The Martyrdom Syndrome

Have you seen people playing the martyr’s role to perfection? I am not talking of the martyr who lays down his life fighting for freedom, but the everyday martyr – the silent sufferer who believes that his duty is to suffer to allow others to enjoy.

People who subscribe to this thought, will always be found doing the donkey’s work, denying themselves pleasure and comfort even if it is their right, and offered to them on a platter. They will always be the ones carrying other people’s burden – slowly burning themselves out from inside. Helping out is one thing, but becoming the martyr unnecessarily is quite another. Such people are programmed to hold on to their suffering.

No matter what you believe with your conscious mind, your subconscious will always win out over the long run and control your behaviour. And this behaviour will depend on how you have programmed yourself. Remember, your subconscious is like a super-computer. It only accepts and implements programs. Your conscious mind works while you’re awake, but your subconscious works round the clock.

People who think they have to be perfect, can never be wrong, will be rewarded for their suffering and self denial; will end up holding on to their suffering. Those who fear change or don’t feel competent to face the consequences of change, will be mired in martyrdom.

Society places a high premium on those who play the martyr – martyrdom while fighting for freedom, the Nirupa Royish-woman of the house sacrificing her wants at the altar of family service, the eldest in the family sacrificing his/her wishes to raise up his/her siblings in the absence of the parents – we see it all over the place. Is there anything wrong with it? While to be a martyr or not is an individual decision, from an energy perspective, it is certainly not a wise thing to do.

In energy terms, martyrdom is the voluntary giving of a chunk of your personal energy. Sustained giving later results in your subconscious automatically giving away energy all the time because it is programmed to do so. Such a person becomes the fall guy – like Dinesh Kartik is to the current Indian cricket team, playing the role of substitute, water-bearer, etc., despite being a good cricketer.

Martrydom drains your energy to a point when you have little or no energy left. There comes a point when the martyr has no energy left to give, and expects energy from others, without realising that it is the latter’s choice whether to give off their energy or not. It is at this time that we get to hear statements like – “I have done so much for him, sacrificed my wishes to fulfil his, but look how has betrayed me”. The onus of generating energy and conserving it is yours. You need to take care of yourself so that you can also take care of others.

In friendship, 'bitching' is natural

Ø “We are such good friends, yet she bitches about me.”
Ø “I feel claustrophobic in my relationship with him. I mean, I just cannot dare say anything that will offend him: he may just snap the ties.”

Do these statements sound familiar? Many relationships have fallen by the wayside simply because of these issues or more. Is it wrong for good friends to bad-mouth each other, and then ‘renew’ their friendship as if nothing happened? Well, it is perfectly natural for that to happen, and the reason lies in a principle of energy movement.

When energy is created, you have to make space for waste because garbage is automatically created with any kind of creation. Take, for instance, your body. Just as you require the digestive system to assimilate what you take in, you also need the excretory system to manage the waste. Similarly, in your house, just as you need the front door, you also need the loo. The front of a building may be beautifully designed, but just walk across to the backside and you will see the not-so-beautiful side of it - the pipes, the air-conditioning ducts, etc. They don’t make a very pretty sight, but they are as much necessary as the front side if not more.
A relationship too is a form of energy. When you start a relationship, you generate energy in the form of that relationship. Which means – just like the previous examples I gave – there has to be a space or an avenue to manage the waste due to that generation. And waste in relationships can happen in the form of fights, inability to keep in touch, lack of time, need for space, elbow room for criticism, lack of sharing et al.
If you do not allow for and accommodate this ‘waste’ in your relationships, it is likely that that relationship will not last. Often, people get into relationships expecting only the good and the positive from it. Energy movements, however, don’t work that way. The positive and the negative co-exist - the yin-yang principle.
The package of being human comes with the good and bad, the positive and negative, the cool and not-so-cool quotients…all of which have to be factored in when entering into a relationship. As also the fact that when the negative side raises its head, just wait for it to subside. Then, the positive takes over. And the relationship becomes hunky-dory again. The mistake most people make is to not let it subside. That’s when war of words take place, and the negative energy starts multiplying thereby totally ruining the relationship.
Maintaining a relationship is an art; ask those who have nurtured long and strong relationships to know about the secret. They will tell you the truth lies in acceptance and accommodation.

The hostile takeover of childhood

Nowadays, when kids sing on television music shows, they don’t sound like kids, do they? They sing exactly like the original playback singer! There was a time when a ‘Naani teri morni ko mor le gayi’ sung so beautifully by Ranu Mukherjee (and composed soulfully by Salil Chowdhury apparently for his grand-daughter Antara) used to warm the cockles of many a music aficionado – purely on account of the innocence in the voice of the singer. Not any more. Over the years, childhood has been ruthlessly taken over.

