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The Key
Believe In Yourself

February 22, 2013


Are People Shooting Arrows With Their Words?

Do you like Robin Hood? Even as a school boy I was so fascinated by this character. I have read about him and his exploits. His maverick personality impressed my inquisitive mind. During the same time, my father took me to the cinema to watch the movie Rambo. Right away I loved him. From the way he wielded his gadgets to the way he dodged the arrows in the forest that came hurling at his chest, Rambo mesmerized me.

Recently I was in a game station and trying to play a simulated situation in which one is given an electronic bow and asked to bring the enemies down with digital arrows on a TV screen. It was fun. Small kids and adults alike were getting such a thrill out of the toy bow and playing the forest war game. I too had my share of fun (Now, don't ask me if I won).

Who as a child did not imagine becoming a soldier, or playing Robin Hood or Rambo? I did! Have you ever met a soldier in life? - A real soldier; one with his backpack, boots, walkie-talkie etc? Better still, have you been able to have a small chat with him on 'being a soldier'? If you have, you got a glimpse of what it takes to be a soldier. The life of a soldier is a great responsibility, pride as well as pain (Salutes to our soldiers who guard us day in and day out!). Ask any soldier who has received one or more injuries in his body and survived. He will share his story of how gruesome and painful war can prove to be.

If we look at history and read about those old wars, we would get an idea of what war could do to a person; what arrows could do to a soldier. Okay, now where are we going now? We certainly are not talking about using bows and arrows…ha ha ha; anyway they are things of the past. And neither do we intend to have this article cast a negative connotation on our soldiers or security systems. The analogy above is what a soup is before the main course. We are not going to contemplate on any kind of physical injury. We are going to have a bit of thought on the various other kinds of arrows that each one of us receives during our everyday life. (Huh, arrows... me? What trash are you talking about? To which age do you belong?

Yes! My friend - Arrows! The kinds that we are going to think about in the next few paragraphs are definitely more harmful than the ones used by soldiers of the past. Many a time in our lives we face situations when untoward, untrue opinions are bombarded at us. People can sometimes be caught unaware and taken aback by such arrows (Phew, you were just talking about opinions!)

Please! Don't call them 'just' opinions. Don't you remember a time when someone close to you worded an opinion about you which made you squirm, shrink and feel small? I do ... more times than I would care to compute. How many times have you quit or almost quit something positive just because a fuming opinion about you bothered you?

One of the chief troubles all of us have in living a happy, successful life is overcoming others' opinions about us or our ideas. The reason I call it one of the 'chief troubles' is because a significant proportion of problems in our life exist only because of our lack of courage to believe in ourselves and our abilities.

On the contrary, many of us settle down believing the opinions, remarks and comments of others as the final verdict, and stop our journey however unique it might be. In this highly competitive world we would be wise to not let immature if not ill intentioned people bog us down with their opinions, and there are many - let us remind ourselves of that.

Imagine: In a class room a teacher having a low opinion on a young mind deters the boy from being bold to pursue his dreams... A woman quits her job after a derogatory opinion from her boss... A man quits marriage after insulting opinions shelled out by his wife... A girl quits her parents for the mauling opinions dished out on her. It goes on... My friend, these are not alien sightings!

I know a person who was cut to the quick when someone dear to her said that she was an 'ugly duckling', even though that was a malevolent opinion. That one comment has left a scar in her and she is understandably quite apprehensive about any future relationships. What precious loss of self-image! What a great loss of human uniqueness! That is what a cutting remark can do if we let the opinions take their toll on us.

Similarly a sharp opinion can emasculate a man's jaunty spirit. I also know a man who was called 'a fool who cannot achieve' by one of his close ones. The man recoiled and went aloof; alienating himself for some time before he recovered. He still suffers bouts of hurting memory. What a loss of precious time and hope! What damage to a personality!


Now in both the above mentioned cases the maligning opinions were aimed not out of any good intent. Had the two people been prepared to receive such arrows, damage could have been averted. We encounter such instances every so often, in some cases strong and in others mild.

How many families are spoiled because of untrue opinions and un-needed cynicisms? How many offices are riddled with unnecessary voices and arguments? Even the public transport is not spared (He Hee!).

Before we go on to how we handle ill-opinions, it is also important that we look at how these opinions originate. Understanding their origins would help us to get a proper perspective and better handle on them.

First: when someone opines unduly about you, he/she is subtly exhibiting his/her own inadequacy.
It is not moon-landing to know that people who are insecure with themselves tend to zoom in on the shortcomings of others. (And shortcomings, we all have by scores and more).

