THINKING NOT TO OVERTHINK

Embarking on a new journey must be an exciting one, right? How according to you is settling into a new city? Would involve a lot more responsibility, isn’t it? And what about starting a new session, joining a group of completely different people, entering into a new year, or go on a solo trip, etc.? Must be fun enough. Well for me this year it’s all at a time. I didn’t even realize how steadily my school days passed and I entered into my dream college. So obviously, with this new year comes a sense of responsibility, resolutions, planning and ideas, and a lot more than expected.

From the past few days of my life, I am recollecting hundreds of memories of mine just to figure out what went wrong somewhere. Why couldn’t I achieve what I wanted to? Could I be in a better place? Is what am I doing good enough? Shall I be at peace? Will I be happy reminiscing the time and place where I am now? And the list goes on and on. By now, many of you might have understood what my problem is. Yeah, it is ‘overthinking’ indeed.

People who know me well are of the opinion that my face says it all. However, it’s not every time they are right. I’m a very sensitive person actually. I take time to open up and don’t speak much though I am fluent when it comes to writing. I do raise my voice in public whenever in need but beyond that, you would always find me calm. A peace-loving girl I am and not much into social media, group chats, etc. Many of the people who see me upset don’t bother much thinking it’s none of their business, some of them do want to take the initiative but they don’t; thinking I should share it myself and that hardly happens. Only a very few of the people who believe in giving rather than taking dare to ask and help me out with what I’m going through.

And I want to change this habit of mine. I don’t want to seek any empathy from people. Overthinking is what makes the situation worse. Instead of finding a way out of the problem, it pushes you into the well deeper and deeper. You even begin visualizing the things that have not even happened in real. Your focus remains limited to the problem and doesn’t shift to the solution. You don’t feel like doing anything, cry out for no absolute reason and end up hurting yourself, and everyone around you. That’s the reason why you don’t have a group of friends to accompany you in whatever you do and wherever you go and you distant yourself from your family as well. I want to give up on such emotions and habits of mine. I wanna enjoy my life to the fullest, trying out new things, traveling and visiting new places, make good connections with everyone around me, and helping somebody in need.

So in this new year, I have decided to stop watering the dead relations that didn’t stand the test of time. Better to take the next step and let it go. Holding on to something that’s not yours would only hurt your self-esteem. For any problem in life put in your best efforts and never ever think about the results. Believe in yourself, learn to say no, and overcome your fears, meditate, take a deep breath, connect to God, and surrender. And yeah, one more thing to take into consideration is never caring what other people say. Their actions should not affect you.

In Closing, I would also like to share a beautiful quote by Erma Bombeck,

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”

DROPPING DOWN MY CAMOUFLAGE

It would be deceptive if I won’t pen my flaws down

All the time, each human appears in their exceptional camouflage. Isn’t it? Though this French slang “camouflage” was included in common English during World War I, as it was the well-known military visual deception combat tactic of that time yet it won’t be wrong to say, this habit is deeply rooted in human nature since its existence. Whether it is about penning or preaching, we prefer to take the reference of our good human nature. Mostly we prefer to hide our bad habits, evil thoughts, and devilish lifestyle. Of course, who wants to be off from the good book! The Bible perfectly frames it –

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

But pathetic part of our camouflage lifestyle “we cannot hide the REAL ME from self.” Such one from many bad things inside of me – MY TONGUE!

The scripture puts it this way, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” And going deeper it says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” In one-liner – whatever there is in our heart is expressed through our tongue.

In a few hours, I will be stepping into a new year with many hopes, many new professional life strategies, some new plans for personal life but as I take a flashback tour, one of the biggest struggles, I had through this year is “controlling my tongue” which of course resulted in hurting, breaking hearts, and unpleasant and unnecessary situations. Alongside I need to reason what made me fail in controlling my tongue.

THE EGO – None of we human will ever desire to fail or find the self as less important at any place. Desiring always to be at the upfront, our ego gets a hit if we find ourselves blamed or ignored. As the repercussion of such experience, the haughty spirit within us impulsively bashes upon our counterparts. Being arms down and blamed, our heart speaks out rudely and hurts others. Since every action comes has its own reaction, how can we run away without facing the terrible consequences? That’s why the Bible warns,

“A quiet mind is the life of the body, BUT ENVY IS A DISEASE IN THE BONES.”

