LOOK WITHIN…

Meaning of life… What have I got myself into? Am I really equipped to write on this topic? In my 40 years of life on this earth have I really understood the meaning of life? Or have I just existed?

Human kind has been searching for answer of this question since their very existence. People have gone to the Himalayas to find the meaning of life. Some have immersed themselves in God others in social service. All seeking this one elusive answer.

Well I am not such a deep thinker. So I don’t know if I am equipped to write on this topic. But still I would like to share, what I have understood, through my experience is that we are where we are for a purpose. To understand this I took help of some great minds and famous people

Albert Einstein in one of his books wrote

“The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life,”

So having established that there is a meaning or a purpose for us being born as humans. Let us now try to find out what that meaning is?

Pablo Picasso once said

“The meaning of Life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give it away!”

What does this mean? Most of the humans are merely existing. Like a boat without a sail drifting in water, going in whichever direction the current takes them. What we need is to find that one gift in us which we can give to others and spread happiness. That gives meaning to life. I don’t mean leave all your work and immerse in social work. I mean look for that one small thing in you that gives joy to the people around you.

I don’t need to go far to look for an example.  We all know our mentor at Candles Online – Chiradeep. He has a gift for writing, reaching out to people and motivating and counselling people. Look how beautifully he has used it to reach out to the world and touch so many hearts. He not only created “Candles Online” but also motivated a group of 20-25 young writers to write for the magazine every week. Looking at the readership statistics, Candles has reached every corner of the world and touched thousands of hearts. I admire the fact that he has beautifully woven this activity into his daily life while not missing out on any of his responsibilities of a being a family man, an employee etc.

Recently, I was in a seminar on Saga of Success. Dr Tuli (of Akash Tablet fame) was the speaker. He said that to build a successful business identify one cause that you will work for. How your business will make a difference in any one area. Work towards that goal and your business will flourish automatically. They made low cost computer tablets (costing less than Rs 5000/-), they created a market where there was none, build a successful business and helped a lot of low income households get access to computers.

These words hold true not only in business but also in our life. Look inside yourself, what is it that you can give to the world and spread happiness. The moment we find that we will also find the meaning of our life. In trying to spread happiness we will realise that we too feel happy and satisfied and life becomes meaningful and complete.

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SELF-PITTY, PLAYING THE VICTIM CARD

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. So I read a quote which said, “If you keep telling the same sad story, you will keep living the same sad life.” Self-pity is similar to a small damaged castle which gains everyone’s sympathy but at the end of the day keeps you trapped within its four walls. From its window you can see people feeling sorry for its damaged walls, but lastly, you get stuck there all alone, having no other place to go.

I still have a memory, clear as a crystal in my mind. When I was a kid I couldn’t participate in a running race competition due to a minor leg injury. I observed and enjoyed people empathizing and sympathizing me. I would go on blabbering about it. The injury became my perfect excuse for not being able to participate and win a trophy. That was when my father gave me a piece of advice which said blaming everybody else and every situation in life is great until you have got nobody and nothing else around you to blame, except yourself. This statement came true, people stopped listening and giving me a pass. Self-pity makes you hollow and empty at the end of the day. It doesn’t serve you in any manner.

Merely addressing a problem without propounding a solution is as similar as self-pitying yourself. Thus I will state a small practical example which will help you get rid of the above complication. Have you ever paid attention to the toddlers in a toy shop? How they find their ‘object of affection’ and refuse to let go of it? How forceful snatching of that object makes them even more stubborn? Well, that is exactly when they are offered some other ‘object of distraction’ like an attractive candy. They immediately drop their so-called ‘object of affection’ and become contented with that candy bar. Self-pity is the so-called ‘object of affection’. Try distracting your stubborn mind with positive aspects of life and let it become your ‘object of distraction’. Take the blame for your own defeat, handle the rejections bravely, say, ‘better luck next time’ when you fail to participate in a sports game due to an injury and just let go of it, break out of the castle and leave your failures behind. Life is unfair, I agree, but that is never a reason to let yourself become a victim of self-pity.

As we know that ‘Rome was not built in a day’, thus eradicating your self-pity might take some time. Keep practicing and training your mind until it falls for the ‘object of distraction’. Do not stop trying. Choose the braver path!


Payal P. Patra from Bhubaneswar, India is a law student, a vivid reader, and thinker.

“WHY ME?” WAS MY LIFE

There was a time in my life when I really was a victim of this devil called “Self-pity”. As a young girl I believed that my family did not want me or love me. There were reasons behind a young girl feeling this way, but of course as an adult I know none of that was true. I am blessed with one of the best families.

