Beauties, build the thick skin

Published On: October 19, 2019 12:30 AM NPT By: Sandeep Poudyal

Miss Nepals, you got to the place you are today by entering a beauty pageant. You showcased you skills, talents, and beauty to be where you are

What I am about to say is going to resonate with a lot of people but will also make me hated by loads. But I am ready for that. I quite welcome it.

This issue is related to the Hidden Treasures of our country, the Miss Nepals, the ambassadors of our country. Some of them, especially, have been on the receiving end of numerous harsh comments, criticisms, and bullying. Two incidents come to mind. Recently, Shrinkhala Khatiwada, Miss Nepal World 2018, was subjected to a lot of negative comments and bullying on account of one of her photos of her trip to France. Such comments apparently really got to her and brought tears to her eyes. This incident was also covered in her interview with Setopati. After I saw that interview, I went to her account and looked for the photo, but in vain. She may have deleted the photo, or the more plausible explanation is that I am terrible at stalking. While doing this, I went through some other photos and videos on her instagram (strictly for research purposes of course) and read a few comments. There were many that showered her with love, and naturally, a few that were unnecessarily negative. In addition to such comments, I also saw a few of her retaliations and defenses. I know that she is not the only person who experiences such negativity. Niti Shah, a year before Shrinkhala, also met with similar, possibly more, bullying. 

I also browsed through Niti’s account (strictly for research) and saw a photo where she shared that she took the public bus after a long time. It was a nice nostalgic post and there were many sweet comments but some rather unnecessarily harsh and mean. Pure mocking and bullying. I cannot imagine how hurtful these recurring incidents are to them. I think I speak for most humans when I say that we condemn such behavior. Bullying is never justified, more so when the bully is hiding behind a screen. Shame on you all. That’s all I’m going to say about and to the bullies. They don’t deserve any more ink. I want to address this to the Hidden Treasures. But before I continue any further, this is not addressed specifically to the two ladies I mentioned. This is not an attack on you. I only used your incidents as examples.

Miss Nepals, you got to the place you are today by entering a beauty pageant. You showcased you skills, talents, and beauty to be where you are. You were taught how to (cat)walk and you were taught how to talk. On one publicly televised incident, you were also scorned for not wearing makeup. I don’t know anything about being beautiful, and I know even less about being a treasure. I barely qualify as a good bargain. But for all intents and purposes, I believe that all of you who have won so far are indeed treasures. But to be a little more harsh and frank, it’s called a beauty pageant for a reason, beauty. And many of you may try to defend it by saying that it measures loads of other things that qualify as beauty within, I think we need to stop kidding ourselves. 

Call spade a spade
Let’s call a spade a spade, it’s a beauty pageant. Getting there may be tough, winning may be tougher, but maintaining that status of a treasure is way tougher. Most of you were hidden (as the name suggests), very few people knew you, after you won (were discovered), you were placed under a microscope. You were then walking on eggshells and will be for a long time. I’m not sure if anyone of your trainers told you what to prepare for if and when you win (I assume they did). Just because you won doesn’t mean you only have admirers. Some don’t like you and won’t like you. Accept it. Some don’t like the pageantry, hence won’t like the system that picked you. Accept it. And some others are just there to spread negativity and are cowards that hide behind a fake name on a screen. I hate to say this, but accept it. Wouldn’t it be swell if we could change the negative people and prevent them from spreading negativity? But it would also be bloody swell if we could be stronger. Change begins from within. If we keep getting affected by every little thing that some random stranger says and thinks, we will end up crying buckets of tears for some nobody. Hence, my suggestion, build a thicker skin. I doubt any of you will read this, but I hope this reaches and helps at least one of you. Again, you can hate me for writing this, but that would just bring more negative energy into your life. If you don’t like it, don’t let it affect you. But I suggest you keep reading. I’m not just telling you to build a thicker skin, I’ll also tell you how to do it. Since I am a psychologist, I like to ask “why? Why is this person feeling this? Why is this person doing this? Why?”

The reason why
I urge you to ask this question and ponder over it. I’ll tell you a few reasons why.
We are social beings, and social beings have this need of seeking distinctiveness. We create in-groups and out-groups. People that are being mean to you are seeing you as an out-group member and what do you do to out-group members, you degrade them to increase your positive distinctiveness. This helps you boost your self-esteem. Try and understand that what they are doing is mostly because of who and what they are and less about you. Your reaction makes it about you. 

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, got a whole lot of things wrong. His methodology was flawed, but he had his moments. Let’s talk about one of them. He said that people cope with negative views of themselves by perceiving other people as having high levels of the same negative view. Let that sink in. Again, it is more about them than about you. By projecting negative views of themselves onto someone else, they feel better about themselves. For example, angry people tend to perceive other people as exhibiting more anger, and this makes them think that they themselves have less angry thoughts. 

Let’s go from psychology to a little bit of spirituality. I recently got back from an incomplete Vipassana course (I was too weak to complete it). They were the most difficult few days of my life. Inside the vicinity of Dhamma Shringa, you are not allowed to kill any bugs, mosquitoes, etc. And believe me, there are millions of those buggers. After I quit, I asked someone why that was a rule and they said, “You want to act aggressively because you have anger within you. We don’t want you to act on that anger”. The people behaving aggressively toward you are doing so because of the anger that is within them. And the aggressive act toward you could very well be misplaced anger.

I am not condoning or excusing the behavior of negative people. I am simply trying to help you understand why people behave the way they do. By understanding this, you can be less affected by it and also not give them the satisfaction. It feeds their complex when they know that their actions affected you. It encourages and validates them. You don’t owe them a clarification, explanation, or a defense. A godly person might even forgive them and move on. I would encourage you to just smile at it and move on. They don’t deserve godly actions toward them. A very wise person once said, “If you don’t like something, change it, if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Change the way you look at them. Trust me, this will change them. Slowly but surely, it will change them. Change begins from within. 

Please don’t see this as an attack on you. This is simply a suggestion. If you like it, take it, if you don’t, ignore.

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