(Originally published in Us Magazine, The News International
2nd March, 2012)
Did you ever have a bad day when you think you are not good enough for a task or an activity while others are? Ever felt jealous of another person, thinking he/she might be ‘cooler’ than you? Ever tried becoming a person you’re not?
Okay let’s come straight to the point: Have you ever had an inferiority complex? Most of us would first go ‘huh, what’s that?’ But a split second later we’ll all come back to our senses and some of us (well, considering the amount of letters coming to Guru from the ‘Depressed Souls of the World’ these days, I should have written ‘most’ instead of ‘some’) will at once realise that they have an answer to this simple yet deep question… yes. Yeah, yeah, I understand, it’s hard to admit this fact so most of us would prefer to shut up, leave the topic and never try to unlock our personal Pandora boxes ever again rather than admitting it and coming clean. We’d just calmly close our eyes and pretend that our lives are going very smoothly and that’s the way it should be.
See, I thought the same way too. My life was going perfectly well until one day I realised I hated football but still watched it to impress my friends. I hadn’t been able to realise and ‘admit’ it myself though, my father pointed it out. He used to be very amused when I asked him about different football players and leagues, and then out of nowhere, he once asked me why the hell I was asking him so many questions when I didn’t even like the sport.
The question made me think. Apparently when you put your brain at standstill for a long time and then suddenly turn it on, the brain is stimulated faster than the microwave that warms your last night’s left over daal chawal in no time. Anyway, let’s come to the point; so my conscience (yeah, it never lets you sleep does it?) began torturing me until I decided that it was time I start looking back into the past. As I jogged my memory, things, apprehensions, complaints, ideas… all started to become clearer. I had a better perception and understanding of what you can call “mistakes and their causes”.
I suffered from inferiority complex when I was around twelve years old, and boy, did it cause me problems. Weird and strange ones. I wasn’t a very popular girl in class and I tried making friends with the popular lot; something that didn’t always work in my favour.
I started trying to do what my friends did, if they liked football I also pretended to like it. If they watched some TV show, I watched it too, irrespective of the fact that I hated the cast or the story. If they wore jeans and tops, I decided I wanted to do that too, and during all of this my studies were badly affected. In short, I continued feeling inferior to them in one way or the other.
Now, I know I had been an idiot, and you don’t need to say it out loud to me, but the point is that I have realised the fact and admitted that I had been totally wrong. It was not my friends’ fault, either. In fact they are the best things that could have happened to me; let me tell you they are great but it was I, who was at fault. I was the one who should have understood that living according to one’s own will and wishes is the most important thing.
I succeeded, but nowadays I see so many young people trying to commit exactly the same mistake that I had committed. I cannot understand why we have to do what others do. Let them live their lives and let’s live our own life with full dignity and honour.
Even right now, while typing this article, I see through my window and find a teenage boy in front of a restaurant offering shisha to his friend who is not very welcoming towards the idea. He might be afraid. He might not like smoke. There could be many reasons. What will happen if his dad finds out? The father who has worked so hard for him so that he goes in the best institution of the city for the best education available. He wants to say no but he fears if he refuses he’ll get deprived of the friendship of one of the coolest kids in class. He says yes, so that his friendship with the ‘cooler’ lot is safeguarded. An image of his angry father comes to his mind but he manages to ignore it, after all what’s more fun than hanging out with the cool guys…right?
But that’s where he’s wrong.
We all are special in one way or the other. If your friend’s an athlete doesn’t mean you have to be one too. If you love watching ‘Humsafar’ rather than ‘Glee’, it’s okay. Because at the end of the day, it’s you who have to decide which ice-cream you want, vanilla or chocolate, not your friend. It’s you who have to make all the decisions of your life on your own and take responsibility for it. You can always get inspired but first, own yourself and be proud of it. Make friendships, be loyal, respect one another but never lose self-respect and will power. Always know your goals and objectives. Consider your priorities and work on them because that’s the life you REALLY want to live so why waste fretting about your friends’ approval for every little thing. Be yourself and enjoy life!