THE ANGERMy mom and my sibling always tell me; you know you might not punch someone at his face but the words of your mouth can easily pierce the heart and bones, which is hard enough to forget in a lifetime. And my Uncle suggested to me whenever you feel anger, run away from the situation, have an alone ride, and chill your mind by eating some delicious food. It might be an instant relief from anger. But reasoning the anger, often when we feel tempered, the ME inside of me goes wild and does all that possible to punish the causer and prove justice by self-attempt. Our tempered mind weakens our ability of reasoning and quickens our haughty spirit. The tendency of which is, we spurt unethical and immoral words that victimize others.

Being our Creator and Sustainer, God understands our physical inability to control anger. That’s why God of the Bible suggests us,

“If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. Moreover, don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble. He who is slow to anger is better than a warrior, and he who controls his temper is greater than one who captures a city. “

BEING TALKATIVERecently, one of my good friends lovingly said, “you always love to explain things. I can understand your fear of the misinterpretation of your words and thoughts. Yet it would be much better if you would prepare your mind with a concise script what exactly you need to share.” As evidence to his counsel, recently in one of my meetings, in the flow of my talk, I just posed the right word at the wrong time which literally made my presentation faulty. As a result, the meeting didn’t fulfill the agenda. I realize the Bible says, “The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.”

Concluding, I would say to myself, “CONTROL YOUR TONGUE” because the Bible says, “THE PRUDENT HOLD THEIR TONGUES.”

Be Prudent!

RE-ENGINEERING SELF, CHUCK SELF-PITY

Just one day left in this pathetic year by every means. World is already looking forward to welcome 2021 with high spirits. With vaccines being rolled out already in many countries world is back on track of hope. Hope of leaving behind the scared memories of losing near and dear ones, hope of bouncing back from the losses – be it a job or relationship, hope of a better life, hope of a healthy environment, hope of freedom (from mask counts first 😁) – Many Hope’s on this new year menu😁. What’s your stake?

No matter how much we despise the current year, it did one thing for sure – brought the entire world on the same page where people actually Hoped that everyone should be fine. Something that God wants us to pray for but we have built some strong walls of greed, jealousy, selfishness and ego around us that made us go completely deaf to our conscience. This pandemic has re-engineered the basics of human nature – Humanity First!!

With learnings and hopes stacked at one table, we are at that time of the year where we make resolutions. Lose weight, quit smoking, quit drinking, learn a new art, more time to hobbies, read more………… cutting it short – to be a better “ME”, isn’t it? Talking about myself I am really bad in keeping up my resolutions. Everything that I have mentioned above were and are on my list for ages (exceptions of smoking and drinking fortunately) and now making me introspect myself, “why haven’t you made it yet?”.

As I spoke about re-engineering previously, my self introspection handed me an answer to my question – I need to re-engineer myself. I have to chuck out Procrastination and Self Pity at once. These are the elements in me that I want to leave behind on this side of threshold before entering the new year. I have spoken many a times about my habit of procrastinating things. Let me be more succinct – I am LAZY (being rustic in addressing an issue helps find solution rather quickly😁). Delaying things have many a times conditioned my mind to search for excuses and sound not-guilty of the consequences. A petty example from my routine : during school days I have to get up around 5 AM in the morning to make sure my son catches his bus at 7 AM and doesn’t leave without his breakfast. Alarm makes its presence felt from 4:45 AM itself but I more often than not stretch the stay at bed till 5:15. With fifteen minutes lost in transition it’s always a run against the time. And if something unexpected happens then I switch on my self-pity mode “I had headache”, “don’t I deserve a 5 minutes extra sleep”, “after doing so much I have to endure the taunts”. For me so far it has been a visicious circle of Procrastination and Self Pity.

