For someone who considers herself a bit of a rebel at heart, I have always been one for speaking up against any wrong against my person or others. For a long time, it was all about saying things as they were and not mincing words regardless of the circumstances involved or irrespective of whose Ox was gored. Generally, it also keeps matters straightforward and uncomplicated. Besides it is usually perceived as a sign of weakness when one says nothing or takes no action in the face of intimidation or victimization. Which is why no one wants to be seen as weak. However, as I grow older in age and experience I realize that it is not every time a swift reaction is required in response to a situation. Sometimes, it is better to stay silent in the face of adversity and allow a particular situation run its course. More often than not the victory that is obtained as a result of patience and long suffering is sweeter than whatever would have happened if one acted on the spur of the moment. This is what it means to “Stoop to conquer.”
Stooping to conquer is a deliberate decision to lower oneself or status for the purpose of achieving a goal or deciding to be meek in the face of hardship rather than tow the expected path of resistance. Many mistake meekness for weakness, but they are not synonymous with each other. It is quite understandable that we don’t like to stoop because we feel we will be dominated by others, (and maybe we will) but that is the whole idea. You bend over not because you’re stupid but because you can see the bigger picture! You have your eye on the prize! And so if it will take a bit of humility to get you to your destination, then you’re willing to be self-effacing over and over again! “She Stoops To Conquer”, the 18th Century play by Irish author Oliver Goldsmith where the daughter of a wealthy man stoops down class-wise to “conquer” her love interest by disguising herself as a maid aptly describes what this article is all about. In chasing our dreams or achieving our goals it is important to accept that sometimes we will be required to stoop in order to emerge victorious at the end of the day.
According to Robert Frost “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” In a society like ours which is fraught with inequality before the law and double standards for different classes of people, it is considered cowardly to be seen as stooping for the ultimate aim of conquering when like the biblical violent, you can choose to take it by force if you really want it. However, the key is to recognize when it is necessary to stoop as opposed to speaking up and taking action because certain circumstances definitely require a prompt response. For instance, it would be sheer foolishness to engage your employers in a battle regarding a delay or denial of promotion and risk being fired when you don’t have the option of another job yet and have many dependants who look to you for their daily bread. But, if you are sure that you are indispensable to the company and even have employment offers in the offing, then by all means speak up and demand for what’s fair because you hold all the aces!
So, for you who suffers victimization at work because you are not the boss’ favorite and dares not consider the option of resigning as almost an entire village depend on you for their livelihood, for the step child who is constantly being ill treated by a wicked step mother and has no one to run to, for the woman who’s contending with a straying husband, for anyone who has been cheated in business or out of an inheritance with no one to fight for them, even though things may look gloomy, I believe there is something about being polite and humble regardless of the harsh realities that surround us that makes providence look upon us with mercy and ensures that we win in the end. We may not know it, but we are constantly being tested, which explains why some people in the lower rung of the ladder in the society never rise above being the cleaner, security guard or messenger that they are (no disrespect to them). The reason is not far-fetched…even in their “lowly state” they haven’t learnt to stoop.