Tame Your Invisible Jury
Tame Your Invisible Jury

Tame Your Invisible Jury

Writer’s note: I have been on a loooooooooooooooooong hiatus. Had a baby, wrote a bunch of stuff (check out Drug Dens and Killer Litter and GE15: What 18-year-olds in Malaysia can teach Singapore about the right to vote), waded through tons of adulting. But now, I’m baccckkkkk. Due to aforementioned baby, I will 100% not have time to dole out words for leisure like I used to, but I — fingers crossed — hope to resume posting gibberish on this blog of tangled and chaotic mess. Cheers!

Singaporean speaker, trainer, and coach Coen Tan has ever timely nuggets of wisdom on his podcast Wholehearted. In Episode 5, he spoke with Yasmine Khater, a sales coach who is of Arab and Asian parentage.

Somewhere around the midpoint of the hour-long podcast, Yasmine says, “The only person caging ourselves is ourselves.” — Which evokes serious Tony Robbins vibes.

Then she adds, “I call it the invisible jury.”

Especially in a context like her’s, with an Arab father and Asian mother, everybody’s opinion matters, even the doorman (literally). Aunties, uncles, your aunty’s hairdresser — everybody has a say in how you live your life.

The result is you choosing to operate a certain way to please everyone, absolutely at your expense. I’m Malaysian Chinese, so I know exactly what she means; there is always an array of jurors waiting to dictate how you live your life. The invisible jury. We all have a version of it, no matter the culture.

In particular, for those from a collectivistic society like Asians tend to be, you end up with layer upon layer of unconscious trauma.

The conflict exist because the people on the jury are people who raised us and care about us — parents, family, relatives. It’s not that they purposely dish out advice that hurt us; they just operate from their own limitations.

“How do you decide who to allow on your jury?” asks Coen.

“I ask: does this person live a life that I want to emulate?” Yasmine offers. She goes on to use her mother as an example. Her parents had a dysfunctional relationship; Yasmine has decided that is not the type of relationship she wants. So instead of taking her mother’s relationship advice, she prefers advice from a couple whose relationship model she aspire towards.

She enthused that you need a different jury for different areas of life. My interpretation: Hordes will insist on being your juror. They might guilt trip you, manipulate you, feel entitled to a spot on your jury.

Thus to live your truth (which is admittedly not an Asian concept), you must tame your invisible jury.

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