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From the Publisher's Desk
The Human Paradox

by Dr. Dev Anuroop Brar, MD

Confidence is Silence. Insecurities are loud.
When we talk to someone who is fit and slim about 'how fit and slim they are,' their usual response is - "No man, I need to lose more weight." At the same time, if discussion about weight loss is going on, the person who is obviously overweight usually has this to say - "I have been losing weight, can you see?" or "I am working on losing weight, can you see?" The person who is the healthiest and fittest usually says "I have been eating a lot, I need to cut down." On the other hand, the one who is on the other side of the health spectrum usually has this to say - "You know I really don't eat much."

We'll hear pretty much the same things when discussions occur about exercise. The fittest ones will say "I need to get out and exercise more." The ones that really need to work out will have this to say - "I have been walking a lot" or "I do a lot of exercise."

In countries like India and some other countries in the tropics, fair colored skin is held in high regard. However, many do not fit that profile. Those who are fair usually receive compliments - "Hey, you are so fair!" They usually respond "Thanks, but I looked in the mirror today and felt so dark complexioned." Those who are truly dark complexioned are usually heard saying - "Today I look pretty fair!"

Then there are those who are considered intelligent; when they receive a compliment, they usually respond - "I think I just got lucky to find a solution to the problem." On the other hand, when a person of lower intelligence solves a less difficult problem, they usually say - "See how smart I am? I found the answer so quickly."

The same goes for people who have had interesting and fulfilled lives. They usually are quiet during conversations about life and other things. The one who chats the most about events in his/her life are those whose lives we may have the least interest. The same is true about someone who is wealthy and well-off, compared to someone who is not there yet. Where the former are quiet about their activities the latter usually talk more about their exploits in spending monies.

Well-connected people rarely, if ever, talk about their connections. Those with minimal or no connections usually say - "You know, I had a drink with the brother of the brother-in-law of Senator So-and-So. We are very close."

These reactions are best described as "Confidence is Silence. Insecurities are loud." Then there are more serious problems that are handled by humans in a paradoxical manner. Someone who has a drinking problem usually says - "I don't drink too much", while those who drink less or occasionally can be heard saying - "We went out last night, and I drank too much." They may have had a couple of drinks or they may have had a lot - because they are not being self-protective they don't mind sharing.

Self-protection may not be a term in psychology or science, but this is what we can observe people doing. They are trying to overcome a weight, eating or a drinking problem by downplaying it, while those who don't have these problems are making themselves feel better by adding more to their 'to-do list'.

To a certain extent, this protection mechanism helps people feel good about themselves. However, the longer we deny the reality or truth, the longer it will take to get to the path of empowerment and a successful life.

If we are overweight, the best solution is to do everything to lose weight and not make excuses. If we eat more we should develop self-control and eat healthy and also eat less. If we have a drinking problem, accept it, work on it, and save our lives. If we don't exercise enough, the tongue workout is not going to make us healthy. We must make these adjustments if we want to feel good about ourselves. We can work our way towards empowerment by walking the walk - not just talking the talk.

Want to be liked by others? Let's have them talk more, and we listen. Not only will we learn more about others and their experiences, we will also place ourselves in the 'cool' category.

We should accept reality and its consequences. We should strive for 'high loves' of life like regular exercise, losing weight, eating healthy, learning more, listening more, working hard towards decent financial goals, giving up excessive drinking , and thereby being content and having truly fulfilled lives. At the same time we have to work on relinquishing the 'low loves' like the self-destroying behavior of laziness, over-eating, drinking, smoking, refusal to learn and grow, and self-love.

When a pigeon sees a cat, it closes its eyes, which makes it think that there is no cat around. However, the cat lunges and eats the pigeon.

We must not close our eyes to this destructive self-protective mechanism, which actually does not protect self. Instead, it can have disastrous results. Facing the reality and the truth is a far better choice.