Over a period of time I have realised this isn’t doing me any good, in fact doing more damage. I could have learned more, grown more, done more to my family and society – only if I wasn’t as lazy as I am and suffered from self pity. Out of the two if I have to choose one to be abolished first from within me it has to self-pity. There are many instances where I get inspired from people around me, take an initiative to do something but on failure I go back thinking about the circumstances that I had faced in the past and telling myself “had it been not that ways it was then”. And at the end of the day I remain a failure.

I also wrote once “Statutory Warning: Self Pity is injurious to health” for Candles Online long ago. I believe it completely but sometimes we are unable to come out of the cast-it spells because we don’t realise we are suffering from it. Now that I have I have a path carved for me in front of me “Chin up, accept the weakness, acquire strength, learn from failures, taste the success, never give up”!

WHAT DO I WANT TO LEAVE BEHIND BEFORE 2021 WINKS AT ME?

I used to think accepting or adopting something new or alien is difficult but now I feel that leaving something behind or quitting or getting rid of things is much more difficult. We are aware of the fact that how difficult it is for an addictive person to get rid of his/her addictions. Recently, I was so challenged to quit something that was necessary for my life but it was difficult for me to decide it. 

One thing that you want to leave behind this year in 2020?” I asked this question to 35 or 40 odd relatives and friends of mine and I got the following answers: 

One young girl responded – my makeup products. I know many girls get addicted and busy beautifying themselves but at the end of the day, they feel guilty about spending a lot on it. That was an honest answer. 

Another brother said, “Controlling my tongue. At times, my words are too rude to tolerate“. That is quite a confession. In the time we are in now, we really don’t care what we do, what we say, or how we express ourselves to others. We are so irresponsible about our behaviors but the attempt to leave behind that attitude is truly commendable. I applaud it.   

Another woman said, “The partiality of relationship, gender, and love. My house has a lot of it”.  Sibling rivalry, partiality in the families are very common but these are more prevalent these days so it is a constant struggle for all of us to stay positive and sane in a sinful world and be the change agent we are called for. I think the one who poured it out to me knows that she has to deal with it with love, care, and a lot of responsibilities.  All the best, my sis.

 

It was shocking for me when I heard this from her, “Relationship“. But as she didn’t explain what kind of relationship it is not wise for me to speculate it much. It is true, living in a toxic relationship is a big pain in life these days. I struggle thinking about how to really find a way for people who are going through such problems in their marriages or families. 

 

My niece replied, “A bad habit of complaining.” No, I am not going to say which niece of mine said this. But jokes apart, I know a few people who constantly complain about every other thing or people they come across. Though, my niece expressed all her complaints to God only. I was really happy that she kept it limited only to God because only He can really bring any changes to all the things that worry her or disturb her. But if we have a complaining habit or attitude, it is necessary to get rid of it for our good only.

 

Two people replied with the words like, “None” and “Nothing“. They are probably happy with whatever is happening within and around them or they are ready to accept everything that comes in their ways depending on God’s divine strength.  

 

Another niece responded and said, “Maybe I could be a little less lazy I guess…, and by that I mean a little less sleeping.” So she wants to leave behind her excessive sleeping disorder ( it is just her habit though). That is like leaving behind a blessing in today’s context. I struggle to sleep for long hours these days because of stress and Netflix. See, I was honest. 😛

All the best sweetheart, try hard not to be lazy and sleep a little lesser.  

 

One of my oldest friends who is lean and thin replied, “I want to avoid sweets as I have put on weight… But I know I can not.” I joked when I read her answer and she wanted to prove that she has really put on weight recently. But she also confessed that she can’t leave behind that habit of having sweets. It is good for her not to leave it behind. 🙂

 

One of my eldest sisters whom I respect a lot said, “Indisciplined schedule.” That was shocking again from a person like her. But I had asked to be honest so she did and that is commendable. I have always struggled in this area of having a disciplined and organized way of living, rather than following a very laid-back lifestyle. 

 

Another buddy replied, “My loneliness… Want to move in with my hubby…“. I feel for her. Sometimes our professional requirements and adjustments of today’s world ask a big cost to pay in life. So if she is thinking of leaving behind this lifestyle and live together with her spouse then it will be the best thing that can happen in 2021 for them. Please do consider it and be successful in leaving it behind in the coming year, Buddy. 

