Thoughts

What is your bottom line?

Do you ever feel guilty about being blessed? How often do you board the train that takes you on a guilt-trip?

For Catholics, guilt comes easy. For an Asian Catholic, guilt comes even more easily. I am an Asian Catholic. It is expected that I will sometimes write about guilt as I did a little over a year ago when I posted ‘On being blessed: guilt and gratitude‘.

What does bottom line have to do with guilt and blessings?

Recent events I cannot share have brought me here. The bottom line comment from a colleague, whom I consider a friend (vs acquaintance), was my main takeaway from our discussion. She asked me what’s the bottom line for me? Isn’t it paying the bills?

Am I being a spoiled brat because, despite my situation, or the position where I find myself, with everything that goes with that position, and the privileges I enjoy, I still want to talk values? I’m asking for honesty and integrity.

Am I being self-righteous?

Are morals and values still fashionable? Do the modern people of this day and age still believe in ideals and ideologies?

Does it matter to me if the majority of people do not care about old-fashioned values, ideals, and ideologies?

Do I live in a dream world? I seek utopia. My naivety fails to see that there is no such world. I’m probably one of those people considered insane by society because I am not exactly how society, implicitly or expressly, dictates I should be.

Life is simple. Remember Paris and Nicole? No?

My life could be much simpler if I just turn a blind eye to the little injustices of the world, like favoritism.

After all, in the bigger scheme of things (as I titled this post a few days ago when I published it prematurely before I sent it back to drafts), there are worst injustices in the world: racism, sexism. We’re even ignoring murder, rape, child abuse, and molestation, etc.

My colleague friend has a point, right? So now, I feel guilty for wanting the values of fairness and equality amongst the plebeians. Yes, just among this class of people. My class of people.

You see, I accept that the patricians are entitled to much more (if not everything) than the plebeians do. It is but appropriate as all the “more” or “everything” belong to them, having been originally created by them, in their world, which they established and therefore rule. I am just struggling with the patricians playing favorites among the plebeians.

I am loosely using the two terms from ancient Roman times to distinguish the players. I like to say “plebs” in conversations, in jest. It sounds interesting so I will read more on the patricians and the plebeians.

Thanks, Google! Credit: DUCKSTERS

The plebeians are not all equal, clearly!

I must say though that I did get the honesty I wanted. Eventually. I’m just not sure about the integrity part. Probably not…

If only I had been privy to the details, to the truth, from the start… (although in hindsight, I should have paid attention to the signs, even those expressed from day one, but we see the good, blah, blah…)

My decision in February this year with respect to an offer made to me would have been different. My kind of stress would be the necessary kind as opposed to the opposite brought about by lack of structure and policies. This is why I am more upset than I should be, I suppose. I may believe in honesty and integrity, but I also believe in the virtue of selfishness. (Ayn Rand follower here.)

So, I get the whole “in the bigger scheme of things” stuff. There are worse in the world. The world is huge and nothing I do in my small world makes a dent in the whole wide world. The little difference I might make is insignificant and will make no difference… in the bigger scheme of things.

BUT…

Isn’t it that evil thrives or persists when the good allows it?

Isn’t it that we can only change the world one little action at a time?

Perhaps, I am naive. No one chooses honesty and integrity anymore.

To survive, we are taught to think and act in a certain way. Especially in business, we cannot be our true self. Women must learn to handle work stuff the way men do. The workplace does not welcome emotions. We want to be equal to men? Well, be tough!

I will not start a battle of the sexes. The whole point about equality is not turning ourselves into men to earn the same salary, and respect, in the business world. If we can deliver in the exact same way as men do, emotions or not, surely, we are worth the same.

After all, in the bigger scheme of things, what really are most important? What is/are most important to you?

WHAT IS YOUR BOTTOM LINE?

In the end, we are all going to die!

I don’t mean to sound morbid. It is a fact and I’m sure no one forgets that, although some people’s actions seem to prove otherwise.

In case we have forgotten this one little fact, here’s a reminder:

None of us will take with us to the next life, or afterlife, or final judgement (choose one, or two, or all) any of what we accumulate here on earth.

You may instruct those you leave behind to bury with you all your treasures, jewels, and money, etc., but are you really taking them with you?

