How Individualism Affects Your Personality

An individual facing the universe

Individualism is“a social theory advocating the liberty, rights, or independent action of the individual.”

Individualism gives prominence to self-development; personal achievements and independence of a person. When children grow up with the concept that they are enough, they have the potential to accomplish their goals and they have the freedom to take their own decisions, they value personal rights and their own space more than family values. A collective decision is considered oppressive.

On the surface individualism seems to be perfect as it offers absolute freedom and infinite possibilities of following your own aspirations but dig deeper and ask those who get mired in internal strife. Ask those who blame themselves for their failure. Ask those who are drowning in the sea of anguish and yearn for help. Ask those who have to take anti-depressants to cope with the pressures of life.

While individualism adds confidence, self-discipline and self-control to our personality, many essential characteristics are disregarded.

Individualism makes us self-centered:

When you are encouraged to discover your potential or follow your passion, you develop the habit of thinking only for yourself. It is always your endeavor, your success and your happiness. Self becomes larger than siblings, friends and parents and when it is time to contribute significantly to your society, it seems a burden. Such individuals drift away from most of the family relationships and seem selfish.

Self-doubts grow bigger:

Who doesn’t have to deal with self-doubts? It is difficult to handle frustrations alone. Setbacks seem like monsters, failures have to be owned and faced alone, and loneliness grows into depression. When stressful situations are not shared, their dimensions keep absorbing your confidence. Therapists step in to reinforce the fact “you are enough” but self-doubts refuse to dispel. On the other hand, Asian cultures promote sharing personal problems with family and friends and they serve the purpose of re-igniting wavering self-belief.

Individualism creates disconnect:

Personal attitudes eat into the core values of respect, patience and generosity. Self gets so exalted that love for others seems to be a chore. You may learn tactful behavior but relationships rest on the plank of façade. Senior members of your family cease to exist for you and visiting them or looking after them is not your responsibility. Those who nurtured you with the best of their abilities seem superfluous and are expected to fend for themselves.

Individualism breeds insensitivity:

Individualism gives top priority to your own interests, you become insensitive to the needs and desires of your spouse and children. You expect them to follow you in all your decisions, as your perceptions fail to see beyond your own expectations. Aggressive behavior, violence, emotional instability, incoherence in families, lack of interest in community activities and mental health issues are directly related to individualistic culture.

Individualism, a product of the western world, has silently crept into those societies that believe in collectivism. They have always taken pride in raising balanced individuals because of close knitted ties that are nurtured, and values of respect, altruism and cooperation are imbibed naturally, while growing up.

As individualism flourished in the west, touching its highest forms of selfishness, collectivism evolved and absorbed some elements of individualistic culture, granting freedom of thought and expression, taking one’s own decisions but following family values too. Such individuals have the best of both the cultures. A healthy combination of both could prove beneficial for your personality.

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Balroop Singh.

Allow yourself To Be A Better Person

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Don’t Dwell On It! Really?

We must ponder!

When people offend you
Take you for granted
Don’t respect your love
She says – don’t dwell on it!

When they discriminate
Treat you like dirt
Walk all over you
She says – don’t dwell on it!

When they belittle you
Mock at your kindness
Hurt your self-esteem
She says – don’t dwell on it!

When Sun chooses windows
Leaving you in darkness
Depriving you of your right
Would you say – don’t dwell on it?

When Spring selects the privileged
And flowers don’t smile at all of us
If butterflies visit only the best
Would you say – don’t dwell on it?

If people had not dwelled
On atrocities heaped upon them
If they had not risen against
Discrimination and prejudices

If nobody had dwelled on
Equal rights for women
We would still be living in dark ages
Repeating the refrain – ‘don’t dwell on it!’

Either she is too wise
Or I am imprudent
Either way, I refuse to be dictated.
Sensitivities need to be respected.
© Balroop Singh, July, 2018.

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Balroop Singh

A Journey

You have always robbed meHope, positivity
Of my happiness, my triumph
Weakened my strength, my confidence
Rubbished my care, my concern
Hurt my most cherished memories.
 
Created a world for yourself
Beyond my reach…
My love can’t reach there anymore
Your incredible indifference
Could reach me… I’ve absorbed it.
 
