I’ve come to realise that we Singaporeans are incredibly hard on ourselves.
We don’t give ourselves credit for the 80 marks we score in a test, but beat ourselves up for the 20 we lost. We don’t give ourselves credit for the hard work we put in, but berate ourselves for the work we didn’t do. We don’t feel proud to be No. 3 out of 200 countries, but agonize over why we are not No. 1.
This national preoccupation with always having to be better and to be the best is part of our destiny as citizens of a tiny, resource-starved nation that you need a magnifying glass to see on a world map. To make the world respect us, recognise our talent or even realise that we exist, we have to be extraordinary.
But if we don’t introduce a modicum of balance to our perspective, we will be very unhappy people indeed. Much has been said over the need for Singaporeans to be kinder and more considerate to others. Of course I agree. But what is often overlooked is the need to be kinder – and fairer – to ourselves.
So give yourselves a pat on the back every once in a while, my fellow Singaporeans. Be kind to yourself.