My father and I are very alike. In case of our demeanor, humor, love for music, our ‘mighty rage’ , our shared habit of thinking too much, argumentative and debating skills, this is often thrown at me, “You’re a spitting image of your father,” or “God, you’re just like you dad.” Needless to say, I’m proud of it.
Me and dad used to have these ‘evening-teaching/discussion’ sessions where we used to talk about everything that is current (yes, girls usually have these talks with their mum-but my case is a little different). Now these sessions have become more frequent as papa believes that I’ll be heading out of town and will be on my own pretty soon, so he’s ‘training’ me for the things that lie ahead.
How I have to deal with potholes in the form of hypocrites standing with a wide smile, claiming they’re my friends.
My father says- “Always think about yourself first because the world is very cruel out there and will squash you like a grape the first chance it gets.” Hence, disregarding the old stereotypical quote “Always put others happiness first.”
You must be thinking he’s misguiding me, then I might as well say think again. Times have changed. The world is not a warm, cuddly crib that’ll welcome you with open arms and snooze you in a warm blanket and feed you blueberry pie. People will look for every ounce of opportunity to take advantage of you in every way. A single way they think you’re benefiting them- You’re their favorite, the moment their purpose is fulfilled, Bam! you’re a stranger.
Although I’m not as mature as him it’s sad to say I’ve already had an experience regarding this and it gave me an intense lesson, and let me tell you, I’m very good at learning those. I didn’t tell him about my ‘High-School’ experience while he talked of more grave things, of course, and chose to listen to him.
He said, “It scares me how you’re so much like me. I can’t see people taking advantage of your ‘putting others first’ behavior because I’ve been through that my entire life.”
You see, what happened was, when my dad was young he did everything for everyone. From carrying bags for the constant swarm of relatives that ‘vacationed’ at my ancestral home to sacrificing the three things he feels are essential to sustain life- Health, Wealth and Mind. He used up these three powers all in his youth for his cousins, friends and other ‘relatives’ in hopes that one day when the time comes when he needs it THEY WILL BE RETURNED BACK by those who took it, but it never happened.
They accumulated all they could, sat on an express train and waved goodbye while leaving my father on a passenger one. (Lol, my dad used this expression). So he taught me to be kind and helpful, but not to be blindly selfless too. The world is too brutal to acknowledge these virtues. And it’s true, I’ve grown and seen that eventually no one really gives a crap about you-apart from your blood-and sometimes even they turn their backs. The world is entirely resting on the framework of ‘Give and Take’ –TAKE dominating the principle.
Take the example of WordPress. People don’t read or like or comment on your posts until YOU do even if they love it and have a constant itch to appreciate it (the itch, that comes from the little fire of kindness that they managed to suppress).
You have to know when you have to put yourself first. Learn to say No to people (which I was very bad at, before) and be very particular and aware of when it is time to draw the line. As morally sad as it may sound but “Oh, May I do this for you?” “Here, let me help” “Oh, shall I help you pick up those?” is not always reciprocated back.
Again, if you’re thinking “Hey, that’s not the case!” then either you’re very lucky that you haven’t bumped across such kind of people or you’re still living in your fickle bubble of lollipops and Candi Canes. This is the 21st Century people or as widely said in Hindu mythology ‘Kalyug’ the “Age of Downfall.”