WHY DO WE FEEL BORED?

Things have changed a lot in one year or so. Sometimes I wonder whether I am progressing or getting distracted by many things around me. I feel like doing so many things but I forget to ask myself a question, “are all things beneficial for me“. If at all they are beneficial in my life, I am failing somewhere or unable to prioritise them. For example – Candles Online; it is my baby. I gave birth to it, and I brought it up to some extent but I am leaving its hands like an irresponsible parent ignoring his/her teen. A question comes to my mind, “where’s Candles Online on my priority list?”

Lack of Focus:

This year, 2023 began on a very dull note for me. Everywhere, wherever I have a profile on the internet, the concluding line is, “right now I am mainly concentrating on writing books“. But it’s the fifth day of February and I haven’t published even a single book yet.

Boredom is a psychological condition that reflects a real-life situation in which we are not engaged by the activity we are performing or by the environment that surrounds us. When we feel bored, the time usually passes slowly and we have a hard time staying focused.

I quoted this statement from an article “The Psychology of Boredom” by Simone Redaelli on one of my favourite sites – Psychology Today. I was happy to know Mr Simone thinks exactly how I thought about my feeling. When I have my priorities set and I am focused on achieving something special, then I am sure I won’t be bored. So lack of focus is one of the reasons behind boredom.

Lack of Motivation:

What motivates us mostly? Praise from family and friends, applause, popularity, productivity and financial benefits are the factors that motivate us. Without these even if we have a vision or goal to achieve we feel bored in the middle of our journey.

I and a few of my friends authored a couple of books individually. We were ecstatic when we published. We sent shout-outs, shared the links to our books frantically and spent money on promotions as well. We received the tag, “Published Author” and applause from friends, family members etc., but as time passes we felt demotivated. At least, I did feel that way. Our books hardly gave us anything in regard to any financial benefits. I consider this to be the second reason for my boredom.

Lack of End-Results:

I usually don’t worry about how much money I received or earn if I am getting good feedback about what I am doing or producing for the people around me. I was delighted when my books were read by many and a few started giving their feedback without even asking them. But there were people, the loved ones, who didn’t even read the full book even if they bought it or got it from me. Forget about my book getting a bestseller tag, which I am not expecting. But what I have been expecting is feedback on Amazon or in person from the people who own a book written by me. And this end result of my published book utterly disappointed me and I am bored.

Did I say, I am dwelling in my boredom? Not at all. I have overcome it and have started my war against it. But how did I do that? Maybe next Sunday, I will share it with you all.

Stay Blessed!

OF THE OLD YEAR AND THE NEW

In rushed twenty twenty-two
Close on the heels of twenty twenty-one
Raising hopes of good tidings
Of love, joy, fulfillment and cheer

Now as it bids us adieu
It’s the time to reflect what gifts it offered me and you
While at the threshold of yet another year with promises anew
Ponder awhile how the year of old has seen you through

Humble learnings from every pain
Heartfelt gratitude for every gain
Submissive acceptance for every loss
With many plannings having gone for a toss

Forgiveness for every inflicted hurt
Even though the heart within burnt a lot
Faith – when nothing was in sight
And tempests raged with all their might

Handing over the baton to twenty twenty-three
The year of old gently whispers ‘The race is not over yet’
There’s still much in store
On the pathway to the golden shore

Your Creator promises His presence by your side
Persuading you to keep all anxieties aside
As you welcome another brand new year
That in a few hours would soon appear

HEART LANGUAGE OR THE LANGUAGE OF THE TONGUE?

“How are your eyes, Amma?”, I asked over the phone.

“No Amma, we are not eating much rice these days. We have limited our diet due to health issues”, replied my mother-in-law.

It wasn’t that she had not understood my question. I realised that she had merely misheard my question. I repeated the query, this time with child-like clarity to which she replied appropriately and we continued the rest of our conversation heartily.

Its a joy to converse with my parents-in-law everyday though miles separate us and our respective mother tongues seem to pose barriers. But, we do not allow linguistic barriers to obstruct the unalloyed outflow of love that emanates from the deep recesses of our hearts.

On one of my visits, my mother-in-law and I got into packing goodies for relatives. At a particular point, forgetting that I am still an infant in Telugu, she gave me a series of instructions in Telugu. I kept staring at her, unable to decipher a word and then went on to do the things exactly the way I had been doing before. She stopped me unapprovingly and said, “Oho…no, not like that.” I looked at her blankly and then we both burst out into peals of laughter.

No doubt common spoken language helps articulate the message of the mind, but understanding the human heart resonates beyond the horizons of spoken and written language.

I enjoy my father-in-law’s hearty laughter each time I ask him, “How are you, Daddy?” The other day, I asked as usual. He replied in his usual style, “We are well, Amma. God has given us enough strength to go about our daily activities. That is enough for us.” “No, Daddy you are not well. What happened?”, I asked with concern. He seemed very surprised and asked, “How did you know?”, as he went on to admit that he was indeed unwell, having been out the whole day in the scorching summer sun the previous day.

