Triond Articles

Aug 22, 2011

Hunger Management...


Human behaviour., originally uploaded by Zawezome.

I'm not really going to talk about how to end hunger in the world. Just telling here an amusing story that could have turned tragic, but I thank God that I was reminded of important lessons instead.

I've mentioned before that on weekdays, I have breakfast with my colleagues at around 9 am. It's the breakfast club, as I would call it. On ordinary days, one of us, whoever couldn't contain the pang of hunger, would call out and say the magic words: "Let's eat!" That is then followed by a frenzy of preparing the plates, spoons, forks and not to forget my cup of coffee. No breakfast is ever complete without that. This morning is a little bit different from the usual.
One of my breakfast mates was already carrying the stack of plates and her baon (packed food) for the day. She sat...uh, but more of like slumped on the chair and she dumped the plates unceremoniously on the table and said and in all grumpiness "Aren't you going to eat?"  If that is what's going to greet you in the morning and you're in a bad mood yourself, a cat fight would have ensued. Good thing for me that I am in a more tolerating mood so I simply said "Be right there," and proceeded with preparing my cup of coffee. While we were eating, I wasn't talking much at first, just concentrating on my food and pretending to be pondering on what the other two were discussing. But I was actually letting her grumpiness subside as I knew it would. She is really edgy and grumpy when her stomach's growling...very low tolerance for hunger, I would say.


We were always told to be honest in our dealings, that we should always let people see us for who and what we are. My good friend always emphasizes on transparency, more like wearing your heart on your sleeves. I suppose that is workable with people who know us in a deeper and more personal way such as with our own families and close friends. Being too honest with our emotions, however, can also be disadvantageous, particularly in the work place. Had I been in a foul mood that morning, I don't know how I would have reacted.


I have learned two important things from my mentors and close friends at work. One is to maintain your composure and try to understand where the person is coming from. In other words, don't collide head on. You got to learn to zoom out a bit and see things from an objective view. Too often, we take offense on people's behavior without realizing that the person is not angry at us but is just upset over something.


The other lesson is that of controlling one's emotions and putting it in the right context. We may be angry with one person (or our grumbling stomachs), but we don't have to take it out on others as well. My mentor would say that one has to wear different faces when dealing with different people. It's not really being deceptive but more of being fair to all people. It's not difficult when we're happy, we can smile at everyone. But if we are upset, it's hard to put even a straight face. But I would rather have a hard time trying to straighten my frown than risk offending people who have no idea what's going on with me. It's harder to apologize and explain things later when I am sober.


To my colleague, a better way of handling her "stressful plight" would have been simply telling us that she's already very hungry and therefore pissed off so we better eat, otherwise hell would break lose. Of course, we all have different tolerance levels and different things that piss us off. I think what we need to understand is that not all people would always understand us. That said, I suppose we should take efforts to restrain our emotions and not let it get the better of us.

All is well and by the middle of our breakfast, we were all chatting like nothing happened. Ah, nothing like a happy stomach, don't you agree?




"A soft answer turneth away wrath;but grievous words stir up anger."
Proverbs 15:1 (KJV)

5 comments:

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