Letting Go

"Justice is about harmony. Revenge is about you making yourself feel better."  - Batman Begins
There comes a time (or more than just one) where one may feel that he/she has been wronged.
It's often more tempting to take an 'eye for an eye' than 'turning the other cheek'. I often found the preaching of Gandhi and Jesus to be ridiculous. It takes a lot of strength (and perhaps, foolishness) to pray for one's persecutors. Revenge often appears to be the sweetest option.

Unfortunately, vengeance isn't the most gratifying option. Often, it may not even fill the void the mishap left to begin with. And until the thirst for vengeance has been 'quenched', one does not permit even himself/herself to rest. It's a poison which eats away one's own spirit.

There are those who may betray you, forsake you in the middle of your life's worst battles, injure you, humiliate you, belittle you, laugh at you, tease and taunt you, and ultimately deny having done any such thing. No matter how much your blood boils because of these things, you can only make it worse by seeking vengeance.

Let me explain! Who ever wronged you did with the sole intention of seeing you hurt, crippled, defeated and destroyed. If you react in anger, you are doing exactly as he/she expects you to. And you will not only make a fool of yourself and regret this, but you will also fuel your adversaries.

True strength lies not in one's ability to inflict or return the same damage, but in one's ability to stay in control of his/her emotions, no matter what.

"I find vengeance to be petty." Said a friend of mine. "It might sound thrilling and fulfilling, but it's immature."

And then when I think about it, I realize why Jesus prayed for his persecutors on his cross. Carrying a grudge against your persecutors will not harm anyone but yourself.

Hate is a powerful weapon. It turns a man against himself in the battle of life.
Forgiveness isn't a necessary solution. It's definitely not an easy solution. But if you can walk away with your dignity, you'd have at least learnt your lesson. Thus, you will be a better man while your persecutors are left behind, where they can no longer harm you. And they will realize how pathetic they are when the time comes. Leave vengeance to Karma. She'll do a neat job for you!

Let go: not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because you deserve peace.   

Don't Empower Your Enemy

There's one lesson I learnt, the hard way, last month around this time. There will be those who will try to provoke you by any means possible. They will taunt you and try to crush your spirit by hitting you below the belt. Such times are the ultimate test of a man's patience and strength.

My immediate reaction to such a scenario was to scream my head off and use abusive language, which I'd never done before, esp. not in public. (I would have taken to physical abuses, but my adversary was a woman and unfortunately our 'male dominated world' sympathizes with the woman first, no matter what.) I lost control that day. And I realized that I was also defeated by my own actions.

Anger is like hot charcoal in your hand. It burns your hand before you can throw it onto someone else. 

When you raise your voice, use abusive language or take to physical violence, you might think you're holding up the fort. But the truth is that you are doing exactly what your adversary wants: you are reacting! When you react, you encourage them to taunt you even more. Eventually, you will break and make a fool of yourself. This is how the enemy often succeeds. Beware!

There is only one good solution to facing jerks: smile, hold your head high and walk away. I know that this is easier than done, but it's a lot better than the other alternatives. It saves you your honor as well as your energy. You will not give your opponent the satisfaction of getting on your nerves and at the same time, you will not commit a mistake which you might regret for a long time.

When your foes taunt or tease you, all you can do is remember that they are doing so only because they lack the maturity to respect the humanity within you. And by inwardly laughing at their spiritual and intellectual inferiority, you can walk away with the satisfaction of being better than them. If they do have some shame left in them, they will someday realize that you walked away with their honor as well as your own.

The Patronus

The first thought which the title of this post might bring to your mind would be 'Harry Potter'. But this concept isn't merely for HP fans. It's a very profound idea given to us by J.K. Rowling. Within the pages of the third book of her first fantasy fictional series, the author has explained to us how to combat 'dementors'.

Now, before you call me crazy for saying that dementors are real, let me explain to you what I mean by them. In the fiction, a 'dementor' is a dark and shady creature (by nature and not just appearance) who feeds on one's happiness, will power, energy and vitality. Sounds familiar? Yes, there are dementors in our world. These dementors may be people, events, memories, thoughts or even places.

