“Whose side are you on?”

This question can feel omnipresent at times. We face decisions every day, moral systems try to present themselves as binary. Then, does it mean that by myself, I am safe from this question?

Earlier this week I received a mail, and packed within it was a compliment: “Thank you for your support. In 25 years, I have not had better guidance for this.” ... ... ... ... ... [ Please imagine a lot more lines here.]

After reading this, I was stunned at first. A feeling I can vividly recall right now when writing this: The blinking cursor waiting for my next words, for a direction of thoughts, for ... ... something. Blinking into the gap.

I could have just stood up, smiled the moment away, turned around and ignored the gap. This time, let's face it. Why was I stunned? Was I even truly “stunned”? And what's the truth underneath? It took me time to unpack it and in its essence: I couldn't reason the compliment away. It was a credible, honest, and unasked for compliment. Freely given. I found no flaw, no misconception. No fight, no flight, just fright. I was: defenceless.

Then whose side am I on? Whose side is my reasoning on? Feeling defenceless because I failed to reason a compliment away.

Not this time. This time, let's face it. Let's embrace the compliment. Let's embrace the fact itself that I can't reason it away. That it is credible. Let's be grateful and proud.

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