The People in “What will people think?”

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the long break in articles.
Recently, I started to watch the somewhat iconic show, Sex and The City. Excuse me for being a typical convent school girl who until much recently thought, “Oh my god, the name has Sex in it. Inappropriate.”
No, it isn’t. Ask the new me, the feminist. Carrie Bradshaw’s writing is beautiful. Wait, that’s Michael Patrick King and Candance Bushnell. Either way, Carrie’s thoughts from the 90s are more than relevant today.
One of the episodes where she mentions “The critic we are most afraid of is ourselves” got me to thinking about the immense relevance of this sentence in today’s world and particularly in my life.

As I grew up in India, I was regularly faced with this statement, Don’t do that! What will people think?
While there’s the ever watchful eye of the “neighbourhood aunties”, I was never allowed to step back and consider the possibility that those “people” might just not matter. It was only a matter of time before it became programmed within me to criticise everything I did, or is it?
Upon some introspection, I recently realised that all of us are harsh critics! Harsh self critics. The amount of hate we spew upon ourselves is magnanimous! I’m constantly amazed by it. For those of you who keep diaries, look back sometime and just see how you’ve criticised yourself.

In my post “Why Meditation is the Answer to Depression“, I mentioned that there are three stages to curing depression, where the placebo effect formed a major part.
That placebo effect works with our decisions too. This entire “What will people think?” idea works like a dark placebo. One that makes you sick instead of curing the disease. However, what we often fail to see is that we’re the people!

We are those people that talk about us.

I’m not going to go so far as to say that nobody has the time to talk about us. They do but it is what we think of ourselves that ultimately ends up affecting our decisions and daily lives.

Whether or not we choose to let others’ opinions about us our own that’s up to us. Either way, the pain that will be inflicted will come from this immense hatred or love that we will throw upon ourselves.

While we’re talking about what our own opinions could do to us, I’d like to put out a little reminder. In our truest form, there is nothing but the soul. That soul which cannot be affected by fire, water, emotions, humans or demons. Our soul remains untouched and blissful. Bliss, or, Ananda, is that state of the soul which is never subject to change. So, if that’s constant then what are we hating on?

Consequently, what people then remain to throw that hate on us?

Love,

Manisha

No

You hold power if you can say no
Or so she was told.
Devoid of expectations,
She grew up.
Learning to put others before herself.
Training to not say the magic word.
No.
Parents, friends, siblings,
They all said the same thing
Others before you.
You’re a lady.
But, along came a feminist and said,
No.
We’re all equal.
So she agreed.
The word worked its magic.
So she trusted.
She opened up.
She let go of inhibition.
What nobody taught her
Was that her No wouldn’t be heard at times
That it could be trampled over by the sexual predator.
The “close friend” who found her sadness enticing,
The friend who rejected the no and ruthlessly went on.
In effect, teaching her,
At times
You don’t have the power if you can say no.
Because that power is easily trampled over.