“Desperate times call for Desperate measures”. A thought that came to my mind while I was watching a sad movie on TV. I googled it to find the author of this statement. I found many hits on the subject with variations of the phrase, apparently still no definite answer on the origin. Some websites trace the origin of this phrase to William Shakespeare. According to: http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/10/messages/530.html
“Diseases desperate grown, By desperate alliances are relieved, or not at all.” (Hamlet, IIII.ii.) William Shakespeare
“I do spy a kind of hope, which craves as desperate an execution as that which we would prevent.” (Romeo and Juliet, IV.i.) William Shakespeare
And according to http://en.m.wiktionary.org
The proverb “desperate times call for desperate measures” means: In adverse circumstances actions that might have been rejected under other circumstances may become the best choice.
And lastly as per http://answers.com
This goes back to the Latin_extremis mails extrema remedia_’extreme remedies for extreme ills.’
Among several variants to this phrase, there is also: “drastic situations call for drastic measures” and “extreme times call for extreme measures”. Different ways to say the same thing which have the same meaning. We repeat these phrases often in our lives and we understand what it means. Today I am not interested in the origin of the phrase more than I am interested in discussing why is it that we do what it says. Even more; why do we feel desperate to begin with and can we change that thought.
As I dissect the word ‘desperate’. It means that we have become hopeless, we are down to our last resort and we are willing to do or say or accept anything just to have what we desire. And so we become and do things otherwise we wouldn’t. Meaning we are not being true to ourselves. We are not being ourselves. We; in fact, give up what we stand for. In other words, we lost our faith and we want to take control over the outcome, willing to do whatever it takes to get what we want, even if it means doing something wrong or immoral or hurt ourselves for the sake of reaching our goal.
When we reach a point of despair in our lives, we actually reach a point where our faith is tested. What do we do? Do we stoop to a low level, or do we accept defeat, loss and temporary failure but keep our head high as we stand for what we believe in. Most of the times, we do not see it like that. We convince ourselves that we must fight to the end and not give up. We must do whatever it takes to get through our struggles. We must use extreme/drastic/desperate measures in order to get where we want to be. After all, this is our survival manual. We tend to say: “hey, gotta do what we gotta do, right!!” And so we convince ourselves we are doing what we are supposed to do because that is life.
How many times have you been on the receiving end of emotional and mental abuse at your workplace. How many times has your boss made you cry or made you feel worthless. How many times you gave your all to a project and your boss takes the credit while you are forgotten. How many times, the person you are reporting to is a tyrant and sucks the blood out of you and still it’s not enough until they finish you off. How many times you have worked late, gave up spending times with your family, so you can get that promotion, but you never do, because your colleague is friends with the Vice President and he gets that title; not you. The list can go on and on with regards to unfairness in the workplace. You are stepped on everyday. You get used and abused and if you dare speak up for your rights, the HR department will start to build a file against you and before you know it, either you are getting packaged out or getting a demotion along with humiliation. In any job, these things can apply. Whether you have office job, sales job, construction job; whether you work on ground, in water or in the air, you are subject to stress, unfairness, unappreciation, and even worse abuse of all kinds. So why do we stay? Why do we put up with all this? Why do we accept being treated like animals, like slaves? Why do we limit our options and convince ourselves it’s better than nothing? Why do we believe we have to put up with it because ‘desperate times calls for desperate measures’? Why????
Among many other examples, why we marry the wrong person? Why a woman is willing to lower her standards and accept whatever comes her way as she reaches a certain age. Why she is willing to put her dignity and pride along the line? Why she accepts abuse? Why is she afraid to ask for a divorce if she is not happy? Does it really matter what her image will look like in society? Does it matter what people will say about her whether she doesn’t get married at all or gets divorced? Who is more important here? People’s opinions or our well-being?
Generally speaking though, how often do we follow our dreams. How often do we go after what we want. How often we live care-free without being constantly afraid of this and that. How often do we say ‘NO’ if it means standing by our morals and beliefs. How often do we take a stand and not bow our heads down and accept what we do not like. How often do we allow ourselves to let go and have blind faith that everything will work out for the best even if it’s not in the way or the timing of our plans. The answer is We don’t. We are living in fear about anything and everything. We do things everyday without being convinced it’s right or good for us. We work in jobs we can’t stand just to pay the bills and survive. We go to school and have careers that our parents planned for us because they are the ones paying for our education. We get married to people that don’t match us sometimes but it was calculated on a different level to work. We make decisions everyday, where we bite our tongue from speaking our true feelings, where we listen to hurtful words and take it, where we give our hearts to those who don’t deserve it, where we become victims and martyrs to our own fears and insecurities. That is why we would rather convince ourselves that it is a must to live like this. To accept abuse, to put up with whatever comes our way, to change ourselves to please others, so we can keep our jobs, so we can pay our bills, so we can say I am married with kids, so we can say I am successful, so we can enjoy life, so we can find happiness. We do what we have to do in the end so we can find happiness.
We resort to desperate measures so we can be happy and have the life we dreamed for ourselves. But do we ever ask ourselves: at what cost??? Is it worth it in the end??? And are you really happy? Each person may have a different answer and each person is entitled to their opinion on the subject. I’m just throwing it out there. Because honestly, for me; it’s not worth the torture I put myself through sometimes to chase that ‘happiness’ by losing myself, my dignity, my health and my morals in the process. It’s a struggle and I’m in the same trap you are all in. I wish it was easy. But I’m gonna try. Will you????
Next time you feel desperate, ask yourself: Is there an alternative? Is fear driving you or faith? Can you accept change? Can you let go of this control over the outcome and the timeline you planned? Can you just let things be and go with the flow and let life take you where you are meant to go? Can you pay closer attention to the signs that is telling you your time in this place doing this thing is done – time to move on!! Can you change your belief that ‘no time is desperate’ i.e. ‘no time is hopeless’! There is always hope. There is always something better for us than what we are holding on to. Nothing is worth you losing yourself in the process. Absolutely nothing.