I WISH MARRIAGES ARE MAINTAINED IN HEAVEN AS WELL!

I have always loved watching man and the wife spending quality time together. It gives me joy when a couple displays their affection for each other in public. No, I am not talking about public indecency. I am talking about holding hands in a gathering as they walk, entwining their fingers as they sit side by side, looking into each other’s eyes as they sit across the table at a coffee shop. When I see a couple happy together, it feels like their world is filled with love. The number of these true love birds are very less or negligible I can say, in today’s world. There are more broken families that I find than witnessing some awesome companionship when I look around. And I feel really very sorry and sad about it.

The world divorce rates reveal, Luxembourg is number one with 87% whereas India is 1%. India’s stat looks better but 1 in 100 is so much. In one lakh marriages, the number grows to 1000 divorces. 1% divorce rate in India doesn’t validate that the marriages are without any hassles. There are many in India who forced stay in their marriages either for the sake of their family, society, children or survival. The brokenness still remains if not divorces. Horrible it is!

Trust me, this intensity is growing daily. The Divorce rate was 12% in 1960 whereas it is 44% worldwide now.

https://www.unifiedlawyers.com.au

The divorce not only breaks down the couple it affects their families especially their own children. A child’s trust and dependability get shaken up when his or her parents split ways. 

I have a few friends who go through such brokenness even if they are still in their marriages. And both of them are silent and managing because of their children. They don’t want to part ways even if they struggle in their lives because they are more concerned about their child’s future than their own. I have a few more who struggle even after they got out of the wedlock. For all of them, brokenness has never come to an end until today. 

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Image Credit: Google Inc.

In the beginning, God created family in so much care and love. But it hurts me and I feel pain in my heart when I see families broken, whether divorced or forcing themselves in a bond along with their children suffering with them.

Since many years, I have been bearing that burden for all those broken families and I keep praying for all of them who go through that brokenness. And when I got married, God let me encounter a few challenges for myself too to deal with; probably, to train me and to equip me more, so that I can be a help to others.

It is true, “marriages are made in heaven“, but if I have to add further looking at the world around me, then I would say, “yet they are maintained on earth“. If they would have been managed and maintained in heaven as well then there would not have been any brokenness at all. 

I feel really sorry, worried for those broken people out of a marriage – a spouse or a child. I literally cry for them and also pray for them so that they reunite or reconcile with their loved ones. 

Stay Blessed! 

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CHASTITY IN THE LAND OF LUST

Understanding Lust:

I have seen people using lust and love as similar meaning words on many occasions. But the meanings of these two words are completely different.

Unlike love, lust is extremely self-centered, it never allows a person to see anyone else but himself or herself, it lets a person focus someone’s physical body than their inner beauty and it lets a person to have physical intimacy than establishing a deep emotional bonding with another.

Let me explain how lust can affect a person…

Have you ever seen a drunkard blabbering on a road tottering from this side to that side of it? Yes, we all must have witnessed it many times on the streets.

Do people take him seriously whatever he says in that fully drunk state? No, because we all know it very well that the drunkard is not in his own control.

Lust is a state something of that kind. It is an experience of intense carnal urges and unbridled sexual craving. Lust is not an emotion, but it involves the experience of fleshly enjoyment with anticipation of sexual pleasure.

Mary C. Lamia, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, and psychoanalyst says, “Lust provides a rare window through which you can view your vulnerabilities as you are swept away by your imagination.”

But the condition is, only if we can realise about our vulnerabilities then we can learn from it for a future reference otherwise we move towards destruction gradually.

Depth of Lust:

We all know, how different companies produce different products for their customers according to what they wished in their minds. In the same way, the media produces different films and series basing on the mindsets and desires of people of this world today.

Would you believe that the psychological disorders which I had studied while doing a counselling degree are now slowly being accepted as sexual preferences or choices?

Let me explain…

BDSM which has been unknown to most of the people previously has become popular among many today. I feel very scared to even think about it even.

I watched a series recently on the same subject and was amazed how it ended. A married woman who loves her husband a lot. The husband is a very good man and loves his wife as well. They didn’t have any problems whatsoever. But the woman always feels very lonely staying all the time at home when her husband is at work. She eventually meets a man on a chatting site who insists her to meet him at his place. She doesn’t agree initially but thought of giving a try as she is attracted to what the man used to write about sexual submission and dominance. And finally, she visits him and submits to his dominance. She suffers from a psychological issue later on and to help her out, her husband comes to know about her secret life. The story ends with the husband releasing his wife to that man. Message of the story was – Lust won over the chastity of marriage.

Examples like the above, are many, I can’t list them out all here.

