Fine lines..

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Ours is a society that glorifies the pseudo acts of sacrifice. You gave up the love of your life to marry a stranger, because you didn’t want to spoil your family’s “reputation”? Wow, aren’t you just the ideal child. You exchanged your ambitions and convictions for the person you live with, because they can’t respect you enough to respect your dreams? Well, don’t you fret, we all need to give up one thing to gain another even if that one thing happens to be an integral part of who we are!

The ridiculous things that people claim to “sacrifice” range from time, personal interests to career and love. They even go to the extent of adding to this already absurd list, things like their soul, self respect, dignity, values and morals.

The dictionary defines sacrifice as “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy”. Whenever you think there is a need to sacrifice something for something else, ask yourself if that “something else” is deserving of this act of yours. Great minds have exchanged their lives for causes bigger than themselves: Justice, freedom, compassion, humanity and for a better world in general. That is sacrifice in its truest sense. Not, losing things that you didn’t have the courage to fight for, and later hiding under the name of having done a “selfless” act. There is a different term for that: Cowardice.

The most common form of this pseudo-sacrifice is allowing oneself to be exploited. People unconsciously but repeatedly indicate through their actions that it is okay to be taken advantage of. In fact, at some point of time we all do this. Don’t we all mutter a half-hearted “It’s okay” to those who hurt us frequently, every time they apologise? Their actions might be unintentional but that doesn’t change the pain that is produced as an end result. And what have we done? We have unknowingly conveyed to them the literal meaning of those words. “It is okay”. “It is okay that you’re hurting me again and again instead of rectifying your mistakes”. And then we sit and crib about how they repeatedly do the very things that cause us heartache. This continues as a never ending cycle until the day we work up the guts to utter the uncomfortable truth: “It’s not okay. It hurts”.

“People will always treat you the way you teach them to treat you”- Voice Ra.

If someone does something that causes you pain, tell them they can’t do it. If they don’t hear you, protest until they do. Scream if you must, for them to acknowledge your suffering. But for god’s sake, don’t just sit there and play the victim. Either take control and decide to tolerate nothing less than respect or don’t whine when you end up getting treated like dirt.

When you don’t have your best interests in mind, how do you expect others to? If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else is going to do it for you. If you don’t protect yourself, why would anyone else bother?

If you’re going to allow yourself to be used as a walkway, people will not hesitate to walk all over you, if that’s what it takes for them to reach where they want.

But here’s the good part. No one can abuse you unless you allow them to. Sadly, most of us live our lives without even realizing that we are being used.  Just because an act is immoral we assume people will refrain from doing it. But that isn’t how the world works, is it?

It is indeed a beautiful thing to be able to see the good in everyone you meet, but always keep in mind that that’s not the full story. Don’t forget that the unpleasant aspects do lurk somewhere inside. People are not necessarily bad all the time, not all of them at least. But, we are all selfish creatures immersed in our own troubles and sorrows. One way or the other we are all self absorbed, because we are the protagonist of the story of our life, and the rest of humanity just forms the insignificant side roles.

Remember, there is a very thin line that separates kindness and foolishness, a good person and a pushover. Intelligence is in being able to identify where one ends and the others begins.

Be a good person and love unconditionally. But know when your love is being abused. Be considerate of others’ needs and even go the extra mile to help them. But never neglect yourself in the process of aiding others. Giving up certain inconsequential things for the people we love is inevitable. After all, what is love if we don’t tolerate each other’s imperfections? But also have the courage to do what you need to do for yourself. Stand up for yourself, even if it means standing alone.

Human beings are a strange mixture of compassion, spite and indifference, and it is not always balanced nor is it in the right proportions. But it is all in there, all the time.

See the light but be aware of the darkness that coexists.

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