A friend of mine asked me these questions when I asked her a – now – rather silly question: Am I a loser? So, I started thinking…
Are you in a race?
I am not sure if there is a race on but apparently there is. There is a race for bigger pay, better salary, better position, bigger and better lifestyle. Now, am I in the race for that? It does seem that I am. I wasn’t conscious of it till I answered this question. I am in a race that I don’t want to be. And it is a bit messy trying to get out. But I will. There is also the fact that I have somehow I have gotten caught up in this race. It’s a bit like in a stadium. If people around you shout and scream, it’s only a matter of time before you will. I’m screaming now. On the top of my lungs. And I didn’t even realize it. Till this question.
I want to opt out of a race that I don’t want to be in. Does it matter that people inside the race ask me to stay on? It shouldn’t. Does it matter if my family who is cheering me from the sidelines want me to continue the race. It shouldn’t. It doesn’t now.
If so, with whom?
I do realize one thing – I am in the wrong race. The only race that I should be in is with myself. But that’s the toughest race of them all. To opt out of the race I’m in now, I need to pay a price. Am I ready to pay that price now? Can I afford to? That is something that I have to decide.
Are you going to live your life by what I think?
To be honest, I don’t know. I know I shouldn’t but somehow I do. I know I seek approval from people, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. It makes me feel good. But the only approval I should seek is from ME. I am the most important person whose opinion I should consider. And I am writing all this down so that I don’t ask silly questions of my friends again. I shouldn’t care what people think but I know I do. It’s a habit I am trying to break. I think that there is some amount of social conditioning going on here. Usually, qualities like modesty (in achievement, talent, not clothes) and social approval are encouraged so that society doesn’t feel threatened. (Aside: I am reminded of what my professor once said, “A single woman is a threat to society because she shows a male-dominated society that it is possible to live without them.) But modesty taken to an extreme can mean low self-esteem. And social approval is a crutch all of us can do without. I remember when I was a kid, my mom used to tell me, “You need to change yourself” because I was headstrong and stubborn. I still am. But I need to be headstrong and stubborn about the things that matter. I don’t live my life by what others think but sometimes I might just ask an opinion just to see how I am getting on. So, from this volley of 3 questions, I have come to know some things about myself.