Losing my rights

There is a story about a boy whose parents took him to the sage-poet Thiruvalluvar because he had too much of a weakness for sweets. They requested the sage to tell the boy not to eat so much sweetmeat. Thiruvalluvar sent the family away asking them to return in a fortnight.

When they did come back, the saint explained to the boy why he should ease up on the sweets and why too much sugar will turn out bad. The boy got the point. The parents didn’t.

Why hadn’t he said the same thing the last time they were here? Thiruvalluvar smiled and told them that he was a huge sweet-addict himself back then. He couldn’t have asked the boy to shun a habit he himself was guilty of nurturing.

Think about it.

I have fought rage and outrage like everyone else at many points in my life. But every single time, when the anger subsides, I realise I am turning into the object of my anger the moment I start hating him/her/it. No matter how righteous my anger or how deserving my cause.

I have not lived a clean life. In my time, I have been unreasonable, vindictive, deceptive and vicious. I have angered people and I have caused people pain. The thing about such behaviour is that, it is inescapable. Knowingly or unknowingly, we can not help rubbing others the wrong way. Even just by being yourself, you become a threat to many around you. Anger comes naturally, but it never solves anything.

How then, does one go about keeping everyone happy?

Perhaps we are trying to solve the wrong problem. I discovered the liberating feeling that comes with realising that I have no right to get angry at anyone. No right at all.

Not because of what they did. Not because of what they are. And certainly not because of what they did to ME! The moment realise I am myself capable of every evil that may ever confront me, the other person starts looking like an extension of my person — someone who I might have been, or someone who might have been me.

I realise that every wrong I see in the world around me, is a reflection of what is inside me. The world is only a mirror. It is easy to make faces at a mirror if I don’t like what it shows me. But if I really want to change what I see in the mirror — what I get from the world — I need to change myself.

#anger, #responsibility, #rights