gauri nadkarni choudhary
The Flame in the Wind
Fire is one of the strongest elements known to mankind. Since evolution it has served its purpose. It has kept us warm, safe and well fed. It has given us light and helped us find our way in the darkness. It was and continues to be man’s strongest protector.
Somewhere along our lives we come across people who take over the role of fire in our lives. Their mere presence keeps us warm and safe. They protect us from real and imagined threats and light up our lives when the world seems dark and eerie.
These people are not relation bound. They could be parents, siblings or even friends who have always been there for us, playing the role of fire in our lives.
Sometimes some people are like fire to all those around them often providing light and warmth to everyone who surrounds them. Just being with them makes you feel safe and secure. It reminds you of campfire nights, of lovely music, of delicious food and serenity. These people are often content being the fires in people’s lives. They get there brightness from people around them.
Fire though has its own fears. It is often at risk from the wind and water. It attracts moths and insects who blame the fire for harming them. The powerful fire then becomes defenceless and vulnerable.
The fire forgets that the world has another side. A side capable of misusing the fire. A side which will use this warm element to harm and destroy. They will use the fire for their own advantage and then blame the fire. They point out the harmfulness of the fire till the fire starts believing its own guilt. It loses its fervour and eventually dies down, defenceless.
Sometimes the fire forgets that no matter how strong it is, maybe sometimes the force of the wind or the gush of water is too powerful for it to handle. No matter how strong the light of the fire there are other elements which can over power it.
People who are like fire are often so focused on brightening up the outside world that they forget to rekindle themselves. They forget that they too need protection and care. They too need the support and love of people around them.
I have often seen people who love taking care of people. They are the backbone of people around them and thrive on providing warmth. Somewhere down the line they start to believe that they like the fire are strong and perfectly capable of managing themselves. They disregard the forces of wind and water. They do not believe that their own stress and basic needs are powerful enough to break them, they deny that sometimes people use them to do things which they did not want to. They forget that they attract unwanted people who do not care about the fire’s well-being.
Often we link the role of fire to the relationship. The parent often feels that he/she needs to be the fire in the child’s life. A man feels that he has to be stronger one in a relationship and he cannot break down and ask for help. An elder sibling feels responsible for protecting the younger one often forgetting that he/she might sometimes need protection too.
Many times people shy away from asking for help because they have been brought up to believe that they are the fire and fire is strong. Fire does not need help if it is strong enough.
What the fire needs to remember is that it needs to be rekindled too. It does not need to fight alone. It needs to remember that sometimes it needs a pair of hands to protect the flame from the winds. It needs to remember that this does not make it weak. This does not mean that it will lose its warmth and use. It does not mean that the hands protecting it will burn. It does not mean that it will never be useful to others again. It does not mean that people will lose their trust in the fire’s ability to provide warmth.
We may be strong. We may be powerful and capable but all of us have a basic need to be taken care of and to be protected. It has been there since evolution, imbibed in us to ensure the safety of the species.
No human is capable of dealing with the world all by himself/herself. We were not built that way. No matter how strong the person is, there are times in our lives that we become vulnerable. There are times when we are not able to handle our own well-being. We feel defenceless and vulnerable. We feel like a candle against the wind. What we need to understand is that this is perfectly normal and acceptable.
There are times in our lives that we need someone to help us and to support us. We may be the world’s best caregiver but sometimes we need to be taken care of too. At such times it is absolutely normal to reach out and ask for help. It does not mean that we are not capable of looking after ourselves, it just means that we need those hands around us for extra protection.
We often forget that we do not need to fight our battles alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. The smartest and bravest of kings often asked for support to fight a powerful enemy. A perfectly capable immune system often needs external medication to deal with a deadly virus. Fighting alone does not make us stronger. It makes us hollow because we spend unnecessary energy fighting.
Asking for help and support is a sign of intelligence. Even the strongest of fire dies down in the absence of oxygen. Asking for help from people around you makes you stronger. Another person adding wood to the fire increases the strength of the fire and makes it burn brighter.
When you ask someone for support, that other person feels like a fire too. It gives that person an opportunity to bring warmth and brightness. It encourages that person to light the fire within.
Asking for help does not lower the fire within you it just brightens the fire in another person.
After all a candle which can light another candle will spread more light than a candle which insists on burning alone.