So, what did I feel when I was under self-pity? Why me? Why can’t they love me? Why am I not good enough for them? Why is it happening only to me? Why am I so unlucky?

I would find reasons to make this self-pity even stronger. A little scolding from parents or my sisters and I would go into the shell. I would not share it with anybody but my little diary (that’s how I got into a habit of writing). Somehow I had made my family a villain in my mind.

Years later when I gained a lot of maturity and started staying independently in Bangalore – a few incidents made me present to the reality. Reality was that my family loved me the most. I had created such a strong shell around me that nothing could penetrate through it and touch my heart. Thankfully, something really transformed me to see the reality and then I could see how I was stuck in the vicious circle of self-pity.

The thoughts and feelings that you have always attract the similar thoughts and feelings from the universe. This is the law of nature. So, if you have thoughts of self-pity – you are only going to get more of it unless you do something to get rid of it. And to get rid of it – you need to first realize that you are indeed in the self-pity mode.

I usually make a conscious effort to watch my thoughts. If my thoughts reflect anything that makes me feel “Why me? Or Poor me”, then there is some action to be taken to get away from those thoughts. Mostly my actions are to get myself busy in some creative work or hobby. That helps me a big deal. And then when I am not pitying myself, I am better equipped emotionally to solve the problem.

BE THE PERSON YOU WANNA BE: “RE-INVENT SELF”

It has taken me a long time to get here, a very long time indeed, 8 years and still going …

I have feeling of missing something, I am unhappy. Good job, loving family,  friends.. Then what is daunting me??  I need to find out what would make my life better.

That was the time when I was in constant quest and this needed to be addressed, But, the million dollar question was “What am I searching for ?”…

Being an engineer, the term “reverse engineering” came to my mind – If I have to figure out what is missing, may be I should first know, a few years from now, what is that I would regret not doing ?

Quickly, I made a list of all those small and big things I want to do. The list was neither small nor huge. Then I started to categorize these and finally arrived at a priority order.

There is a catch, your priority order may not match with resources you may find to fulfill those dreams. So, its an art of beautifully placing your dreams into those groves that work with time or resource availability.

Surprisingly,  a few days after I made this revelation, I started to find ways to fulfill my dreams or rather I would say the ways became more apparent, because I knew I had to do something based on their availability. Then, there was no stopping. I went ahead and cherished doing each one of those activities, I longed to do.

It’s been a few years I did this exercise, I am quite happy and glad to say that I have ticked nearly 70% of my initial list. The list keeps changing –  additions, omissions and modifications are very much allowed.

I slowly started to see a positive change in me.I was successfully able to change course of certain paths of my life.  I am more happy and those positive vibes are helping me take better decisions and making my life a celebration.

Oh Boy!  Did I say celebration ? Yes, indeed life now seems a celebration..

From childhood majority of us were given some tags… Intelligent, introvert, smart, computer nerd, social animal, book worm and so on.
Sounds familiar ?

Many of us don’t really look beyond what society or family or friends perceive us as. Their expectations more or less made us what we are, mainly because we have been ignorant about what we really want to be. This may have also happened because of our own unwillingness to try something new. We rarely feel the need to bring a change…

Everyone has a routine, good or bad. It’s in our nature, to spend all our energy primarily on our today’s immediate concerns. After a few years, suddenly it may so happen that we don’t like our life. It is as if,  LIFE IS ON AUTO-PILOT.

“Reinventing Self” –  It does sound like a significant amount of change that we may want to bring into our lives. But, in reality that may not be completely true. It can be as simple as trying a new hair cut or changing your wardrobe to adapt to a new style or growing a mustache.

We need not have to dwell and figure out what our passions are to start with. Let’s do it in baby steps and take it easy even if we  fail to maintain the rhythm.

  • Fitness freak  – Start walking your dog instead of hitting the gym.
  • An introvert – Start talking to people openly, if not directly, use social media.
  • Computer nerd – Plan for a surprise vacation using your friend, the computer.
  • Unromantic – Take a day off to be with your significant other at home, spend quality time and tell them how important they are in some way.

These are just a few examples. We may not like doing the same thing for longer duration. Be innovative and find new ways.

Breaking the routine is the key to re-invention of self.

On the contrary, if you want to make a big change in your life, like shifting to a new career option, or quitting your job for higher studies, starting a new business, bringing a behavioral change in self, that’s possible too. Be brutally honest with yourself to figure out what you want to achieve and what are your steps would be to achieve your dreams .

Discipline and dedication can do wonders.

CHASING YOUR DREAMS is the MANTRA and CHANGE is the only way for RE-INVENTION. 

