Saturday, 17 December 2011

Right livelihood.

We live in a world full of people who have impacted our lives. People, who feed us, teach us, help us, love us and give us opportunities to grow. Not all of them are obliged or paid to do those things for us.

To those people that had helped us unconditionally in the past; we may not always have the opportunities and means to repay their kindness. Some suggested paying forward, but others wonder when, where, who and how to pay forward. Rather than cracking our head, Tara Taylor (Source: suggested using "we" as our approach when we need to make a decision.

Approaching and making decisions in life with "we" as the major consideration is crucial. If we continue to make decisions with "I" as their core consideration, there will be a day when people around us will see our true colour, our self-centered approach and selfishness. They will ultimately stop helping, supporting and cooperating with us.

"we" = they + you + him + her + I.

That's right. Not just you, him, her and not just helping one person at the expense of others around the person. Consideration ought to be given to the well-beings of others around the person you are helping. Is there any severe implication resulting from your action? When helping others in need, we tend to overtly focus on the person and forget about the implication of others resulting from our action.

I remembered in the year 2000, a friend ever shared his experience in befriending a young ex-offender serving his home detention part of his sentence. One night, his phone rang at 2am in the middle of the night. It was from the boy he was befriending. With a tired, emotionally unstable and crying voice, the boy told my friend that he was out, took drug and had broke his curfew to be home by 8pm. Knowing the boy came from a dysfunctional family, is isolated and does not have any one to turn to for help (the reason why he called my friend, even when he is well aware that my friend may report him), my friend's heart soften upon hearing his plead for help.

My friend struggled over the phone and ultimately found the determination to tell the boy that he will call the Ops Support Helpline, report his offence and advice him to surrender himself to his reporting officer. He shared that it was a difficult decision he had to make because he ended up not helping the boy. The decisive factor for reporting the boy is the importance between giving the boy a chance and the safety of the general public, the "we". The boy had committed an offence and therefore, should receive the consequences and not be sheltered. Moreover, being emotionally unstable and on drug, put the boy at a higher chance of causing harm to others around him. He said that he felt good making that choice; else he would never be able to sleep well knowing that his intention to help the boy may result in others' sufferings.

While we always say that we should help others without any expectation for returns, this is almost impossible. If we continue to help others without considerations for ourselves, we were ultimately burnt out and give up helping others all together. Before we even committed to an action, we need to ask ourselves if we are willing, have the means and ability to take the action. Then, we need to ask if the action taken by us will benefit us. The benefits we choose to receive might not necessary be tangible. It can be the satisfaction we get after the action, or even the happiness we felt after seeing the smile on the faces of those whom our action makes an impact on their life. 

Let’s all practice the right livelihood. If we are not able to help others, if we are not able pay forward, if we are not able to ensure that our decision benefits everybody, let’s just ensure that nobody suffers resulting from the decisions we made.

So anybody out there willing to made a decision that benefits me? ;P~