 

A co-writer and close friend says, “The worst me… I want to leave and get a better me.” A good attempt but it is very difficult to act upon something which is not specific but very broad.  

 

One of my sisters-in-law says, “Bad sleeping habit😬.” Stop watching Netflix and Prime. That much I can say to her… 😛 But yeah, on a serious note, having a good night’s sleep really helps to take most of the wisest decisions.   

 

One of my (adaptive 🙂 ) sisters said, “The tension and constant struggle I have with my Mother in Law.” I can understand how bad it can be when there are constant struggles between the two most important members of a family. They were supposed to be making a house HOME and the struggles between them are difficult to create that atmosphere in the family. If one of them is quiet and tolerating just for the sake of peace in the family then how painful it will be for her to go through it. I can’t really imagine. She had shared her heart with me before and I feel for her. But it is a tough thing to get rid of. Take care sis, and think well before acting on it.

 

I am an overthinker and a control freak…. this year has been especially bad on this front… if I could I would love to dial back on this anxiety of mine.” I love you, my sis for such an honest response to my query. I quite relate to this too and I believe most of us struggle with this attitude. 

Even another sweetest girl says, “For me, it’s overthinking.” Thinking is really good, but overthinking is useless and sucks a lot of our energy. So it is a good decision to get rid of it before stepping into a new year. 

 

Taking things and people for granted is the worst thing and habit. Because taking for granted is kind of misjudging or miscalculating things or people which is really dangerous. One of my co-writers replied honestly, “I want to leave behind my habit of taking things for granted at times.” Good job girl, fight it out and get rid of it. 

 

During this pandemic time, many suffered financially and there were many suicide cases. But those who stayed strong holding onto their grounds are to be applauded and worthy of everyone’s praises.  One of my closest friends writes back, “The stress of not having financial security for my family…“. You can fight it out, buddy. Do get rid of this and you will be victorious. 

Another close friend writes, “I want to leave procrastination and self-pity.” Oh, let me tell you, my friend, we all relate to this. Postponing is so fun but I really want to get rid of it myself as well. 😛

The last response was – “The original answer is a few family members… But the real answer is my bitterness… I became too bitter this year…I don’t like this version of me…I wanna go back to being the sweet, gullible ignorant fool. I was much happier that way… Now it feels like I have no well-wishers. Like everyone is there for a selfish purpose. It was easier when I only saw things at face value and didn’t judge people. But some people’s true faces made me lose all my trust. I actually mourn for old me.” Someone very close to my heart responded to me when I asked her the question. She has been struggling a lot in her life. She has talents that people can only dream of but her present state of mind worries her as well as worries me. And I will be praying unceasingly as she tries her best to get rid of her present self and get back to her old good self. 

Ending my long compilation of what different people want to leave behind or get rid of, I want to share my One Thing that I want to leave behind before moving forward in the new year 2021. Only two people dared to ask me back, “What is that you want to leave behind”

I really want to leave behind my dependency on people instead of doing things on my own depending on my God, the sustainer of my life. Let me give you the lowliest example of my dependency on people… During this lockdown period when I was unable to go anywhere, was secluded from all, and suffered because of my health conditions for months, I literally looked for people to talk to or chat with me. And I hated the feeling of being denied of their availability to entertain me. I am good at creating things for my own entertainment but instead of working on them, I was too laid back to rely on people. I truly, want to get rid of that attitude and move into the new year with my God-given creativity and full dependency on my Saviour. 

In the end, I can quote a Bible verse and hold onto the same –

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal…”

I will press on towards my goal, leaving behind my dependency on people as you all will be trying your best to leave behind what you wanted to. 

Stay Blessed!

 

 

WHY DON’T YOU BUY A NEW PHONE?

Exactly 16 years back I bought my first mobile phone. It was a second-hand phone at Rs.2000, that I bought from my cousin. If someone will give me the same phone free of cost today, I will not accept it because it is an obsolete product it has lost its value forever. But that time, it was so precious to me.

