TAKE IT WITH A PINCH OF SALT

Advice is very common and most of the time free too, right? We have no shortage of advice regarding anything under the sun. Every second person is ready with a set of advice for you! I am the 7th (6 Candelians have already given you advice this week 🙂 )

Don’t worry, I am not going to bug you too much but yes, I would like to share some virtues (I choose it to call it virtues and not advice) which I find very useful and I try to practice it.
1. Cry if need be:
Yes, it is alright to cry! Irrespective of the gender one must cry once in a while because it releases all the pent up emotions which slowly poison the state of mind. All that matters is that after you are done crying, wipe off the tears, gather yourself and take on the big bad world.
2. Laugh till your stomach aches:
When was the last time you laughed till your stomach ached? Ever seen a child laugh? How pure and innocent laughter is? As we grow up, we somehow tend to forget this kind of laughter. We are often done just by smiling and many times we don’t even do that. I know, life can be hard but don’t let it take a toll on you. Find a way to laugh the real laughter, you like rolling on the floor types.
3. Express Gratitude:
Most of us lack at expressing gratitude, don’t we? I consciously practice this virtue and I see it’s a ripple effect. I thank the auto driver every day, I thank the shopkeeper each time he drops the groceries home, I thank the postman when he delivers my mails, I thank the delivery guys from shopping portals each time they deliver my order. Thank your colleagues, thank your team at every available opportunity and you would be amazed to see the difference what a small thank you can make.
4. Appreciate:
It is very easy to blame others but very difficult to appreciate. You never know what effect one compliment may have on someone! Make an effort to appreciate others, talk about their good things. Appreciation is a great motivator
5. Accept the Failure:
Failure is a part of life. And it is absolutely okay to fail. It is okay to fail at something others are able to do very easily. It is okay to never be able to do something. It is okay to scoreless in an exam and it is okay if you do not have a high paying job. None of these things define you in entirety. It is just a part of you. No failure is worth enough to give up life for. No failure is big enough to slip into depression. No failure is big enough to break relationships, provided, you are able to accept it with grace.
Taking your leave with a very motivating quote from Harper Lee (Author of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’)
“Many receive advice but only wise profit from it”

TAKE IT, IT’S FREE

Yes, it’s free and doesn’t have a price tag either. It comes without asking and flows in when you don’t even want! Sometimes, it really helps in distress, but sometimes it becomes a pain to even listen to it. Pronto! You still racking your brains guessing about it!

I am talking about ‘Advice’ and in this article, I am going to give you the same from my bag of experiences.

1. Don’t neglect your health. I agree that for every teensy-weensy problem, rushing up to your physician is a complete no-no. But, if the problem persists for more than a couple of days, please don’t risk. I once did the same by neglecting my mild backache and had to spend more than one year to get it back to normal. The next time I had lingering pain in my head, I didn’t wait for more than a week and consulted the physician, who got my MRI done as the pain wasn’t going with the medication given. Thankfully the headache was only because of the accumulated mucus in my sinuses. 

2. Don’t let anyone’s negative thoughts weigh you down. I know its difficult, especially if people with negativity are present in your environment, polluting your mind. They may be your colleagues, so-called-friends or relatives. When it’s impossible to change your surroundings, wear a mask. Yes, neglect those who don’t make you happy.

3. Do the things you like. Try to do the things that you wish to do, that make you happy. Don’t wait for the right moment. Of course, if finances are involved, you need to post your plans, but otherwise, don’t wait for tomorrow, because tomorrow is ambiguous, and life is too short. That doesn’t imply that you don’t save for tomorrow!

4. It’s ok to be selfish sometimes. This advice is especially for the moms. We get so much involved with our kids, doing round the clock job that we don’t get time for ourselves. Whenever we succeed in doing so, we feel guilty about being selfish and thinking about ourselves. Trust me it’s completely normal to feel that way and there’s nothing to feel remorseful about it. Taking time for yourself = being happy = happy mom = happy home!

5 POINT ADVICE

While the word ‘advice’ in itself, when given for free…is not appreciated from friends and family, the same advice coming from a professional, seems more authentic.

From Medical professionals, Counselors to Life Coaches – everyone has advice to offer. What makes me then – as a blogger not to do the same?

So here goes – I am going to try and keep this very simple.

