One day, I asked my parents about a memory I had from my childhood.
I have a memory that I was lying on a bed at maternal grandparents’ place, hooked to IV fluid without any other stimulus. I remember that I hated those times because I wasn’t allowed to move or do anything for hours. I had nothing available to kill my time. I am talking about more than 30 years ago when we had no mobile phones. Every now and then, someone would pass by and ask how I was feeling. I remember I always replied ‘I am fine’ and asked them to get me out of the bed. Obviously, they said ‘no’.
So when I asked my mother why, she said that I was a relatively healthy child but every now and then I had middle-ear infection. When that happens, I would have high fever for days so they had to hook me to IV fluid. Eventually, occurrence of middle-ear infection reduced. I become healthier.
For my health wellbeing, my mum asked me to try some Chinese herbal medicine. I hated it because of time it takes for preparation, smell, and taste. I rather have western medication as pills that you can take it in a go. However, I understand western medication are much stronger for quick fix while Chinese medication are slower but has more holistic approach. The problem is that Chinese medication are bitter. When I complain its bitterness to my mum she would say:
Good medicine tastes bitter.Chinese Proverb
“So if you can taste its bitterness, it proves itself that it is a good medicine”. I didn’t believe her at all. Only decades later, I understand why it is bitter but it doesn’t mean I become a great fan of them.
I have heard similar phrase in the society as well. This time it wasn’t a medicine but sincere words from those care for you. Although some of these words are very painful when you first hear it.
Good medicine is bitter to the mouth, but has an effect on the disease.
Faithful words hurt one’s ears, but have value for one’s conduct.Nobushige Takeda
Let me give you an example.
I probably was a typical first born child. Well, to some degree I still possess such character. I led the troop (my brother and sister, both younger than me) for obedience. I didn’t hesitate to say whatever I think it is right to say. I believed I knew the world etc.
One day my brother said “You think that you had all the hardest thing happen to you such as expectations from parents. It doesn’t mean that those responsibilities are more than what we experience as younger ones. We have our own challenges that you never experienced.” I was quite shocked. As the eldest one, I thought I had so much on my shoulder that I had to look after them. It never occurred to me that they had things on their shoulders too. This probably was the first time I tried to put myself in others’ shoes.
As I grow up, I then realised the differences between first born and other child. For me, it was easier to make decisions and move on. For my brother/sister, it was easier to follow. Sometime, I struggle to follow the lead. We had tried to swapped our roles. We both struggled.
One day, my brother was facilitating a meeting and I was just a participant. I had so unsatisfied of how he facilitated a meeting. However, I was aware it wasn’t my place to comment on how he facilitate. It was his challenge rather than mine.
I am not resilient in receiving critiques or nonconstructive feedback. However, I learnt to listen and evaluate before I take them in. I will ponder for few days to weeks, asking around, seeking for a sensible resolution to me.
Are you taking in any good medicine?
How did that medicine helped you?
What did you learn from those medicine?