The Man in the Arena

Theodore Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena-April 23, 1910.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.


    For the past couple of days something has been really disturbing me and then coincidentally I came across Dr. Brene Brown’s talk on TED regarding shame and vulnerability. She mentioned to Oprah on Soulful Sunday about her nervous breakdown after seeing the hurtful comments about her on various sites following her TED talk.

    I’ve too noticed this new form of cruelty as I’ve across some unbelievable remarks on various sites like you tube, news blogs, forums where hiding behind the cloak of unknown identity people are tarnishing someone’s lifetime’s hard work. If it could bother me that much as a reader, I wonder how must that very person feel to whom it’s all being targeted. Certain actor can’t act, he or she is ugly… everyone and everything is a piece of shit! Forgive me for my language but that’s what they mean. Absolutely nothing is sacred.Everyone is a critic or in the jury.This form of cruelty and shallow behavior… I don’t know what to say. After all we are who we are, isn’t it? Can’t change that. It’s just sad…

    And now let’s come to the magnificent topic of ‘shame and vulnerability’. Our whole life is about shame which includes our failures, our shortcomings, our follies etc etc and how hard we try to hide it.That is our vulnerability. Our one true self.Our brutal truth.

    I too belonged to that group of people who think that crying, breaking down or showing your vulnerable side is weakness. At least I used to until I could no longer do so and everything spilled out of me and was lying all over the place in shreds.We are humans and we need to come to terms with this fact. That everything can’t be perfect, we can’t be perfect. At least, not always.

   I remember when Lance Armstrong’s truth came out, how he stated to Oprah that such image of invincibility is a myth. No one can survive like that and we have seen time and time again how protecting an image can bring about dire consequences.

  There is no shame in acknowledging your shame and admitting you are feeling weak and can use some help. It’s courage. When we reveal ourselves in front of the world, it is probably the greatest act of bravery. At that moment we surrender ourselves in the hands of God and experience an extraordinary peace because there’s nothing left to hold back. The suffering is released… for ever…

  The man in the arena should remember that it’s Him that these people have come to the arena for. He is what gives the arena its purpose and the people who point fingers already know that. And may be that’s what bothers them…




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