Today’s children’s mental and physical growth is not the same. What has taken over is the desire to look and behave older than what they actually are. Fueling those pre-teen and early teen wishes to act and appear more grown-up is a behaviour creep that has some experts and parents worried that kids are growing up too fast for their own good, and they're not emotionally, physically or intellectually prepared to handle the responsibility that comes with it. Kids are getting all the trappings of maturity, but there is no evidence their emotional maturity is keeping pace.
There was a time when generation gaps were about eight to ten years. Now that too has shrunk to 2-3 years. Today, we find a 13-year-old is not able to mentally ‘connect’ with his nine-year-old sibling. He already experiences a generation gap at that tender an age.
Having said that, look at the other side. Kids today are far smarter than their predecessors. It is commonplace to hear “Gosh, today’s kids are so smart. When I was their age, I would not even dream of doing those things”. We see prodigies developing by the dozen.
What does all this translate into in ‘energy’ terms?
Every stage of life requires its own level of energy. A three year-old’s energy requirement will vastly differ from an eight year-old’s, never mind the difference in academic qualification and age. The energy framework of a human being develops when certain situations occur in life. For instance, a birth in the family has a different energy connotation; bereavement has a different energy impact. Similarly, success and failure have different energy impacts. The fact is that one needs to go through different stages of life in order for this energy to get fully developed and utilised. That is the reason we touch the feet of our elders. It is to acknowledge the fact that they have experienced the ups and downs of energy far more, and therefore are more ‘experienced’ in life.
When a shrinking takes place – like in the case of childhood – the energy in that person does not get an opportunity to fully blossom. As a result, the child operates on a reduced level of energy – a truncated variety that is kind of programmed into his DNA. The result is there to see in the form of not only a shrinking childhood, but in attention deficit disorders; the total disregard for details; the need for everything in a jiffy, etc. The solution to this issue is the age-old Hindi saying: “Bachche ko khilne do”. This is just another way of saying: “Let the child’s energy bloom fully”. Only then will it be able to experience all-round growth.

Keep your aura clean

The aura - that protective shield of energy surrounding your body - is like Srinagar: it's perpetually under attack from unwanted energy that we tend to absorb 24/7. Extending anywhere between a few inches to several feet, the aura is your psychic shield. Simply put, the aura strengthens your immunity, protects you from unwanted energy and brings you opportunities. Though the magic of the aura and its importance is much much deeper, we will not go into that aspect for now.
Your aura is in a constant state of change. It either increases in size depending on whether you have involved yourself in an energising exercise like sports, singing, laughter, etc., or, it gets drained depending on your mood, health or your interactions with people of lesser energy. When you get a ailment, it actually 'hits' you about 3-6 months before you actually feel the symptoms. That's because it touches the aura first, and that little voice inside you warns you slightly of an impending health trouble. That ailment takes that many months to come to the physical body.
Given this reality, it is a good exercise to "clean" it ie. remove traces of bad energy that may have got 'stuck' to it. There are many ways to cleanse any unwanted energies in your aura. Some of these are physical acts like smudging or showering, while some are visualisations.
When we speak of cleansing the aura, we are not implying that it is "dirty," but one can over time, especially when dealing with other people through the course of a day, pick up bits of their energy and emotions. These may be positive or negative, but they are not yours, and can affect your ability to stay grounded and centered.
In general, an aura-hygiene program should be part of your routine on rising and retiring, just like washing your face or brushing your teeth. This will ensure that your aura doesn't get depleted at any time.

Aura Cleaning Techniques:
* The concept of burning incense in places of worship and also in the house, is to clean the aura. Specific contents in the incense possess the ability to clean auras.
* Water is an excellent resource. Add a little rock salt to the water before bathing. Rock salt has the quality of absorbing negative energy. That is the reason why pilgrims are advised to bathe in the sea before entering a place of worship. A pilgrim with a clean aura has a lesser chance of polluting the energy in that place of worship.
* Visualising golden light or white light flowing down from the heavens and cleaning your aura is also an excellent technique. This comes under the process ' Creative visualisation'* One can cleanse the aura using nothing more elaborate than breath: when breathing out, visualize all your negativity being flushed out, and breath in fresh positive energy.

Is your personal budget in place?

  • Mrs Saraswati Ganesan was browsing through the marriage albums of her three daughters and was recalling her struggle during her early life especially since her husband’s income used to just about make ends meet. But it was her astute money management skills that helped her to manage her household expenses and save enough to get her three daughters married. What Ganesan did was very simple: she kept envelopes for different kinds of household expenses and when her husband got home his salary, she allocated a portion of it for the various expenses and put that money in the respective envelopes. The rest she saved. And today, that discipline and budgeting acumen done over the years has helped her manage her life well.
  • Rakesh Vora used to be a depressed individual till one day in a fit of emotional upsurge, he decided to do something about his life and lifestyle. He noted down all that he had always wanted to do – passions that he thought would never materialise. And once, that was done, he allocated time for each of them, with different periodicities – some were weekly activities like his singing class, while others, like a half-hour meditation and prayer session, was assigned as a daily exercise. Within months, he felt better, was more positive and his depression became history.

    What these two examples go to prove is that regardless of the annual budget that our Finance Minister presents every year, there is a budgeting exercise that we need to do continuously. The game is called energy management. In the case of the country’s budget, the FinMin is allocating energy in the form of money. In our daily lives, on the other hand, we allocate energy in the form of money, time, passion, love, etc.

Why, the earth too has an energy budget that includes all gains of incoming energy and all losses of outgoing energy. The planet is approximately in equilibrium, so the sum of the gains should be approximately equal to the sum of the losses.
Energy can be harnessed better if it is neatly allocated to different tasks. For instance, a father of two will be doing justice to his children only if he invests and allocates time towards both of them. It becomes necessary for him to do that if he wants to raise them well. On a macro level however, raising children becomes one aspect of his energy allocation. The rest would be in taking care of his wife, parents, providing the family income, investing for the future, managing his workplace, etc.
So, if you notice, at every stage, energy can be managed only if it is divided into manageable levels. Else – as explained previously in this column – the energy starts to manage us. And that is a dangerous proposition.
It is a good exercise to put down on paper all those activities that increase your energy and those that deplete. Divide them into two columns – the debits and credits. Having done that, judge intuitively how much energy (by way of happiness, achievement, confidence, etc) each activity gives you, and on the debit side, how much energy gets drained by each of your activities. You will then have a clear picture of which activities need to be moderated to curb energy drainage, and which activities need to be worked upon to generate more energy. It’s an interesting exercise. Try it out.