  1. In the hustle bustle of life that we live in – traffic, people chatter, fire crackers, hawkers are some of the sounds we hear on a daily basis. But amidst all of that, if you are able to hear the music of another person’s heart, take the risk, enjoy the dance and spread the happiness around. Trust me, the music is like of no other.
  2. While ‘Verbal Communication’ may be the best way to get the message across to people – However, always REMEMBER the words you stitch together are powerful and saying what you mean is as much crucial for self-confidence and the way you portray it to the world, else words are just letters put together without meaning.
  3. The ‘Emotional Injection’. Infuse that in every sentence you speak. Speaking with emotion conveys much more than what an otherwise normal conversation would contain. Invest in people. Be BOLD, AUTHENTIC and VULNERABLE, most of all be yourself.

    “We’re all human and emotion unites us”

  4. The ‘2 Ear 1 Mouth’ Rule. Listen More, Speak Less. Life has become more of a “You have a problem, I have a solution” situation. Sure you do.. but maybe that’s not what I need right now. I just need someone to listen to me? Getting into someone else’s business is delicate, but if they themselves want to share, we can surely LISTEN for a change. Can’t we? Some people just need to talk. At best, we can listen with a SMILE.
  5. Give 89%. The 11% is for your understanding that sometimes it is perfectly OKAY to be a bit selfish, to place your needs first, or stand firm on something. Be it in your relationships, at your work place or trying something new.

Giving advice is a privilege and it should never be taken for granted, and the above 5 points is my small contribution to the ever-growing list.

Let us also not forget that the sole purpose of giving advice is to help someone.

Is it just me who thinks that Counselors are on the rise in India? Or is it just that the number of problems have escalated? If the problems aren’t too BIG, I’m sure you’ll find your answers/solutions in reading Candles Online. We’re never short of it. 

ONE FOR ALL

Not all of us are givers, but when it comes to giving advice, we are all full of wisdom and exhibit a willingness to share our two pence. On a funny note, you get the maximum numbers of advice when you are unwell, from your mother to your neighbour, everyone will give you advice, even your Rickshawala. But above all these bits of advice is one more advice that says, “Listen to all, but trust only a few.”

So here are my five advice, follow only if your heart allows.

One for Health.

“Drink lots of water.” Water is the elixir of life. It lubricates joints, helps form saliva and mucus, delivers oxygen throughout the body, boosts skin health, regulates body temperature, streamlines the digestive system, maintains body temperature, prevents kidney damage, and and and…saves you from a bad hangover. The best part I like is that it can be consumed in forms of yummy juices, delicious coconut water and other lovely drinks.

One for wealth.

“Always be a good steward of your wealth.” You may significantly have a secondary income apart from your principal salary but if you don’t manage your wealth well then you will be a pauper one day or other. However slim the possibility might seem, but there is always a chance you might lose your job, your business goes in loss, or your services are terminated. In such times you shouldn’t get into a hand to mouth situation or even worse than that. To make sure always invest in something that gives you a regular income, learn to save money before spending and be a good manager of your wealth. Do not be greedy but save for the time of trouble.  

One for Love

“When in love, just give, give and give.” I know it sounds very filmy and very preachy, but it will solve most of the problems you have concerning love. When love enters our life, it comes with passion, expectations, desires and happiness. But have you ever thought we want more from the one we love and think less about what we are doing for him/her? What they will give you isn’t in your hands, but what you will provide them with is in your control. Give them your time, your companionship, your care, your counsel. Just imagine if everyone follows this simple rule, no one will be left needing and wanting, everyone will give, and in turn, everyone will get.

One for Happiness.

“Don’t share all your secrets.” Most of have someone we trust more than ourselves. We have complete faith in them, and thus we share everything, A to Z with them. But beware friends. Know that you will feel ditched and cheated by that very same person at least once in your lifetime. Today they are your best friend, or sister or lover, but tomorrow they might have moved away from you, estranged from you, fought with you. Even a small misunderstanding can turn friends into enemies, and that one time, you will regret sharing your deepest secret with them. So be on your guard and keep your deepest secrets with yourself and carry them to your grave.

One for Life

“This too shall pass.” In this one life, we go through many bright patches and many dark phases, but the truth is, they are just phases, spots, they will pass. Time never remains the same for anyone. It changes because change is the only thing constant, and we should embrace these two truths as soon as possible. Only then we will be able to evolve with ever-changing times. So whenever you are happy to look in the mirror and say out loud, “This too shall pass,” and whenever you are sad to look in the mirror and say out loud, “This too shall pass.” I promise you, this mantra will keep you rooted when you are floating in the air, and it will keep you uprooted when you will think you can’t stand life anymore. 

