Why Are Some Human Beings So Vindictive?

Are you vindictive?

You must have heard the infamous refrain ‘an eye for an eye’ or the age-old dictum ‘Tit for Tat’…Revenge has always seemed sweet to most of the people since times immemorial.

Psychologists and researchers believe that human behavior is determined by the genes and the kind of environment we live in. While the role of Nature and Nurture has always been accepted, even the best of upbringing and education couldn’t exterminate the innate vindictiveness of human beings.

It can be discerned in the innocent squabbling of toddlers; it gets sharpened when they grow up to face the competitive world of sports and schooling and slowly it becomes a part of their personality.

Probably the real reason is rooted in the evolution of human race, which had to struggle to survive against all odds and challenging circumstances. In modern times, when people are blessed with all kinds of materialistic and spiritual choices, revenge refuses to slacken its hold on human psyche.

Why? What could be the possible reasons?

Revenge is triggered not just by deceit, infidelity or injustice.

There are very insignificant reasons, which may not seem as trivial as you could presume.

Negative thoughts: Vengefulness could be a reaction to their own negative thoughts, which make people insecure and jealous. Family bickering and rivalries are the best example of such insecurities. When one member of a family becomes successful or is seen to be happy, others step in with their malicious thoughts of creating rifts to grind their own axe and exploit emotions.

Ruining relationships: Jealous people want all the attention, they want to prove they are the most loving and caring and if they find a challenger, they make a surreptitious attempt to alienate your siblings or other relatives by backbiting; by creating such situations which could prove you to be a villain.

It gives momentary pleasure: Revenge seeker has his own reasons, his frustrations and failures for which he holds others around him responsible. Seeing them suffer could give him pleasure. It might even boost his bruised ego. His helplessness in reacting directly could be camouflaged in the façade of goodness. Revenge hurts you also

It assuages anger: Anger, the most illogical and unbridled emotion gets mitigated by revenge. Hurting others and meting out the most unreasonable treatment through their jibes, punitive actions or passive aggression gratifies such avengers.

It proves one’s power: Vindictive people consider themselves to be more powerful. Sometimes they are influential due to the positions they hold. They could be your bosses or colleagues. A disappointed colleague who was eyeing the promotion you got or the boss who has been given a negative feedback may rob you of your peace of mind. Those who want to let you down would derive sadistic pleasure out of such situations.

Insecurities: “Living well is the best revenge,” said George Herbert but vindictive people don’t let you live well! Your living well exposes their own imperfections to them, making them insecure in their heart of hearts.

Have you heard of nemesis? It is the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall. An agent of natural justice… some people call it “Karma” and believe that whatever goes, comes around and you have to pay for your evil deeds.

Nemesis catches vindictive people sooner or later!

Vengefulness is a negative streak, which can only be addressed by our own inner voice. Like all negative emotions, it does hold some goodness. It acquaints us with our real self. it might lead us to introspection!

Negative emotions are very subtle and deceptive. They absorb more energy but they often walk away victorious, testing our patience and strength, ennobling us, belittling our ego, thereby transforming us into humble human beings.

You can read more about negative emotions and how they help us.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

 

How Relevant Are Short Stories In Our Lives?

How relevant are short stories

Short stories are as dear as lullabies if they are introduced at the right time. While babies derive delight in looking at the illustrations and hearing the familiar voice of their parents, children love to cuddle up with a good story book.

My earliest memories of short stories are connected with my grandma, who could tell me weirest tales without a book but only at bed time. Her favorite refrain that ‘if we tell stories during the day, travelers forget their way’ was taken seriously by us. Though I chuckle at her belief now but it brings fond memories of her face whenever I think of stories.

My love for stories grew as I chose to study and later teach literature and had an easy access to all those renowned names known for writing brilliant pieces. Some of them got entrenched in my memory as they encouraged me to imbibe the values that they glowed with.