Second: people can intimidate us with undue opinions when they feel threatened by our calibre and capacity to excel.
This is rampant in the professional set up. This can even be seen amidst our loved ones. They resort to opinions as a tool for overcoming their fear of our success. Everybody wants to excel in life, but not all strive to do it without putting somebody else down. So we ought to remember this.

Third: a person might comment or give a false opinion on our venture or idea if he/she does not have enough knowledge of our merits.
How many times has the history recorded a person who was written off as a sure-shot failure rising to prove great and respectable in his area? I am sure we could find many such stories. When people don't know you enough they have a proclivity to give false opinion about you.

Fourth: untrue and cutting opinions about you arise when others fear their loss of importance in your presence...be it family, friends or office.
It is something like a clerk wanting to push aside a junior who is gaining reputation. In a home may be a person feels threatened by the outgoing nature the spouse. It can also be true that in a play ground a senior player is afraid of a young prodigy. Younger and brighter talents in any field or vocation are feared most.

Fifth: such opinionated people can also be the result of years of exposure to such a lifestyle.
For example, if a child keeps seeing the pessimistic father churn out undue opinions on anything and everything, he/she is more inclined to repeat the same and often does. If kid keeps witnessing the mother throwing opinions to have things her way, the child believes that is a legitimate way. How important then it is that as parents we set the right examples?

Let us know and if we already know, let us remind ourselves that untoward opinions generally originate in minds that are insecure at the core. Such 'mal-opinionated people', as we shall designate them, are marred by early scars and wounds inflicted upon them by inferior minds of the likes. And then the cycle continues.

So you and I have a responsibility!
To stop this cycle, vicious that it is.

How many of us falsely believe and live out the opinions of others? How many children don't grow up to what they are capable just for the untrue opinion meted out to them? How many marriages are on rocky waters because of unwise opinions?

But we can all clearly steer clear of the opinions intended to maul us if we know that they basically arise from hurting people who are insecure or from those who have seen it as a lifestyle in their families. Who do you think will benefit when you dodge an arrow of unjust criticism easy-like?

You of course buddy! But you would also be indirectly doing a great favour to others who associate with you:

(1) You would be living out the lesson that untrue criticism need not hurt us.

(2) You are also playing the vital role in being a witness to the phenomenon that such arrows don't have the strength to hurt a man/woman who is wired with the grit and will.

(3) You are a testimony to the fact that the human mind is stronger than what most generally believe.

(4) The greatest thing you achieve by deftly overcoming such opinions is that you show such mal-intentioned people that they can't hurt you anymore. And having now discovered your inner strength they are going to leave you alone sooner or later.

Now just a few more words before we close this meditation.

How can you show others conclusively that you are beyond their opinions? What is it that you must step ahead boldly and prove the naysayers wrong?

It is going to be that X-factor anyone will need to move ahead in life.

It is Belief...
Belief in yourself...
Belief in your idea...
Belief in your abilities...
Belief in the goodness of human life...
Belief in your purpose!

I know as much as anyone else how difficult it is to believe in oneself when almost everybody around is spewing fire right into the eye. But I have also found out in my experience that having belief in one's own abilities or ideas is not impossible after all. It is tough. It takes time. It takes perseverance. Nevertheless, it is achievable! Having faith in one's own abilities is so much more rewarding than giving a second to the ill-intentioned opinions of silly minds.

'Vidiyum endru vinnai nambu, mudiyum endru unnai nambu' is the transliterated version of a Tamil sentence I read at the back of an automobile. If we translate that sentence it comes something close to this:
As much as you believe in another sunrise, believe in you!

--- Copyright © 2013 Sam Vijay Kumar
About the Author: I am a biotechnologist from India, working in the field of bio-medical research, with interest in theology, positive thinking, philosophy, creative writing and in living a purposeful life, thereby contributing to fellow humans. My personal desire and struggle is to be keen to (and) learn anything that will uplift human life and place us in a better position at handling the challenges that life throws at us. To discuss and write about issues of life, thoughts and mind are some of my passions.

I have received a lot from this world through many thinkers and their writings. and hence I want to contribute something to this world by presenting my thoughts to the world as well in these areas. 'Positive people' are the ones that I am most comfortable interacting with. I am sure you who are reading this are a positive person and am glad to have connected with you.

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Read additional offerings from Sam:

Do You Value Your Time?

Courage - Are You Game Enough?

Decision Making

New Lesson For The New Year

The Power Of Intense Belief

Brave Jinesh

The Pygmalion Effect

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