The Monica Syndrome

Oh yes! I’m still going gaga over the series. I have probably never come across any other sitcom so far that has such pronounced characteristics for every lead actor in the show.

Those of you who can’t agree more, may be thinking about the Monica syndrome as being the over-organised disciplinarian. Yes, she was. But that’s not what this is about. Remember the episode where Monica kept trying to apologise to Mrs. Green for having forgotten to invite her for Rachel’s baby shower? Or the one when she kept herself stressfully busy to make those candies to get popular with the neighbours?

I particularly remember the scene when Monica yelled at Mrs. Green for being so cold towards her apologies and then could not feel her own legs (not to forget, she felt her ass sweating). Well, so many of us suffering from the Monica syndrome would aspire for a Phoebe mindset that “I know you hate it when people are mad at you. But you just have to be okay with it!”

How possible is that? Man is a social animal. So social of late, that we crave for the number of likes on each and every photograph that we post on Facebook or Instagram; and feel disappointed if it isn’t at par as what you’d expect. Some of us become so devastated that we go as far as declaring they would be ‘cleaning up’ their friends list on social media because some people don’t even qualify as friends. Why the hell did you end up adding them to your list in the first place?

I went through the syndrome last weekend when I woke up from the wrong side of my bed. My day started with a grumpy spite with my spouse, followed by one with the maid, the rickshaw driver, a shopkeeper, my parents, and I broke down when towards the end of the day; even my daughter back-answered. I started to feel I had displeased everyone that day – as if I owned a responsibility to keep everyone happy!

It happens to most of us (no, it doesn’t – it happens only to people who are brought up with the culture to do and be good to everyone always – some people were never blessed with those kind of parents and are cool being Mogambo)! Of course, it is so important to inculcate these values in everyone but the other day, when my six year old refused to eat her lunch I ended up telling her, “If you behave like this, noone will like you!” I slapped myself hard later when I was alone, for feeding that rubbish in her mind. But the damage is done! I injected the Monica syndrome into her already.

I remember a particular time when I had a certain number of people around me for most part of my day, who would never see any good in what I would do. I let them rule my life for quite some time. The phase was traumatizing. Everything I did would be judged. The Monica syndrome made me wonder if I could do nothing praiseworthy. I started depending upon books and inspirational quotes for motivation. Luckily for me, my spouse intervened and became my Phoebe Buffay!

Sometimes it is so important to stop living upto everyone’s expectations and just live your life as you want to. Fighting the Monica syndrome is difficult when you’ve to do it with your loved ones. But that is all that needs your energy.

It doesn’t matter what the people in the theatre thought about you when you didn’t watch your step and tumbled down. It doesn’t matter what your acquaintances think about your personal relationships. It doesn’t matter if the waiter heard you burp aloud at the restaurant you went to for dinner last night. My husband and I came across this lady the other day who burped right next to our table and we cringed; but the fact remains that we don’t remember anymore how she looked like… So who really cares!

It doesn’t matter, how many likes your Instagram DP got. Most of your social networking friends hit the like button just to get a like on their own pictures from you.

When people perceive us in a certain way and expect us to behave within the norms of their perceptions, we tend to give up on our own expectations of ourselves and start living upto theirs. No wonder we keep climbing up on the statistical charts of depression! And then we avoid seeking professional help because – oh my God, what would they perceive!?

Who the f*ck are these “they” that we’re wasting our lives for? Do they earn your bread and butter for you? Do they do anything with your adversities except for using them as a garnish for their gossip? Would they even remember you, a year down the line?

Relax, when you feel the Monica syndrome. Ask yourself these questions. Be proud about who you are and let yourself be. If there’s something you don’t like but you’re afraid that pronouncing it may stain your so called social perception; just remind yourself that you become the reflection of what you let others or yourself perceive of you. It’s upto you then to decide if you do want to put your foot down and announce that – JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!

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