Now, if I look back on my journey of buying different phones in the last 16 years then if I am not wrong, the phone in my possession now is the 10th phone. Surprisingly, the phone I am using now has already stepped in its fifth year with me. This means the previous 9 phones were bought within a span of 11 years. BAD!!!

Maybe, I can blame on the evolution of phones which made me keep on buying the recent ones progressively. And I stopped buying any more after I reach a point where I can’t afford to buy another having better features in it than what I am using now.

So the question I asked myself after I read Aastha’s article on this topic, “Why did I stop buying phones after 2016?”

Is it because I learned a lesson about using my money wisely or because the price of the phone I want is not so pocket friendly for me?

I was repeatedly coxed to buy a new phone and was offered money even but I just didn’t go for it but to be honest, a number of times, I had been tempted to just go for it and buy a brand new phone.

I truly do not have greed for a lot of luxury in life. I don’t want clothes, a house, any furniture, a vehicle, home appliances, and a TV, etc. But when my eyes fall on any stationery or gadgets or phones especially, I feel the greed demon dancing within me, coaxing me to give a thought about arranging money and buying them.

But each day as I am maturing I am trying to focus on self and spiritual disciplining. I want to quote the Bible verse that has always made me understand the deeper meaning of acquiring and accumulating wealth and assets.

The verse reads –

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

I understand very well that I should not worry about my life, what I will eat or drink; or about my body, what I will wear. Because I know that life is more important than food, and the body is more important than clothes? Different cuisines won’t improve my life or all different fashionable clothes won’t make me stay healthy. In fact, I should worry about things that are more important for my life and body.

So if I am challenged with the question – “Why don’t you buy a new phone”, I am strong enough to say, “I will buy a new phone only when the present phone is out of order or I will enjoy a new one if you are buying one for me.”

I have learnt to say NO to my greed and the desire to accumulate. Have you?

Stay blessed!!!

BEING A POCKET FRIENDLY CONSUMER

 

One question: Have you spent less after the pandemic lockdown till date? 

My answer to this question is a profound yes. 

It actually did surprise me. Let me tell you, I was never an over spender. My parents never gave any pocket money. I think they did me a big favour by not giving me any money. Obviously, I never threw any birthday parties or such sort of things. I have never been to a movie with friends either. All this might sound very insane to some. My parents are very protective. I am from a very conservative family too. I have never seen  my parents indulge in luxury. Anything more than need was very well thought about before we bought.  I learnt that money is very valuable and important as well.

From my early years in college, there was a wrist watch I really wanted to own. It would cost some 4000 INR to purchase that. My first salary was four times more that the cost of that watch. I didn’t buy the watch. Not for one month or one year. Four years into my career, in one of the conversations with my colleague I realised that this wanting of mine has not been fulfilled yet. The very next month, I bought that watch. I was very satisfied with that purchase. I realised, I still follow what I learnt from my parents.

One more thing I always spared myself from owning is a car. I have two favourite cars till date, the Chevrolet Spark and the Tata Nano. It was always in my power to own those. There were times I was so tempted to buy them. Once I stood outside of the Tata showroom glancing at the Nano fore more than an hour. That day it would have taken just a few steps and a swipe of my credit card to own the car. I resist that temptation by asking myself the need to have a car for myself. I am not at all a greedy person. There were days when I paid my credit card bills that were close to 1 Lakh INR. I can own an Audi, but, I won’t. If car really becomes a necessity, I would buy something reasonably good than spending a hefty amount on an Audi. 

I have a credit card. I owned one from the time I started working. I wanted to have the most convenient means to spend but still have that control on how much I actually spend. One might say it is tough to be so, but I would say that requires tiny bit of self discipline. I don’t drink. I don’t party. I don’t visit fancy restaurants. No fine dining. I don’t buy ornaments. I don’t go to parlour for any beauty treatments. Please don’t judge me by what I said, because none of them give me happiness. I find joy in travelling, trying different cuisines, dining at offbeat places, trying local food etc. All this is expenditure too. These are not necessarily needs all the time, sometimes that is just our “me” time. 

