The beautiful truth

The beautiful truth

Wow, she is so lean and beautiful,” “Wish I had hair like hers,” “Wish I was like her..” – That’s our never-ending wish list! At times unnerving and sometimes detrimental to our own growth. We brood, mull and thrive in this pool of unsettling emotions. Welcome to the comparison club, where members of all ages, irrespective of caste, creed, gender and bank balance, choose to stay in for years together.

From day one, we are taught to compare the big and the small, the fair and the dark, the fat and the lean and of course, the good and the bad. Sadly, these simple antonyms have caused enough ruckus in many lives. Especially, in the lives of a lot of women. It may have began innocuously; considering a friend lucky for the kind of features she has been blessed with. It could also be the eraser, the pencil, the wardrobe collection, the furniture or even the footwear, somehow it was always better than what she had. Women tend to have this ability to internalise such feelings and get caught up its web of insecurities.

As a kid, I would often complain to my dad: Papa, my friend is so lucky; her dad is so kind. And his only reply would be, “doorada betta kannige nunnage” (from a distance, a hill always is soothing to the eye, looks flawless, sans any pebbles or crevices). A profound thought, it has made me think practically to this day. Yes, truth can be pretty evasive at times and we can be really naive not to see things as they are. This coupled with no “looking within” scenarios can lead to years of self-doubt and esteem issues. 

Personal battles

Every time a celebrity or a budding actress commits suicide, the first question that rings in everyone’s mind is, “But why? She had everything.” It’s ridiculous to see how we go gaga over our Bollywood stars. In this industry, looking good pays off – monetarily, theoretically and metaphorically. With the industry keen to find a new face and a new voice every other day, it is an arena with comparisons galore.

Seemingly happy and confident, our stars strut on the red carpet with their shiny designer gowns, stirring the crowd into a frenzy. What one fails to see is the layers of makeup that hide the dark circles, acne and other fallacies, and the number of days they have been starving to fit into their attire.

We all have our own set of battles to fight. All have skeletons hidden in some corner of their closets. The rich, the poor, the pretty and the ugly, all sail in the same boat. “I always believed that I was the fattest, and only overweight dames like me had these internal demons to fight, until I met my roommate. She had it all, I thought. Alas, the kind of demons she was battling with were far worse than mine,” recounts Shweta Rao. “My friend never stepped out without a blow dry,” she chuckles.

“Talking of insecurities reminds me of my high school days,” says Lorine Sequeria. “I spent my days worrying about the womanly charm I lacked. Right from childhood, I actively participated in sports and barely paid attention to self-grooming. The ‘tomboy’ image that I had earned added to my insecurities,” she rues.

Why is it so difficult to understand that no one is born perfect, nor does one grow to be one. Choosing the right role models for that matter, reading up biographies of people – be it Gandhi or even Einstein – one realises that they too were flawed. So, is it really worth comparing our lives with others? Some are smitten by the bug and some just bitten, and that is what makes all the difference. “It is human tendency to yearn for either the physical attributes, talents or the material items of another person. It is natural to feel envious when another person gets lucky.
As long as it is momentary and you let it pass, it’s fine. It is when you let the feeling remain and gnaw at you from inside that it might cause an adverse effect on your mental framework,” observes Shalini Paes. The ones smitten by this bug, indeed, cook their own recipe for disaster, slowly and steadily, while the ones who are just bitten once, move on in life.

The other side

On the professional front, many tend to believe that when comparisons are the norm and competition the mantra, the best emerges. Being aware of where you stand in relation to others in life gives one the right perspective and also the momentum to realise his/her goals. In other words, comparison needn’t be a bad thing, if it motivates you to do better.
So, the next time you idolise someone, or feel jealous, do so with your eyes wide open. And remind yourself that all are waging a silent war within.

Or if this again is too hard to digest, Shalini shares another tried-and-tested formula. “The negative sentiments can be turned into a positive one by comparing yourself with the less-fortunate; realise and appreciate how privileged you are. If only each person could look inwards and understand his/her purpose in this world, then this would be a different place,” she remarks.

Our hunt for a perfect life, let’s admit, will remain a dream. Let’s celebrate our imperfections and our differences. With sound health and untapped potential by our sides, it makes no sense for us to just gape at the bungalow sitting in our shacks and sipping tea. How about using it as an inspiration to own a bungalow some day and work towards achieving it? Brooding or mulling has never made dreams come true, but hard work has. Being the architect of our destiny can be fun, too. So, take charge of your life. Be bitten, not smitten by the bug.

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