WHO KNOWS ME THE BEST?

Questions are imperative in human life. It is the questions of the human mind that instigates him towards the meaning and the purpose of life and defines the why behind its twists and turns. Questions are either raised by an individual or in reference to an individual. Behind every question, there is a Questioner! Ravi Zacharias in his recent book “THE LOGIC OF GOD” says, “The convergence of intellectual and existential struggles drives a person to a brutal honesty in the questions he or she has.”

One among the biggest questions of human life – “WHO KNOWS ME THE BEST?” Like every other question of human life, this question is always in reference to a human struggle. Because we question only when life’s millstone burdens us. As a matter of fact, since my childhood, I have been frequently juggled and altered by this question – WHO KNOWS ME THE BEST? 

When I was a kid, I complained – “No one understands my choices.”

When I was a teen boy, I was hurt – “Why should I be like him? I am who I am!”

When I was in the twenties, I argued – “Why should I do that? It’s my life-my choice.”

When I turned thirty, I find myself – “Being misunderstood and misinterpreted.”

Towards the end half of 2018, there were some family issues and when I had to raise my voice to sort-out the misunderstanding between my family members, I was misunderstood being partial. In the meanwhile, I find one of my best friends going wrong in quite a handful of matters, as I attempt to correct my friend, again I was misunderstood being unfriendly, arrogant and bossy. Being too sensitive to relationships, being misunderstood and alone in four walls created havoc on my mind. The only question that distorted the peace of my mind is – “WHO KNOWS ME THE BEST?”. Why no one takes time to understand me or questions me – why do you think so? All that everyone thinks – BLAME HIM! 

Often in professional life, we are asked to keep the personal worries outside the office door but that’s someway too difficult. One individual life with two parts – the Personal and the Professional has enough possibility to tilt.

Each individual’s existence is caused and causes “Relationships”. Relationships is not the presence of one individual rather it exists between two individuals completely different from one another decide to come together and form a relationship irrespective of their differences. The presence of differences in the possibility of confusion and misunderstanding. But these misunderstanding is NOT MEANT to the breaking of relationship rather IT IS TO educate and enhance the relationship. 

BEING MISUNDERSTOOD and QUESTIONED BY SELF – 

“WHO KNOWS ME THE BEST?”, IS APPARENT! 

DO I KNOW MYSELF? – How about that! 

Flipping the pages of history, wise King Solomon was garlanded with WISDOM, POWER, WEALTH & GLORY. Materially speaking there is nothing that he lacks in his life. But at the end of his life’s journey, he concludes: “I put my hands into all that my mind found good. I acquired everything I desired. I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is chasing after the wind. Everything is meaningless”. The question remains – WHO KNOWS ME THE BEST?

In my imaginative visit to the potter’s house, I saw the potter’s house is filled with varieties of clay pots. 

I: Who designed all these clay pots? 

Potter: “I”!

I: Where did you got the pictures to design these pots?

Potter: Their pictures were in my mind and I designed them accordingly.

I: Why each of them is entirely of different shapes and size. 

Potter: Because each of them is made for a different purpose.

I: Can this small flower vase be used to store water?

Potter: No, it cannot be. It is meant to give home to the flower plant.

I: Can your vessel explain why it is made?

Potter: Nope. Does it know how long it will exist? Where it will be tomorrow?

Potter: But I know where it will be tomorrow and How it will be used and What will be its worth.

The Bible says, You are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.”  – this is the message of the Lord.

WHO KNOWS ME THE BEST? – The Potter has the answer.

How about asking HIM? 

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THE HARDEST THING I EVER DID WAS TO BE JUST ME

The hardest thing I ever did was to be just me all the time.

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Life is set with rules and regulations for everyone. It is just that all these rules do not let you be what you are always. Every rule portrays you to be someone else according to someone else’s rules.

That is life – that is what everyone replies to who cribs about this.

Even when others lay the rules, it is not easy to be not who you are at times. I have encountered myself, quite a number of times in my life till now. Every time I come face to face with my own self, I just have to bid goodbye to it and take up the burden of being an epitome of a rule book.

If I have to pick the hardest moments I ever had to be just myself, then there are plenty of them. As most of the times, my life is not what I always wanted it to be.

When I wanted to study and conquer my dreams, my family wanted me to start a family and be bounded by the marital laws. It was hard. Even after conflicting thoughts with myself, I had to sacrifice and be bound to their rules. Yet again I failed to be just me.

When I struggled in my career, I again lost the ambitious me to the laws of family. Wherein I set my priorities higher for my family than my job. Just to blame me in the end for the magnificent end of it.

When I began to write, it was a natural fight with the society rules and just my rules. I write a lot more about the expression of love either emotionally or romantically, they entice me, but again it was ‘just me’ writing without abiding by the rules of a  ‘good woman’. Even when I am character assassinated as many things unimaginable to me, I still continued to do what I always wanted to do. It is hard to make a decision in favor of one’s own consciousness at times, but I decided to pen down only my true emotions which I wanted to write and not anything that never touched my heart.

