Let go of that ego, seniors!


ALL seniors, retirees and pensioners have an ego. Some have “fat” egos while others have not-so-big ones. As we grow older, we think we also grow wiser.

We all want to be right all the time or, at least, most of the time. We don’t appreciate being told that we are wrong or that we have given the wrong advice, especially by those we consider young and inexperienced. More so if it happens in front of our loved ones, family members or close colleagues.

For seniors, this inclination to think that we are always right or superior can hurt our pride and self-esteem if we are proved wrong. Just because we are seniors and have tasted more salt than others, we think we know more than them.

It can be embarrassing to find out that we are wrong. We may have been right some time ago, but the facts may have changed, or our failing memory may prevent us from remembering something. But we are slow to admit our failings.

Many seniors don’t realise the number of times we say “I” in a conversation especially when we are recounting the “good old days” and the so-called “rich” and green lifestyle we experienced during our younger days.

When we indulge in such ego trips, we are actually nurturing in ourselves lots of ego and pride.

On rare occasions we get told off by our spouse and family members and we have to face the embarrassment of it.

Sometimes family members can be quite blunt as well.

When negative words are hurled at us, we feel small, frustrated and even angry.

The more stubborn and proud we are, the more likely it is that we will respond badly and this can turn into a heated argument.

Deep down, we may know that we made a mistake but pride prevents us from admitting to it.

Nobody likes being told that they were wrong, and yet a lot of us enjoy pointing out to others when they are wrong and we are right. Isn’t it odd that we behave this way?

Undoubtedly, pointing out others’ mistakes and telling them “I told you so” will serve no purpose and will not benefit any relationship.

So seniors, let’s try our best not to demean or belittle others.

Although seniors feel that they have more wisdom and knowledge than others, they need not adopt the “kiasu” mentality and make life a race to be won all the time. Should we not learn to be humble and diplomatic by now?

Speak kindly of others. Give praise when praise is due. It is time we learn to thank others who have meant so much to us.

We Asians seem so reluctant to express our feelings towards our loved ones. Is it our culture to keep our feelings to ourselves, although by body language say otherwise and in our hearts we appreciate what others do for us? Can’t we unlearn this habit and be more open about our feelings?

However, if we have nothing good to say, then it’s best to keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves.

One of the reasons why youngsters dislike spending time with seniors or are not comfortable engaging in conversation with us is because the older ones are just unwilling to listen, and prefer to keep talking about the past and doling out advice.

This one-way dialogue does not help and inevitably the youngsters shut off and feel agitated to the extent that they will find every excuse to discontinue the conversation.

We think we know a lot, but in reality, the youngsters too have a wealth of knowledge. It’s good if we now learn to hone our listening skills so that we can talk with others, especially the younger generation.

The next time you engage with a youngster, be mindful that you give him an equal opportunity to be heard. You will definitely gain new knowledge, insights and ideas.

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