HAVE you ever noticed how sometimes the sound of a baby crying could irk you, and sometimes you think, “Oh, poor baby.”
Or sometimes when you’re driving you could be annoyed by the sound of honking, and sometimes you just accept it as a background sound?
Sometimes your cat gets in the way, sometimes it’s the cutest little kitty on the planet.
I think this means that someone or something cannot directly cause you to be triggered unless you have been carrying that thought in your head.
If it really was the “noisy crying baby” or “bodoh punya pemandu lori” that caused you to be angry, then every single crying babies in the world and all lorry drivers should make you angry. But you and I know that’s not the case.
For example, if you had been thinking of the bad customer service experience you had at 8 AM in the morning, even at 4 PM on the way home, if you were still thinking about it, everything was going to seem like a bad experience that “ruined your day”. If a cute guy smiled at you despite you not wearing make-up at 9 AM on the train, and you kept thinking about it, even at 12 noon when the receptionist spilled coffee on you, and at 6 PM when of all the people the bird chose your shoulder as its toilet, you are going to shrug it off because in your mind is still that cute guy smiling at you, which had “boosted your start of the day.”
You see, according to this nobody’s observations, what we experience is a result of our own thinking. That we live in our own thoughts that create our reality. Our thoughts are not real, but they can create our reality.
This also means that there’s no such thing as a ‘bad day’. It’s just your thought thinking that way. If you’re thinking of generosity, all of your actions are going to be guided by generosity. If you’re thinking of a bad experience, everything else is going to seem like a bad experience.
When you understand this, you’ll also understand that nobody is out to get you. You will also start seeing that everybody else is living and behaving in accordance to what’s in their heads. The thoughts talking to them that they are not aware of.
Because you understand this, you develop compassion towards them. Compassion also comes with empathy. You plant words of kindness for them instead of reacting.
I’ve written about this in my book: one time I was just at a bus stop and a woman suddenly glared at me, saying “Saya tak suka orang yang berpakaian macam awak.” I’m a simple dresser, really. Nothing fancy. She continued, “Orang yang berpakaian macam awak selalu pandang rendah dekat saya.” I smiled at her, and sat with her to listen to the rest of her story. Her guard went down and she chatted with me happily. I understood that she really wasn’t attacking me personally. She probably had an experience on replay in her head: that everyone who dressed like me was going to look down on her. That’s not true at all, but it was true to her. After all, we all have our own versions of the truth.
Imagine if I had walked out of the house stepping on dog poo, I would be angry at that “stupid dog!” for pooping there. Then I would go to the bus stop and have that woman say such things about me, and I would go “Perempuan gila tak sedar diri!”, and she retaliates, and so on and so on. It’s a cycle that’s going to continue if you keep thinking about it. You create your own reality.
I remember Hafiz Latiff asking me, “How do you deal with what people say about you not going to school?” I was so confused, and I didn’t know how to answer that. Why would I ever want to deal with what people want to think of me? Everybody lives in their own thinking and if I want to level my thoughts with theirs, what would I get? Satisfied, “proved them wrong” kinds of feelings? And for what? When I tell people “I didn’t complete my formal education”, a person who is thinking of the zest of life and endless opportunities might go, “Ah, interesting.” A person who is anxious thinking about his own future might go, “Oh no that’s very stupid of you.” When I don’t think about the what-ifs, or what would people say, I am psychologically free.
So I’m going to end this with a quote I see a lot on Twitter, original source unknown, but it goes something like this:
“Sis, jangan triggered sangat boleh?”
Live in the past, you get depressed.
Live in the future, you get anxious.
Live in the moment, …go find out what happens