Are you well?
These past weeks have been so rewarding and productive for me, I can’t thank Buddha enough.
So one of the most valuable lessons I have learned during this trip – “Rendah Hati”, which in English means “Humble”. Simple word, is it not? Yet we take it so much for granted. I certainly do, but not today, not any more.
Here’s my story:
It was our second day in Indonesia. I was still feeling tired, a bit jet lag and very very excited to be in the Paradise. Then I thought I had my day almost ruined when my nenek (grandma) approached me saying: “want to accompany me to uncle Yosef and aunt Leni’s house?”
Here’s some insight, before we move on to the next part of the story – my nenek has some lovely neighbours, those whom we have known for years and years. Uncle Sef and aunt Leni are a few of them. However, their daughter and I had some big differences back in the days. Let’s just say we weren’t each other’s favourite person in the world. That is, just until recently.
But how could I say “no” to my nenek? I never could, never can and never will. To her, my answer will always be “yes” even if she asks me for the moon, stars or universe. So, I naturally said yes to her request. I took almost 2 hours to get ready, in hope that she would change her mind and forget about the visit altogether. Well, she did not, she patiently waited for me to get ready and there we went, on our way to visit my swore nemesis.
I thought to myself “maybe it’s time to put it behind us? I mean what was the true reason for our mutual dislike? I bet neither she nor I can even remember it. But if she gives me the face, I will give her the face too!” – I was fighting between what I knew was right and what my pride thought it was right.
We arrived, uncle and auntie always so polite and genuine, greeted and welcomed us into their home. Deep down I was hoping she was not at home. Deep down I was tired of holding that grudge against her so if we couldn’t make peace with each other, at least it would be a good idea to just stay away from each other.
“I’m in the enemy territory. Watch out for any attacks!” – I thought to myself, because that’s how I felt, in a true battlefield.
She came out and unlike the previous times when we had our usual (unpleasant) encounters, she was…nice. Of course, me being me, I automatically thought “be aware, that’s one of her tricks, she might attack sooner or later”. So I was nice too and greeted her with a hug.
When we hugged, I felt that her hug was sincere and mine was not. How could it be? It’s her, the girl who was mean to me, correct? “Oh she’s good, she can act well”. Turns out she wasn’t acting at all!
We talked and socialise between us five. Between all smiles, all of them were real but mine. I was trying to read her all the time and I saw no fake or dishonest smile and words coming from her. On the contrary, the fake smile and fake “nice” words, came from me and me only. I didn’t want to be nice to her, I thought she didn’t deserve it.
So as we were left on our own, I “confronted” her – “I thought you hated me. I’m not buying it, it’s okay if you don’t like me, I’m fine with it, I don’t even care”. Don’t I sound like a spoiled teenage brat just there? I’m 24, mind you and that’s how I acted just a few days back.
She said – “No, I actually like you, honestly I do! I never saw anything wrong with you, apart from that you’re good and I am too! And I couldn’t have that back in the days so I decided to have you and see you as a competitor”. These were more or less her words. Turns out she had lost her grandmother just last year and found comfort with my grandmother and oh how one can learn so much with that lady! You’d be surprised.
I realised the feeling was mutual. I just wanted everything she had, and I wished she wasn’t as good as she in fact was. Then I grew up and didn’t care any more but decided I should carry on not liking her, without any apparent reason because it then became a (bad) habit.
“Well I was rude to you now. Why are you being so nice? Did you hit your head or something?” – I had to say that because unfortunately I still couldn’t trust the genuine goodness in her.
Thankfully, she was sharp in her answer so that made me believe in her, because I know her well enough now and saw there was still that personality of hers in her – “Well that is your problem, not mine! It’s you who has to work on that because I can only work on myself. Just because you’re rude to me doesn’t mean I have to be rude back. The way I act reflects on me just like the way you choose to act only reflects on you”.
How would I know the biggest lesson learned so far would come from my former nemesis? That’s the power of Tao.
I don’t think I have ever patch things up with an “enemy” before. I simply choose to forget about their existence. I have had may lessons on being humble and humility while growing up and I still think I’m a good person. But I was practising my “good” in a very incorrect and selfish way and the lessons were learnt in the wrong way, I used to choose how, where and with whom I’d be humble with. I thought I had the right to pick who deserved it and who didn’t. Oh I was so wrong! You can’t “choose” how/where/when/with whom you’re humble, you can only “be” humble.
And this lesson I was only able to learn it with her. This young woman, whom I’m not ashamed to say I look up to now, taught me a valuable lesson and made an effort with me. She didn’t have to, I didn’t deserve it. But she still did and that makes me feel special because it shows that even the arrogant, selfish, judgemental me is worth of a friendship with her.
“Happiness will follow…”