Author’s Bio: Aastha, a young, agile & talented techie who has an immense passion in writing. She writes from her heart and is a person who loves to connect with people through her write ups. Her disciplined and organised lifestyle have made it possible for her to write articles in her busy schedules. She can be contacted and visited at her blog: PenningEnigma

LIVING ABOVE DEPRESSIVE SITUATIONS – A CASE STUDY

We had a very serious week discussing on one of the most difficult subjects like depression and how to combat it.  In the mega article I mentioned how combating depression needs to be a lifestyle for a person going through depression. And today in the final note I will present a case study which might bring clarity to what I explained on last Sunday. 

Negative/depressive situations from the beginning

I know a person who was born with a cardiac problem and was operated at 2½ years of age. He had all sorts of restrictions from the very childhood. There were restrictions on his food. There were restrictions on his movements. There were restrictions on his running with friends. There was restriction in playing football, cricket etc. for him. There was restriction on his studies as he had to go out to have normal education. He was brought up in a very conservative and restrictive atmosphere. He was small. So he used to cry and then forget. His heartaches were short lived at that time.

At the age of 7 he was infected with tuberculosis. It was difficult for him to stay with his parents as his dad was working in a place which was unhealthy for him to live on. His grandparents took the responsibility of taking care of him; to take care of the physical part of him but he suffered mentally after departing from his parents. He was only 7 or 8 years old at that time. When the he used to violate the restrictions, he himself had to suffer and also used to invite the stricter restrictions. He was 10 years old yet had not gone to any school as there was a fear in the minds of his parents and other family members that he may not take on the strain of going to school and study. But finally, he was admitted into a school directly in the fourth grade because of his aunt who was a teacher in the same school. He continued his study in the school.

In the school he used to stand alone in the shades when his friends used to play. He had no choice except for standing and clapping for his friends. He could not participate in many things that his friends were involved in. But he did well in his studies. He stood first in the whole school in his tenth grade.

He was 16 years old. He was an adolescent. He was unruly too but his situations didn’t allow him to even freak out like a normal teen. After schooling he joined a college. He used to go to his college by manual rickshaws. It was embarrassing for him to go by a rickshaw when the girls were even riding bicycles or motor bikes to the college. He used to go to the college at least 40 minutes ahead of everybody so that nobody would see how he was coming to the college. He suffered mentally and was depressed as he could not take part in any other curriculum for his health except regular studies. So many times he used to hide in the bathroom and cry. He used to ask God why He created him this way. Why couldn’t He just take his life?

At home alone, he used to day dream and fantasize a lot. He developed an addiction of reading wrong books. He developed a wrong attitude towards his grandparents as well as his aunt when they used to correct him for all wrong doings. He used to miss his mom and dad desperately. He used to think why they didn’t look after him instead of leaving him there with those people.

He finished his bachelor degree and got admitted for the post graduation in a university. There he suffered from mild depression. He was a grown up boy of 23 years old. The mental demands were more but scope for its development was less because of his physical restrictions. He was a loving guy and loved all his friends so much. But in return when he didn’t get the same love he used to feel depressed. He used to spend most of his times in day dreaming and grumbling to God sitting at a place alone.

All his studies finished. There were many opportunities for higher studies and good jobs but he could not go for anything, all because of his health.

He fell for a girl once but was rejected after two months of the relationship. He hasn’t known the reason of rejection till now.

His health deteriorated further in the year 2000-2001, as the passage in his heart which was made during his first surgery was already blocked. He was taken to a renowned hospital. The doctor said they need to do a surgery again – a very complicated surgery.

Finally, his condition improved after the surgery and he came back home. Then he joined an organization far off his home after three months of rest. His mom stayed with him initially. Then she left and went home. He was all alone for the next 2 years. He who himself was so unable to understand and never given any opportunity to understand before when he was younger, had to battle all alone. He felt the loneliness deeply. He wanted a girl in his life. But there was a thought in his mind that which girl is going to marry him, a heart patient. He tried on his own. Even one of his colleagues brought him many proposals which he didn’t like at all. He was disgusted. He stopped searching for anybody.

Battling in depressive situations

All these situations were negative, depressing for him. He was negative about his life but he had a hope always, that one day God will do something for him.

Throughout his life he had go through depression or negative situations but he tried his best to come over them by accepting whatever came in his way. 

He played games alone when loneliness tried to overpower him. He invented new games to amuse himself which at times attracted others too. He involved himself in writing stories and songs when he was downcast and depressed. He kept himself busy in drawing, colouring and painting to combat his loneliness. He kept himself busy reading beautiful novels. He started preparing sermons which he never preached to anybody but to himself. He loved to listen to others when he had ample amount of heartaches hidden deep within himself. He made fun, and was humorous to give others happiness. He learned to enjoy within himself.

