Posts Tagged ‘Opposition’

The word “opposition” does not arouse any warm feelings in anyone I know. And yet, it is the one important requirement at every stage of life. Of course, there is great comfort in being liked, being popular and being supported all the way in whatever we do. No one would voluntarily come up and say, “Please oppose me. Please criticize me. It is good for me”. It is hard to look into the mirror held by others and clinically examine what they see in us, especially if it goes against our self image. Worse still, many a time, we ourselves are in complete denial and do not see ourselves that way at all.

In every human being, the feeling of appearing and feeling good and being accepted is very intense. People are often willing to sacrifice their intrinsic personalities to live within this bubble. Many cults are thriving exactly on this attitude of people. There is a huge psychology behind “toeing the line”. The price to pay is through externally imposed regulations which may well limit growth. The psychological benefits in such cases far outnumber the need for growth. There is anonymity in a group. Everyone seems leveled out at a similar benchmark. There is little fear of challenges and hence, failures. Everyone is polite, friendly and accepting of each other, surrendering to the body of dictates and finding comfort, “shelter” and a sense of belonging. Why would anyone want to bear the scorching heat of the sun when they can be in the shade provided by others?

But those who choose to deviate from these patterns will have to be introduced to opposition. The first opposition comes from within as an awakening call at the disturbance of the perpetual “slumber” state, Kabir, the famous Indian poet said, “Nindak Niyare rakhiye, aangan kuti chhavay. Bin sabun pani bina, nirmal karat subhaye”. To translate from Hindi, Kabir suggests that each one of us needs to keep critics around us. This will purify us without cleaning ourselves with either soap or water. How beautiful and how difficult to implement! “Frankness” is a shunned word today as much as detractors are kept away. The “healthiness” of arguments no longer exists. “It is my way or the highway” has become the norm. If we were not so myopic, we would realize that criticism itself, even if malicious, can be a cause for genuine introspection.

A strong and constructive opposition facilitates sustained development if heeded with an open mind. It is very important to take decisions only after examining all the perspectives. Take the example of the parliament. A weak opposition can be detrimental to the growth of a nation, whereas, a strong opposition can elevate a country to unimaginable heights. The pre condition is that the intentions be honorable. Maturity lies in opposing for the right cause and action, not for petty short term gains or impairing the vision and process of a bright future for an individual, family, community or a nation. In a democracy, a strong opposition acts as a system of checks and balances to prevent anarchy or a tendency towards despotism.

If we really think about it, a constructive opposition encourages a system of studying existing situations, shows the other perspectives to enable and ensure the best action under the circumstances. Personalizing criticism demonstrates a lack of maturity. In reality, opposition should trigger a need for soul searching and flexibility to incorporate corrections directed towards growth irrespective of where the suggestions come from.

The problem is that very often, personal criticism or opposition can be perceived as unpalatable because there is already an emotional charge attached to the subject. We don’t want someone else to tell us what we already know about ourselves and are not happy with.

Actually, opposition is a kind of fresh perspective. The positive side is that people actually think you are important enough to oppose. Conversely, they might oppose because they may gain some satisfaction from this. In either case, to keep an open mind helps in analyzing the new perspectives and understanding whether they apply to us, and if so, whether they help or hinder us. Intelligence is all about clear thinking and discernment.

A “no opposition” scenario can lead to inflated egos and may stunt development and growth which needs a sustained environment of challenges. Children who have excelled have done so by showing motivation and determination to stare challenges straight in the face and emerging successful. There are enough success stories of people whose life has been a huge struggle and who have achieved greatness despite severe opposition from people, circumstances and life itself, the latest being our very own Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.

To face opposition requires courage and the ability to move ahead on the strength of the courage of convictions tempered with clarity of thinking and perception of reality , a deep maturity and intentions aimed towards the larger good. I hope we all learn to encourage opposition and change our negative attitude towards it. Let us turn every opposition into a new opportunity.

Surekha Kothari


Blog: surekhakothari.wordpress.com

Speakingtree Blog: http://www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

Read Full Post »