Famous psychiatrist and author Judith Orloff, M.D. rightly says, “As a psychiatrist, I’ve seen how intense sexual attraction is notorious for obliterating common sense and intuition in the most sensible people.”

Crimes Led By Lust:

Lust is an intense mental state which leads a person to commit heinous and soul stirring crimes.

The Bible mentions a good king who fell for a beautiful woman, slept with her and to marry her, he murdered her husband craftily.

We are aware of the crimes against women and children in the forms of sexual abuses, molestations, rapes caused by lust.

Have you ever heard about ‘Lust Murder’? Wikipedia explains, “A lust murder is a homicide in which the offender searches for erotic satisfaction by killing someone”. I was shaken literally when I read this sentence.

Apart from strong sexual urges, lust can also depict intense cravings for food, money and power as well which ultimately leads to various small and big crimes happening daily around us. Lust of money leads people to rob things from others. Lust of food makes people sick and obese. Lust of power creates disparity in the country and war situations around the world.

Chastity against lust:

In this context of lust, talking about Chastity seems meaningless and impossible. Isn’t it? It looks like Chastity has been swallowed up by the lust of human beings in this world. But we all are aware of the consequences; lust can only lead us to destruction.

The Bible stirs our minds with few thought-provoking questions –

“Can a man take fire in his bosom
And his clothes not be burned?
Or can a man walk on hot coals
And his feet not be scorched?”

We know the answer very well. Lust is like fire, like burning hot coals that can burn our chest, our body if we embrace onto it. It can burn our feet if we walk on its path.

Chastity is also a state or practice of refraining from extramarital, or especially from all, sexual intercourse. Basically, chastity means sexual purity.

So, as human we can live in one or other way – live a life of purity or lead an impure life. We can’t stay in a 50-50 condition because, a tiny bit of impurity soils and spoils everything. Yes, I understand that we as human are not perfect, we have weaknesses but there have to have a constant striving within us for perfection – moving from impurity to purity. When we stay stagnant at a point, we stay impurity of lust.

In short, I want to mention a few helpful points for our striving towards Chastity in the land of lust. They are as under:

Guarding my eyes: The Bible says, ““I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman”. There’s a tendency in us to look at another person of the opposite sex with lust but when we prayerfully practice it not to do so, one day we see the result ourselves. Practice makes a man perfect. But there has to have goal setting and willingness to strive for a life of purity.

Guarding my mind: The Bible says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”The Bible verse doesn’t contradict the natural instinct of human beings getting attracted to the physical bodies of people of the opposite gender. In fact, that is how we are made! But, lust in the mind creates a craving for adultery in action – “a thought of having physical or sexual relationship with the woman I am looking at.”The eyes look at the woman, sends the message back and there’s a thought evolves in the mind instructing the eyes to look at the woman again and again. But when we guard our mind by constant striving, we can help stopping the lustful thought process and ultimately, we can hope for a positive result one day.

Guarding my steps: I always need to know whom I am following, what I am following. Am I feeding myself with filthy stuffs or feeding myself with good things? I can’t expect to be pure if I keep watching pornography. I can’t expect to be compassionate if I rear hatred in my heart. I can’t strive for chastity if I keep looking at this woman or that.

The Bible says,Don’t imitate the behavior and patterns of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” If I want to change the mindset of my community and the people around me then I have to first change myself. That is possible if I do what is right. I can do what is right if I know and understand what is right. If I follow what people are doing then I will surely be faltering sooner or later. I need to know where and how I am walking in my life.

Friends! Preaching is easy, practicing is very hard, and living it, is all the more difficult. It is a challenge for all of us to maintain Chastity in the midst of a lustful world but it is not impossible and also beneficial for us. Let’s keep guarding our eyes, our minds, and our steps.

Stay Blessed!

RECOGNITION! I WONDER…

Who am I, this I always wonder.
to this enigma I succumb and my will to explore, I surrender.

Am I wrong in doing so?
should I try to solve this steady and slow?

Known by many names and with
identity of people’s choice,
I may be loud and obnoxious or
an epitome of grace and poise.

But who am I?
With this thought constantly
brewing in my head,
I try to figure this out from
the dawn’s first ray till,
exhausted, I lay on the bed.

Do I have to be recognised
for everything I do?
or should I be just satisfied
and to myself, be true?

Recognition by whom;
By the ones who lift my spirits
or the ones who wish my doom?

Recognition as what;
As a person, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a wife, a lover, an inspiration, a poetess…
as with all these roles I play, with pride, I strut.

I NEED TO BE SEEN!