But you have also given me
A flight of fantasy
To detach…to disengage
And enter my own exotic realm
Embark on a journey of my own…
 
I am immersed in a strange light
Streaming through me
Sending the waves of forgiveness
Spreading the message of love
Unconditional…absolute.
© Balroop Singh.

You can click on Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh to read more such poems.

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Pangs Of Change

Relationships never endRelationships
They take a new turn,
They move on…
Each relationship suffers
The pangs of inadvertent change

Change we all like yet distrust
A change initiated by us,
By our own loved ones
For those who grow dearer…
Forgetting former bonds

New perspectives, newer attitudes
Lead to shrinking of close ties
A slice of life drifts away
When they try to hide
What their voices betray

A heart-wrenching abyss of estrangement
Forms unintentionally
Long nurtured ties weaken
As people around you seem to change
Confused, you too may falter!

The hypocrisy of endearing words
Becomes hard to swallow
When the true emotions have melted
A look of disbelief, lingers
A stoic acceptance, the only choice!

Ah! the amiable attribute of acceptance
It calms all the emotions and keeps us grounded!

© Balroop Singh.

You can click on Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh to read more such poems.

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The Emotional Aspect Of Grief, Which Later Became My Friend!

Grief

Grief…I have written a lot of poetry about this word, which ceased to be a word for me long back and became an ever-encompassing emotion, just like the threatening dark clouds, which refuse to break away without torrential rain.

I know this emotion is not individualistic. I know it is all pervading and agonizing but when it starts defining life for us at a very young age, it becomes a part of our personality.

That is how it assaulted me, devoid of any compassion with killer instinct to annihilate my existence.

I had to deal with it single-handed, finding excuses to hide away from it, putting up a brave front, denying its existence and even shoving it into the obscure corners of my mind.

We can do so when we are very young, burying our memories with the hope that they will remain repressed. Dwelling in the world of denial we move on, pursuing our dreams and basking in their glory.

Forgetting that no glory lasts forever. Oblivious of the reality that grief is an incessant stream that flows into our life time and again and brings all those boulders back, which we had discarded in the hope of never meeting again.

It is like an ember that keeps glowing in one corner of our heart, which keeps reminding that it is real, it is persistent, it cannot die.

How can you expect a child to grieve? A child who doesn’t even know this word, who is suddenly thrown into the sea and expected to swim!

How can you tell a child to shed tears and empathize with those who want to glorify grief?

‘How dare you smile or laugh’…people remind us and compel us to keep the grief alive in our heart.

I can recollect a feeling of emptiness, of loneliness, of guilt encompassing me, shrieking…keep that emotion alive. A reprimand arising out of my heart…dare you not abandon it!

Such is the way of the world or that is what I experienced. Moments of joy were snatched away not just by the dead, who left me behind but even those who were alive because they chose to live in sorrow.Grief quote

Grief is one emotion that can never be suppressed… I learnt this lesson in the prime of my adolescence; it is better to accept it, embrace it and conduct a meaningful dialogue with it.

Give it some time to let it percolate, assess your strength, build it further and emerge emotionally resilient. Only grief can do it. It is only in misery that we learn to become understanding. Our vibes of sensitivity become more functional. We become resistant to judgments.

We learn to live with it.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

After all the tears and heartbreaking moments of anguish, grief starts diluting itself and steps out. We just have to open the doors and windows to let it ease. Now it re-enters in a new form if we are ready to accept him like a friend.

When I befriended grief it started patting on my back, it sat with me to reassure that it would welcome joy. I was astounded that it too loved to break free. Now both of us enjoy freedom, soar with each other, laughter accompanies us and we have vanquished negative thoughts.

We pour our concerns and tears into poetry, which is all-absorbing and provides us with somber solace.

Grief is our best friend:

It acquaints us with our inner self.

It makes us ponder to understand its nuances.

It makes us wiser and more tolerant.

It reinforces our faith and strength.

It ennobles us.

It introduces us to joy, which lies in little, fleeting moments.

Have you found a friend in grief by accepting it? Do you like this new relationship? I would love to hear your views.

The above extract, adapted from my next book, which is in initial stages, may seem gloomy and out of place but grief is one word that surely touches our lives with its cold hand, at some stage of life.

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.