There is something in the silence of the night. The serenity of the moonlight, that helps to heal. Take the force of nature and regenerate your body, mind and soul.
This is not a math question. This is a question about you in many, many situations. Look at the picture below. What do you think of the drawing?
When my friend asked me, I told him my interpretation was that of an artist who started from a simplistic stroke and, with time and practise, mastered the art of a realistic sketch. I’m sure on the other side of Whatsapp he had a good laugh. He told me it was a meme that depicted a project one starts with great interest but at the end becomes detached, mostly related to the corporate world. At the end, he also thought about my perspective and sent an emoji in consent.
This picture didn’t leave my mind. The overactive wheels were set to run. My thought-hamster soon found a third perspective; this meme can also be someone starting a project earnestly, but rushing it in the end. Bad boss? Deadlines? Mismanagement of time? There can be as many reasons as you can think of!
In today’s day and time, we often start things we love to do with enthusiasm over the cloud, but we don’t maintain our pace. It may be lack of discipline, work-life balance issues, negative criticism from other people, a mind block, or a simple reason like not getting enough likes on social media (sob sob…). People have lesser and greater issues to not pursue what they start. They don’t sit back, reflect and correct their path. Ultimately, that’s a spiral stairway down a basement for them. Now, they can sit in the corner basement with their head down or go back up and do it again.
For the ease of this short article, assume we are referring to ordinary people like yours truly. These ordinary ones who refuse to do down the spiral stairways are either ignorant, resilient, or rigid. An ignorant person would keep on perfecting his art, keep on adding the details, keep on reworking without a vision or aim besides satisfying his own desire. Rigid people, though seeing what’s wrong and knowing they need reforms, will continue stubbornly. This doesn’t lead to any good result. The resilient ones are those who are knocked down by criticism or competition, but get back up with a new strategy. Mostly, it is the resilient ones who refuse to go down and find better ways to achieve an objective.
Mis-management of time
Do you really, really don’t have time to start workout at home? Or painting on weekends? Or working on your mercurial temper or stress levels? Are you sure you just cannot find the time to be with your loved ones, travel or make your meals once in a while? If no, then you have some serious issues. Let me tell you, the serious issue is YOU unwilling to WORK to make a change. Sleep on it! If you don’t have time to sleep, figure out WHY. Eliminate unnecessary things from life. Stop checking mails on Sunday, maybe (sorry, boss…)!
Why I didn’t assume we are referring to ordinary people in Regression?
Did you see what I did there? I am NOT going to assume the people rolling down the spiral stairways are only ordinary ones, because it can happen to the best of us. It can happen to geniuses, people famed for their charm and charisma, people lauded for their strength. People fall out of fame, they fall down from the epitome of success into regression. However, like us ordinary people, they can refuse to go down and get right back up!
Apply these three conditions in any circumstance of your life. Where do you stand? Whether it’s work, family or your personal goals, how things go are in your hands. You decide if you want to get up and rise, you decide what to cut and what to grow. Your life is your garden. Prune the shrubs, grow the trees and weed out what you don’t want. Lastly, I can’t emphasise more on taking care of your body as much as your mind and heart.
May the force be with you this summer!
Originally published in: Perspicere, TOI Blogs
Originally published in: TOI Blogs, Perspicere
I know it was not under my control and I tried everything in my power to make it happen. It didn’t. I know I should accept the reality and move on; I am more than capable of making a better future, but this feeling of disappointment doesn’t go away! It is crushing, it is irreparable.
And I know I have the power to move on, but I’m unable to let go.
Have you experienced a similar narrative echo in your head? Have you faced a situation where you have given your all for something but you couldn’t get it; a situation you know you can overcome but the feeling of losing despite giving your all is sharp enough to stop you in your tracks? Let this cycle continue long enough and it will be the sabotage of the ‘self’.
When I think about it, self-sabotage is something similar. It is a behaviour that interferes with one’s life goals and happiness. Self-medication, self-injury, comfort eating, procrastination are self-sabotaging activities. We usually have an option to consciously control these behaviours with focus on goals and alignment of habits. Self-sabotaging can be contained with some effort..
What’s more concerning is the sabotage of the ‘self’. We don’t even realise we are doing it to ourselves! It is invisible to us. In some unthinkable or hard situations you aren’t consciously harming yourself but subconsciously, you are. You may not be ‘self-sabotaging’ but you may be sabotaging the ‘self’!
What is Self?
The concept of ‘self’ in Psychology is about how you perceive yourself. It is about how you think you are as a person, how you believe others see you and how you think you fit into the world. Superiority, inferiority, motivation, determination, disbelief, the sense of quitting or braving hardships are some of the results of you thinking about ‘you’ in a particular way.
Walt Disney had self-belief in the power of his storytelling, Warren Buffet had the self-clarity as a child that he never wanted to be poor in life, and Hitler had the self-perception (or self-deception) that he was meant to purify the world..
‘Self’ is a superpower a human can wield, in many ways!
Most of our ‘self’ forms when we are kids, but it changes with circumstances, experiences and introspection. How to turn these experiences, even the worst ones, into something constructive is the challenge.
Enhancing the ‘Self’
Now that you have come across a hardship, what is your first thought? Is it to run away, find a solution or maybe to do nothing? In any case, there is a sense of fear. How you control that fear or uncertainty depends on how your self-perception has formed you over the years.
Is your self-perception weak in any way? That’s totally ok! Because now you have an opportunity to transform your subconscious and upgrade your internal software. If your perception of ‘self’ is awesome, then just go on, make it better!