So I have done my share of advising. Now the ball is in your court. Go ahead and live healthily, live happily, live wealthy, live content and never regret.

Bonjour

FIVE DUMPLINGS FROM MY BOWL OF COUNSEL

As we peregrinate across life’s meandering pathways, certain facts come alive to us – some that have been passed on by wise people of the yesteryears, some that trusted elders have shared over generations and some that we ourselves discover. While all such pearls of wisdom do not come in a one-size-fits-all garb, there are certain generic overarching ones that are meant to be the guiding lights for everyone’s feet.

There are five such messages that I would like to share with the readers of Candles Online – those principles that I myself strive to practice and profess at all times seeking strength from God.

  1. Love all – Two heavy weighted promising words, advised with ease but need to conquer too many battles of the mind to attain fruition. Love is an attribute instilled in the human heart by the Creator who is Love. Because God is Love and He has created man in His image, there is always the yearning inside every soul to love and be loved. No exceptions to this! Think for a while, when you want your desire for love to be fulfilled by people around you, isn’t it also imperative that you strive to fulfill the same desire in others? However, we tend to cage love within self-drawn boundaries. There are times when this seems best. Think of someone by whom you have been hurt. Doesn’t it seem impossible to even think of loving that person ever again? But, this is what God expects of us. “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” It is no big deal to love those who love you and care for you. (Well, actually even this is falling short in the world today!) But, to love those who hate you, seems to be an other-worldly attribute that is too hard to think of. This is where human strength and understanding need to tap on God’s strength to show the same grace to others that He shows unto us day by day in spite of our iniquities.
  2. Increase your latitude of acceptance – Each of us has a different set of values, thoughts, attributes, beliefs, and lifestyles. What is commonly observed is that we find difficulty in accepting anything that doesn’t match ours. With rising intolerance in the world around us, differences are projected as reasons for exclusion. Affinity is often defined by similarities. However, it is prudent to note that God has created each person differently, blessed each one with certain strengths and weaknesses and put everyone together. God is not foolish in His design. He accepts us as we are and loves all! He causes the rain and the sunshine on all without discrimination. If the Creator doesn’t show the disparity in His love and acceptance, who then has taught us to differentiate and segregate? Do spare a thought about it in quietness. The only areas of non-acceptance and non-compromise ought to be sinful ways – because sin is against the nature of God. Let us accept people with differences and learn to love them. Love permeates barriers of all sorts!
  3. Strive to know the truth – Children are taught values and mannerisms by parents. And, they carry them forward. That is how customs and traditions are born and sustained generation after generation. This is what makes each family, each culture, each race unique and different from others. While imbibing what is passed down to us, it is important to know things for ourselves as well. In a day and age of rampant consumerism, commercialization, and digitization, many mindless practices are in vogue. To top it all, every action is rationalised. To give an example, last week I came across ‘July 29 – National Lipstick Day’. Well, nothing against wearing lipstick; I too wear them. But, something called National Lipstick Day seemed to be a bit too much (my personal view). As I researched into it, I didn’t find much reason for the day’s observance. We are part of such and many other beliefs and practices. It is essential to know the truth behind all things before following, observing and aping anything that is passed down to us or is being practiced around us.
  4. Prepare for failure – With loads of motivational videos, self-help books, and success mantras, everyone is eager to conquer peaks. While there is absolutely no problem with this, it is also prudent to realise that failure is an inevitable part of life. We all fail in various areas of our lives. One may be a successful entrepreneur but fail in managing relationships. Another may be a doting wife and mother, but fail in finding employment. Failure in one or more life areas doesn’t make one complete failure. Once we understand and prepare ourselves for this, no failure can bug us. No matter how many times we fall, we will rise up again. But, we need to be prepared for failure so that we can cope with it when required. This is where many of us fall short leading to undesirable consequences. Think of the many people who have grown bitter because of the refusal of a love proposal or the many youngsters committing suicides by the years because of examination failures or unemployment. While we cannot evade failure, loss, rejection – these are never the endpoints of life.  The preparation to accept failure has to start as early as in childhood when a child is refused chocolate or a toy or permission to go out and play on occasions as and when parents feel the checks and balances necessary. This is when children learn to accept ‘no’ while understanding that nothing else changes – their parents’ love remains intact.
  5. Guard your tongue – Though the tongue is small boneless part of our body, it has the power to build lives and to tear apart others. Words have immense power. So, the wagging tongue needs to be controlled. Many an unwanted word has caused widespread damage in all ages. Avoid gossip, slander, backbiting, lying, false accusations, abuse, dangerous plotting and blasphemy. Let each word that comes out of our mouths enabled by the tongue be words of edification, encouragement and prudent admonition.

