angry, upset and bitter. They however have a very strong network and therefore gossip or facts tends to travel very quickly.
Sadly, my friend Sue, became a target of some malicious slander amongst the Pilipino domestic helper community and this started having a massive effect on her. She was stressing herself to the point of physical illness and it even started affecting her domestic situation. She could not even walk out on the street without thinking what people might be talking about her.
She is a lovely, kind and generous human being, so obviously there is no truth in the slander, but somehow it has affected her badly.
My question to her was, why should it bother you? It is completely untrue and therefore it should have no affect on the way you feel. But we are human, and we use “being human” as an excuse to display our fallibility. What people say to us or about us leaves a big impression on the way we judge ourselves.
Gossip is engaging, it makes us become a part of the community, it is social, and the more slander there is the more interesting it is. I have myself been guilty about this lowly habit, but we don’t realize it’s devastating effect on people. Well we can’t stop them from talking, but we can definitely shield ourselves from gossip, by not allowing it to affect us. If someone was to point towards you and say….hey look at the crazy woman with orange hair. You don’t have orange hair, so it won’t bother you. In fact you just may turnaround and think that the person saying that is completely crazy. So why when someone criticizes our behavior, should it bother us. Just as orange or green hair is their perspective, similarly their idea of your character is their perspective ( Do I make sense??).
Why should it matter what they think? As long as you are in the right, show yourself some respect. Never ever allow any one (and very often it is the people who don’t even matter) to affect you. If anyone puts you down, in any manner, it is not about you! It is about the other person’s perceptions! Now, if you put yourself down, then somewhere along the line you bought into that false belief.
Read the following story to illustrate the point. If we listen to what people say, we may as well give up living.
· A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the frogs they were as good as dead. The frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up fighting, he died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out.When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
There! Just a matter of perspective, choose to hear and see only the good about you and about the people around you. Ignore the rest. It does not need to define your life. If you were to start listening to everything that people say about you, when will you ever have time to listen to yourself?
The last thing you want to do is give someone else the power and right over your moods. You alone are responsible for how you feel. No one can make you feel good or bad unless you allow them to.
Starting right now, make a promise to yourself, “I shall not allow other people’s perception of me affect me in any way. “ Remember, it is they who are suffering more as they probably have nothing worthwhile to occupy their time. Talking about you, gives them something to talk about and it gives them the momentary pleasure. Why deny them a little happiness!!!!!!!! ?????

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