Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Accepting "no"

Over the years, I've come across a plethora of self-help articles that dwell on the fact that our lives will be so much better if we just learned how to say "no".

We will be less stressed because we haven't agreed to do something we didn't really want to. We will have more time for ourselves because we're not saying yes to favours that we really don't need to.

While it is true that we do need to learn how to be more assertive, I wonder if it has also caused us to become more self-absorbed. But not only that, with a larger number of people saying "no", perhaps we actually need an increasing number of self-help articles that teach us how to accept it when someone says "no".

We are so used to people agreeing and saying "yes" that when someone tells us "no", we find it extremely difficult to accept. Especially when it comes to agreeing to do something that we think is the best thing since sliced bread.

You don't want to come with me to jump out of an aeroplane at 14,000 feet wearing only the clothes on your back and a parachute?

How could you say no to my extremely tasty, artery-blocking, quadruple cheese pizza?

Why aren't you agreeing to mow my extremely neglected backyard for me on your only day off?

I've just painted this awesome piece of artwork. Why won't you display it in your gallery?

I think there are times when we need to learn to humbly accept "no" for an answer, instead of pushing our own agendas. People are entitled to say "no" when they want, no matter how ridiculous it may be for them not to say "yes". We shouldn't question their sanity, their judgement or their intelligence.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Crazy? Me?

I read a quote from a friend once that I thought was rather accurate:
On the road, everyone driving slower than me is an idiot and everyone driving faster is a maniac. (not verbatim)

Unfortunately, I have to admit I'm a little like this. But the thing is, that kind of reference doesn't actually simply apply to driving. Most of the times, our normality reference is well, ourselves.

So if I feel cold/hot and nobody else does, there's something wrong with them. (This actually happened to me last week when I was recovering from the flu. Because I didn't feel cold, the person who did instantly assumed it was because I had a fever. I did not.)

If I like the colour orange, the person who finds it hideous has no taste.

If I like eating a certain type of food, the person who avoids it is either unadventurous, a frog in a well, or is boring.

If I believe something is right, everyone else who doesn't agree is most definitely wrong.

Basically, everyone is crazy but me.

But how true is that? Does a crazy person actually know they're crazy? Do I have to compare everything to what I would do or to how I see the world?

Life and opinions are a lot more subjective than that. Perhaps it would do us some good to realise we're not the normality reference before we start labelling others.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Travellers and stayers

I have a theory - that in this world, there are two kinds of people: the travellers and the stayers.

I'm not talking about overseas holidays or the willingness to get into a car and go from point A to point B. Well, maybe to a certain extent I am, but I'm talking slightly more generally than that.

In my experience, I've always been a traveller. Growing up, I would often be the one who would go over to a friend's place after school to hang out, perhaps even have sleepovers. Friends do come over to my place too, but I'm racking my brain to recall if I have ever had any friends stay over at my place. For some reason, I was always the one sleeping over at someone's.

Now that I've done a little bit of travel, lived in a couple of countries and made a number of overseas friends, this traveller and stayer thing is somewhat holding true again.

More often than not, I would be the one travelling overseas to visit my friends. I have had a couple of friends travel to visit me, but that number is certainly few and far between.

For some strange reason, traveller me has managed to obtain for herself a circle of friends who are mostly stayers. People who are wonderfully warm, welcoming and hospitable in their own places, and who don't see it necessary to be a traveller.

It's not a bad thing. It's just an interesting trend.
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