The linguistic diversity across the length and breadth of India is one of its unexplainable precious assets that binds hearts and encapsulates the mind. Having had the exposure to people of many Indian languages, I didn’t think interacting with my South Indian in-laws would pose a problem for the East Indian me. We enjoy a bond of love that expands way beyond our linguistic limitations.

On one occasion, my mother-in-law said, “Please learn Telugu. I want to talk a lot with you.” “You can talk Amma, I can understand koncham koncham (little little),” I replied. She laughed and shared a similar experience from her job days when a team of Hindi-speaking North Indian supervisors had visited her workplace and started conversing in Hindi and she had replied in English, “I know Hindi thoda thoda (little little).”

I can go on sharing several such anecdotes as a testament of our bond of love, but I would limit myself to just these for now as I attest the fact that the language of the heart is nothing but the language of love, which when built upon creates unshakeable towers of relationships, but, which when nibbled at, gradually causes relationships to dissipate into thin air.

POWER OF REASONING SHOULD BE SECONDARY

We are all taught from our childhood to think logically. We have the IQ that is measured on basis of our logical reasoning ability. Logic is needed to win the arguments; reasoning is needed to justify our logic. Kids who are good with logic and reasoning often get into the best schools and eventually earn the best salary. Lawyers who can twist the logic cleverly and reason out of every situation are often the most successful ones.

So, logic and reasoning are important for good survival on this planet. Without such ability, a person would really struggle. Just look at how autistic kids struggle in the real world because their ability to reason is really low. Even though they are so full of love and dedication for everything around them, they aren’t enough for the world.

Our education system from ages has given too much importance to logic and reasoning just because we have always focused on earning more money, getting more knowledge, have the best IQ. Our ability to reason is our intelligence. And this intelligence many times becomes our own enemy.

How does that happen?

Have you ever gone through anxiety, depression, guilt, and anger? Well, I am sure all of us have. What triggered that state of mind? Mostly, it is due to something that didn’t happen the way you wanted it to happen. Either it was your own behavior that did not match your expectation or somebody else’s close to you. Or it could also be something happening in the world that is not happening the way you want it to. Your plans, your logic, and your reasons became so important that you forgot that this world is not supposed to work as per your wishes and you suffered terribly because your own intelligence turned against you.

The various civil wars, communal riots, world wars have happened because a few people in the world couldn’t control their anger and wanted this world to behave exactly the way they wanted. Why? Because for them their reason and logic were above all. Just look at the current Ukraine war, it wrenches my heart to see how people are dying and losing their homes but some powerful people in the world have put their reason so high that basic empathy cannot touch their hearts anymore.

A few months back, I did something similar. One fine day, I realized that nothing in my life is going as per my plans and wishes. In my head, the reason behind the havoc in my life was my husband. This reason and my anger became so strong that I started to have anxiety attacks and even worse I started dumping my anxiety on my husband. Every single day was a struggle because we would never stop fighting. I went into a deep depression and came out realizing that my logic and reasoning for blaming him was so very flawed. The same reasoning had blinded me in so many ways.

Logic and reasoning are important to earn money, respect, and have a decent life on this planet. But reasoning should never over-power our ability to empathize and love each other. Logic and reasoning should always be secondary, what should rule the world is empathy and love. If the world starts transforming in this direction, we would have no wars and conflicts in the world.

It baffles me how our logic can be so flawed and how our reason can overpower to support that logic to an extent that we can think of killing people based on community, caste, religion, or gender. This is what some powerful leaders of the world are doing now, they have flawed logic but such a powerful reason to support that logic. And they are backed by military power and millions of dollars.

I wish to transform the world in a way that new leaders lead by the power of love and empathy instead of the power of logic and reason. But alas, that’s just my wish, not something that will ever materialize.

BROKEN BUT BEAUTIFUL

I was hurt, as he turned out to be a flirt,
I was in pain, as his behaviour was insane.
All my requests and petitions to him
Were nothing but all in vain.

I was in utter loneliness,
But he didn’t care to see my brokenness.
I was crying, but no-one heard me
Or could understand my the sign.
I was dumped, but he never cared,
I touched the rock bottom, the seabed.

I decided to finish my life,
To break free from all my strife.
Why to live when there’s nothing left?’
I thought as I planned my own fate.

But then, my inner human arose
From the depth of my soul,
It showed me the beauty of a Diamond
That lays deep down in the ugly mines of coal.

The blessings of that very moment,
Always stood firm beside me till my present.
After the passing of a devasting storm,
I, the sapling survived and life took a new turn.

BEYOND THE DEFENSE AND BLAME GAME

I am quite afraid of the “we need to talk” kind of situations in my personal life and at work, I am worried to see a meeting invite from the manager with just the subject mentioned as “Connect” and no agenda mentioned. Both represent not-so-happy communication, rather, it’s self-explanatory that it’s gonna be a difficult conversation. As one grows, one witnesses such conversations and there is no escape route.

