Thursday, August 22, 2013

SELF HELP - THE DANGERS OF IMAGE MANAGEMENT

THE DANGERS OF IMAGE MANAGEMENT
Self Help Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

Are you happy with yourself as you are?

Think about it - close your eyes, reflect, and think about all aspects of your entire self - your body, your personality, your physical appearance, your mental faculties, your social graces, your talent and your soft skills.

Are you jealous of others? 

Especially, do you envy those people who you think are “better” or “smarter” than you? 

Do you crave to be like them and yearn to acquire all their qualities? 

Are you obsessed with the quest for perfection? 

Are you desperate for a makeover and trying all sorts of things in order to improve yourself?

You try everything possible - beauty parlours, gyms, personality development, image management, finishing schools, dance classes, skin therapies, tattoos, even cosmetic surgery ... 

You try out anything and everything to change your personality in your desperate quest to become a perfect someone else, to achieve the ideal self-image you have created in your mind. 

Why are you not happy with yourself as you are?

If you are not happy with yourself as you are, then you must read this fable, an apocryphal story:

THE STORY OF THE EXOTIC GOAT
A Fable
Narrated By 
VIKRAM KARVE

Once there lived a Goat – an ordinary looking goat - who lived wild and free in the mountains.

One day while grazing in the forest, the goat saw a Giraffe, and the goat said to himself:

“I wish my neck was as long as the giraffe.”

Lo and Behold!

The goat’s neck suddenly became as long as the giraffe’s.

Delighted, that he could now see far and wide, the goat saw an Eagle flying high in the sky.

“I wish I had wings like that eagle,” wished the goat.

And instantaneously, wings appeared on the goat’s body.

Thrilled, the goat flapped its newly acquired wings, when he suddenly he spotted a Tortoise.

The goat admired the beautiful hard shell of the tortoise, and said to himself:

“I wish I had a strong hard invincible body like the shell of the tortoise.” 

Instantly his wish was granted – the goat’s back turned into the shell of a tortoise.

The goat felt ecstatic and impregnable, till he suddenly saw a sleek Cheetah speeding across the horizon running at high speed.

“I wish I had legs like the Cheetah,” the goat wished.

And miracle of miracles, the goat’s legs immediately became like the Cheetah.

Now the goat was truly overjoyed, on cloud nine, till he saw the enchanting sight of a beautiful Peacock with majestic feathers dancing magnificently.

“I wish I had gorgeous feathers like the peacock,” the goat wished.

And in a jiffy the goat’s wish was granted, and the goat now had dazzling copious plume of colourful feathers.

Adorned with the neck of a giraffe, the wings of an eagle, the shell of a tortoise, the legs of a Cheetah and the feathers of a peacock, the Goat felt jubilant, supreme, regal, on top of the world, and strutted around grandiosely in majestic pride.

A Hunter passing by suddenly saw this unique stunning creature. 

He looked at the marvelous creature and he could not believe his eyes.

The hunter stared in fascination and gawked enthralled at the sight before him. 

Was this an animal, or was this a bird, or was this a reptile?

What a fantastic creature!

The hunter was totally mesmerized at this bizarre, exotic and fascinating creature which he had never seen before.

After looking spellbound at the fantastic “Goat” for some time, the hunter recovered his wits and decided to capture this exotic priceless gem.

So the hunter cast his net, caught the exotic “Goat”.

Then he sold this amazing “never-seen-before” unique “one-of-its-kind” exclusive creature at an astronomical price to the zoo.

Large crowds gathered at the zoo, and everyone gaped in awe at this astonishingly exotic creature, fascinated by the awesome sight.

The exotic “Goat” spent the rest of his life in captivity locked up in a cage, weeping and crying.

He was filled with agony when he saw some ordinary looking goats wandering freely and eating grass outside the cage.

He looked wistfully at the ordinary goats, his erstwhile fellow brethren. 

These ordinary looking goats were wandering about freely and unnoticed in the zoo gardens while the exotic beautiful goat was locked up in a cage.

The exotic goat wished he too were free to roam around like the ordinary goats and he wondered why the ordinary goats did not recognize him. 

Depressed at having lost his freedom, the exotic beautiful goat spent the rest of his life in captivity filled with sadness and remorse.

MORAL OF THE STORY

This apocryphal story, a fable, highlights the dangers of trying to be everything and exemplifies the ramifications of ensnaring yourself into the Beauty Trap (or Perfection Trap) of your own making.

Dear Reader, tell me, isn’t it better to accept ourselves as we are rather than chase elusive dreams of “perfect beauty”? 

Why are you not happy with yourselves as you are?

These days everybody wants to be “perfect” in all aspects, physically and intellectually.

Everyone wants to have a “picture perfect” body, a shapely figure “perfectly sculpted” in all dimensions, and look “perfectly beautiful”, and have a flawless complexion, and be absolutely “perfect”, and to achieve this goal some are ready to do all sorts of things, exoteric, even esoteric, maybe even go under the scalpel.

Even spiritually, you are constantly chasing elusive dreams of happiness and enlightenment, becoming a “seeker”, trying to “improve” yourself, when the key to self enlightenment is inside you, waiting for you to look inwards and discover for yourself.  

Why are we are not satisfied with ourselves as we are?

Why do we want to have all possible qualities and attributes, intellectual and physical?

Why do we try to “fake it” and try to wear a mask of pretence and develop “social graces” that are in conflict with our inner nature and basic personality?

Why are we obsessed with the quest for perfection?

Remember that whenever you don't feel happy about yourself, you will get obsessed with improving yourself just like the goat who tried to be everything.

In his quest, the goat lost his own identity and, most importantly, lost his freedom.

If you fall into the perfection trap (or beauty trap) this can happen to you too - you will lose your unique identity and you will be trapped forever and lose your freedom.

Let me give you a very simple example: Once you use hair dye to colour your greying hair black, you are trapped forever in the hair dye trap and you will have to colour your hair for your entire life.

It is the same with all image management techniques - you will have to fake it all your life and you can never be your natural self.
 
It is always best to be happy with your own unique identity, albeit not so perfect,  rather than try to be everything and in the quest for perfection lose your own identity.

LESSONS TO LEARN FROM THE FABLE - MORAL OF THE STORY 

BEWARE OF IMAGE MANAGEMENT 

BE YOUR NATURAL SELF AND BE HAPPY WITH YOURSELF AS YOU ARE

Do you agree?

Do comment and let us know your views.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013 all rights reserved

Did you like this story?  
I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
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Email: vikramkarve@hotmail.com
Twitter: @vikramkarve   
      
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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