Quote of the day

Justifying is not AT all about proving self to others, But it Is about proving to your own self.

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ARE YOU SELFISH ENOUGH?

About a month back, I was feeling extremely low due to a lot of reasons. And that clearly reflected in my behavior. I often snapped at my husband, almost always complained to him of not taking care of me. I even started showing my irritation to my Mother in law and started complaining to her as well of so much work that I had to do because my husband won’t help me. Office work was piling up too and that also irritated me so much. So, overall it was a bad situation.

It was just a lot of work and I always had a huge To-Do list in front of me. I had absolutely no time for myself. “I have forgotten how to smile, I have forgotten how to be happy” I told my husband once.

Kapil (my husband) tried multiple things to help me. He tried sending me for a vacation which I refused saying that “I don’t have money”. He tried to convince me start my workouts and I refused saying that “I have no time”. He tried to persuade me to take up a hobby which I refused saying that “I can’t manage another commitment”. He gave up after a while.

There were too many arguments, too much crying and too much negativity.

Then one day he just fed sense into me. I already knew all that he said but he showed me the mirror. This was not the first time he asked me to join a gym nearby (Cult Fitness). But that day the way he said it so politely without pushing me or judging me that it sort of ringed some bells inside me. He said “If you keep giving in any relationship, the other person will keep asking for more. Why don’t you ask now? If you need time – demand it, if you need money – demand it”. That made some sense to me.

He knew that I had always been very fond of working out and I have stopped doing that regularly after having our baby. At night I looked up the website of Cult and to my surprise it was written there in Bold – 1 week free classes if you register till 31st of July. Ha! It was 31st of July and just 15 mins before the date would change.

I was in luck I thought. At least one week I can try! I registered for the free classes. There were a million questions in my head. How will I manage one hour? What all will I have to give up? For the 9 pm class, I would have to feed my son earlier. That would mean I will have to come home earlier. That means I will have to leave from work earlier. Oh man! But since I have registered I would do it.

Next day I told Kapil that I have a class at 9 pm. He was surprised that I did take this step. He was as enthusiastic as me or even more. He stayed for the whole class along with my son (which is quite unlike him). He made sure he changed his schedule so that I could make for the class every day.

That one week of free classes got over and I paid up for 3 months. I did a 16 days streak right in the beginning through a bout of fever and cold. I loved it so much. It changed my attitude towards me. I was doing something for myself and only for myself. That feeling itself was elating.

True it was, I just had to demand. I just had to ask my family for help. I just had to set the expectations with my son and my in-laws. Taking out 1 hour wasn’t difficult but I just wasn’t being selfish enough.

Since our childhood we are taught that “Selfish” is a bad word and being selfish is wrong. Really? Maybe it is. Selfishness means that you only know how to “Take” with no idea how to “Give”. Often we call a person selfish who takes from everybody but doesn’t bother to return the favor or even worse acknowledge the favor. So, being selfish is that extreme state where you just don’t know how to give back.

Selflessness is often thought to be good quality but that too has its own extreme. It means that a person only “Gives” and doesn’t know how to “take”. That doesn’t work in the relationship as well. If you keep giving, you become so empty that you have nothing at all left for yourself. And that is when all the irritation and frustration shows up.

Marriages often break when any one of these extremes is involved. The key is to balance. The key is for two people to really know when to give and when to demand, also how much to give and how much to demand. If we strike this golden balance in a relationship, relationship itself becomes golden.

This is true not just for marriages but for any relationship between two people. Strike the balance between being selfish and being selfless. That’s all!! Ain’t that simple but make a conscious effort and you will see it working.

WHERE DOES MY STRENGTH COME FROM?

Recently, I was on chat with my friend.

Me: ‘Hi…how are you?’

She: I’m good. Thank you.

         Exams will start on 29th

        I have not studied anything

(Because since a month she was on bed due to an infection and she had recovered just 5/6 days back )

Me: Don’t worry. Trust God. He will surely help you.

       Can I ask you a question?

She: Yes.