I think as humans, we have to balance between when we spend and when we shouldn’t rather than what we want or need. There is no particular thin line or thick like that differentiates need from a want. That depends on many other factors. Sometimes, it helps to just go handsfree and buy whatever we like. This definitely helps improve the mood and make us feel better but, this cannot become a habit. The other times it is just better to not spend.  At the end of the day, what makes us happy could be different on different days. 

Coming back to the question I started the article with, yes, I almost completely stopped buying clothes or shoes for more than 6 months. Just this month, I went ahead and bought some stuff. I bought clothes, some plants, some area rugs for home. It felt nice spending after a long time. If we can control our urge to not overspend, we won’t fall prey for consumerism at large. 

“A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions.”
― John Kenneth Galbraith

MATERIALISTIC ME AND SPIRITUAL ME

I still remember the day I got my first salary. It was Rs. 18234/- on 29th September’2006. I even remember the ATM where I checked the balance and for the first time a bank account in my name had so much money. Even though the amount was expected, I was delighted beyond limits. I couldn’t sleep that night because of happiness. Initially, I didn’t even know how to spend this money. I never got more than Rs. 5000/- from my parents, so I was obviously not used to having so much money in my account. And then I entered the malls of the cities and got the taste of wearing branded clothes and shoes, eating in exotic restaurants, buying expensive branded cosmetics and whatnot. 

Fast forward to year September’ 2007 – my salary was slightly higher than the first salary that I had received but I was now used to the fact that by 20th of each month – I would be left with a few hundred in my account and I would somehow manage for the rest of the month. I started using credit cards which was a huge mistake. I realized that mistake only when I ended up not paying credit cards bills completely over the years and eventually was indebted like crazy. 

Fast forward to the year 2020 – my salary is way higher than the year 2006. However, the situation is not very different. Of course, I have bigger responsibilities now like home loan, car loan, school fees, investments etc. – but money is still not enough. I have realized that even if my income is 100 times what it is today, it still won’t be enough. There is no point running after money and this has really changed my perspective towards life. The work that I do, I really do because it makes me happy and because the sense of achievement is much greater than the amount that gets credited to my account at the end of each month. 

The year 2020 has made me go a bit towards spirituality. And I have learnt the following about materialism from the various spiritual books and videos that I am into these days:

  1. Materialism without any spiritual direction will lead you in a very negative situation. We all know that a lot of money makes you lazy. Problems like diabetics, obesity, drug or alcohol addiction are a few examples of having more money than your needs. Your wealth is supposed to make you happy and not miserable. If it makes you miserable, then there is something terribly wrong because your own hard-earned wealth is not working for you.

This concept is something that I have accepted. There is some amount of spirituality needed in life to ensure that I don’t flow down the gutter only to realize that I have wasted my life. If I don’t have my own goals sorted in my head, it is very easy to just sway away with what is happening in the world. My spiritual journey helps me stay on track and not lose control over my own thoughts, feelings and emotions. 

2. One cannot give up all materialism because that is not practical. However, there should be a balance between materialistic and spiritual life so that we stay on the right track. The ideal balance is – Be as materialistic as if you are alive only for this day. Be as spiritual as if you are going to live for eternity. 

This concept is very confusing to me. If I earn only as much as I need today, what about all the money that I am saving for my retirement, for my son’s education etc? I guess this concept is too idealistic. So, I have made my own balance. For every paisa that I have to spend, I ask myself if this is really needed. For every extra effort, I make only to earn another paisa, I ask myself if I really need to earn more money. More often than not, I know the answer. I must admit this balance is very delicate. And for every person, this balance is very different. As long as I am grounded with my spiritual energy, this balance is just an intuition or a feeling. It is not judgment or prejudice. It is not like depriving yourself of joy. In fact, this balance is supposed to make me joyful and if it is not, then the balance is not right.

Over the years I have learnt to make peace with money (or lack of it). I have learnt that money is never enough because desires are never enough. I have learnt that spirituality does not mean giving up entirely on the materialistic aspect of life. Spirituality means to make my materialistic aspect bring joy to me (not misery). I have learnt that if I let the world take control of my life, the material aspect of my life will go out of control because the world is largely driven by consumerism.