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The Contrarian View

Many times, most of us - either in a bantering mood with a serious facade or plainly in a rebellious mood – would have relished taking a contrarian point of view just as a end in itself. This often associated with an inner delight – a story that might be played and re-played to self and willing ears in the times to come.

But then, how about toying with such an approach with ones own-self. In the process, turning on its head the self image, pricking it left, right centre. In one of my earlier blogs, I had implied that I might want to write something on self-image. This is a piece related to that.

All of us. Full 100%. Sleep with a certain about of self smugness. A innate satisfaction that we have earned our sleep and our image. We actually sleep well or not or whether we will good or bad is a different issue. But we most certainly are often convinced that we have earned our peace and self satisfaction. That’s what is fuel of self image. That is what, fortunately or unfortunately, the fuel of sanity [whatever that exists] in this world. Every action we take or every view of ours we spell out or every belief we have in many ways works towards building that self fulfilling liberal self-image.

This blog is not the place to try and logically build a case for this point of view. Let me just leave it at that. And take this as given. Am not sure if it holds true for all. But I somehow have an inkling that this holds true for most, for most of the times. This is certainly applicable to me.

Every human being is entitled to his dignity by the virtue of having been born in this world. Period. There is no further discussion that is relevant. Dignity is one thing like clean air and clean water, it is ones birth right. No one has the right to take this away from anyone and any individual does not have to fish for this. He needs to be assured to wake up in the morning and sleep at night with all the peace of ones dignity. Irrespective of ones social, professional and familial context. That I guess is both a non-negotiable fundamental right and responsibility [to others].

Now the contrarian view.

Can we live life with the peace of our dignity and question our self-smugness. Yes, prick it left, right and centre. I have been thinking of late, what will happen of if we can de-link our self-respect from what we think what we think of ourselves and what we think others think of us and be contented with our con-genital dignity and its concomitant peace? What will happen is simple – we will not have the need to cling on to our self-fulfilling self-image to feel good about ourselves. We will be able to intuitively and effortlessly question ourselves. Thus start the cycle of continued cathartic self-transformation.


I was observing the other day – armed with the knowledge of hindsight – that many times when I was self-satisfied is when I would end up leaving things half-finished and on the contrary when I would be having the pangs of inadequacy is when I would really end up covering most controllable gaps. Crazy!! And, as I said armed with the knowledge of hindsight, I one fine day got a feeling that this may not be a statistical aberration. It would be linked to the games we play with ourselves.

Feeling good is sometimes a convoluted internal justification of inaction and feel unsure is an opportunity of self-help. Yup, that’s what am saying. Can we get out of this trap of self-smugness for half-an hour every day and just question our pillars of our image. Prick them – again left, right, centre. I suspect, if we start with such an exercise – with due dignity and peace – this has the potential to make us look at ourselves with unbelievable objectivity. This laced with shamelessness of perpetual dignity will help us demonstrate due water logic and take our minds to nooks to the tiny irrationalities which we perpetuate and comfort zones we nourish. First it will expose and next it will defang and then demolish the silent killers within.

The success of this approach, as I have already implied earlier, will depend squarely of lack of dependence on positive self-image to be at peace with one self. Only, this will help us to smile at some of our surprisingly basic [and inevitable] gaps; and not look at means to justify with some conditioned, self-smug façade. The success of this approach will also depend upon due humility. The internationalization of the knowledge that human beings perform at less than 10% of potential and lofty personal image is more of a ruse to demand the respect from self, instead of working on self transformation that may help to command the same from others. With dignity and humility this journey can be awesome fun, almost addictive.

One last observation, while dignity is given free to us by birth – we don’t have to earn. We take it away from others and from ourselves by our acts during our life. Whereas even though lofty self-image will be 100% times mis-placed and almost foolish to pursue [as it prevents us from being better than what we are – whatever we are], we reiterate this in every action of ours and get it inseparably entwined our flesh and blood.

The idea is not to present an irrefutable theory. But just to shake ourselves a bit. Just a trigger for further deliberation of thought, as to how wrong or somewhat relevant it could be. Most importantly if possible sow the seeds to further or initiate [as the case maybe] of a lovely inner journey.

To summarise. We deserve all the dignity in the world independent of any achievement; in the same breath we need to systematically decimate any achievement linked self image. This is the only sustainable value or wisdom for continued happiness and self-growth.

That was the contrarian view. Love it or leave it. …Or do you want to love it and leave it. :).

Bhubaneshwar
October 3, 2010

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