Me: If I am not wrong, you’re in tension! Right?

She: Yes, a lot. I need to finish my courses before exam and I have no time left.

         I don’t know what is going to happen.

Me: Don’t treat it as problem, take it as a challenge. The situation will be little lighter for you to navigate.

        But ultimately you need the strength of the Almighty.

She: I’ll try…

Me: Sounds too bad… 

She: Why?

Me: You’re a brave girl. You know very well how to take a problem as a challenge.

        “I’ll try” – doesn’t sound good from you.

She: Hmm… But what to do? Situation is like that!

Me: Do you know there are two best lines that always strengthens me when I go through situations like your’s?

She: What are those lines?

Me: “Call unto me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”

        “Be still and know, I am the Lord, your God” (The Bible)

Let me pen a bit from my past. It was January 2004 when I met an accident, in which I lost my memory for 3 hours. But it was only the power of God which brought me back to life. After that the Neuro-Specialist advised my parents that, “they should drop my education and keep me in a dark room where even sunlight can’t go because of my injury which was severe. And I was to be under strict medication till I turned 25 years of age”. It was then, when my parents were completely worn out, that they struggled to keep fake smiles on their faces to see smile on my face. As a pre-teen I felt like my life has become a scum! In such a fearsome condition my friends brought my annual examination news. Despite of my physical inabilities I urged my parents to give me prayer support so that I can write my papers. My parents sincerely prayed for me and I started preparing for annual exam but my brain was not coping with me. After every couple of hours I needed to take power naps. I was throwing up frequently. Even while writing my Maths paper I was unable to bear the pressure and slept for more than 20 minutes in the examination hall. But still I continued my studies and did everything like every other normal person does. Soon after graduating from the university, at 21 years of age I started my professional career where travelling and training was the nature of my profession from the very beginning.  

But the big question that always hits me – HOW  WAS I ABLE TO DO THESE THINGS?

  • Was the Medical science/my diagnosis/doctor’s advises all wrong?
  • Was this just a coincidence?
  • Was this because of my self-confidence?
  • Was this because of my hard-work?

Bible says, “If you have faith like mustard seed, your prayer will be answered by God.” And Bible also says, “Your faith must accompany your work. Work without Faith is dead and Faith without Work is also dead”.

I and my parents could have easily quit as per medical advice or could have continued my studies without seeking the grace of God. But then my life would have been such that I wouldn’t be sharing my life with you over here .

We have to work and along with that we have to put our confidence on God. God is the only PERFECT INFINITE SOVEREIGN entity. He created us with a definite purpose and has counted our days on earth. We humans are finite; we can’t guarantee our tomorrow but HE CAN! We humans are never 100% perfect; but HE IS! We humans depend on wisdom and knowledge but HE IS THE SOURCE OF ALL WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE!

What do you say, Is it self-confidence or Work with Confidence on God”?

SURROGATE BRANDING

In the world of advertising, surrogate advertising is a well-known and commonly practised concept. Let me explain the concept… Surrogate advertising/branding promotes certain banned products in the guise of other products. A fairly close name is used to hoodwink customers and ensure that the actual brand does not fade away into oblivion. To give examples, Kingfisher, McDowell’s, Bagpiper are brands of alcoholic beverages that are banned in India. But, still the common people know these brands by way of mineral water or soda.

Everyday human behavior uses this concept of surrogate branding to let the ‘me’ still remain in the picture while doling out people-pleasing easily-acceptable responses. Often we don’t wish to transform ourselves because that would mean losing our individuality. Hence, in order to endorse the brand ‘me’ and yet not lose face before others, we guise the ‘real me’ and showcase the ‘people-friendly me’.

In this surrogate branding of ourselves, very often we end up losing our credibility. Unlike the business world which deals with products, the human world of flesh and blood deals with emotions. And so, surrogate branding of human behavior does not stretch too far. It comes to a jolting halt. And when the veil is removed, the ‘real me’ receives a jerk as the ‘surrogate me’ fades away.