Most of the time, it is hard to be what you want to be, but it is better to be what you are. Lying to oneself leads you to a downfall, be true to yourself and you will see you are happy.

Self-love is never harmful, it is the best medicine to your soul. Mostly, it is not selfishness or self-indulgence but it is more of taking care of one’s self rather than just giving away everything.

LAST TIME I CRIED…

4 months ago:

The anesthesia had already started to work, when the doctor asked me, “Soumya, what do you want?” With a smile on my face, I replied, “Anything doctor.” My doctor asked me again, “Still, any preferences?”

Drifting into the world of my dreams for some seconds, I thought about the most beautiful relationship according to me. The relationship that the siblings share. I had always dreamt of a brother as a sibling. And I also had a wish that, if ever I am able to give my daughter a sibling, then it should be a boy so that she can feel and enjoy it as all my cousins did. I have always felt that the relation between a brother and a sister is very pure, strong and charismatic. I have seen and witnessed the love they share.

I answered, “Doctor, as you know, that I already have a daughter. It would be great if she has a brother to play with.

The procedures had already begun. I drifted back to those painful 8 months. Those initial pains, series of blackouts due to hypoglycemia, premature tendencies, increased number of hospital visits, chances of miscarriage during the 6th month, admitted and being treated for the same. The many painful steroid injections and IV drips, giving way to many painful days and some very painful nights. The labor pains and the fear that we (mother and child) might not survive if things go otherwise. Emergency admission and surgery. I and my husband were both tensed for many such reasons. During my previous hospitalization, we had a mother who lost her 33 weeks baby to gestational diabetes. I also had gestational diabetes and endocrinologist had also warned us about stillbirths. My husband (who wasn’t in a good shape either) was waiting outside the OT for some news, hoping it to be good.

It took them 12 minutes to cut through, then they pushed my baby out. I was fervently praying that my baby should cry out loud when it comes out. Lo and behold, my baby cried. My doctor told me, it’s a boy. But I was so much happy that my baby cried that I couldn’t hear what she said. I asked again, “Doctor, is it a boy or a girl.” My anesthetist said, “you had made a deal from above, you couldn’t have got anything else, it’s a boy. Congratulations.” After giving him a wash, they brought him near my face. I could just see his small little nose, his beautiful eyes, and red lips. I was overwhelmed.

As soon as I was out of OT, my husband came to see me. I looked at him and cried. He reciprocated. It was a cry of happiness and victory. God had lead us through the valley of troubles and dangers into a beautiful life. Our family was now complete. Our second bundle of joy was here.

All Rights Reserved with Mrs. Soumya Rout & her beautiful family

Struggling through the entire pregnancy, being ill for almost 90% of times, I now have a chance to witness the bond I have had longed for my entire life. I can live the love and bond through my kids. To be a mother is a very intense feeling and to get your heart’s desire is another one. I had a combination of both at that time and it was a magical and emotional phenomenon. My son is now almost 4 months old and has already started looking at and following his “didi (sister)”. This is just the beginning of a happily ever after.

SOMETIMES I WISH…

Sometimes I wish, I owned a Horse,…

Human–horse relationship has a long and varied history. While meat may have been the first motivation in the very early stages for domestication, horses became progressively important “tools” for transportation and, like other domestic animals. With their powerful stature and ability to run with the wind, horses have intrigued humans for centuries. Strong, yet sensitive, with their attentive ears and large, expressive eyes, horses are wary of predators. They spook in response to a noise or sudden movement. And for decades now, horses have been included in equine-facilitated psychotherapy. 

I wish I too owned a Horse. Sleek beauties, muscles that roll underneath the supple chestnut-colored coat that hangs majestically on the frame. A flowing mane that unfurls and whips as the wind calls it, feet that pound the ground, a natural canter, gait. The quivering of the haunches as they rocked forward, a toss of the head and the big and genuine eyes rolling to and fro. 

I wish to own a chestnut-colored Horse. “A pony is a childhood dream. A horse is an adulthood treasure”- Rebecca Carroll. Horses were widely used during the medieval period, especially for transport. They played a major role in wars. Horses even found a special place in epic novels. Not only noblemen but noblewomen also rode a horse. I too wish to ride one. For me, going for a hack on a horse is a heady combination of adventure, exhilaration and deep relaxation. The mind wanders as you explore country lanes, woods, bridle paths, and cinder tracks. Moreover, one can go at one’s own pace – a sedate trot or a full out gallop, should you fancy it. For me, it is an overwhelming and mesmerizing feeling.

Sitting on the saddle, only a few meters off the ground but crucially this affords the rider a slightly different perspective on the world. One can Spot things, that he/she wouldn’t normally spot and, from the perch on a horse’s back. The rider is totally immersed in the lap of nature. I want to live such a moment, with my horse and nature, without any other distractions. I wish to imagine myself as a Queen, who has gathered help from neighboring allies and is rushing to save her people from the hands of enemies or a Queen who is simply taking a majestic stroll across her empire, where people bow down before her, or shout out praises, hailing her crown! Horses lend us the wings we lack” – Pam Brown

Horse ownership can be very exciting and rewarding. The primary benefits from horse ownership are recreation and relaxation, but many people do not often realize the health benefits that can be gained from owning a horse. Keeping that in mind that raising and maintaining a horse can be expensive, requires a lot of attention, and requires plenty of lands for the horse to run.

