Trouble troubles without prejudice. Since no one is spared, I suppose all appreciate a helping hand and a warm smile. You will perhaps not see whether their troubled times are deep or fanciful, desperate or indulgent. My experience shows that when you least expect kindness to bring you back kindness, it does so with such surprising matter-of-factness, that you wonder why you hadn’t tried venturing on that path those countless other times. Kindness heals both ways, always.
Having said that, I am ready to confess that I need help from myself — that would be a win-win situation, would it not? I be kind to myself, and get kindness right back to me in return. This reminds me of an important lesson my mother tried to teach me. She still does try, but is now experienced enough to not waste her breath on it. She used to tell the little Priya that if she respected her clothes and took care of them, they would provide her respect in return; if her books and notebooks got respect, they’d furnish her with the same and more. Loving advice. But slipped right off of little Priya’s well-shampooed — sometimes very well-oiled — hair. As I prepare myself for producing my own set of memorable advices dished out unsought to my little girl when she is old enough to understand beyond “don’t poke your eye, dunderhead”, I am at loggerheads with the little Priya, who never grew up.
Recently, during a conversation with my father, I secretly revealed to him that I know what ails me. Feeling of inadequacy is a well researched term, and it sounds gravely frivolous enough to my ears. My father, however, gave a very sage response, saying that abundant thought seems to have gone in to come up with such a conclusion, which goes to show that most of my work is already done. All I need to do now is to stop feeling inadequate. Easy for him to say, easy for me to go right back to that last stash of Diwali laddoos. The poor feeling, however, continues to languish — ready to slither out, suddenly serpent-like, and entwine my poor ego until it can no longer breathe.
And that’s what they call a vicious circle.
The idea of walking your own walk without anyone helping you is fast looking absurd and impractical. Maybe those self-help books and videos and guru-talks do the world some good, after all. Maybe it is time to make another confession and say you can’t take another step towards your goal without someone to tell you there is a path ahead, dunderhead.
Or, maybe, you just remember to be kind to yourself, and the rest will follow.