Puitin's Reflections on Life (Ch.1)

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    Hi guys! This is my first post here. My name is Tina and I am from Hong Kong. I like thinking, A LOT, sometimes TOO MUCH, and recently I have been feeling eager to share my thoughts and to connect with people, so here I am. This is the first step of my little project – sharing my reflections on life, sorry in advance if things seem to be very fragmented.

    <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Chapter 1: We often get offered something in life, sometimes we like it, but sometimes we don’t and that’s okay.
    </span>(Possibly related to: relationships, self-respect and mutual respect, honesty and authenticity, selfishness VS selflessness, expectations/ assumptions VS reality, generosity, give and take)

    Suppose you receive an offer from a friend, it could be the case that –
    (a) you like it, you appreciate it, you take it
    (b) you feel uneasy or even unwilling to take it, but you still take it
    (c) you feel uneasy or even unwilling to take it, you reject the offer

    Possible reasons for (a)
    – It is exactly what you want
    – It is even better than what you have ever asked for

    Possible reasons for (b)
    – Out of respect to the giver
    – Out of gratitude
    – To protect the relationship, i.e. you are afraid that it will hurt the giver’s feeling if you reject
    – To protect your interest in the future, i.e. you are afraid that the possibility of receiving an offer again in the future will be lowered if you reject the offer this time

    Possible reasons for (c)
    – The offer is simply too much to take
    – Out of self-respect – to protect your present interest, i.e. you don’t think that the offer is given after taking into considerations YOUR interest, rather, it is made by the giver just to propagate how generous him/herself is
    – To protect the relationship, in this case, an emphasis is put on the level of honesty and authenticity in a relationship

    Case (a) – a perfect scenario.
    Case (b) – self-respect is sacrificed in order to save the relationship.
    Case (c) – self-respect is protected but there may be concerns for the giver’s feelings and the future development of the relationship.

    Whatever the case is, whether you choose to take it or reject it, it is all okay. Here, what matters more is how we express ourselves in a way that makes both parties feel respected and understood, so that the relationship is growing instead of declining.

    • Points to note:
      • Rejection does NOT equal to disparagement, ingratitude, ungratefulness or unappreciation
      • Self-respect and respect for others are not mutually exclusive, they CAN co-exist, if you CLEARLY EXPRESS yourself at the RIGHT TIMING
        • RIGHT TIMING – in case you want to reject, make sure you are not doing it after a long period of procrastination, which could make the other party feel like their offer is not valued or they are begging you to accept
          • Express your appreciation whether or not you are going to take the offer
          • If you feel comfortable to, explain why you don’t feel like taking the offer, how the offer has made you feel
          • Don’t be afraid that your brave and honest confession will hurt the other party (unless you are being very rude) – the ones who understand will understand, being honest is an act of self-respect and respect for others
          • Invite conversations on alternatives that have taken into account the interests of all the parties involved
        • Tricky point – assumptions
          • If you are the giver, don’t assume that your kind intentions will necessarily feel friendly to others, and don’t assume that a rejection to your offer is necessarily an impolite/ ungrateful response
          • If you are the taker, don’t assume that all offerings are made out of selflessness, and don’t assume that you have to take whatever is offered to be grateful even though it doesn’t make you feel comfortable to take it
          • Bear in mind that no one is obligated to act according to your assumptions – communication and understanding is the key!

    Feel free to share with me your thoughts on my project/ content/ anything! Thank you for your time!


    Dear Pui Tin:

    I like what you posted very much, an excellent chapter on give-and-take assertive communication. This is what it leaves me with: it is okay to reject a gift, but better do  it immediately, not procrastinating, and do it in a way that is not rude. When I give a gift to another and it is rejected, it doesn’t mean that I am rejected. It means that the gift is rejected, and that the thought of receiving it made the receiver uncomfortable.

    But what if the giver is the mother, giving a gift to her child, and the child feels uncomfortable, what is a child to do?


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