This love was recently revived by ‘What’s In A Nameby Sally Cronin, an engaging collection of twenty short stories, each story inspired from real life and emotions that every individual has to live through. Another captivating anthology ‘Twelve Tales Of Christmas’ by Cathleen Townsend infuses a spirit of togetherness and warmth through its stories of human interest. Now I am reading ‘The Story Teller Speaks’ by Annika Perry and I am amazed at her enchanting style of holding the readers.

My blogger friend Nihar whose ever-inspiring creative stories make a delightful reading, recently requested me to share the short stories that have left a mark on my personality and I got this idea of sharing these timeless classic tales.

The first one that comes to my mind is the ‘Gift of Magi’ by O.Henry. When I had read this story, I was too young  to absorb the emotion behind buying a gift, too young to understand why gifts are so important, as I had rarely received them but I learnt how important they can be and why people make sacrifices. I often wonder – could there be a better example of true love?

This value of sacrifice is further highlighted in ‘The Last Leaf by O. Henry. Old Behrman, an unsuccessful, dejected artist who was always talking about his masterpiece,  had nothing to sacrifice but he wanted to save the life of young Johnsie who had lost the desire to live. The last leaf that never fell and saved her life was actually Behrman’s masterpiece that he had painted on a snowy and windy night! How benevolence and inspiration can uplift human spirit touches my heart whenever I read this story.

‘The Model Millionaire’ by Oscar Wilde is remembered not only for the excellent prose and succinct style of Wilde’s writing but also for inserting subtle messages for humanity like… “Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed.” Generosity could be an inborn trait and a kind act never goes unnoticed. If Hughie could donate his last sovereign to the ‘poor beggar,’ the beggar didn’t disappoint him!

Saki, whose real name was H.H.Munro has written several masterpieces but ‘The Background’ appeals to me the most, as it is a satire on the hypocrisy and love of art, which is considered to be more valuable than a human being who is treated like a rare piece of art as he carried the masterpiece of a tatoo artist on his back! The story jolts you out of your slumber and makes an effort to underline what is more important – a person’s dignity and freedom or just a piece of art?

Short Stories

God Sees the Truth but Waits by Leo Tolstoy made a deep impact on me and I have discussed it time and again to fathom why does God wait so long, why does an innocent suffer for the crime of another person, how could forgiveness be as noble as it has been made out to be? Spiritual interpretations of this story have failed to convince me why was an innocent man used as a tool for the purgation of the soul of a hardened criminal? Isn’t God all-powerful?

The Bet by Anton Chekhov delves deeper into human psychology, bringing out the frailties of human beings on one hand and nobility that one can acquire if one wishes to. The argument over what kind of punishment is better – life imprisonment or death penalty culminates in proving that life imprisonment could be more humane as it offers an opportunity to the criminal to change. The lawyer who chose to accept solitary confinement, just for the bet, slowly rose above ordinary human beings and understood how immaterial is the lust for money and luxury.

A Man Who Had No Eyes by MacKinlay Kantor has stayed in my memory for the outstanding style of narration, style and a sudden unexpected twist that leaves the reader spellbound. It is not just a short story… it is a comment on life, how we approach it positively and move on. A must read to change your outlook on life.

Sparrows by K.A. Abbas brilliantly highlights some harsh realities of life, which had hardened a man. But a streak of kindness, so natural to human instincts, didn’t die and it could be ignited by loving birds, without even a word. A man, presumed to be devoid of emotions, shunned by villagers and even his own family is transformed into a loving and kind human being by the love of sparrows for their own young ones.

God Is Near by James Herriot convinced me that love could be found in furry friends too. If we love His creation, we can feel the presence of God around us even without visiting any religious places. Dr. Herriot’s unspoken commitment to the dogs and cats of Miss Stubbs was no less than her housekeeper.

Short stories lay bare various facets of life. They are more effectual in conveying the values without sermonizing about them. Each emotion can be felt through short stories if they are told in their true spirit.

