Opinion and Editorial

Let’s be nice to people in these testing times

Shilpa Bhasin Mehra
Filed on July 11, 2021

People impose and superimpose but don’t want it to appear so.

I’m just saying. These three words sound so short and simple. Nothing overbearing or overwhelming about them! But what I have noticed is just the contrary. A bit like an oxymoron, original copy! At first when someone started a sentence with, I’m just saying, I thought it would be a few words or a sentence at the most. Now I know there are paragraphs to follow. In the romantic movies and novels, the three words, ‘I love you’ were the most important ones, these three words “I’m just saying” scare me, because I never know what’s coming my way.

People impose and superimpose but don’t want it to appear so. They want to sound very cool. But the minute you give thesis on what you think about the situation and person/s involved, you are not very cool. I know my situation better than you do. Just the way we garnish the food we eat with some toppings like olives or cheese, the garnish may seem delicious, but it doesn’t guarantee how tasty the dish would be. Similarly, these three words sound so innocent, but they may be hiding an avalanche to follow. It reminds me of the famous quote, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.

Each individual has his own story, struggles and challenges. Walk a mile in his shoes before telling him what to do and what you think about his life. When we are telling the other person what he/she should do, we are coming from a position of power and dominance, that we know more and so are telling. I don’t know how right or fair that is. Being a student of Political Science, I am a liberal believing that every individual can reach his best self, given a congenial environment. Most of the time the environment is not congenial, with so much advice, interference (nicely dressed up) and chaos. Now I understand why the monks went to the Himalayas to find Nirvana.

The past year and a half have been most challenging and totally unprecedented. We have been struggling to deal with it. In these times, we have been in lockdown, for many the work and business have suffered and we have not been able to do all things that we were so used to doing. Emotionally turbulent for sure. The least we can do in these difficult times is to be nice to the people we meet/e-meet. Everyone is scared about their life and those of their loved ones. Let’s not add any more stress than what people are already going through. If we can help in any way, let’s do that. Otherwise, silence is golden, and we can keep our honest opinions to ourselves for a change.

Seek and thou shall receive, said our ancient scriptures. Now one doesn’t really have to seek, since we are living on a fast-track information highway and are swamped with advice. Now people are seeking peace away from the noise.

This is the time for empathy, compassion, caring and sharing. Our survival has been threatened by a deadly virus. We can keep our knowledge, intelligence, superiority complex and prejudices on the back burner. Let’s gather all our goodness and strength to fight this war.

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind and the third is to be kind.” – said Henry James. These words are so true and just the balm we need to tide over the rough times.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” — said Leo Buscaglia. Quite honestly, these are all the medicines we need today (that have no adverse effects).

There is a time for everything. This is not the time to show (off) our knowledge, express opinions that may hurt or offend and tell others what to do. The world is hurting, and it needs to heal. That’s the universal call. If we can all, please do our little bit towards that goal.

I love this quote of Mother Teresa — “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” So next time you start a sentence with “I’m just saying”, please keep it short and sweet.

Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is a legal consultant based in Dubai and the founder of Legal Connect

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