Why ‘Jack the Dull Boy’ Must Get Credit for the Term ‘Self-love’

It’s essential to break the rules sometimes and have some fun.

Photo by Levi Guzman on Unsplash

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.

I am often asked the meaning of my name. So, here it goes: ‘Su’ — means good and ‘Jona’ — means woman. I guess I am a good woman because I never troubled my parents while growing up (that’s what my parents say), never gave them sleepless nights, unlike my elder brother and always followed the rules.

I didn’t mind being good. Being good meant that I caused no trouble to anyone. That no one is hurt because of my deeds.

Until life happens and you step into the real world.

Follow the Rules — But Bend It When It Gets Boring

There is only so much that you can do to remain reasonable when you meet people from different backgrounds. Some bring out the best in you while some the worst. Then some teach you how not to let anyone take your niceness for granted, and then some make you believe that you aren’t worth it and make you feel responsible for everything.

If I were good all the time and kept obeying my parents, I wouldn’t have learnt the most profound life lessons. I soon realised while being a teenager that you can be good while gaining new experiences as long as it doesn’t mess with your mind and body. The warning signs of anything harmful were quite clear to me, and my parents did an excellent job of educating me about the severe consequences of bad stuff.

But somehow, I got bored by following the rules. I always kept my parents informed about my whereabouts as they came from a place of concern, and I respected that. I knew that someday the tables would turn, and God willing, if I too am a parent eventually, then I will know exactly how they feel. But over time, I realised that if I need to live and experience the thrill of what life is about, I need to bend the rules.

Thank You ‘Jack’ for Teaching Me How to Love Myself

Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t indulge in anything detrimental to my life. But my friends and I decided that we deserve to live. Slumber nights, movie nights, late nights at pubs, meeting countless people and regretting a few, accepting our raw emotions that would give many ‘Indian aunties’ a heart attack if they knew what’s running in our minds, and several other sinful thoughts considered today quite normal were considered the most heinous character crimes back then.

My friends and I graduated from college, some stayed in touch, and some drifted away. But those who remain in contact make me realise that we need to give credit to this guy ‘Jack’ who taught us that all work and no play would make us dull and quite frankly make us hate our mere existence.

Though this one proverb has been in existence for many years, I believe it originated the term ‘self-love’. Living for yourself that doesn’t cause anyone harm for me is self-love. For the same, if I must lie or make excuses, so be it. Because if we don’t indulge in the things we love, we start hating ourselves.

To Make Others Happy — First, You Need to Be Happy

Although it’s easier said than done, you see, what weighs all of us down is responsibilities — our duties towards others’ needs. We want a peaceful sleep at night, and we let go of our desires.

But our minds refuse to let go. No matter how hard we try, what we genuinely desire does come up in some way or another. It may lead us to a guilt trip which we create for ourselves. We must remind ourselves that we too deserve a break and go and hug ‘Jack’ and what he preached.

Being good then for me was a way to live. To do right by others is something that gives me inner peace. But inner peace begins when we are in the right frame of mind. If we are breaking from within, we cannot take care of others.

If breaking the rules and getting away for some time and just living for yourself gives you utmost satisfaction, then that’s the way to go. Because no matter how good we want to be, we are human first. We all desire that sinful dessert that will wreck our diet goals, that wild night with our friends that will delay a vital work assignment, that late-night conversation that will keep you feeling lethargic all day long. But breaking the pattern is the way of life and being good too deserves a break.

Like Jack, we too must embrace breaking the rules once in a while. Because when we know what’s terrible and unconventional, it’s only then that we realise the value of being good. It’s what makes the two sides of the same coin, and that’s precisely what makes you interesting — your flaws and the excellent human you are because of the lessons taught by your weaknesses.

Dear reader, inclusion to the Medium Partner Program is currently not eligible for Indian writers. If you enjoyed reading this article, please consider buying me a cup of ‘coffee’ here.

Thanks so much for your time!

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𝘈𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘷𝘶𝘭𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 & 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴.

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Sujona Chatterjee

Sujona Chatterjee

Living life the only way I know how — one day at a time.

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