It’s amazing how we are all on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram nowadays. By “we” I mean adults. We’re adults, right? But emotionally we’re a culture of seven-year-olds. Have you ever had that moment when you are updating your status and you realize that every status update is just a variation on a single request: “Would someone just please acknowledge me?

We seem to want or need recognition that bad. My nine-year-old niece wants to walk the ramp and be a fashion diva. She would say “I want everyone to see me.” That’s exactly how we all want to be seen and recognized. What is it, in us that seeks to be “seen” or “recognized this way?

Usually the recognition we seek is from other people and usually, we don’t get it. Instead, we end up with feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, emptiness, and disappointment at not getting it. And then we work even harder at things still hoping for recognition, get rid of those people and try the same thing with a different group. It’s a trap of infinite loops.

We all have the potential to be seen or valued.

So, how do we fall into this trap of seeking recognition? Now let’s be clear that recognition is good and truth be told we all have the potential to be valued and recognized. It’s your essential essence and it’s valued and feels valued when you and others pay attention to appreciate and respect it.

But ironically it’s only when others pay attention we feel recognized. At that moment you feel seen and you experience your own value as a feeling.

The negative voices in your head calm down, you feel good and accept yourself.

We all have the potential of being something that matters to us and sometimes to others, the part of us that signifies truth and integrity. It’s not just a belief system or the construction of ideas of self-esteem, it’s the truth. Self-worth is a conceptual image that our mind builds up based on our essential value. Our integrity or our truth has always been there, simply because we are living beings.

When we hold an infant, we instinctively recognize the true value of human life, one which is often blinded by our false beliefs, prejudices and critical judgments of others. If we try we can see this precious nature of life in anyone or everyone.

Why do we stop being seen or valued?

As a child we get lots of praise, support and recognition for anything as small as playing with a ball, or walking or even laughing or eating, assuming we have decent, attentive parents. As we grow older, such support and recognition for small efforts decrease or sometimes becomes null depending upon how our relationships with the world shape up.

We are expected to behave, perform and yield results in a specific manner. We are constantly evaluated in school, college, work, relationships and are expected to give measured output. Even when we are able to give the desired result, the focus most of the time shifts to improvement and not to celebrate our achievements.

By the time you are an adult, you are conditioned to seeking recognition not your own value through boxed opinions and beliefs. With only so much opportunities and so much pressure to perform, we often do not recognize our own integrity and are often influenced by the opinions of others about us. Like a seven-year-old, we try to be ‘seen’, seek approval based on adopted opinions often starving ourselves of our real values.

We learn to mask our values from others.

One of the early false belief we adapt to while we are trying to be in touch with our true value is that we are most likely being shamed or scolded if we voiced out values in front of others. It might be called tooting our own horn, bragging, or put ourselves above others. “who do you think you are?” “Nobody likes a bragger” are the comments that hit us emotionally with guilt and shame.

But truth be told, this is where we learn to adapt to the opinions of others about ourselves, and quickly learn not to talk about ourselves positively, boast, or do any extroverted things to get praise or recognition. Instead, we are more likely to work hard, keep quiet, and hope others notice, and comment.

This programmed false belief is what we try to be in front of others. Somewhere we might be in touch with our core values or authentic self but we refrain ourselves from presenting it for fear of criticism and none acceptance.

It can be difficult to learn good self-acceptance practices in childhood because of this.

We repress our desire to be seen or valued.

As we grow older we don’t need others to repress our actions or the need for recognition, rather learn the pattern of criticism and shaming and are seasoned to do repress it ourselves. Priya put in a lot of effort into getting a literary fest together. Known and famous literary peoples from all over India showed up, interacting with each other and the event got started. As Priya was finishing up the last moment preparations, she felt the impulse to bring attention to the work she had done. A voice in her mind wanted to hint to others with a comment like, “I put a lot of work into getting this to work out for everyone’s benefit.” Her mind searched for a way to make it less obvious.

Priya had enough awareness to observe these thoughts of seeking recognition. As she saw them, another part of her mind judged and condemned her for it, “You are being such a pathetic needy person,” “What are you a narcists, needing all the attention on you?” “Grow up girl. You agreed to do this conference on your own. You don’t need praise from these people.”

This internal rebuttal, that part of Priya that wanted to be valued, was declared a needy, pathetic, narcissists, and shunned. The, “who do you think you are”, the response she learned from others, was repeated in her belief system to herself, just as she had learned to do years earlier from others.

