Saturday, April 29, 2023

When Sympathy Cheapens You

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 29 April 2023 " Khwahish-e-Hamdardi Ne Mere Kirdaar Ko Daaghdaar Kar Diya." (The Desire For Sympathy Has Besmirched My Character) - Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi " Seek The Warmth Of Sympathy. Chances Are, You'll Get The Coldness Of Apathy." -Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, Persian poet, also wrote some stories " Sympathy Always Has An Element Of Condescension." Anon We all have come across and disliked those who seek sympathy. This habit is indeed irritating. Many people are in the habit of telling others about their pains, sorrows and sufferings. While it's good to share one's pain with near and dear ones, one must remember that all aren't your close ones or dear friends. Moreover, we all have our own pains and troubles and when someone starts narrating his/her sob-stories, it becomes unbearable for others. Some do it just to gain sympathy and they keep doing it. Those who have a certain inferiority complex and who want to draw people's attention, often concoct sob and sad stories to get people's sympathy. We don't understand one simple rule of life that those who seek cheap sympathy always get insincere sympathy. An Urdu maxim encapsulates it: Hamdardi Maangoge Toh Bedardi Milegi (If you ask for sympathy, you'll get rudeness). People somehow realise that the person is telling his/her artificially painful stories to gain sympathy. So, they also give him/her lip-service and are never genuinely interested in his/her sufferings. At the same time, unnecessarily crying before others is degrading. It's insulting. You cheapen yourself. Maut, Maatam, Mamta Aur Muhabbat Ko Sikke Ki Maanind Nahin Uchhala Jaata (Death, mourning, affection and love cannot be tossed around like a mere coin). Rumi wrote so soulfully: ' When I sought sympathy, I broke life's symphony.....I broke its musicality and realised, pain shared with all is pain uncared for by all.' This is an invaluable piece of wisdom that the pain shared with all is pain uncared by all. It's the relegation of pain and dwarfing its intensity. Don't belittle the profundity of pain by seeking unnecessary sympathy. Let pain and sufferings smoulder in the crevices of your heart. Sympathy dilutes its sombreness. It (sympathy) corrodes and blunts those sharp edges that lend quality to one's persona. Urdu poet Makhmoor Saeed aptly says,'Akele Mein Ro Leta Hoon, Khud Se Khud Ko Bahlata Hoon/ Mere Wajood Ko Khokhli Hamdardi Ki Chahat Nahin' ( I weep in my own company/My existence needs no hollow and shallow sympathy). People with dignity seldom share their pains and sufferings with others and if at all they share, they share with only those, they've complete faith in and vice versa. Sensitive and self-respecting people know that sympathy makes a person feel small. Any Tom, Dick and Harry cannot be so close to you as to be able to know what's happening inside your home, heart and hearth. An individual's dignity lies in camouflaging his/her pains and losses. Remember, the greatest art is to conceal art. Why should sufferings be displayed like clothes in tatters? Is pain an object to be showcased through the window of sympathy? It's akin to washing one's dirty linen in public. Then it doesn't remain in pain any longer. It becomes a trivial gimmick and an act of indignity. 'The sheen of suffering goes away with sympathy's cheap offerings.' So, take utmost care who you should share your sob stories or genuine problems with. Remember, we're all born with someone's pain and die with our own. Pain is too personal and suffering is equally private. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. This article is an extended, enlarged and corrected version of the writer's blog on TOI. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

No comments:

Post a Comment