Wednesday, 25 April 2012

At the train station

Old Train Station Painting - Old Train Station Fine Art Print - Pati Pelz 
Image Source:

I am sure that most of you who are reading this post have experienced the anxiety of not wanting to miss your bus trip or your LRT coach because you wish to be on time. It is part and parcel of life to sometimes miss your trip and have to wait for another before you reach your destiny. I have been through this situation for quite a number of times but my trip last Friday really was a life lesson.

I was going up the escalator when I heard the LRT coach had made a stop at the station where I was at. I, of course, did not want any further delay and wanted to board on the coach very badly. I didn’t understand why but that day, I felt like I had to board on the coach no matter what. Standing in front of me was a lady of my age, donning a ‘baju kebaya’ which was paired with a matching pair of high heels who was also going after the LRT coach.

The doors were going to close any second now.

I automatically ran with all my might and I did it! I was safely boarded on the train but I realized that when I turned around, the lady that I mentioned earlier was still walking so gracefully, so well-mannered and so S-L-O-W-L-Y, taking her own sweet time towards the doors of the empty coach, though her eyes looked so desperate to join me inside and yet, so cautious of her surroundings, feared of making fool of herself. 

(At this point, I was not simply assuming as if I am a-know-it-all but rather, I used some basic knowledge of assessing her body language to determine the root of her problem which in this case, lack of self-confidence. Citing from this link

The body language of a person does not only indicate whether this person is self-confident or not, but it also can have an influence on the current self-esteem of this person, in a positive or negative way. A person that lacks self-confidence will walk cautious or even anxious…)

But this analytical thought, I kept it to myself.

The sliding doors were shut. She remained outside.

 “Why didn’t she quicken her walking pace? What made her give up before even trying?” thought I. 

At first glance, the values that I learned from the incident were “When there’s a will, there’s a way” and "Believe in yourself,” because I strongly persisted that she should have run not to miss the trip. She ought to have set her mind towards her goal so that she could have achieved it.

Not realizing that I was playing the judge, I came up with a list of WHAT-SHE-SHOULD-HAVE-DONE for the lady like “She should have more confidence within herself that she could do it”, “She should not fear that she would make a fool of herself by chasing after the trip”, “If she could have walked a little bit faster, she would already be in this very coach,” and etc. From being judgemental, I then unconsciously pronounced that I was a judge, who adjudicates a trial in a court. This lady, who was nothing but a stranger to me in all sense, was being judicially sentenced by me- a nobody at its core.  I determined what was appropriate and what was not for her behaviour.  I diagnosed the nature of her problem based on what I’ve read and studied in Counseling and Psychology books. I tried her in in the court of mine.

But, after a while, I started to reassess the situation once again. I could not entirely blame the lady for being too cautious of her own doing; for caring too much of what other people might want to say about her behaviour and appearance which had hindered her will to fight in a war that she wanted to win so badly. She did not deserve to be treated this way.

Questions like “How is she feeling inside? What has made her acted in such a way? Is her current condition the after effect of her parents’ parenting skills? Or is she raised by her guardians because she is an orphan?  Has she ever tried to overcome her insecurities as what I have analysed based on her behaviours and facial expressions?” began to hit me like bullets in my head.

(These questions were prompted based on the fact that our behaviour is normally shaped by our surrounding and upbringing as cited in

Behavioral involves assessment approach on observations, like on muscle tension ,vocalizations and facial expressions, these are acquired around the environment the person is growing in.)

I tried to imagine myself living her life but I couldn’t, obviously. I am not her. But I tried to understand her situation. I was being more empathetic rather than a judge at the time. I was no longer being judgemental or playing the role of a judge, who adjudicates a trial in court anymore.  I tried to put myself in her shoes. I imagined how she must be feeling, because like her, I am not always confident, I am not perfect, and I am bound to make mistakes. If we have never erred, we’re not humans.

To scorn her for being stupid, insecure and too cautious is morally wrong I believe.  Who bestow us the power to judge others? No one does. In fact, nobody is entitled to play judge. Only God knows what her heart truly speaks, what she is feeling inside.

Therefore, as humans, the best thing that we could do is to pray to Allah for everyone’s betterment, peacefulness and happiness in life and the hereafter for Allah is the Almighty.

“And your Lord says: Make duaa (supplicate) unto me, and I will respond and accept your duaa”. (Surah Ghaafir: Ayat 60)

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