My Enemy

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The weather was rather tumultuous today, and I decided to go to the beach and read a book. In the midst of the battering rain and the swift winds, I spent some time on introspection.

Life had never been a bed of roses for me. I had my fair share of heartbreaks and misfortunes, and I had always accepted them as being a part and parcel of this giant game called ‘life’. But today, as I stared intently at the waves caressing the rugged shoreline, a question that had been lingering in my subconscious for quite some time resurfaced. It was one of the most debated of my questions: Who is my Arch-nemesis? Who is the cause of my misfortunes?

Harry Potter and Voldemort, Batman and Joker, Optimus Prime and Megatron, Mowgli and Shere Khan. Even the common man and the terrorists. Literature and history are filled with heroes and villains. So the question of who my villain was had always perplexed me.

But today, I found my answer – I am my own enemy. And this follows my recent post (Taking The Road Not Taken) in which I say that my decisions will be my own and that I take responsibility for all of them.

I am not perfect, and I’ve never tried to be. I remember back in 4th grade, I had read of a drawing competition in school and hadn’t registered for it; thinking myself incapable of winning. When I went home and told my mom about it, I was on the receiving end of a lecture from her which I still remember. ‘It’s the participation that matters’, she had said. The next day I registered for it and went on to win second place.

Now you might say that I’ve done good things too. Everyone has. No one can be just bad, or just good. So what exactly am I trying to say?

What I am trying to put across is that my conscience is my greatest enemy (and my greatest hero). No one else can drive me like my conscience can. No one can affect me like I myself can.

It’s that inner voice of mine that deserves all the accolades and all the brickbats. Because no matter what anyone else says, it’s my inner voice that takes the final decision.

Hurdles, stumbling blocks, obstacles and hardships will come. But how do I know that they really are hardships? Because it’s my inner voice that has told me that. I am the only one who can decide whether a particular task is easy for me or not.

And so once back home, I mustered all courage and went up to the mirror. I stared in the eyes of the guy in the mirror and said, “Don’t stand in my sunshine”.

All he did was smile.

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