Saturday, June 15, 2019

Playing The Victim

Being a victim is no fun.We all know that.Yet some people do self-victimize.They blame external factors for their troubles and failures,proclaim to all that they are victims of circumstances or others' machinations and refuse to take responsibility for the way their life is going.

We can divide them into two categories.First we have genuine victims who have low self worth and a weak fighting spirit.Perhaps their early experiences or their genetic make up are responsible for this,but it does make them easy targets of predators.You will find them whining but making no attempts to fight against those who victimize them.They firmly believe that they are destined to live like this for ever.They may repeatedly get into abusive relationships and do nothing to protect themselves,whereas they should be setting boundaries and asserting themselves. The truth is,they enjoy the care and sympathy which is bestowed upon them because of their sorry state.They tend to go overboard with self pity.

The second kind should better be known as manipulators who will use their sob stories to influence others' thoughts,feelings and actions.In fact they are out to manipulate others in the garb of a victim.They bank on others' altruistic feelings to get what they want.

Or they may play the victim to justify their abuse of others.Some shirks project a picture of "poor old me" so that the most cumbersome tasks are shouldered by others while they enjoy an easy life.But these tactics have a short life.Eventually people see through them and leave them to their own devices-or to pick up other gullible souls.     

In fact playing the victim is not productive for anyone.Even if you are the first kind you cannot advance in life if you are always harping upon your bad luck.Your public image will be that of a weakling who is for ever lamenting about this or that.You will lead a substandard,lonely life,your potential undiscovered.

And as far as the second kind is concerned, this kind of manipulation is detected very soon.It is enough to push away friends and family and you are on your own after that.What's more,you will also be labeled as a selfish,conniving exploiter.

How to deal with the self-victimizers?On one hand it is inhuman to ignore someone who is going through a bad phase,on the other hand, that someone could be faking it to con you.Besides,giving empathetic support has a shelf life.It can be very draining.You cannot interminably listen to some one's complaints without neglecting your own schedules or being distressed yourself.A better approach is to guide the real victims to see how they are neglecting their own safety and welfare,and support them while they fight their demons.

Self-victimization is antithetical to a  rich fulfilling life.It deprives the 'victims' of the joy of victory,of overcoming hurdles and making progress.It only gives them temporary solace,self pity,stagnation and derision in return.Ultimately it boils down to this:-
Why play it then?






Saturday, May 18, 2019

Seven #Mantras Which Drive Me

We imbibe certain ideas of right and wrong through watching our parents since the day we are born.As we grow up the extended family,teachers and peer group add to that list.Subsequent experiences prompt us to refresh this list according to our own judgement and requirements.We discard the principles which we think are spurious or won't help us advance in life and continue to deploy those which hold value or utility for us.These become our life mantras.They hold us together.Abiding by them adds to our sense of self-worth,a satisfaction of having done the right thing.

Let me share a few of my life mantras:--
Honesty is the best policy
I imbibed this from my father,he did not have to say it in so many words.I saw how upright he was and how it fetched him respect and insulated him from unnecessary complications and decided that it was the best policy indeed.It also obviates the necessity of having to lie left,right and center,which incidentally,is something I dislike immensely.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be
This too was my father's dictum.It included not only borrowing from friends or family but also taking loans from banks.I know the latter is totally against the current ethos but it is what I believe in.When we desist from taking loans we try to live within our means.We learn to curb reckless consumerism.This also entails saving and neither wasting nor splurging.As far as lending is concerned I prefer giving charity to needy persons.Lending money to friends or family can spoil the relationships.
Respect all humans
When we do well in life,attain a notable status,a kind of superiority permeats our thinking.We look down upon those who are below us.It boosts our ego but it hurts those whom we disparage.If ever I am tempted to spurn someone I remind myself that "There,but for the grace of God,go I." Those who are low in hierarchy have to put up with enough ignominy without us adding to it.The true test of anyone's character is how s/he treats those who are below them.
Duty first
This principle is important for me because as I see it,I enjoy many rights and privileges for which I should be thankful to individuals far and near;consequently I too must fulfill my responsibilities and do what is expected of me.If everyone did this,relationships would bloom and ease of living too,would improve.In the context of family of course this principle is of inestimable value.
The law of karma
This dictum has religious sanctity as we all know,but it also makes sense from a practical point of view.The fear of having to reap the consequences of our actions,impels most of us to refrain from committing willful misdeeds.It is an inbuilt mechanism which promotes good behavior.
Superstitions and elaborate rituals
I lean towards logic therefore if any superstition crosses my mind I scrap it then and there.As far as elaborate rituals and external symbols of faith are concerned I don't consider them important.Going to temples and holy places too does not enthuse me.God is omnipresent,I can connect with him at any time and place.I care more about ethics and morality.
Whatever happens,happens for the best
Any setback,catastrophe,disaster or misfortune naturally causes a lot of distress and turmoil.But such events do have some hidden benefits.They help us to evolve,which I believe is the sole purpose of life.We analyse what went wrong,where we erred,and remove our shortcomings.Adverse circumstances promote stoicism and teach us how to overcome our difficulties.This is how we become strong,skillful and resilient.There is lesser frustration and more of action.

These seven principles have become an inseparable part of my thinking.Early experiences plus existential needs have a huge impact on what we believe in and your mantras might be different from mine.I would love to know them.Do share.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

This Long Road

Step by step,how far we go!
This long road
away from home
did I know
when I first stepped out
what it was
going to be like?

smooth or rough
or strewn with stones
gentle curves 
or twists and turns
hot and dusty
or cool and shady
steep uphill climb
or a slip down ravine?

and the companions-
friends or opponents
kind and encouraging
or sharp and stinging
empathetic and true
or vile through and through?

no,nothing of this kind
crossed my mind
I just stepped out
and plunged headlong
as the day advanced
reality dawned
this was no dance
nor a walk in the park

a mixed platter
had been served to me
and the making or breaking
now rested on me
it was a test
to do my best
this extreme exam
and also this nest
so much the better
without a flutter

from where I stand
what used to be home 
is  nowhere in sight
only the road ahead
and this fading light
step by step
breath by breath
how far I have come
from my sweet old home.