Go back right to the first moment you can remember yourself being aware. What happened? What events scared you, made you happy, made you angry, or evoked any strong feeling in your heart? Often, the feelings that scar a person are formed in childhood. You have to embrace what happened as something in past that you could not have changed and move on from it. Forgive people for your peace of mind, make peace with any hard reality. It can seem impossible but the rest of your life can’t be spent in chains! Set yourself free, even if it means seeking an expert’s help.
Think of all these little and big events of your life up till now. Let go of every disappointment and nightmare. Just like a phoenix rises from its own ashes, rise up and fly!
In history, from ancient to contemporary times, you will find brave souls around the world. Read about these men and women, read true events and stories, read about civilisations built to the epitome of glory and destroyed to rot in dust. You will find your sense of ‘self’ transform and even transcend with a shift in your perception of the world. Your knowledge and clarity about ‘self’ will grow.
Also, you will find people in this world who have had it tougher than you but have lived on true to their ideals. Be inspired by such role models.
Change the Words
Now, this comes from my personal experience as well as a lot of reading from books like ‘As a Man Thinketh’. Let’s rephrase the negative self-talk:
I know it was not under my control and I tried everything in my power to make it happen. It didn’t and I accept it. I know I should accept the reality and move on and so I will move on even if it’s babysteps; I am more than capable of making a better future, but this feeling of disappointment doesn’t go away so I will take it one hour a day! It is crushing, it is irreparable, but I will rise from ruins and build myself again.
And I know I have the power to move on, but I’m unable to let go, so I will forgive myself for the past and smile at the good memories. Alongside I will make new memories and explore my life for beautiful things I was blind to.
A change in narrative, a twist in tone, one at a time is all it takes. At last, I will leave you with words of Thomas Szasz:
‘The self is not something that one finds. It is something that one creates.’
Originally published for: TOI Blogs, Perspicere
Would you sue your parents for giving you birth?
Raphael Samuel, a young man from Mumbai did. He says he was made to be born into our chaotic world of despair, all without his consent. He feels giving birth to a new person is selfish, unjust and an act of coercion. There’s no need for another life to be born into suffering when it could’ve avoided the pain by never coming into being. He is, what you call, an anti-natalist. This is a part of contemporary philosophy that says bringing a new life on Earth is cruel. Parents are responsible for the pain a ‘new life’ endures even as the right to well-being is basic. You maybe be glad you are alive now, but if you were given a chance, maybe you wouldn’t want to be born.
As an individual, he definitely has the right to follow his beliefs. I, however, feel anti-natalism is a flawed logic.
Read my full article in TOI Column ‘Perspicere’ here.
Or click on the link here: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/perspicere/to-baby-or-not-to-baby/
Ever tasted a good marmalade? The smooth texture of this savoury covering the harder shreds of orange peel melts on your tongue with many flavours! Sweet, slightly salty, sour and, yes, bitter. Every time you help yourself to some more, you discover how it tastes just a bit different from before. Maybe its the wheat bread you used this time or how you didn’t pile a dollop on because you are on a diet (in my case, because the bottle would finish sooner than I’d like)? Marmalade is amazing, really, and so is life! The only difference is, we don’t pay much attention to it. Not as much as life deserves…
Hi there! Curious to read the rest? Read it in my weekly column Perpicere for TOI Blogs HERE!
I have been thinking a lot about cycle rikshawalas since coming to Delhi. They take a lot of pain to earn a meagre amount, all the while breathing in the Delhi smog deep in their lungs all day! Today, looking at a man easily 45 plus who was standing outside my office hoping to get a rider, I felt pity. I hesitated. Is it even fair to make a mid-aged man haul me? It was 9 already. The nights are cold here and it gets very dark around my office. I chose to let him haul me out of the insecurity arising as I stood in the shadowy road alone.
He did his best. On the upward slope of the road, before I could consider getting down for him, he got down as pulled the rickshaw with his arms. Downwards on the road he rode like a young boy enjoying the cold breeze on his face.
That’s when it hit me. Why should I pity anyone for a job they chose to pick? He may not have a lot of options, but of the few he did, he chose to own a cycle rickshaw.
Age doesn’t matter to him, why should I be so arrogant as to pity him? One thing I have learnt is to never pity a person for doing a job that helps in survival or , for us, seems unthinkable. I have been taught this all my life and I feel it’s important; always respect people who earn fair and square, whether through the sweat on their brows or the thoughts in their head!
Even in its fall, a flower fulfills its purpose of spreading beauty. What deters you to stop being who you are? Be what are meant to be.
Don’t you feel sad for someone who’s eating all alone in a canteen or a restaurant? It’s so boring to eat all alone. I used to feel the same for people sitting alone in school and ccollege during lunch. But after I started working, even I had to come across times when I have to sit alone in McDonald’s and chew on a burger in a corner.
That’s when I realised- it’s not that bad!
There are so many reasons why people have to eat out alone. They may be artists who want peace in a cafe, or a person tired of the days work wanting to relax. Maybe, someone just wants to sit alone with their own thoughts for a while (or a sales executive who is damned to travel all day😅). People are away from their families and friends now a days and in large numbers. They are working hard to suceed in life! I think it should be a sign of strength that someone is able enjoy his or her own company.
I don’t feel sad anymore for these people. Why not think positively and pass them a smile?
Having coffee alone is always relaxing! And I have made some good friends with total strangers at McDonald’s !
Pizza all alone, all for me! It has its own golden feeling to it.
Tea, while enroute Bhopal via bus. I was with a total stranger, who turned out tto be my grad college senior !
Sometimes, you gotta. ..
When it is tea time, you are not on a sales call (wow!), and no one’s there in office… just enjoy the view!
Last but not the least, I have discovered the best places while eating out alone. For example, Jamie’s Pizzeria in Palladium Mall, Mumbai. I LOVE it! the coffee was exquisite too!
How often have you eaten alone? I hope you enjoy your self-time, everytime!