Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Traditionally Human Nature: A Peanut Forgetting Its Shell

There is an old Indonesian saying: "A peanut who forgets its shell". It means a person who has risen up to power, fame or wealth, then let all of those supposedly good blessings get into his head, turn him into a snob and arrogant person, make him forget that afterall, he is still a mere mortal.

Over the years, on TV, on the news, in the history books, all around me, I learned that it's actually human nature to have this "peanut forgetting its shell" tendency.
Well, let's see.

From history books, we read that over thousands of years, mighty kings, rulers, emperors, pharaohs, rose and fell. Now read today's news. It still rings true today.

We learned about the famous sirens, queens, and courtesans of the past, the magnificent women who captured the hearts of powerful men and twisted them around their pretty little fingers: Cleopatra, Cora Pearl, Sophia Baddeley, etc. What happened to them at the end of their days? Now look at today's celebrities. Especially YOUNG celebrities. Some of them who are famous just for being famous. Sometimes their only claims of fame is just a leaked sex tape.

There are still many more examples.

Question: how many of these supposedly blessed people, when they are at the top, still can maintain their true sense of self? Maybe not many. Or maybe there are more than we thought. Nevertheless, in my personal humble opinion, it is a very difficult task.

It's so easy to judge. Whenever I read a piece of news about the most recent Lindsay Lohan's act, I'm tempted to think smugly: "If I were at her place, I'd never do something so stupid. She's young, and beautiful, and talented, and rich, yet she's so self destructive. Who needs a drink when one has what she has?"

Well, of course, if I were at her place, perhaps I'd be just as confused as she is. When you are at the top of the mountain, the view looks very beautiful indeed. But at the same time, everything you see becomes surreal and blur. You cannot see clearly that there are rocks and puddles and deep holes and traps down there.

Let's see in a much smaller scale. Let's say in my case, at work place. Since the very first day of my professional career, I've been taught these two golden rules: "Rule number one: the boss can do no wrong. Rule number two: if the boss is wrong, see rule number one."

Well, if you are a working girl like me, you will know what I mean. Anyone with subordinate, whether only one or one hundred thousand, will have this tendency to think that he or she is always right. Why? Well, look at the rule. More often than not, a boss, especially if he or she is a charismatic leader, will be surrounded by "yes men" or "yes women". When you are the boss, these 'yessers' will agree to everything you say, right or wrong. If you say that the cat is blue, they will nod. If you say the sky is green, they will say yes, indeed the sky is green. If you say "I want your lunch!", they will give them to you and will do without eating.

Another scenario. Let's say, later when I become a wife and a mother. There's a saying: "If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy." Also this one: "Happy wife, happy husband." Well, if that's so, how easy it would be for me to get convinced that what I think and what I want is the best for the whole family? When perhaps the whole family want other things, but won't say a word because they just want Mommy to be happy! What does my husband want, really, really want? Perhaps all the time he only complies with what I want! Now, THAT is dangerous!

I really love these little heart-shaped earrings! They make me smile...
I thought about this long and hard, and I realized, that I myself, at some point, has been in both positions. For example, if I disagree with my boss, I would take very great measure to say it in the most pleasant and polite way. If he snaps, well, forget about it, I will just shut my mouth and let him be. And I did that to my boss, there is a great possibility that my subordinates also defer to me in a similar way. And if it is so, how do I know when I'm doing something wrong, when everyone around me always nod their heads in unison and agree that I'm right and tell me how smart I am?

Well, there is also a saying: "A nail that stucks up will be hammered down." It means, if you don't want to get hammered down, you'd better lay low with all the other nails. There are times when I really want to stand up tall and straight and shout from the rooftop: "You're wrong!" However, I also know that sometimes, it is wiser to be silent and wait. Wait for what? For the right moment to speak up, of course! Afterall, there is also a saying in the Bible:

"There is an appointed time for everything."
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

The world is not always in black and white. Forcing your way to rightness on everybody else is missing the point entirely.

And if you happen to be at the top, or in somehow superior positions, what can you do? What can I do?

"As special each and every one of us is, we, afterall, are mere mortals. We were born naked. We make mistakes. We get sick. We grow old. We were made of dust, and someday, you, me, all of us, will return to dust."

And that's a very humbling thing to remember. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of that today.

Batik shirt (tucked in): Barata Batik (pesisiran batik). Black wrap skirt: tailored. Taupe swing jacket: DKNY. Red heart-shaped earrings: Claire's Store (USA). Red obi belt (worn backwards): Mom's (vintage). Copper-color purse: Guess (thrifted, an ex coworker sold it to me). Copper-color heels: Yongki Komaladi. Bracelets: Shanghai

Linking up to:


Lynne DeVenny said...

So chic. I want that purse! :)

I really admire your empathy for Lindsay, who seems to be doing everything in her power to do make so many poor decisions, despite being given so many gifts. I quite frankly worry about that child.

As far as having subordinates, I think it's important to develop good listening skills, and to accept that just because someone is doing something differently that you would, it's not necessarily wrong.

GirlieBlogger@Beauty Fashion Blog Seattle said...

That's a good saying. Never heard of it, but makes sense. I hope I never lose my shell.

Great outfit. Very chic and pretty.

Beauty Fashion Blog Seattle
Cheap Makeup Reviews

Ms. Kathleen said...

I love your outfit, so sharp yet very pretty, day to night look. Those earrings also make me smile :)

I think the best kind of boss is one that has a servants heart. Jesus always had a servants heart and you are so right that a boss must listen to everyone else or how do they know if they are doing wrong or if their workers are happy? You are very wise. I am sure your subordinates love having you for a boss.

Have a wonderful day.

Style Mentor™ said...

I like your outfit today, especially the pops of red. When it comes to life, I like to remind myself that I am similar to a worm. The worm lives in the ground and that is where I will be someday too, so in reality, I am no better than the worm. This idea keeps me grounded. :-)

k@ye said...

I enjoyed reading your post and adoring your outfit as well. Those were the days when I'm still working and get all dolled up everyday. And guess what, you remind me so much of my previous co worker. She is so chic, pretty and such a tall woman! :)

Well, I must person is always on top in all aspects in life. :) I hope you have a great weekend!

Lissa @ The Looking Glass said...

great, great thoughts! thank you for sharing! found you via the link up and am excited to follow along xo

Shannon said...

Love your style! I just discovered your blog through the Woestman's linky party and I'm so glad I did, I love it!

Sandy a la Mode said...

loving all the pops of red! :)

Patti said...

You're very wise, I think, to be contemplating how to handle these sensitive situations. And you look lovely as well, with your splash of red. Love that purse!

Kathleen Lisson said...

I appreciate your philosophy on life.

Kimberly said...

I love your purse!!

Erica Louise said...

Always enjoy seeing your outfits, thank you for continuing to link up to Recycled Fashion Finds!

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