Have you ever been so wrong you ended up being right? That has happened to me on more occasions than I’d like to admit. When that happens ideally you’ve got to change what you’re doing and try something else that has a better chance of working. Unfortunately, we’re too scared of the paradigm shift, simply because we’re creatures of habit. I am like that when it comes to people, I am too easily convinced. I take things at face value thinking that everyone is really who they say they are. When the seed of doubt starts to nag me, I keep denying it until somebody lets me down.
It’s happened way too many times, and I’ve continued to be let down repeatedly. For the last few weeks, I have felt the same way, that maybe I put my faith in the wrong set up and now I am slowly being proved right. It’s not that I am a glutton for punishment, but I am not confrontational when dealing with people I don’t know and sometimes even with people I know. It’s taken me a long time to learn to say, “No.” When I did learn to say it, I didn’t say it at the right time, only when things went too far.
As a child when I was trusting and naive it turned into horrible bullying that still gives me nightmares. But as an adult, it means I allowed my work to go unremunerated. The bullying I handled, bad relationships and terrible judgement of character I could handle but putting in hours of sweat and blood and not getting my due in these past few weeks have driven me up the wall. Maybe my mind has finally learnt to stand up for me.
I am probably dishing out unsolicited advice here, but it’s better to not let other people take you for granted. I learnt it late but at least now I know. I rarely get angry at people I don’t know, simply because I don’t know them enough to make an impact. But for the first time in my life my temper has reached unexplainable levels and to be honest I am not feeling guilty, but extremely proud of myself. It’s taken long enough.
I do things for people without them asking me to, I am usually the one who offers. In the process, I only felt smaller with time. You can only do so much without getting nothing in return. I used to pity myself lying in my bed at night wondering why I always trusted and helped the wrong people, people who I knew would never appreciate it. I think I was waiting to be proven wrong. But not every dream comes true. I stopped placing bets against myself on people and losing.
Once you realise it it’s very easy to change, but reaching that point is an uphill climb. Everyone’s nice until someone lets them down so hard that they stop offering niceties to every other person. It’s so hard these days to gain anyone’s trust or trust anybody. We’re filled with so much doubt uniformly across the globe. We want to run background checks on every stranger. We’re a generation that loves to keep secrets, hearts are kept locked behind several layers of steel. There was a time when we wanted people to rise to the occasion and waited for them to be the best person they could be. We now wait for the day when they’ll stick a knife in our back or lie.
It’s going to take a lot to make a world of trust and fairness, in fact, it’ll never happen. Even the movies don’t believe in it anymore. A world of justice is now an aspirational caricature on a graffiti wall. We’re fighting for so little in the hope of so much more. In a world where there’s hardly anything you can trust, you start to settle for so little. Somebody says one good thing and you think they qualify for your trust just because they’re better than the others. The standards have fallen and with the standards, it’s no surprise that the quality has too.
So there needs to be a paradigm shift. How do I as a naive human being find equilibrium? I feel like the last of my kind. Sometimes my parents complain that I am argumentative and that I am too stubborn, I tell them that they should thank their lucky stars that that’s all they have to complain about me. Our idea of morality and all that’s good is being challenged every day, so we might as well believe that there really is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. We’re all just trying to survive, the moral question is a redundant one. People who are always right make mistakes too. Even Gandhi learnt honesty he wasn’t born honest.
The world is a simmering pot of identities at the moment and it makes it harder to navigate. I guess the world is always going to be that. I can’t force people to be nice to me or do right by me. Sometimes I wish I could. I don’t hesitate to say that I have felt like shaking people for not living up to their words and making false promises. I wish at times that everybody were like me, but then again that would be a terrible thing, I am far from perfect. I have always found it hard to deal with my expectations of people. But, even when I have no expectations I end up having faith in some great sense of righteousness.
There are days when I wonder whether it’s just me, but I know I it’s not. I am a bit of a sour grape but I know I have a point. I guess it’s time for my own paradigm shift, where I stop being more generous than I need to be but also speak up quite loudly when I know I am not getting what I deserve. Sometimes when people don’t give you space, you need to ask for it and if that doesn’t work, make them listen.