Sunday, 18 March 2012

See the Forest not just the Trees

Life is not always about knowing everything independently. Instead, it requires us to recognise the relationships connecting things together. Most of the time, we need to know the larger context. Most of the time, we need to see the bigger picture. We need to see the forest instead of the trees. Because these relationships, this larger context, this bigger picture and this forest, they provide logic and meanings. They render things comprehensible. They make sense. It’s like reading a book. If you are so engrossed in knowing what each word means you are highly likely to lose out not only the messages the author is trying to convey, but also the whole story itself. 

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We don’t live alone. We are a part of a family, a community, a society, an organisation, a country or whatever that involves us being connected to people (or animals). What we do could in some way(s) affect other people, emotionally or physically. So think before you do something. You need to predict the potential consequences of your own actions. You need to consider not just your feelings, but those around you, especially the closest ones. Don’t be selfish and say “This is my life and I can do whatever I want with it”. Because you are living with other people. You are connected to them. So if people start criticising you, learn the network to which you are tied. Know your position and the impact thereof upon other people.

Usually (not all the time), we would scowl, curse, and retort whenever people make remarks, harsh at times, about us. Simply put, we start being defensive. We reject the criticisms completely without even trying to consider and reflect about them. And among the common and famous retorts are, “Haters will always hate”, “Haters are our silent admirers”, “Haters want to bring us down because they can’t reach us up high”. (Fine. You don’t really see the last sentence that often. I created it. But you get the drift). But the point is, look how self-absorbed, conceited and narcissistic (basically they mean the same thing. Mwahaha) we have become? We are actually telling the world that we are always right and those who criticise us are just plain wrong and jealous. JEALOUS? To be honest, I think this is the lamest response one could ever give. Because if anybody told me that I’m just jealous of them hence my making remarks about them, I would ask them instantly, “What is SO great about you that could possibly stimulate such a huge emotion in me?”. Don’t get me wrong. That question is not to say that I’m great or whatever. Rather, it is to make some people realise that just because one criticises does not mean one is jealous of them. It is also a question I would often pose to myself whenever I got criticised in the hope that I would be able to see what have I done that could be so inappropriate and could provoke such negative emotions in people. Criticisms remind me not to be proud of myself and make me a better person from time to time. Criticisms make me attentive and sensitive to my surrounding. They make me a better listener. They make me a better thinker.

What I’m trying to do here is to make everyone realise the rather positive side of being criticised. This is not a post to defend the critics. Rather it is to appease the criticised. View criticisms in a different light. People don’t just talk for no reason. There must be at least a reason that makes them talk about you. Find this reason. Contemplate. Ask around. Read. Do whatever it takes to discover why people are talking about you. I know that some comments are not worth to be thought over and worried of. But it does not hurt to listen. If they’re absurd you can just have a good laugh about them. The important point is you have listened to them. Once you are done listening, you are to judge whether they are matters to heed or ignore. It’s just as simple as that. It’s not a battlefield. You do not have to be defensive and most importantly, offensive. Learn to accept criticisms well.

Maybe some will think, why would people want to mind other people’s businesses? If you want to take it as one being nosy then that is entirely your choice. But some people talk because they care. Some maybe did it in a wrong way. Those who criticised you to the extent that you found them cursing you, yes, they are the ones to be ignored. However, I’m talking about those who approached you politely. They could have offended you like how some people did, but they did not. Instead, they revealed their thoughts and feelings to you. They took great care in choosing the words to say so that they would not sound harsh. They are the ones that care about you. So what is so wrong about being taken care of?

Essentially, as a Muslim, we need to take care of each other. We are after all brothers and sisters. So what is this whole thing about minding your own business?


  1. a well-thought writing and definitely an eye-opener to those who read this. anyway, how do i share this on FB?

  2. hi Madi. thanks for reading =) we'll find ways to make it better. we're making some changes and improvements gradually.



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