Written by Dr. Ng Wai Sheng
Translated by Siau Xin Yi and Ng Wai Sheng
Image by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash
Recently, I came across a newspaper article: a celebrity politician was finally released after spending more than a decade in prison, and his wife, who fought tirelessly on his behalf, is now a Minister of Parliament (MP). During a press interview, the politician made a joke about his wife, stating that she used to walk behind him when he was an MP; but since she became an MP, he now has to follow her lead and accompany her to various activities. He further joked about how his wife was upset with his lack of cooperation.
As I was reading, I felt a chill in my heart… This politician, who possesses high education and often talked about his ideals of national reform, is in fact, quite feudalistic in his thinking. He took for granted that his wife should be his follower, while supporting his wife is something laughable. Perhaps he has forgotten the fact that, it was his wife who has fought for him and with him in the political front line in the past twenty years, so that he might enjoy his freedom today!
In Cantonese, “fan-guat-zai” (反骨仔) refers to a traitor who is disloyal and betrays the trust given to him/her through backstabbing behaviors. Those who betray are usually discontented about their status quo, and would go to the extent of breaking promises and destroy relationships for their own interests.
Being betrayed may be part and parcel of life’s journey. Nevertheless, we have to ask ourselves: have we ever done anything that – intentionally or unintentionally – betrays others? The unnerving part is: one can never fully foresee what one would choose at the most critical moment.
What is foreseeable, however, is that people with scarcity mentality are especially susceptible to falling into the vortex of betrayal. Essentially, the scarcity mentality says: I don’t have enough, I am not good enough, I am not contented!
Contrary to that, what we really need is abundance mentality. If we could remind ourselves regularly that “I AM ENOUGH”, there is no need to betray anyone. A heart filled with contentment and gratitude is a sincere and kind heart.
On hindsight, I realize that those past experiences of being betrayed have shaped me, to some extent, in becoming the person that I am today. Unwittingly, the betrayers may have been “dark angels” who were sent to help me grow through painful encounters. Whilst I am not thankful for the pain itself, I am grateful though for those maturing life experiences.
These life experiences also serve as a constant reminder for myself, as I know that I can possibly become a traitor or betrayer at any time. People who have been hurt, will hurt others. If I don’t pay attention to my pain from the past, and if forgiving and forgetting were mere talk and no action – then I’ll always be a time bomb. Under stress or temptation, I will likely turn into the next traitor or betrayer!
On the other hand, do we then stop trusting people because of our past experiences of being betrayed? Do we close off our hearts, or refuse to nurture and support people around us, given our past hurts? I imagine as I review my life choices at my deathbed, I would rather be the idiot who got betrayed a lot of times, than the smart person who betrays others. Even if I know this might cause me to again, be hurt, betrayed, and backbitten, I would still prefer to risk doing something meaningful during my lifetime.
Jesus had twelve disciples. One of them sold him out to the enemy who wanted to arrest him, while the rest fled and deserted him. The human heart is complex and not always predictable. In any interpersonal relationships, we can switch our roles between the one who betrays and the one being betrayed. Often, only after something has gone wrong, we begin to realize that we have unknowingly become the person we most despise.
Therefore, instead of shunning away the idea of betraying others, it is better that we practice regularly to examine our inner self, and understand the impulses and dynamics of betrayal that lies deep within our interior life. With greater mindfulness, we can then be more intentional in choosing to be the person we want to be, and the path we want to take!
May we hold with care all the good relationships that are present in our lives now.
For the original Chinese article, please click on the following link: