Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Pushover

I have a dear friend who openly uses derogatory terms to refer to people and/or social groups who violate human rights and/or disturb public order. He said these people deserve it and that no other term could suit them better. Although I do agree that some people are menace to society, I still disagreed with the means. My argument was that it induces more hatred and the domino effect continues. We finally agreed that it takes various types of people to make the world go round.

Then last night, I talked to another dear friend about how, although we see eye to eye on almost every other thing in life, we respond in such different ways to the same 'stimulant' when it comes to offense. When being treated unfair verbally, she fights back. Not necessarily to inflict pain, more to defend herself from further harm. When someone does the same thing to me, I would perhaps apologise for causing pain.

Whenever I face an emotional conflict, I cannot help but think about how everyone, in-exclusively, are products of how they were raised. How we respond emotionally to certain things (as emotions are raw reactions to social stimulation - different from premeditated logical thinking), are inextricably linked with how our identities were (are) constructed. That some of us respond a certain way because it's the only way we know how.

Maybe they were denied education (or received too much of it to avoid becoming cynical), maybe they were never hugged by their parents, maybe they have seen too much suffering to believe in humanity. Or maybe, like my friend, they were just trying to protect themselves.

Considering all these possibilities, I cannot muster the will to harbour any resentment. I figure that like me, they're only trying to do their best in life with the tools they have and the perspective they've adopted.

And so I continue to apologise, sometimes rightly so, sometimes only to make things worse.

Because, perhaps, it's also the only way I know how.


colson said...

Of course you're: good manners and a gentle approach is the civilized way. Admittedly it is hard to always stick to that kind of behaviour. Well, to me it is. Yet you are absolutely right; apart from bad manners, being rude and aggressive usually is counter-productive most of the times also.

However sometimes, just sometimes one or two bullies should not have their way. Perhaps in stead of apologies it would be better for them to be confronted. They may even benefit from people who tell them the ( inconvenient) truth straight in their faces. Even with strong language if need be :P.

Inaya Rakhmani said...

Yes, exactly. I think both approaches are needed in different contexts or cases. I find it hard to disagree with any of your opinions.

mer said...

i understand where you came from. you're right, all of us is a product of how we're raised. i, too, tend to internalize anger and apologize to deal with conflicts, even when i know i don't do anything wrong (and more so when i feel guilty). yet, life experience can lead us to a slightly different place. i found myself reacted differently, albeit only a slight, recently... and people told me they're happy that i stood up for myself without confrontation.

i bet you, too, often find yourself, while rooted in that 'similar construct', reacting differently overtime.

p.s. oot, but i wonder whether you'd be interested in contributing to: http://www.internetworkingindonesia.org/cfp_deadlines.html
as your work would be a perfect contribution.... thanks.

Inaya Rakhmani said...

Teh Mer, I do react differently in different context. But the general trend remains 'the pushover'. Yes! I am planning to submit an article to IIJ with Endah Triastuti (Titut). I hope co-writing is allowed.

mer said...

pushover, i have no problem with it :)
perhaps it depends how much you push ;)
yes. co-writing is allowed, thanks!