She stood right in front of me. We had lost the order. As I looked at the paper work it was apparent that it was not a good job. A major specification had been overlooked. Even before I could find the words she stoically said – ‘The team has goofed up. They should have told me that this was to be included. They have missed it. I thought they would have read it completely.’ I looked up from the paper work literally biting my tongue. I wanted to say ‘But that is your job! You should have read it more carefully. You were responsible for this paperwork and therefore own up and ensure it never happens again.’ Even as the words formed mentally, I realised it was as much true for me as for her. I quietly said ‘I should have taken the time to oversee this. I should not have delegated it. It is my fault. I thought you were ready to handle this on your own. I was wrong.’ The purpose of saying the statement out aloud was as much for me as for her. I really ought to take responsibility as head of the team. But justification is a innate disease in some. She justified – ‘You can’t really blame it on me. It was an oversight – yes. But I followed all your other instructions to the letter. If you had asked me to add that specification, I would have!’ Now the words came out and I didn’t hold them back! ‘It is your mistake. You were responsible for it and you have goofed up. If you can own up the responsibility we can correct them as we move forward. If you are unwilling to even take the responsibility and instead blame it all on your team, I think our journey together stops right here!’
He stood right in front of me. Unshed tears were glistening in his eyes. In a sober monotone he said ‘It is my fault Ma’am. I really checked and double checked… but somehow missed that detail. May be I am not good at this. You trusted me and I have messed it up. I don’t think I am ready for this responsibility. May be you should have someone check all my work…’ He was almost choking back his emotions. I quietly said ‘Please sit down. Let’s see where we went wrong shall we?’ A few concentrated moments revealed where the error had begun and how it had escalated. We spoke on how to rectify the same and how we could ensure it is never repeated. As he gathered his papers he asked – ‘Are you sure you want me to continue with this responsibility? May be you should ask someone to verify my work…’ I smiled. ‘One mistake doesn’t make you incompetent. Don’t lose your confidence. And no! I will not ask anyone to check your work. You will do it yourself and ensure that you don’t make any mistakes. You have taken responsibility for your oversight. Now don’t keep blaming yourself. Just strive to become competent!’
Am I a hypocrite?
She had been let down and betrayed. She was feeling like a victim. She had almost reconciled that her fate had decreed that she can never be happy. In her own words, she felt she simply had to endure and pay the price with her life. We began chatting. We met as often as we could. Together we began to explore the miracle of life. Together we began to appreciate the fact of our existence in such a huge humungous universe. Together we began to feel that life is beautiful, we are designed for greatness, we deserve to be peaceful… From feeling like a wasted piece of garbage, she began to feel like a blessed creation of God. ‘I am here because He chose me to be here. I am unique and original’ kept reverberating in her mind. Her life had come a full circle – she was indeed a blessing to mankind…
He felt he was the best thing that ever happened to his family and friends. Among all of humanity, he found himself better than the rest. He never missed a chance to make others know they weren’t good enough for him. His pride made him believe, he was God’s gift to mankind. Wearing a ‘holier than thou’ badge all the time, he made sure he could slight every person around. We began chatting. We met as often as we could. Together we began to explore the vulnerability of the human ego. Together we began to realise that in order for me to be special, the other had no need to be ordinary. Together we realised that you don’t need to cut off your neighbour’s legs to look tall. From feeling like ‘Life owes me’, he began to realise ‘I have to be grateful to life…’ His life had come a full circle. From feeling like a chocolate chip in a jar of cookies, he was now glad to be alive.
Now, am I a hypocrite?
