The Cost of Independence

Tags: life-lessons

Every person likes the other person to be like him, it’s unconscious. When somebody is telling me as to why his football team is better than other teams, he’s essentially asking me to look at the way he sees one part of his life and agree with him that his point of view is right. If I tell him that his team is a big piece of shit, then I’ll be struck with great vengeance and furious anger.

Give this theory a romantic angle, if someone who likes me is agreeing to come to me and do something she usually doesn’t do, then she is trying to be like me, because I’d start liking a person more if she has something in common. This usually is involuntary, though one can reap the benefits if required.

And so on and so forth.

Every one person wants the other person to be like him, that doesn’t really matter unless one person’s thoughts start interfering and overriding other people’s thoughts. Then we have a problem and the world is in danger, that is what happened in WW2, and that is what happens in today’s time when a leader asks his followers to do something evil. But look around, even at a personal level, everyone will tell you what you have to do directly or indirectly.

That becomes the sole reason why you will shatter hearts when you try to be independent, thinking for yourself.

So let me digress and take an example of how the life of a typical person, who lives to be 80, is meshed and entangled with so many other people’s lives. Dividing his time in years, I get:

0-10: Under the supervision of parents.

10-20: Teenage. Hates parents due to hormones, under the supervision of friends.

20-30: Parents are OKayish. Colleagues, friends still matter a lot.

30-40: Spouse is the king/queen. Parents are good. Kids drive them nuts.

40-50: Another decades with teenage kids (which are stupid and self-centered) and spouse. Parents and community club people are lost-friends-who-came-back-in-life.

50-60: Parents are possibly dead, kids have moved out. Friends are those who share the same political, national and cultural beliefs.

60-70: You had too much sugar and a sedentary lifestyle and probably died of cancer. If not then your kids and spouse love you (trust me, it is possible) and you still have those old-farts from your community.

70-80: Some bad years in bed and you die.

Observe how social a normal person is. In almost every decade he’ll have a circle of other people whom he trusts/loves/admires and a great chunk of his life depends on them.

Let’s get back to the discussion. Think about an occasion when a person you were really fond of didn’t have the same way of thinking about an important-to-you idea. Ouch, you felt a pang of awkwardness and started putting your point across more clearly. Finally a debate ensued, and none of the parties won. The feeling after that debate is what I call “breaking of the heart”. But that’s completely normal, that’s how we sell ourselves and that’s how we roll.

If you try to be independent, you will break a few hearts every decades. You will have to say no to those people whom you really like and they like you back. You will have to look at their sad, stupid faces because that one time their thoughts and your thoughts won’t have the same wavelength and none of you is going to accept the ideas. And that is when you’ll feel you’ve done the inevitable. You have broken the hearts, said no to the ideas which are important to your parents, your friends, your SO, your colleagues. Because let’s face it, the moment you’ll have sense of what kind of people you’re sitting with, you’ll have a thought crossing your mind that maybe you are not like these people, maybe you don’t really flow with their ideas. Be it your religious beliefs, your cultural beliefs, your political beliefs, if you’ve thought about it yourself, with neutral mind, there are chances that you’ll find differences from the people you’ve been hanging out with. And then someday you decide to break the chord and make them furious. But all the while before that, you had some very weird feelings, feeling of being ostracised, the feeling that you’ll be all alone in this world if you don’t tag along with these people, but that’s just one of the irrational fears from the times society was just you and 50 other people. The truth is, there will always be like-minded people who’ll welcome you with open arms and who try to dictate your life a lot less that “those” people.

Life is an experiment, you only live once, it’s okay to make mistakes and break hearts, people who really love you will stick around no matter what. But if these mistakes aren’t made because you want to make someone else happy instead of living your life, then your life becomes one big mistake and then you have to bear the consequences every few years.

Either treat life as an experiment, or live it like a mistake. Either be independent, or be a foot mat for other people. The cost of independence is breaking hearts, and it needs to be paid in full.