I fall into this category of people who think that they are so far away from being perfect and that there needs to be a constant (as in, all the time and forever) review of themselves and people around them in order to get to that goal; the category of people who love to listen, read and ponder about life, situations, psychology, philosophy, principles and inspiration.
When I was a kid and I became aware (at least I thought so) that these thoughts dominated my “think time”, unlike other girls of my age who thought a lot about how to dress up Barbie, I felt I was gifted! Like I was going to be a next generation Vivekananda or Gandhi! I remember sometimes I behaved like I was a saint, telling my brother that if he lied, god with a capital G would punish him.
I even attempted to read huge philosophical books that my father bought; I thought big words didn’t really matter since I could easily grasp the context and message (because I was ‘gifted’!)
After 10 pages of knowing the truth (with the capital T), reaching out to god (with a capital G) and understanding the self (with a capital S) I would just close the book once and for all, forcing myself to realize that I already have it in me, then why read? But at that age, philosophy is a keyword that I learnt; and I liked it you know, sounded sophisticated for my age!
I grew up listening to class discussions and extempore by friends, slowly recognizing that my philosophical thoughts weren’t really growing beyond a level and that a lot of kids around me picked up the concept lot faster than I did! What was going on? I thought I was gifted! Are they too? Should I have read 10 more pages of the big fat books? Why am I not able to speak?
Since then, my idea (now, strategy) about being philosophical changed a little bit. Quotes still inspired me, but simpler ones. I chose to avoid the capital letters and go by the ‘do good and be good’ types. I was self-enforcing the idea that there was no capital or small letter god and no heaven or hell; its all about what you are and what you can do for the people around you. It is about character, nature, morality. No, not personality, but individuality.
I didn’t need to talk about good stuff as long as I was “doing” them.
Oh, and I still liked those books, but I didn’t call them philosophical anymore, I called them “inspirational”.
Years passed by and it was time to get married. When I met my husband, and we were trying to carry out a casual conversation during our preliminary rounds of interaction, I was confronted with the usual question “So, what kind of books do you like to read?”
Oh yes, I was ready for this. “Inspirational, motivational books” I said.
“Oh, you mean self help books, good good”, comes the reply.
What? self help books is what they call them now? What does that mean and why is that so? Is that a new terminology? Where was I?
Is it the self with a small or a capital S? Because, if it’s the capital S then I can understand but if it is small, come on, why would they do that? It is not that I need help for myself. I don’t need help at all. “I am what I am”!!
I hated that term. I still do. It is like saying, “nobody else can help you so why don’t you help yourself, please.”
Hmm alas! My strategy has changed again. I read less of what the world now calls self help books and have shifted to bio and autobiographies. These can be motivational; these can be inspirational too right?
I look back and realize that over the years, all that I considered musing has been nothing less than amusing!