Wisdom lies in accepting and showcasing the ‘real me’ no matter how ugly it may be and simultaneously be willing and open for transformation so that the ‘ugly real me’ re-brands into a ‘beautiful real me’.

Be open for a reformation of the brand ‘you’! Don’t present or accept a surrogate brand!

You are an original brand! Embellish yourself with real gems. Be ready to chisel out certain oddities rather than masking them. And you’ll emerge a masterpiece worth being marveled by others!

HOW DO WE VALUE OURSELVES?

In today’s world of social media where personal information is shared with the entire world, and not just close circle of friends and family, do we place our value in the number of likes and comments? In other words is it others perception of us which adds value to us, or is it something else?  Personal brand-building is enhancing the value of a person.  It’s the value one has of oneself, or how much a person values himself/herself.

This value of oneself is a tricky thing. If you have too much of self-worth you might come across as an arrogant and narcissist person. You have too little of it, you acquire inferiority complex, zero confidence, and get treated like a doormat. 

In a world of competitive culture our worth is always being measured against others. The comparison never ceases as it encroaches all spheres of life right from the time we get admitted to school, and may be for some from the day they are born. Marks, beauty, talents, careers, girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife and what not! The list of comparison is never ending. And amidst all this comparison we try to hang-on to our accomplishments dearly to feel worthwhile. And when some Sharmaji-ka-ladka/ladki surpasses it the feeling of worthlessness sets in. We are back to zero and the world seems against us. Somebody has rightly said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

So, where does one go from here? It takes all sorts to make this world go around and each one of us has been created uniquely. And the value we attach to ourselves is not something we should give control to others. It’s us that should have it under control. The following pointers will elucidate what I’m trying to say.

  • Focus on being the best version of yourself:

In simpler terms it means maximizing the potential we have. For example in a game of football everybody dreams of becoming a striker and score amazing goals like Messi or Ronaldo, and be treated like a global superstar. But not all are cut out for it. Coaches help a young player identify his strongest attributes and help the budding- player mature into a position to which he is best suited. So the midfielder controls the flow of the game, the defender stops the opponent from scoring, and the striker has to score of course. It’s the sum total of all which makes a team strongest. And if one can maximize the talent at his disposal he will always add value not only to himself but to whichever team he belongs to.

 

  • It’s ok to fail:

This is something which I feel is highly undervalued in this present day society.  Failures are looked upon with such disdain. It’s an inevitable part of growing up. And the fear of failure prevents most of us to step out of our comfort zone and try for anything new. Thus, people opt for staying in the safe zone, not making any sort of attempt to do something different for fear of being branded a failure.  Only if we fail we learn what does not work and hence we gain the knowledge of what can actually work. That’s why they say” failures are the pillars of success”. The first US President Abraham Lincoln is a prime example of this.

  

  • Don’t aspire for perfection:

This point is an outset of the previous point. Perfection has the power to create inflated expectations and once we get that notion that someone’s life is perfect we always fall in the comparison trap that whatever we have is not enough. So many times we look at the FB profile of someone and see them in great jobs, travelling to exotic locations, married and honeymooning in Mauritius, and deduce that how perfect their life might be. This just creates negativity in us and makes us feel that our life is going nowhere.  Our life may not be in the best of state, but we have to stay still, breathe in, and learn to enjoy the little blessings and bounties bestowed upon us  by the almighty.  

  • Be gentle on our dear ones:

This is something which deals with adding value to the lives of our near and dear ones. Our friends and family are not perfect but they are the most important persons we have in our lives. There are times when we feel let down by them, be it cause of their behavior, their nature, or may be because they have stopped loving us for some reason. It’s our responsibility to try to understand them in a better way, listen to their side of the story, and help them wherever we can and be good to them. And if nothing works out we should have in our hearts to forgive them. It actually shows great strength on our behalf to forgive someone and makes us better persons, a person of value.

So let’s stay positive and keep believing in ourselves.  Every cloud has a silver lining. Stay blessed and have a great week ahead.

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.