I remember being in a training program for employees in my previous workplace and we were asked to introduce ourselves and include something that we were proud of. It was different for each person. Someone was volunteering for an NGO saving stray animals, someone was had run a marathon for cancer cause, someone had served in the army before and someone even said that he was proud of fulfilling his responsibilities as a son and husband. It was a way to say to others this is something that I do that is worthwhile and valuable to me. For a moment it was okay to acknowledge that we value ourselves and have others join in with appreciation and respect. Everyone felt good in the group. Partly because it wasn’t just one person doing it. Everyone was allowed and encouraged.

Let’s see ourselves first before being seen.

This was probably the best exercise to value oneself and also feel recognized by others at the same time. We don’t do this well in our society. Our culture is more inclined to criticize than to appreciate. The point here is the should not suppress the need to be feel valued by ourselves. We miss the mark completely and aim at getting recognized by others. This is probably a way to ask for recognition or to be valued in our society that isn’t lame and pathetic, but it isn’t obvious and can easily be misunderstood. Our culture isn’t big on it. We suppress that need for feeling our value with a condemning judgment. Instead of valuing ourselves, we shame and guilt ourselves for being egotistical, weak, or needy.

We have to understand that there is a very thin line between seeking approval and self-recognition. We have to know that self-acceptance and bragging are not the same things, and it is nuanced to do one and not the other.

Let’s acknowledge and accept who we are before even demanding/expecting to be recognized by others. Self-recognition is self-love. Let’s learn to love ourselves.

HOW IMPERATIVE IS OUR RECOGNITION?

One of the buzz words of our 21st Century is ‘EQ (Emotional Quotient)’. It is the emotion which is the invisible power bank that rejuvenates the human mind and drives him through a particular state of feelings that he experienced from the second person’s response. Moreover, recognition is that emotional feeling that the person experiences when he (as an individual) and his actions both are equally respected individually and publicly as well. The incentive package comes later to the desk but primarily it is the employer who recognizes the success of his employee, then the emotion which is stimulated through big handclap from the floor makes the executive feel recognized in his company. It is then that he gets the identity of being at the forefront and alongside it intensifies the feeling of  being a trusted employee.

BUT what happens to yesterday’s recognition as someone fails to reach today’s expectation? How can a brand ambassador become a stranger overnight? Why the lifetime achievement award for landmarking contribution turns to a regret?

Often recognition is approved on the basis of productivity which exists within a particular timeline. Whereas, the deeper level of understanding of recognition is, the experience and the confidence which we built initially in our individual relationship and later on, it becomes the reference for our trust in that person. Relationship plays a pivotal role in the process of recognition.    

Children expect their parents to recognize their sentiments  

Parents expect their children to recognize their sacrifices

Spouse expects their spouse to recognize their love & feelings

Friend expects his friend to recognize his love & concern

Employee expects his employer to recognize his skills & sincere work

Politician expects his people to recognize his contributions in nation-building

Society watchman expects to be recognized with a smile in return

ABOVE ALL, the first and foremost is the Expectation of GOD:

God expects the human (His Creation) to recognize His agape love for them

and to restore into a righteous relationship with Him.

Without the proper understanding of the relationship, recognition becomes a business affair confined within mere mouthful of verbal acknowledgments and the very intention of the employee to give the best effort is for the credit of benefits. For the sake of personal recognition and personal benefits, it seems fine for the employee to breach the ethical and moral parameters and on the other end, the sacrifices and the contributions of the employee seem worthless to the employer on the present context.     

Recognition is not only the badge of honor and words of appreciation in response for the extraction of productivity rather it is the reflection and the appeal of hope and trust that the person has built in you as he recognizes you.

The previous week, I was discussing some personal life issues with one of my contacts. In the midst of our conversation, she texted – “Bhai, I thank you for your contribution to my life and I trust you more than anyone else on earth”. As I read the line, tears flooded my eyes and I was immensely happy to find myself recognized by her but alongside there was a tender voice (a reminder/a warning/an appeal) to maintain that trust in the days to come.      

“THE EXISTENCE OF RECOGNITION IS FIRMLY FOUNDED ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF OUR RECOGNITION”

A compilation of few of the Bible verses puts it across very nicely;

“To live a Godly life is to encourage each other’s good work and build each other. Acknowledge who works hard, cares for you and admonishes you in the Lord.”

DO NOT WITHHOLD, WHAT YOU CAN GIVE OUT

Recognition is important for a human to get motivated. I understand doing things sincerely and responsibly whether recognized for it or not is a mark of integrity, yet, recognition is very essential at every step of our lives.

I am not going to write anything about receiving or expecting recognition from others. I will talk about the right ways or manners of giving out recognition to someone who deserves it.

One Bible verse always warns me of negligence in giving recognition or acknowledging someone, and that verse is –

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it.