Each of these points is one that I have learned at some point of time in my life. These are not mere lofty idealistic advices. No matter to which part of the world you belong to, I’m sure that with a little thought you will agree to each of these.

Stay tuned for thirty more words of advice from the Candles Online writers!

THE TRANSIENCE OF EPHEMERAL GLORIES

Last week, the wooden doors of the wall-built cupboard in my rented apartment had to be torn apart as they were eaten up from the inside by a host of termites. The idea was to get a termite treatment done. But on examination, the pest control treatment team found out that the wood was badly damaged and should not be let to remain in place. As they were tearing apart the doors (the house being more than 25 years old), I was thinking about the forefathers of fathers of my landlord who would have got the house constructed with lofty dreams before them. What satisfaction would it have given them to see the house in its completed form, the happiness they would have had in proudly showing the house to relatives and friends, and the house-warming celebration they would have had! And yet, now a part of it had to be pulled apart! A thing that seemed to be an accomplishment of sorts a few decades back, was gradually losing the sheen.

This made me think about the various things in life that we consider to be vital, little realising that they are soon to pass away. Not to mean in the least that we need not dwell on the essentials of life – but to make ourselves think deeper rather than reveling in the seeming permanence of life itself.

Life

The fullness of life on earth itself is deceptive. Life on earth is, but, for a few years. Record holders of the present age have set the finishing line to the 100s – 143 years is the maximum that I have heard of. Be it for a century or half a century or even lesser, earthly life sure comes to an end. Yet, how often we dream and plan for our lives as if it is forever on this earth! Wouldn’t it be more purposeful to invest in the lives around us for the little joys of a day that they may experience? “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”

The assets, accolades and accomplishments of life don’t make life full. It is wise to accept that we are sojourners and pilgrims on this earth. It is worthwhile to build castles in the hearts of people rather than erect mansions or run the mad race for achievements for  the sake of self-glory. Live each day as if it is your last – goes the wise word. Not in the fear of tomorrow. Not with the mind of a pessimist who doesn’t want to see another day. Live each day to the fullest so that if you close your eyes tomorrow you will have nothing to lose, but much to gain in eternity.

The Bard of Aven with his wisdom writes thus, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances.”

Wealth

In my Career Counselling sessions with adolescents, the one common desire that is expressed by them is, “I want to become rich.” Though I try to explain that amassing wealth is not the only hallmark of success, I believe that experience would help drive home the point better than a Counsellor. But why think of adolescents alone! Don’t adults cringe, crave and aspire for more wealth? How often we see and experience conflicts and killings over worldly assets – be it for property or money! The fight for rights destroys families and relationships and gives rise to endless lawsuits. Knowing the fleeting nature of life itself, wouldn’t it be more worthwhile to sacrifice our assets to maintain the sweetness of relationships, instead? A ravaging flood, the fury of a hurricane, a devastating earthquake, a raging fire – and the lofty mansions of today turn into the ruins of tomorrow!

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Before he died, Alexander the Great instructed his soldiers to make two holes in his coffin on either sides so that his hands would be exposed. In doing so, he wanted to show to the world that even the great conqueror left the world empty-handed.

Life, or rather the seeming permanence of life and wealth are two of the major deceptions that cause us to lose focus. It is not wrong to enjoy life, nor is it a sin to be wealthy. But, to live our lives as if life itself is all and to blindly aspire to be wealthy – are surely deceptions that we can be aware of.

 

HOW TO RESIST TEMPTATIONS?

I asked a question to my near and dear ones: “How do you tackle the temptations when you come across them?” It is a broad question and can not be elaborated in short. What I meant was – “What is the first shield of protection you hold to resist the temptation you face?”  In fact I went back to the same persons and asked this specific question and their replies were same.  The replies were:

“I ask myself if I really can do without it.  I take time.”

“I increase my will… If I have to lose weight, then I determine not to eat Puchka…(Crispy Indian Snack)” 😉

“Well… I give in to some and resist some…. I don’t resist all temptations… and the ones I do, I use logic to resist…”

“Depends on my will power at that point of time and my state of mind… Sometimes I just give in and when I do – I try not to feel guilty… My shield is – distraction.”

“I ask my loved ones to stop me from getting tempted. They remind me why at the first place I tried to stay away from that temptation itself.”