Their marriage was falling apart. Several hours of interactions found no respite. The children were loosing their trust and the adults were becoming bitter and hateful. Respect was no longer there. Once the wheels of the blame game began, it was progressively becoming ugly. Separation seemed the only option to rebuild a life of peace. That is not a call anyone makes from data available online! It is a decision made in your inner most core – one you can never lay on the shoulders of any one else. Now that it was done, efforts were made to rebuild lives. Human mind seeks a reason – a purpose even for the most bizarre events. Philosophical thoughts help retain sanity, revives hope and projects a value for the future – all of which are very crucial for the sustenance of life. That the relationship was simply not meant to be, gave them the power to move on…
Their marriage was falling apart. Several hours of interaction found major lapses in communication. The children were losing their peace and the adult egos were refusing to step down. And yet… something held them on… something kept them together… Is that called love? Or may be mutual respect? Is that called responsibility? Do they try yet again to make amends and move on? That is not a call anyone makes from data collected online! It is a decision made in your inner most core – one you can never lay on the shoulders of any one else. It is not for validation by an outside world on whose mistake it has been. It is a question of how you mutually change to adapt for a more united front. It is not about who has an upper hand. But a question of who can understand better. The counsellor always addresses the one who is willing to change rather than the one who might need to change. Now when you need to make amends and rebuild your life, philosophical thoughts that there is a higher purpose for your suffering or that you are in any way superior to the other will not really help to make the adjustments. If feeling like a victim is bad, feeling like a martyr is even worse! Now is a time to act – to correct past mistakes, build future dreams. It literally is the time to not accept failure and believe in the goodness of being together. ‘Whether it is meant to be or not, I can and will make it be’ is the only mantra forward…
So, am I a hypocrite?
They kept saying I was emotional – loud all the time. I remember my family – right from the time I was probably three, christening me the drama queen – I literally could bring the roof down! I kept saying it was my intensity – my focus making it too potent for weak minds. Yes the theatrics were always there – but I was not really wrong! I took pride that I was the first to say sorry if one could find I was at fault. So I refused to change, when there was so much more at stake on the other side! I refused to be judged for the ‘display of emotions’ when no one could fault the trigger to those cries!
I remember sitting with my guru Mahatria with tears in my eyes, feeling that people were judging me all the time. He looked me in the eye and said ‘To me, if there is another name for purity it is Gita. I know your heart. But on a white sheet even the tiniest black spot looks ugly and draws attention. No body can handle you when you get emotional. It is not about whether you are right in getting emotional or not. But about how that one black spot takes away the limelight from everything else that is right. Drop it! It doesn’t deserve to be a part of you! Why carry that blemish?’ I feel blessed for in that instance I did not ask ‘If I am so good why can’t people handle my little emotional bursts? When the fault isn’t mine, why are they unwilling to handle the repercussions of their actions?’ I feel blessed for in that instance his words rang true – ‘It is not about the other. That black spot ought not to be a part of my life’. And I strive every waking moment and even in my unconscious deep sleep to drop that drama of emotional outburst.
Oh I am still so intense. But I display only what you can take. Now, am I a hypocrite?
It is a judgement call. It always is. There is no universal answer that is always right or always wrong to handle a situation. It is always biased with personal opinions – the burden of past interactions, the perception of the present scenario and the direction of where you want the future to lead. But the chronology of growth begins with first feeling insignificant before you understand how really crucial you are to the Universe. That is liberating. If it happens in the reverse order – it is arrogance. Taking responsibility before becoming confident.
Life is all about holding two opposing feelings in our mind at the same time. You must believe that you deserve the best and yet must also realise that life doesn’t owe you anything! You must believe you are a blessing and truly unique and yet simultaneously understand – so is every other particle on earth – as unique as it can ever be! You must be willing to take responsibility for your actions and yet understand you are not God! You ought to give your best for things to manifest and yet must be willing to accept when your best is still not good enough to reap what you desire sometimes.
Every situation has two opposing sides to it – where there is an opportunity to win, there equally lies a chance to fail. The same road that looks up the mountain, also leads you down the valley. It never is about right or wrong. It always is about how it impacts your life. Does it result in a positive change by which you mature or does it result in a negative change by which you lose your footing? You have no control over another’s thoughts or actions. But how you respond is a judgement call you take.
So – am I a hypocrite?
Written by Gita Krishna Raj | Published in infinithoughts in December 2014