So, what are the right manners of ‘not withholding’ due recognition to a person? I have THREE such factors that explain this. 

Timely: I have seen people postponing the act or the event of recognizing or acknowledging someone. Either they delay in the name of planning or keep the person to be recognized waiting, giving them some vague reason. It is deemed an insult or disrespect to someone when acknowledgment or recognition due to him is not accorded at the right time although we try to patch up or make up everything later. There’s no substitute for recognition accorded in time. The most effective recognition is given at the right time.

Genuinely: Appreciating or recognizing someone with the right tone and spirit even if the words are fewer, works. Sometimes, flattery or more words of praises don’t work well when the tone is not right. One of my previous bosses used to introduce me as, “He is Chiradeep, the backbone of our organization”. And I used to get irritated with that tag, which I never used to like. On finding him alone, I used to tell him not to introduce me that way. Genuineness is very important when we acknowledge or recognize someone.

Impartially: When we recognize someone, we should always ask ourselves whether we have acknowledged the person genuinely and impartially. Genuineness and impartiality seem quite similar to each other yet they are not. The word impartial comes when the number of people to be acknowledged is more than two. Our recognition or appreciation to both the persons might be genuine yet they might be partial when we show little more favor to one over the other unduly. Let me give an example – two employees in an oorganization. They both worked hard to achieve a task together. Both of them were awarded the same amount of money as reward but the boss had many words of praises for one whereas the other went without any words of praise backing him. If I would be in his place, I will really feel very bad and disgusted.

The Bible says, “if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”

Friends, let’s not be tired of recognising or acknowledging people who deserve it. Let’s be prompt to do that timely, genuinely and impartially.

Stay Blessed!

HERE I AM HERE I AM!! CAN YOU SEE ME?

Even the one drowning, needs recognition – else they will be asphyxiated and no more.

Being recognized is quite relevant need of the hour. Some cry for it, some easily plunge in it as if they belong to it and the rest struggle a lot, yet remain unobtrusive.

Ever since the existence of human being is on the marathon of recognition for every reason accountable.  Call it immaturity, pride or being selfish – everyone is hungry for attention.

Am I an attention-seeker?

adorable animal attention cat
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love recognition, indeed like any other normal being.

In spite of being identified for all wrong reasons, I could never recollect a time when I was given recognition for what I am but mostly I was in the spotlight for “reasons” the others thought was the best in me.

Stabbed several times, for all the negative reasons, my confidence was shattered away. I was losing a piece of me, which I failed to contain.

Negative Recognition 

Ever since my childhood, I have always been recognized as a foody – take it positive or negative, I was always being bullied for eating a lot.  The moment I sat for eating, I used to be joked for eating everything that was served to me. It was hurting then, to me as a child. My relatives thought I would be only a foodie and would starve the family to death when I get married. (Luckily I have not met their expectation)

As a child, all those bullyings brought me low self-esteem – and nothing else. Being noticed for all the bad reasons made me hide away from people.

Good or Bad – The Bad stands out

When I started scribbling my poems, Slowly and steadily I was in the spotlight for my writing which actually played well psychologically with me, giving me all the reasons I could be happy. Since my poems were a mix of romance, there were a majority of times when I was character assassinated and even asked to stop writing, as I could be a bad reputation for the ones who said – they cared for me.

For a moment I thought – was I badly portrayed – yet I couldn’t stop doing what I loved doing.

It is quite essential how you gonna value a person. It is not just about being recognized, but also the way you are treated matters – everything contributes to the “self-esteem” of a person.

Even in a class of 35 students, I have seen kids struggling to be noted by the teacher just to get a pat on the back, for even the smallest venture they accomplish. In this busy world, all are running behind fame and name, where do they see minor talents.

Thousands of women are being ill-treated even when they contribute the most in the home or even at work. Many men become the silent victim of “burdens of the family” which he has to enslave -under the name of responsibility.  All they need is “a pat on the back” – just to let them know they are being seen for the struggle they do.

close up of a person hand with card
  Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Time was there when I craved for at least one person in the crowd to recognize me, for my words I spill. I was literally holding a pluck card and walking – HERE I AM, CAN YOU SEE ME!!!

I realised that my close connection whom I call my own were the ones who discarded my passion and pointed me the path, which they want me to take up.  For everything I did, I waited for validations from others, who were least bothered to inspire me.

Gradually the rebel in me awoke, out of my insecurity. When I began to shed my inhibitions and cared less to seek words from others, I began to do better.

Sometimes it is better to do and never stop for the words to reassure you.

If you want to recognize, do it the healthy way, else never do it.

Either be the breeze that tantalizes
or
the storm that blows away
the choice is yours.