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A Fortune of Shame

The other day I read that Mother Teresa had once remarked “‘The brain is getting smarter, but the heart is not catching up.”; as a response to the query  ‘..why, with all the scientific and technological advances, more couldn’t be done to help the unfortunate’? More such questions have lingered on, - why are there unfortunate people in the first place? and what is being unfortunate?

Is being unfortunate, being in a constant state of stress? Which then manifests in negative energy in myriad forms at all levels – viz. eco-system, country, community, workplace, family and self.

Earning levels for a family or a community are not likely to have the most dominant correlation  with being ‘unfortunate’ as there are large number of people in lower incomes levels who are not unfortunate. Putting it differently – if we substantially increase income levels of an ‘unfortunate’ person or family or community – will they necessarily cease to be unfortunate?

The fundamental reason why we ever get unfortunate and remain there for long enough, is because we decide to cling on a to an image of good or bad – that is not in sync with a real world. We decided to remain in self-denial. Maybe, we were too ashamed to accept something as it is and wanted to look for a work-around. Thus we miss judged reality, stunted wisdom and acted in ways that furthered the misfortune, rather than working out of it. Instead, we could have chosen to shamelessly confront reality and heeded the simple message that is time to look inwards.

Sometimes it is very easy for us to give good advice others as an outsider, but in exactly similar situations involving us we look exactly in the opposite direction for a solution. Being unfortunate is embedded in the cliché ‘common sense is most uncommon to find’.

What we need is need is humility and not shame driven by self-image. What will help is a understanding that human fallibility is inevitable. Not accepting a fallibility is starting a vicious cycle of self-denial. How to limit them is the question. The need of the hour is compassionate objectivity instead of blind attachment; sustainable value centric aspiration instead of fanatic demands to meet unsustainable needs. 

Only when we can handle the feeling of shame and failure in mature manner, as an individual and as a race, will we not need to resort to self-denial to handle an adverse feedback.. As a society, we need to imbibe that we do not need to be winning every small battle at every stage in life to get kudos. Similarly as a society we need to give assurance that if one loses a battle he/she need not press the panic pangs of failure. It is only then that we can take adverse feedback as a gift and use it to our advantage. As we will not resort to aggression or withdrawal as a response, instead we will respond with mature and determined rear-guard action to address the root cause.
Lets play a game – lets list in the secret nook of our mind we the three things are ashamed of now and we don’t want to face it ourselves. :D. That’s my gift to myself [because I will play the game to you] and to you.

Jul 1, 2012


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