Listening to negative things about yourself is not easy. Let me put it in better words. Listening to the areas of improvement in your work or behaviour is not easy and the first reaction is the defense. Most of us try to defend ourselves even before truly evaluating what we did. This does no good and then makes the conversation even more complicated. Next comes the blame game. It’s kind of easy to push the blame. Isn’t it? But does that make you clean? Think about it.

Over the years, I have been in such situations many times, and the journey from being a naive individual or professional to a mature and experienced one has given me a lot of learnings. And now, I have learned to look beyond the defense and the blame game. What do I exactly do?

While discussing the negative feedback the first and foremost thing that I do is accept the mistake. It’s hard but it’s the best to do! Then I talk about why it happened and what can I do to improve it. Trust me, this makes the conversation easier and short. Post this discussion, I reflect upon myself and disintegrate the feedback. I pick up what is useful and let go of what is not. Remember that not ALL that you get to hear is right or useful. Make your choice. Negative feedback or areas of improvement are not always a bad discussion if you learn to decide which part to keep and which part to let go of. Thus, you can actually turn these difficult conversations into something good.

But what if there is no mistake done by you and yet you get a mouthful from your boss, spouse, or parents? It happens, right? And what’s the immediate reaction of most of us? Yell back? Or revert in an aggressive way? Does it help? Definitely not! What do I do then?

Again, this didn’t come to me naturally but I have learnt it on my way to growing up! I stay calm! Sometimes so calm that it calms down the other person. We all know that one word leads to another and in no time an argument can flare-up. So, staying calm really works in these situations. The next thing that I do is the person what makes him believe that needless to say, in a very controlled tone. Once you know the source, it’s easy to clear the air. In most such situations, the misunderstanding is cleared but not all situations and people are the same. So, after considerable effort, if I feel that the other person DOESN’T want to understand, I end the discussion by saying “LET’S AGREE TO DISAGREE”.

Now, what I do after that is even more important. I shed off all the inhibitions about how good or bad I am in the eyes of that person. Again, this didn’t come naturally to me but I have learned this over the years. Someone has truly said that don’t let the negative feedback DEFINE YOU. You are much more!

So, take it with a pinch of salt and move ahead. Negative feedback can actually help you only if you learn how to deal with it. How do you cope with negative feedback and difficult conversations? Do you reflect upon them? Does it drive you to do better or do you break down? Do share your experience and tips and tricks!

HOW TO MOVE AHEAD WHEN THERE’RE NEGATIVE COMMENTS ALL AROUND?

People, mostly those who are associated with us in some way or the other pull us down in our life. A random stranger will never do that to us without having a valid reason and when someone we know does that, feels all the more pathetic.

There are three major ways how they treat us to pull us down or be an obstacle on our way to proceed ahead. I call them The ‘S’ Treatments.

Silence: Have you ever gone to your boss and asked him something that you have planned and waited for his response for hours? Later you are made to understand that you have been turned down by him. He used Silent Treatment on you to display his disapproval of your proposal. I don’t know these behaviors of the bosses are prevalent in the corporate sector or not but in small organizations, it is very common. I have gone through it a number of times when I was working.

Even I have this experience at my own home. My elders simply avoid or change the topic or stay silent till I lose my patience of waiting for a YES or NO. It literally kills your spirit.

Sarcasm: Comments or remarks like: “Oh, she will definitely top the class this year” for a girl who is an average student; “He earns so much that we need not work anymore” for a man who’s still searching for a job are called sarcastic comments or sarcasm. Sarcasm has never helped or built anyone. It has only hurt, degraded, and made people angry. And mostly our own family members, our friends, and colleagues use sarcasm to pull us down.

I always share this incident of my life with all. My Nanaji (Maternal grandfather) reacted when I wanted to buy a guitar and learn when I was a kid. He said, “Will you be a bandwala?” And today I can compose songs but I don’t know how to play a single musical instrument. He succeeded to stop me that day and I failed to move ahead. He was a very loving grandfather, he just had this prejudice about musicians.

Sentimental: This is the more dreaded weapon our elders use against us, to stop us. “If you step out from this house, you will never see my face again.” Have you ever heard such emotional or sentimental statements made by your parents? Maybe the above statement was too filmy but there are many such examples that we know that stop us from moving ahead or doing things our way.

At times, we face all three treatments applied against us at different points of time. People try their best to be a hindrance.

In my life, in certain instances, I have let them succeed in their mission of stopping me from doing something that I had ever wanted. But in other cases, I just did what I had to do and felt like doing. If I introspect and retrospect all those instances together, I regret thinking “Why did I let them stop me?” Definitely, we can’t predict our life but when we wanted to do something good in life, we should not be suppressed by these ‘S’ treatments.

Remember, we can defuse the effects of this Three ‘S’ Treatment with another ‘S’ Treatment from our side. And that’s called, “STANDING FIRM“. Standing Firm on our decision doesn’t mean that we will have to be rude, rebellious, and arrogant. We can stand firm humbly as well. Our this attitude will definitely let a person speak out if he is silent, stop him to be sarcastic for long and soften his heart to accept our decision at the end.