Have you read any of these stories? Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

 

 

Emerging from Shadows, Poetry by Balroop Singh

I am delighted to share my blogger friend Cathleen’s wonderful review of my poetry book ‘ Emerging From Shadows.’ I would like to express gratitude for her in-depth analysis of emotions that dominate the poems in this book and the quote she has picked up truly defines the theme that runs through the book.

Cathleen Townsend

Emerging from ShadowsEmerging from Shadows is no callow compilation of a lovestruck young adult’s first sonnets. Rather, it’s the reflections of an emotionally mature writer who has faced life’s stings with a determination to grow from them in an honest and healthy way.

This is a verse from my favorite poem in the collection, Sound that Resounds.

“I can no longer remain insignificant

Your harrowing hauteur is oppressive

Forgive me for finding my own avenues

My gratitude goes to my spirit.”

It’s an excellent read for anyone recovering from emotional trauma, especially those who would rather eschew bitterness, and instead be at peace with how they respond to life’s trials.

View original post

What I Learnt From My Critics

Critics are friends

“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” – Norman Vincent Peale

All people like to be praised as it boosts their self-esteem, keeps them motivated and happy but it also pushes them into the abyss of sham, which is propelled by hypocrisy and sycophancy.

We like to think that we are the best; we are the most successful; we are more intelligent and smart.

Anyone who criticizes us earns our instant dislike and we try to keep that person at arms length. If we happen to be at a higher position we try to take a punitive action against our critics.

Criticism is a subtle message that we need to embellish our personality and manner of working. Sometimes such messages are loud and hurting but they do ring a bell within us. They may seem to belittle us but they need to be heard.

I have learnt many lessons from my critics. When I was told ‘I am arrogant,’ I made every effort to analyze my personality. When I was told I was reticent, I tried to come out of my shell.

I learnt to smile from my critics. I learnt patience, compassion and humility from my critics.

When I was a teacher, I was given an extra charge of writing press notes of all school events. It was not an easy task and each time I handed over the report to my boss, it was criticized and thrown back at me.

Today when I look back, my heart is filled with gratitude towards her because she helped me enhance my writing skills, ignited the fire within me to put in my best and fostered the ability to become emotionally resilient.

Why is criticism essential?

  • It is an eye-opener
  • It steers us out of self-deceptionCritics
  • It points out our mistakes
  • It acquaints us with our imperfections
  • It develops our emotional quotient
  • It helps us in introspection
  • It makes us a better person

Keep the windows of your mind open:

Welcome all kinds of feedback, more so if it is negative. All people can say good things about your work, way of dressing up and demeanor. Only the truthful ones, the unsuccessful and the jealous ones would point out your mistakes. Listen to them and reflect upon what they have said. Growth and learning happens only when we are receptive to criticism.

Listen patiently:

When we listen carefully what others have to say about us, we get an opportunity to know others’ perspective. We tend to tune off even when our friends try to convey a negative aspect of our persona but each negative insight can contribute to our positive development only if we pay attention to it.

Look within:

Can you lie to yourself? Self-awakening hits us only when we find the time to drop into our heart. Our weaknesses reveal themselves one by one when we make an effort to understand the cause of criticism. Such experiences ennoble us. They prepare us for forgiveness. I forgive myself before I decide to forgive those who have hurt me with their insensitive words.

Embrace positivity:

The aunt who told me not to laugh loudly, the teacher who punished me for being rude, the friend who mimicked me for being a cry baby, the student who glared at me for giving unsolicited moral advice and the neighbor who criticized me for being unsocial, they all taught me profound lessons of life!

It is easier to praise but hard to criticize. Let’s bless our critics, as we owe gratitude to them for showing the mirror to our true face.

Critical thinking is a gift that nature has given us. Let’s use it judiciously and constructively.

I am sure you too have faced some critics. What did you learn from them?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.