“I will do just a prayer to God to help me through the situation…”

“Think of the consequences.”

“I first think what will happen to my identity.”

“Prayer – that’s the key for me. Taking it to God.”

“I will think if its really necessary for me…”

“I will rely on my sense of right and wrong…. The first thing I will remind myself that it’s not the right thing to do… And I have this very bad habit of trying to be in everyone’s good books… So I will be conscious of how will I look to others if I do this…”

The replies were commendably honest and fabulous. I appreciate all to have let their hearts open before me.

Now, let’s get into a study of the word ‘Temptation‘.

The web or Google dictionary defines it as: “the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” So a temptation is always something WRONG that we fall into.

Vocabulary.com explains it as: “Temptation is something you want to have or to do, even though you know you shouldn’t.” So a temptation is wrong and we KNOW it while falling prey to it.

Wikipedia describes it as: “Temptation is a desire to engage in short-term urges for enjoyment, that threatens long-term goals. It is the inclination to sin.” So a temptation can CAPTIVATE it’s prey.

There’s one Christiananswers.net which defines it as: “Temptation is common to all.” So a temptation is UNAVOIDABLE in life.

WOW!

We got to know some facts about the word Temptation  which I have mentioned above in CAPITAL case.

Now the question arises, “how to resist the temptations?”

  1. Fleeing Away from it: I loved a reply which goes like this, “I take time”. It is always safe when we take ourselves away from the temptations… from the place… from the object of temptations etc. Another reply was, “Distraction”. That is also a similar kind of strategy that keeps us away from the direct effects of temptation. The Bible instructs us: “flee from the youthful lusts”, “flee for lives…” etc. So sometimes FLEEING AWAY from the area of temptation helps us to resist it because it is not very easy to resist it.
  2. Practice on a Daily Basis: Another reply was, “I increase my will or have a strong will power…”. Having a strong determination or will power really helps us to resist the temptations, but it is not at all easy as temptations are plenty and unavoidable in life. So how to increase our will power? It’s a daily affair… we need to consider many such things in our life that are weakening our will power. Recognizing them and getting rid of them are important in our practice of being determined. So how to do that? Avoid pornographic contents, jokes, talks, erotica etc., if you are being tempted to sexual stuffs. Instead make a habit of reading good contents, studying scriptures, staying in safe places, watching good movies etc. Another thing we need to consider is that with whom do we associate on a daily basis…? Who are our friends…? Peer pressure and friend circle are the biggest reasons behind our being led into different kinds of temptations. They totter our will power… so it is better to change our friend circles if they are not helping us to resist the temptations. The Bible instructs, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” That helps a great deal for sure in strengthening our mind and will power.
  3. Be Accountable to Someone close: Sometime ago I asked one of my sisters to be a person whom I will report everything that I do… It is not that she will instruct me or keep a check on me but that helps. It reminded me that if I have to tell her the truth about myself then I need to do what is right… It is not easy to do that but why not give it a try. One of the replies above was, “I ask my loved ones to stop me from getting tempted. They remind me why at the first place I tried to stay away from that temptation itself”.
  4. Relying on a Greater Strength: Two of the above replies were about “Praying to God” which is really very essential. The carnal desires are very natural and defeating them with carnal strength is daunting and sometimes impossible. So divine intervention always makes things easier for us. Prayer is the way we stay connected to our Creator God. Another reply was about relying on our conscience, on our sense of right and wrong… Staying connected to the divinity sharpens our conscience. We become sensitive to the wrong and right things in life… It becomes easier for us to differentiate between a right thing and a wrong thing. I remember one more scripture portion where it says, “…when you are tempted, God will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it”. Wow! That’s amazing! Our loving God is always ready to help us and show us a way out whenever we call on to Him.

Concluding my article I would like to say that, temptation is like an apple kept in front of you after you are starving for hours without eating anything. Before you think about your identity, about the consequences, about using our logic to resist you fall flat in the trap of temptations… It is not so easy to resist the temptations of life but take heart it is not impossible either. Somebody very close to my heart says,

There have been times in which I have yielded to temptations too, even after knowing God’s standards fully well. Then the only way out is to confess and seek HIS forgiveness. As a reflection, I have always come to the conclusion that whenever I have given in to temptation, I have placed someone/something over and above God.

Let’s gather ourselves today, tighten our belt on the waist and stand firm to RESIST the temptation by considering all above.

Stay Blessed!!!

“Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?

Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?”