Don't entertain put-downs

Bikram Vohra
Filed on February 14, 2020
Dont entertain put-downs

Some people can put others down, but why do we allow that?

Does it happen to you that you read something or hear someone make an unusual observation and it sticks with you and reminds you of yourself and your follies or weaknesses? I heard someone say that many of us mistake cowardice for being forgiving.

Like, don't always rationalise the other party's bad behaviour and explain it away because it makes you feel you are a nice person and then again, you do not want to be confrontational. Like no, he or she must have been in a bad mood, that's why they were boorish. She is not normally catty, must be under stress. They wouldn't be so hurtful or thoughtless or unpleasant, there must be some good reason, might as well overlook it, they don't mean it.

Yes, they do.

You see, that is just the point. We condone bad conduct because it is often the easy way out. And even when we are direct victims smarting at the insult bestowed upon us, we wriggle out by explaining away the other person's rudeness.

And that's the rub. It is like all the smelly stuff that flows downhill. That person knows exactly what they are saying or doing. Don't for one moment imagine they don't and that it is inadvertent. They had full intent to hurt or be cruel or make you feel bad about yourself. You be forgiving and understanding if it is in your nature, but do not be so forgiving that the attacker relishes your discomfort and not only heaps scorn on you but then enjoys the fact that you are volunteering to dig an escape tunnel for him.

That is where we go wrong. We become assistants in our own persecution. Take body shaming, for example. People take such pleasure in ruining your happiness. I was at the airport once waiting for this delayed flight when someone thumps me on the back. I turn around and it is someone I hadn't seen for 20 years and he is saying hi, it is you, migoodness, I saw you from a distance and I said to myself that cannot be Bikram, you look so haggard, you have aged so badly. Even when we knew each other, he didn't like me very much and he must have had this accumulated angst boiling within over the years within him and the one chance he got, he went for the jugular. He wanted to hurt and it is beside the point whether it was valid or not, but the remark stung.

Even now, years after the incident occurred, I cannot read the word 'haggard' in any context without a little reflexive mental kneejerk. Now, I could explain it away by saying he didn't really mean it. But you know he did and he knows you know he did and the only person being conned here is you.

Like those people you meet in social settings who have planned to wreck your mood and they will say uhmmmm, put on weight huh. Then they will canvass opinions, hey, hasn't he put on a little lard. If not weight they attack, it is you in general: what have you done to yourself, naughty, naughty, you are not caring for yourself, you look so old.

Thing is the human race is a bit insecure and so it assaults before it can be assaulted. Add a little spice to that premise and there are people who lace it with malice to put you on the back foot. We all know people like these, those who make us feel bad about ourselves, who, the moment you see them, you know they are going to try and take the sun out of the sky and fling a cloud at you. It is the perversity in us that we often allow them to encroach on our peace of mind. In some ways, we are afraid of them and to duck their poisoned spears, we either become stressed or simply suck up to them to deflect the sting of that arrow.

If we do not do that, we quiver when we see these monsters we have let into our lives and even as they trample our comfort zone, we are mesmerised. The answer is easy. Don't let them win. Ignore their insult because this is their only weapon. to make you feel bad about yourself.
What we fail to realise is they are a sad lot that need to live in the land of put-downs because it is the negative that makes them feel adequate. And that is a sorry situation.
bikram@khaleejtimes.com


 
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