Carefully observe the experience of these 50 odd housewives, who have claimed to having found freshness in life recently. Each of them is representative of a typical Indian lot with suppressed emotions and ambitions and who seldom get to voice their opinions. A well-known psychiatrist conducted a workshop of women depressed with ‘taken for granted feeling’. They were advised to listen to their inner voice, speak what they feel, enjoy life, go out often and most importantly, stop making scarifies for others.
Speaking at a subsequent get-together, they narrated their ‘strange encounters’ with their family members and ‘shocking reactions’ of the latter. “Oh mom how did you suddenly start liking movies and shopping?” “Why, is going out so urgent?” “What’s the point in moving out when relatives are coming home?” “What made you join music class/gym?”
“These days, why are you hell-bent on telling what you feel?”
These women were too used to hiding their honest feelings, opinions, likes and dislikes in deep caverns of mind years after years. This is serious. It’s more serious that their near and dear ones seldom cared to know their real selves. It happens to each of us some time or the other, doesn’t it? It has happened with me umpteen times. I have always believed I am different but why will others believe unless that difference is put across sensibly?
One mustn’t pretend to be what one is not, they say. It doesn’t take too long for the mask to fall. However, this is not enough. What is needed more is to confidently assert what you are. If our behaviours are contrary to personalities, our core strengths and talents would never come to the fore.
When we are yet to prove our mettle, people would naturally judge us from the way we present ourselves. Being pompous without any substance and not presenting the real substance are both wrong; showing off too much and expressing little. When a professional walks into a new workplace or a newly wed bride walks into a groom’s home, it’s important to present oneself accurately and immaculately. Having good potential, intention and attitude wouldn’t help if it is not put across appropriately. The world has innumerable examples of potentials wasted owing to wrong presentation.
Even in relationships, professional and personal, we see what we say is taken otherwise. How is it misconstrued? It speaks of poor and ineffective communication. Lacking the courage to convey what we honestly mean, we will always keep on saying something we never mean. In such a case, we have no right to get hurt when we are taken for granted or our good gestures are not returned.
She was a teenaged girl, a budding writer who visited my office often. Shabbily dressed, awfully ill mannered, pathetic in communication, she was never considered a good hand in a corporate office. The good writer and innocent person was never taken seriously. Why her? It took Mark Zuckerberg a brainstorming session on right behaviour from an average colleague to be what he is today. On his poor dress sense, she gave him a dressing down once.
Each of us may not be fortunate enough to have a mentor to tell us how should we be presenting ourselves. Why wait for someone to open our eyes? We know what stuff we are made up of. Why not assert? If someone tells us according to him/her, we are such-and-such, we can always turn back and say, ‘‘There’s no need for me to be according to you.’’ It’s not being rude. Why should we shy away from being what we are according to us? It’s conviction and this is the kind of conviction we should have. How can we expect people to understand our substance unless we present it properly?
And most importantly, no matter how flawlessly we present ourselves we can’t stop people from passing their judgments. At the end of the day, all that matters is the satisfaction of becoming according to us….