You are enough

Sometimes last week while at the office, I received an all-familiar comment from someone: “You should talk more often, for you rarely do. It’ll help you feel more relaxed.”

You see, we live in a world that operates on untenable expectations: Quiet is considered uncouth while loud is celebrated. Athletic bodies are adored while lean ones are eschewed. Honesty is vilified while shrewdness is venerated. And what’s more, not only are these maxims rubbed on our faces in a bid to upset us but equally, the rallying call is towards conforming to them. As a consequence, our individuality is somewhat nullified as of no importance. No wonder, our cultures, and societies are hurting, full of shaming and blaming.

In fact, notice how Susan Cain describes the introversion versus extraversion interplay in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking: “We’re told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable.. Introversion—along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness—is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform..”

For the record, this isn’t just a rant by an upset introvert. Rather, it’s a call for us to look at the bigger picture in our varied walks of life. As Sunny Bindra put it in his recent article: “It is a mark of life’s richness that we are all so different, not clones and photocopies of one another, and that is what makes us all interesting, every single and singular one of us.” How different would the world be if we embraced and practiced this simple advice! 

My take homes? One is a gentle reminder that we ought to practice tolerance, especially to those who are different from us in matters of religion, caste, race, political affiliations, etc. Tolerance doesn’t in any way mean that we agree with them. No, but it’s a measure of maturity and a demonstration of utmost respect for others’ preferences, likings, and motivations.

Two, another reminder that every one of us is enough just the way we are. I know it sounds like a cliche, but not in a world such as ours where external validation is viewed as an index to our individual worth hence the ‘maddening rush to fit in’ as seen all around. Therefore, choose to practice self-compassion and be kind to your authentic self including your personality. At the same time, remain open to new ideas and effect change to the extent it is practical to do so.

Cheers, good people to a week and lifetime full of tolerance and authenticity.


3 thoughts on “You are enough

  1. Good article. People tend to view and judge people through the lenses they wear and that lens is shaped by the way they view the world and the information they decide to adopt to shape that view. Conformity at all costs is not new but these days seems to be on steroids with the people who take other paths are vilified or ridiculed in an attempt to force conformity. As an introvert of sorts it can be refreshing to be the odd one out. Then again being closer to the finish than the start in life I just don’t care what people think of me which would be the opposite for the young as they are the ones who have the most to lose if they go their own way or think and believe differently to the popular themes. It’s sad to think that our young are pressured this way but there it is until the next wind of change blows in to reshape the current mindset. It’d be interesting to fast forward 50 years and see how all the dogma of today works out. I bet more than half of all the “crisises” that we have to address right now or we are all going to die would most likely be described as a moment of mass hysteria in the history books. Think of the Dutch poppy thing and how that moment of hysteria crashed the economies of the time way back when … and all over a flower. Looking back at it from current times the world had gone mad over that “must have” item and we all have a good laugh at the foolishness of that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This piece reminds of the days I used to compromise in order to make myself likeable. Doing things that they deemed “great”.
    But after a while, looking back at what I gained from it made me realize the error in my choices. Nowadays, I only do what I know it’s me and I am happier with the choice.

    Liked by 1 person

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