New phase of the life with new battles

Finally, the negative situations seem to come to an end when he got married to a caring lady. The new beginning of a new phase of his life was beautiful though there were difficulties to carry on initially as he fell ill terribly. Everybody lost hope. But God saved him again. He was healed miraculously.

Life went on for him. But things were not easy as there were so many restrictions for his sickness which inadvertently became a tyranny for his wife too. At times it was not tolerable for him as he felt responsible for all these problems which pulled his wife down along with him. There seemed to be nothing when he was seen by people but there were so many things that have been pulling him down sometimes. He struggled. He suffered. He was depressed yet tried everything possible to get out of it with God’s strength alongside his wife’s immense care and help. The troubles of his wife which incur day by day all because of him pull him down and make him feel depressed and negative.

But he never put a full stop right there. He used all these experiences to help others when they came to him for help.

Final Revelation

This person was very close to my heart because I share the same body, same mind, and same spirit with him. Yes, instead of all the negative situations that came my way, I learned to live above them. It could happen only when I shifted my concentration from my suffering to the suffering of others, from my problems to the God almighty, from my depression & negative situation to His amazing grace. I am a living proof of God’s  wondrous grace before all.

Combating the daily depression is not easy yet it is not impossible too. The eyes need to be focussed on something greater and higher instead of something lower and of less importance.   It was only God’s grace and my readiness to receive His grace that could change my negative attitudes to positive.

My brother in law always says, “God takes all which is worst in us and makes it best for us.”

Stay blessed!

 

WHAT IS THE REASON OF YOUR GUILT?

All of us have felt guilty one time or the other in life? It might be a huge guilt that burdens our heart down or a minor one that just goes away with time. Last 2 days we learnt about true and false guilt – but how do we know the difference between the two. How do I realize that the guilt I am feeling now is really a true guilt or a false one? I could identify about 4 reasons of feeling guilty – that might help one figure out the difference.

Breaking the promise

Breach of a promise makes us feel guilty. If you promised a friend that you would go out for a movie with her and have to cancel at last minute, it leaves a little guilt inside you. I promised myself to not eat too much fatty food yet I feel guilty when I indulge in a second chocolate pastry.

Not meeting the expectations

We live in a society and people have certain expectations from us. Our family comes first in this case. I know mothers who feel guilty about not spending enough time with the kids. Sometimes siblings drift apart from each other and that becomes a reason of guilt.

Lying

Telling lies is a complex process. We all have told lies to our parents about eating an extra chocolate or bunking classes. Now as adults the lies get more and more serious and could be a strong cause of the guilt.

Hurting another person

Hurting somebody’s feelings intentionally or unintentionally does make most of us feel guilty. Nobody likes to hurt the other person unless one has a strong feeling of revenge. This is one guilt that most common.

Doing something immoral

This area is quite grey because moral values can differ for people. Highly immoral activities are also illegal like murder, rape, theft etc. – these activities are black and white, but there are also moral values that have been changing with times and also differ depending on cultures and families. For example, 20 years back a woman engaging in pre-marital sex was considered highly immoral by Indian middle class community; today it is considered ok by majority of Indian middle class. A woman engaging in pre-marital sex would have felt high amounts of guilt 20 years back than the woman of this date. So in such cases, the feeling of guilt out of morality differs largely on a person’s up-bringing and society.

So, if you feel guilty about something – try and find out which category does your reason of guilt falls into and then probably you can better judge whether it is a true or false guilt. Living with guilt is like living in a feeling of constant failures. More guilty you feel, more negative you will get. It does not help. Do what it takes to come out of that guilt – but just remember not to hurt anyone in the process of getting rid of your own guilt.

 

WHAT IS FALSE GUILT?

June Hunt!!! Yes, she describes further talking about guilt. She gives a list of false guilt which should not be within our hearts troubling us till the end…

She says,

  • False Guilt is based on self-condemning feelings that you have not lived up to your own expectations or those of someone else.

  • False Guilt arises when you blame yourself, even though you’ve committed no wrong, or even though you’ve confessed and turned from your sin.

  • False Guilt keeps you in bondage to three destructive weapons – shame, fear, and anger.

  • False Guilt, ironically, is not resolved by confession.  (The past keep coming up again and again) 

Now, this kind of guilt has to be dealt carefully and should be given up at once or else it will literally torment the person day and night.

Keep reading, keep sharing…

Stay Blessed!