Have you heard of the father, son and the donkey story from Aesop fables?….
A man and his son were once going with their Donkey to the market. They passed by some men who said “You fools, a Donkey is to be ride upon?”
So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed another group of men, who said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”
So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. They hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, who said “Shame on that man to let his poor little son trudge along.”
Hearing this he asked his boy to sit on the donkey along with him. Then they came across few more men who said: “Aren’t you ashamed? overloading that poor Donkey?”
They both got off, and carried the Donkey on their shoulders. They were walking on a bridge when the Donkey, kicked out which caused the Boy to lose his balance. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and drowned.
The moral of the story…. if you try to please all, you will end up losing everything…
To me this story reflects a deeper struggle.. It’s about me constantly judging myself…. My battle with my own inner voices.
Like the other day, One minute I was happy that my blog had grown so much in three months and then I see the post of a fellow blogger who in the same amount of time had 10 times the views and followers than me. Then I felt….. what the hell? How? Maybe I am not trying hard enough? And then I came across another blogger who in a year had lesser views and followers than me and yet without fail they had kept putting up posts systematically… Then I felt…. what? How come they don’t care if anybody is reading their blog or not… why can’t I just write for the fun of it? Maybe I don’t value myself enough….
This is a daily battle, where how happy I am is defined by the standards and successes of other people … I mean you do need references, but you can’t define yourself by them all the time..
The biggest mistake the father and son did was not that they listened to others, cause listening to others really helps a lot sometimes. The biggest mistake they made was not interpreting what others said and moulding it in their own way to suit themselves. One they were comfortable with.
Voices in our head are more difficult to deal with than the opinions of others around you. Sometimes we internalize the opinions of others to the extent that they just become our own inner voices.
Yet, Despite all the voices in our heads we try hard to find the right balance between ..
- Work and home
- Valuing ourselves and seeking approval from others
- Being an adult and being a kid
- Taking control of things around you and just letting go
- Socializing and spending time by yourself
- Eating a bar of chocolate and working out
- Letting your sexual desires overwhelm you and solving the most complex logical problems…
- Between pushing yourself and taking it easy
- Doing things for others vs prioritizing yourself
- And even between life and death…
Somewhere in between the two extremes, you find your comfort point.. where you are at peace.. voices in your head have nothing more to say….. what others say doesn’t affect you as much. This point is what defines our true success.. And it need not be the same for all!