Sunday, July 3, 2016

Random thoughts: Putting ourselves in others' shoes?

I think we have all heard the above phrase before. 

Can we? Really?

If we can't see ourselves clearly. We can't.

Recently, my wife and MIL have been trying very hard to console someone close to them to snap out of her depression and her negativity.

Usually the person get on my MIL's nerves by being too negative and grouchy. While I feel that her predicaments are largely due to her own earlier actions, I cannot quite agree with some of the comments made by my wife and MiL.

When we are low in our life, some of us wallow in sorrow for a while and stand up. But there are others who cannot wake up.

I dun agree that she is depressed and sucidal, but I do think she is sick mentally and she need help. 

I tried cajoling her to do chanting at temple and borrow books for her to read. No use. I told my MIL to advise her to see a counsellor whom I know. I think she is mentally sicked. 

While I believed my MIL have good intentions, her words are neither hardly kind enough for one to feel love or harsh enough for one to wake up. And they complain loudly why is she like that. Having being through a rough period, I am not sure if myself, or my MIL or my wife can be any better if they are in her shoes? I should not take so long to snap out of it, I think.

Easy to say, difficult to put oneself in other shoes.

When I was 6 or 7, I remembered my brother having fever in the middle of the night. All the clinics were closed and my mum brought me and my brother to walk all the way to balestiar to see a 24 hour parkway hospital. 

When told consultation fees after mid-night is $60, my mum left without allowing my bro to seek treatments and scolded him harshly.

I felt that my mum dun love us enough and was very stingy with money.

It was only very recently, when I walk past the building again, and recalled this incident again ( dun ask me why).

I suddenly understand. She might not have $60 with her then. She must be very frustrated with the situation and not knowing how to manage it, ended up scolding my brother.

If I have no money for my son to see a doctor, I think I will feel super miserable. 

It took me 30 years to put myself in her shoes.

Who said empathy is easy 


  1. Hi SI,

    I look forward to recalling such incidents when I am a parent myself. I think it's one full cycle to come back to realise why our parents did what they did to us back then. It'll be an interesting experience.

    I follow someone's advice - you can complain/whine/play victim for 5 mins, then stop feeling sorry for yourself and move on. That's it, 5 mins. I'm been using that for the longest time and it works.

    1. Hi LP,

      5 minutes ?? I doubt u even need those 5 minutes. It's the awareness and mindfulness that count. I think I can give her 50 minutes to play victim also no use

  2. Mental Depression is real.
    i am sure all living human beings have experienced it.
    Only some have very mild depressions and can snap out of it.
    Those who have severed to very severed may entertain sucidal thoughts.
    In fact they usually do.

    It's very difficult for a "normal" person to understand a person suffering from deep depression.

    You can dig deeply on the topic of depression but you can never feel what a depressed person feels.
    You can only read up and learn all you want about depression still you can not put yourself in that depressed person's shoes.
    You only learn what not to say and how best to give your support to him or her who is suffering deep depression.

    And who can really understand fully how our brains works.
    It's all chemicals working in our brain.
    And the drugs administered are chemicals too.

    Who really knows DNA, Genetic, &/or Environments, Events, etc.... cause a person to suffer depression????

    Please choose your words carefully when speaking to them.
    Why do you think we have IMHs all over the World till today.
    It's really something what i like to think or say, "It's beyond Human Understanding".
    So at least be kind to them(depressed persons).
    And don't ever think you will never be like them.

    1. Hi, uncle temperament,

      Indeed it is difficult to put one shoes in someone under depression unless we have been through that too.

      However, I still do not think she is depressed, I think she has mental denial. She is still going for overseas trip, still hankers over fame, dress herself up nicely.

      Of course, I might be too harsh here.

      I am not really close to her, so I can't "help" him. Just some advice on the side.

      No one is "unkind" to her, she is like queen now Liao lor

    2. Oh i see.
      Then Shalom to you & family.

  3. There is a saying: 'By the time a man realizes his father is right, he probably has a son who thinks he is wrong.'

    Your story about your Mum refusing a medical treatment for your brother is poignant. I went through that stage of life.

    I agree with temperament. Every individual is different.

    1. Hi Anon,

      Sigh.. I guess any parents hate going through that situation, unable to pay for medical treatment of children.

      My dad was lamenting about the lack of money in early days and how we have progress. But he is still very thrifty. He has skins allergy, and I bough I special soap for him but he insist of finishing the earlier one first

  4. Hi SI,

    I feel that it is easy to put our self into the other party shoe. But it is difficult for us to fully comprehend why they feel the way they did when face with the same situation.

    Everyone DNA is just different and I do not think any two person emotional reaction to the same situation can ever be exactly the same.

    I am a born optimist and cheerful person while my fiancee is on the opposite end. Despite being granted a better set of card from fate, she still whines a lot and require constant dose of optimism from me in order to achieve emotional equilibrium:p

    Throughout our 10years r/s, I have tried brainwashing and counseling her multiple times to no avail. But I can't give up and leave her to her own devices because I love her (okay don't puke ah!).

    So perhaps like me, your wife and MIL do have some love left for that someone close too?

    1. hi PP

      tell you a secret, I used to have the same problem. We also quarrelled until we talk about "divorce"

      As years goes by, she became less whiny as work made her get a dose of reality and I became more understanding. Just let her let off steam lor, if wifey cannot let off steam in front of husband, whats use is a husband.

      If I really cannot tahan... i got secret weapon! I become very drama and scold her "friend, nasty boss or colleague" or whoever she is bitching. Join the crowd, became very agaited and see "wa lau, why like that... you should have blar blar.. xi wa buay lun (If I were you, I could not take it)... SHe usually mellow down after that


    2. Hahah thanks SI for your wise words.

      I'll keep them in mind. Have to improve my acting skill in order to emulate your secret weapon:p

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