Some time we feel sad whenever we someone, due to whatever reason. They may or may not enjoy making us feel so. Some events may make us feel miserable. Some places could be very morbid and hence draining. We often brood over memories of such people, events or places which may have hurt us only once but now we hurt ourselves over and over again. And thoughts... most of our worries are either about things which may not be so, needn't be worried about, cannot be fixed or could simply be fixed.

Thoughts have the power of  making 'could be's into 'would be's.    

And what better way to fight a dementor than a 'patronus'? Now, I'm not asking you to take out a 'magic wand' and shout 'EXPECTO PATRONOM!!!' every time you see your ex, your dream-girl's boyfriend, a very rude professor or other jerks, or whenever you enter your own personal hell of the mind. Actually, doing this might lighten up your mood, but it also makes people consider throwing you into an asylum.

A 'patronus', as per the fiction, is a great source of power, generated by the happiest thoughts or the most pleasant memories, which could repel the 'dementor'. It is ironic that the beings who feed on your happiness could be repelled by a patronus. But I think it's because when you're so happy, not even a dementor could digest that much of happiness.

Every minute you waste on thinking about someone or something you dislike or unpleasant, you take away 60 seconds of your life which could be dedicated to someone who loves you and wants to see you happy.   

The only way to be happy, is to be happy. The choice is ours. Don't brood over dementors. Hang around with people who radiate positive energy, with friends who care about you or with family members who love you like no other. Don't spend too much time with pessimists, fatalists, nihilists and other dementors in general.

Start a weekened club, a whatsapp/facebook group, or a mailing list, if necessary, which could help you share patronuses with each other. I personally have a whatsapp group called 'Hakuna Matata' (in swahili, this translates to 'no worries'). The members of this group share positive throughts, happy thoughts, pleasant jokes or just images which could help each other smile and ultimately produce a patronus whenever necessary.rules of this group have been simple: (1) you only speak about nice/pleasant things (2) no politics, religion, sexism, vulgarity, profanity, communalism or hate (3) no brooding over the past or bad situations.

'Hakuna Matata' is yet another concept, but from The Lion King. This beautiful animation for kids, released 20 years ago, teaches a very profound fact:

Yes, the past hurts. But we can either keep running away from it or simply learn from it.
Also remember what the story of 'Peter Pan' and the anime 'Dragonball Z' tells us: The only way to truly be able to fly is by thinking happy thoughts. Perhaps this is because when we do so, we become lighter and hence become free of all the worries which hold us to the ground.

Change in Strategy - Smile!

I've always thought that fear, pain, anger and hatred were very good motivators. We human beings ARE animals, after all, right? We have the three basic instincts - fright, fight and flight - when it comes to facing adversities.

Fear can push you to the edge, where the best of you could be forced out of you. But fear could also chain you to the dungeons of your life and keep you away from pursuing your dreams. Moreover, the vicious wolves feed on the fear of the innocent sheep. Don't feed them!

You cannot escape from your responsibilities. There's no point being overwhelmed at something which cannot be bigger than you. Thus, fright and flight are not wise options!

Anger is a very powerful weapon, if harnessed well. But it is also a hot piece of coal in one's hand. It burns you even before you can throw it at someone else.

Hatred is a poison which drips onto our minds and slowly consumes it like an acid. It is an obsession and it makes you think more about the ones who you hate than the ones who love you. The more you curse or conspire against your enemies, the more power you give them. Is that really worth your time and energy?

Pain is inevitable. But suffering is an option. Your pain is caused primarily by your revisits to hell - the place where the bitter past and insecure future exist. People and events can hurt you once. You could walk away from them. Or you could hurt yourself a lot more by digging deeper into your wounds by brooding over your injuries.

Thus, my war strategy so far needed some changes. I've come to realize that in order to face the outside world, I need to make peace with my inner world. Yes, I shall fight, but with different weapons now! 

  • I shall face my fears with inspirations. 
  • I shall extinguish my anger with forgiveness (not because they deserve it, but because I do).
  • I shall forgo hatred and instead think about everything which makes me smile.
  • I shall let go of pain as I love myself and hence ought to not let anything take away my happiness. 

I cannot carry unnecessary baggage on my journey towards success. But I can carry my smile, my hopes, my dreams and all the good memories which I could cherish along my way. And I hope to see you too somewhere along my journey. As for now, cheers!