Thursday, October 13, 2011

Self worth

I once tagged a family member as the most intelligent person I'd known - this intelligent person in question is a one digit ranker in the famous IIT JEE, attended an Ivy league school on full scholarship and finished his PhD and went to become a very sought after researcher in his field - all from the humble beginnings of a small town boy from India. Now - this most intelligent person I know came back to me saying that he is not the most intelligent person I know - in fact one of his seniors from IIT who happened to go to school with me is the most intelligent person I know. Well, the person I'd mentioned as intelligent is a very straight forward no nonsense person and would not waste time in false humility. So that got me thinking! I had the good fortune to know another older person in my social circle who basically does not have any illustrious achievements to his kitty and barely talks sense in his egotistic conversations - I am sure, he would rate himself as the most intelligent person I or anyone who knows him knows! Complicated indeed! So what is up with how we rate ourselves? Well, my ponder attempts to unearth this mystery. Let's put it this way - I thought I was a good singer till I heard those little kids in the reality shows sing - I thought I was a good writer till I read the numerous talented bloggers on the world wide web and I thought I was a good artist till I saw some amazing works of art by budding students in an art gallery. When we are a the proverbial frogs in the well - we are the rulers of the well...but we are in such ignorance that there is a whole world that exists beyond our little well. Let me not boast too much about how mature I am for my thirty four year old head - but I do think that I's seen enough of the world to rate myself humbly - and truly humbly. As this special species of homo sapience, we are susceptible to immense self love. When my five year old plays 'angry birds' on TV - she talks about strategy - she blabbers in a mock sophisticated tone trying to teach me the strategy of knocking those 'green piggie thingies' (as she calls them) and every time I win - she duly takes all the credit - "Look" - she exclaims, her face beaming in all that self appreciation "Good, you listened to me - that is the advantage of following my strategy" (did I tell you she has a good blabbering vocab that the language loving momma is proud of) - the other day I told her that she needs to read bigger syllable words like a friend of hers - my point was not to pitch another little girl against her but to tell her that it is always a good practice in life to acknowledge someone who is better than us and try to learn from their example. The toddler got mighty upset. I had to explain it to her that we are not and we cannot be the best in every thing. Between my little girl and my most intelligent relative, I could pretty much figure it out - that it comes naturally to all of us - the art of appreciating ourselves and rating ourselves as the best human beings in all walks of life - but what we need to do is cultivate a sense of how legitimate our self determined self worth is - I only wish that comes naturally to us as well - but alas - it doesn't. When our vision of the world is smaller, our image of ourselves is larger than life - and as our vision of our words expand, we come to realize that we are not spinning the world and what we are is a bird dropping in an ocean:-) How we love ourselves is inversely proportional to how much world we have seen. So the next time we come across, a pompous, self loving egotist - we don't need to put him in his/her place -we should just take mental notes not to transform into those pompous, self loving egotists. After all - rising above the self love is what makes us live a better life and spread the love.