Again, in the bigger scheme of things, what really is most important to you! What is your bottom line?

What legacy are you leaving?

How will the people who know you remember you? What do you want them to remember? Is that the picture you have in your head?

I don’t think that those who matter in my life will think I’m being a spoiled brat. I shouldn’t feel guilty for thinking what I do with the blessings I have. Surely.

Only you would know what’s right for you. No one can tell you what makes your heart happy or what gives you peace of mind.

It is your life!

May you have a good one!

Much love and hugs,

Anne J

14 thoughts on “What is your bottom line?

    1. Maybe we should think less…? If we can be more like the very young children… These days, it seems, even children from around 5 or 6 years of age already get confused, too.

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      1. The organizing is the difficult part. I used to keep a journal. It’s an outlet that helped me feel better. Conversations with others help, too. I think the profound is everything. 😁🤗

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  1. Hello Anne. Sorry for my slow response here. I read this yesterday, but I didn’t want to reply until I had the time to write something appropriate to the depth of the question. And it’s something I’ve thought about as well… much under the “Cambodia” category.

    Perspective-wise, I was raised in a Japanese/Buddhist environment within a fairly laid-back, American beach-town culture. Generosity and compassion was modeled, but “guilt” simply didn’t apply. I even missed out on the Japanese social pressure regarding group responsibility and conformity based in shame (part of the discussion regarding Rei Iida’s 300-meter crawl). But I do feel empathy, and that has proven a powerful motivator at times — sometimes frustratingly so.

    Much of everyone’s life is determined by simple dumb luck — where and when we’re born, physical conditions, environment, family, opportunity… Feeling guilty about that is pointless. But I do think there’s a certain ethic with regard to what one does with it… not to waste what was gifted, and not to abuse others. Past that, each person has to decide what’s “right” for herself. Perhaps a little Objectivist myself, in that regard.

    My legacy is merely to leave a few others with a little of my own good luck. Past that, navigating a dysfunctional American “machismo-industrial” culture in my twenties combined with three-years living in northern Thailand and Cambodia, and I’ve developed a hard-earned sense of pragmatism with regard to the limits of what one person can do… even a patrician.

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    1. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful feedback. Your input always means a lot, and thus, I am even more sorry that I am only responding now. I went back to work on Monday…

      I must say that your comments always stimulate my brain. I do get my share of thought-provoking discussions with some people at work but I think we still limit how much we share of the authentic us. 😜

      I am slightly jealous of your no-guilt-trips growing up years 😋. But yes, I do get what you’re saying. Feeling guilty is pointless. I do feel less of it but getting rid of it completely is a tall order, I think, even after going through the landmark forum workshop. Perhaps, slowly, but surely. At some point, I even turned to body talk. At least, I don’t easily rest and I am all for constant changing of self for the better.

      I love your legacy. I guess, it’s not too different from what I hope to do. Despite not having as much as what many have, having been raised the way I was, I know I’m still pretty blessed and using the little I have, I hope to make a difference, even small, in the life of each of the souls I encounter. I just need to not let my ego lead so I can fully accept that what I can do will probably be not much and it’s okay.

      There are still a lot more though that can be done by the majority of those who can but they don’t… I think. However, since it’s not my business, I’ll just work on accepting that reality. 😊

      Thank you so very much again for your input. 🤗

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  2. When one has high levels of empathy ( as the writer so obviously possesses ) , it’s immediately clear that she will often have these battles in her mind , because yet again her nobililty gets the better of her.
    The world is not a fair place and justice is not a given.
    Favoritism and all those similar words and connotations , are merely the luck of that individual ( warranted or not does not matter )
    I would say that we should be quietly grateful that we fall into the fortunate category … Because a lot of what we have and are exposed to is just our lot in life.
    There is no sense to the world .
    For whatever reason … We are all living the life that was meant for us…

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    1. Thank you so much, Niles. Your faith in me means a lot. I appreciate your support and encouragement.

      About the world, we must still strive to leave it better than when we found it, right?

      And I know… what happens is the best that could have happened at that particular time; it’s meant to be. I believe though that sometimes, we also need to build a bridge, and cross it, to [get to] our destiny.

      Restless spirit… purpose…

      We must use the talent we’re given so we may end up with more than what we started with.

      😊🤗

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