Friday, 9 September 2016

A pushover; who me?

Very very confused and muddled I have attempted a write up about being nice vs being a pushover...

A pushover as per the dictionary is a person who's easy to fool or influence. Someone who is easily taken advantage of and is easily defeated.

A pushover in other words is a person who is pushed to do stuff he really doesn’t want to do and is actually uncomfortable doing. Why then are pushovers so common?

A young mom I was speaking to yesterday told me how frustrated she was because being in a joint family was not as easy as she had thought it was. She had had to quit her job, look after all the other members of the family with no support from her other family members especially her younger sister in law who wouldn’t lift a hand to help her. She had to even shop for her most intimate needs because she was too lazy to step out of the house. While I stared at her with my mouth agape wondering what I would have done in a similar situation she continued, “Yes, I am a pushover”.

How do you have the strength to take it I asked her and she said I just let it be …I can’t handle confrontations.

As a pushover one learns to take things the way they are, avoiding at all costs to stand up for one’s opinions, perspectives, or ideas. My acquaintance had somehow convinced herself that not speaking up about what she was going through was much better than making an issue about the whole thing. She had learnt not to put herself first, even at great personal expense.

This made me think about it the whole day. Are pushovers nicer people, more spiritual, more in tune with the spirit of humanity? Are they just plain nice, wanting to make people happy without expecting anything in return? Or are they just afraid of the consequences? Consequences such as losing friends, not disappointing people and being known as a mean person.

However being too nice can be harmful especially when your forbearance is taken as stupidity. And when your principles are compromised and your kind hearted gesture may actually be hurting you, you need to say no.  

So, now all this got me thinking. Am I a pushover? Well let’s see…I have never been able to say no to anyone, be it my friends, my boss, my colleagues, the rickshaw driver, my beautician, I have a hard time asserting myself, always first thinking “what if I am hurting this person”. Oh no, I shouldn’t say anything, they will hate me for saying no, he is my boss, my senior I cannot on any grounds not heed to his wishes, they will be so upset with me for pointing out the poor service I received. The reasons are manifold and the cost of not saying only one, my peace of mind.  

Well, yes then dear God, I am a pushover. But I never thought it was wrong. Yes I had expectations, my peace of mind would be disturbed but in the end I was a pushover since I wanted to be one. I didn’t do it because I wanted people to like me (a tad bit yes) but because I didn’t want them to be displeased and disappointed or to be unhappy.

Is being a pushover good or not? I am confused. I also realise most people are not fond of pushovers. It is also true that most of us consider ourselves to be pushovers just like I do. But are still disliked by some percentage of the people we know.

Thanks to some valuable lessons I have learnt recently I know that the world is full of negativity, pessimism, cynicism, distrust and gloom, so the problem is not in being appreciative, kind and friendly, the problem is in letting yourself be harmed and losing your peace. I have also learnt that getting the approval of others through being nice is a waste of time.

I have thus decided being too nice is not the problem being a pushover is. So, though till my dying day I will try my level best to help and turn my other cheek for those who will appreciate being helped, it will not be at the cost of my principles and my family.



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