Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Why "My Choice" empowers ?

While traveling through a village, giving sermons and being greeted with hopeful eyes, Buddha had a chance encounter with a man who started hurling abuses at him. Without getting upset, Buddha asked him, " If you buy a gift for someone and that person doesn't take it, who does the gift belong to?". Puzzled by such an obvious question, the man replied, "I bought the gift. Of course, it belongs to me". 

Buddha's point was that we always have a choice- whether to accept what a person offers- adulation, anger, advice and be affected by it or not accept it allowing it to remain with the former. It is this choice of doing what you believe in that's most empowering and liberating. We might espouse always having a choice and the significance of being brave enough to make unique choices but the real thing to introspect upon is whether we believed we always had a choice, whether we made things simpler and easier for others to exercise their choice and if not, whether we could have done things differently so that everyone had a choice.

We don't choose the family we are born into or the society we grow up in. We can't anticipate the kind of people we will meet ahead in life. We have always been taught that we need to take people along in our choices thus conditioning us to a list of the rights and wrongs conforming to which will not rock the boat. In such a scenario, is our volition really free and are our choices really ours? We keep consoling ourselves that we weren't selfish but how many can really be at peace for giving up things that we really wanted to do for ourselves? How many of us can promise that learning from this, we won't impose our choices on others? It's a vicious circle that I can see breaking free when people start loving themselves much more than anybody else in the world.

From what life has taught me, this self-love is the most liberating and empowering force ever. It's difficult to make most people understand this. But I saw the Vogue Empower video doing that and for all the shock value that it has, it's an attempt to make the deaf hear. From where I see it, it's a video with 99 women claiming that what they do in life will be their choice. Whether it's a woman, a man, a child or an elder- the same theme can be used to make a video on anyone's empowerment since choices are of an individual and are not class specific. From where I see it, it's not targeted at men but at anyone who doesn't respect your choice. The choice to have a baby is of two people and if either doesn't want it, it shouldn't be thrust upon. The choice of sexual orientation is what you are born with, it's not a disease to be cured or a fad to be counseled out of. The choice of the kind of relationship you want- only for lust, only for love or for both- with fidelity or not- is upon two people who are in the relationship.

It's not easy for a person to rock the boat and make choices that are not popular. No one can deny that he understands the risk of drowning himself or the people he chose to travel with. But nevertheless if he/she has the gumption to take that risk, why get antagonized? As long as one's choices are consistent and have equal standards, why not just let them be ? And if all resolve to guide and not preach, give the confidence to stand by each other irrespective of the choices made, everyone will stand empowered.

I am lucky to find myself in the company of people who have never hesitated to share their perspectives but value my choices above all. What connects them is the self love so high that they neither crave for approval themselves nor get tempted to approve of others actions. One should be open to learning from other's mistakes but should have the freedom to make theirs too. Show them the room of order but give them the key to the chaos too. This responsibility disciplines like no other force. Give them the "choice" that liberates, empowers and fills with love, rest assured it will be given back to you.


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