It seems that a lot of spirituality and society’s virtue is interpreted as need for compromise, self suppression and sacrifice. Does this approach really work? Are others really happy when we do this, are we really increasing the happiness quotient with these approaches? I think not. My experiences have taught me that real “better world” is created by being true to ourselves and learning to do that with a maturity that does not hurt others.
Many time we make it a habit or pattern to consistently suppress our needs and wants because people around us make us feel that when we follow our needs we will hurt them and not fulfill our obligation to them and the society.
Here’s why suppression does not work!
Weakened Self Acceptance
First and foremost it means we do not accept ourselves as we are and hence we feel guilt and inadequacy. We feel bad to feel the need and constantly have the battle between our natural emotions and what we are told “we are suppose to feel and do”
When we willing and consistently compromise, it tells people around that it is ok to ask for us to ignore our needs and our nature. It becomes their right to demand things instead of them learning to make an effort to understand each other. In effect we are perpetuating and encouraging oppressive behaviour in people around us and teaching them unhealthy and non-sustainable approach. We are not doing anyone a favor in the process.
Resentment is inevitable
However righteous and strong we act while we suppress self and comprise, the truth is there is a gradual and deep build up of resentment against others. This leads to weakened relationship all around us instead of deeper, supportive and synergistic relationships. In essence, because of incorrect belief, we are hurting the same relationships that we intent to strengthen by our actions. Its quite tragic when our good intentions and efforts backfire for all. If you really care – show that by first caring for yourself and then be there for others the best you can.
But what about others? Ain’t I being mean or selfish?
It’s actually quite a sign of weakness when we give in to oppression of any sort – and realize that much of the oppression can be disguised as care and love or natural expectation by the oppressor – and hence can make us falsely believe we are being loving. What takes real courage and love is to stay with your vision of “how things should be” and work hard to make it happen. First act in accordance with your vision and then support positive behaviors by others in that direction (and ignore and not encourage negative behaviors).
We are actually selfish when we give in – why – because we are letting our short term pain avoidance goal come in the way of following a higher vision of life for all. Vision based on positive relating and creating win-win for all in the long run (though in the short run it may appear exactly opposite).
I leave you with three of the most powerful and my all time favorite quotes:
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” – Buddha
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” by Marianne Williamson
There is only one sacred promise, and that is to tell and live your truth. All other promises are forfeitures of freedom, and that can never be sacred. For freedom is Who You Are. by Neale Donald Walsch