This COVID lockdown has given people an occasion to take a break from the daily rat race and reflect upon themselves – as to their vices, virtues, strengths, weaknesses and the very purpose of their life. Is it all about materialism – acquiring assets, gadgets, swanky cars or is there something beyond this? What about our inherent self and the way people perceive us? Are the two things aligned? Do people see us as we are or do we need to put up a facade to attract their attention and impress them? What if we decide to lead life on our own terms caring a hoot for opinion of others about us?

I am no psychoanalyst and the above aspects of of human personality are layered and complex. The decision to write this blog actually came from a friend who believes in living life on her own terms. She’s fiercely independent, courageous and the last thing would she ever do is to appease anyone – be it her boss, family or any other person of some importance.

Generally speaking such people don’t enjoy good perception in the eyes of others. Such people are considered to be haughty, conceited, unfriendly, difficult to get along with and best to be avoided. However, those who know her are fully seized of the fact that the above qualities are not at all representative of her real self. Independence is not haughtiness, self respect is not conceit, to be choosy about acquaintances is not unfriendliness and minding one’s own business is not difficulty to get along with!

Actually, the best use of this COVID lockdown would be to change the way we think – about ourselves and others. There’s so much that we need to to improve about own selves and there’s so much for us to learn from others, especially the kind mentioned above. It immediately brings to my mind a famous doha that reads –

बुरा जो देखन मैं चला, बुरा न मिलया कोई

जो दिल खोजा आपना मुझ से बुरा न कोई

When I started looking for a devil, I found none

When I dwelt deeper into myself, I was the one!

In English, there’s an adage – to each his own. Kaleidoscope of this world is colourful because it’s composed of people of all hues and colours. We need to remove the filter from our eyes to see this world in its original and real colours. And of course, my unsolicited advice to my friend would be – don’t change for the heck of it, but embrace those who accept you as you are! In this COVID lockdown apart from trying new hobbies, eating new dishes and watching new movies let’s also practice this habit of accepting people as they are instead of making false perceptions about them and developing an insecurity against strong and disdain against weaker personalities!

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