“If wishes were horses then beggars would ride” – English Proverb

COMMIT TO COMMIT

To commit or to refrain,
The very thought often causes anxiety and pain
The constant dilemma,
Makes decision-making a huge enigma

Isn’t it better to be free sans commitment,
To have no strings attached in any involvement?
Seems wiser than to face disappointments
And nurse one’s wounds amidst songs of lament

To commit is to give your word
So stand by it whether come storms or sword
To commit is to take responsibility
Shirk not in the pretext of some inability

Commitment does pose challenges,
As it cuts a part of ‘self’ – the ‘me’ that rules,
But it doesn’t aim to devalue you
It aims to add value, instead

Think before you commit
Don’t let any pressure shape your commitment
But when you do commit
Live by it till your last breath permits.

WHY DO WE WITHDRAW FROM OUR COMMITMENTS?

The concept of relationship exists prior to our individual existence! Before our existence, we have a relationship with the Creator God, since the time our mom conceived us our relationship with our family began and even after our death our relationship exists. But prior to the relationship, commitment comes. In fact, it is the COMMITMENT that initiates a relationship.

As growing kids in our family, we all love to be part of the wedding service at Church. It is truly a blissful moment to see how two individuals come together and a new relationship is formed. In such a blissful moment, the most enjoyable moment for we kids was – rhyming the marriage vow along with the Bride and Groom. In front of the whole congregation, the Bride and the Groom will stand along with the Pastor. The Pastor will ask both of them a set of questions and as both of them answer those questions, they will exchange their marriage rings and they will make this vow – “I take you as my Wife/Husband on my own choice. I pledge before God and people, whether it is the good or bad moment, whether in health or sickness, whether, in prosperity or hardship, I WILL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU. From now, let my heart be yours’ and your heart is mine and both of our hearts be the heart of God.” 

Finally, they give their signatures on the court marriage certificate and they were declared as Mr & Mrs __________.

Something very similar happens, as defense personnel finishes his years of military training. In an elite gathering, he swears the pledge and joins the defense force. After so many catfights and cutthroat election, our political leaders publicly swear the pledge and take their positions to govern our nation.    

Rick Warren says, 

“Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make”. 

Switching to another picture, we see every year only in Mumbai and Delhi 40% of marriages are heading towards divorce (the rest of big Indian cities are yet to count). India is in the 78th position in the corrupt nations list out of 175 countries, according to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in India averaged 75.67% in 2018.

Kenneth Blanchard says,

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”

How our commitment ends is read and watched and followed by others. 

Commitments might have been made one day at a time but BEING COMMITTED is a life-time deal! Life is a mixed bag of easy and difficult times. Difficult time demands an awful lot of sacrifices on its way. Though sacrifice seems painful and too costly at times, it is the passion of our heart for a definite purpose that makes us dare to sacrifice. A Committed man is also a man of integrity. His thoughts and ways are always God-fearing and Sacred

Often, we lack commitment in our relationships and profession because we hesitate to sacrifice our comforts and pleasures. Our commitments are mostly made when we are emotionally driven rather than driven by the maturity of mind and wisdom. Well, one of the modern-day quotes very clearly reflects the attitude of our mind – “If you want me to be loyal, then hire a dog not me”.

So far in my life, I have walked closely with two elderly men. Both of them are in their 70s’. Both of the God-fearing gentlemen have always given me one counsel:

“Relationships are initiated with commitment;

Commitment demands Sacrifice;

Respect your Sacrifices, they are Sacred and Integral!”

And as I look upon the picture of the death of Jesus on the Cross, I see the confluence of Relationship initiated with Commitment – Commitment is fulfilled with Sacrifice – the Sacrifice is Sacred & Integral to the human race. Indeed, it is His relationship with us that kept Him committed, though we were not! It is His commitment for mankind that demanded Him His sacrifice, which we human won’t be able to do! Moreover, Jesus kept his commitment with the sacredness of His heart, WHICH WE OUGHT TO IMITATE.

IS THERE SOMETHING CALLED OVER-COMMITMENT?

Is there something called Over Commitment?

The word commitment is used in many contexts. The most common context is commitment (or lack of it) in a relationship. This aspect has been discussed at length in the previous articles so I won’t venture there at all.

My take is a little different.

What is a commitment?

I asked Google and this is the first meaning Google threw up:

Commitment – the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

For me, commitment is a promise or obligation that you give to someone or some cause that you will support them. You may be committing your time or money or emotions or freedom or maybe something else.

Lack of commitment may be one problem people face. But for me, it’s the other end of the spectrum where I get stuck with Over Commitment

Imagine a child roaming freely in a huge toy shop. He has been told that he can pick up and play with any toy. He is so excited he picks up one toy and then sees another interesting toy, leaves the first one and goes to the second and then third and so on. He is not able to play properly with any of it. On most of the days, that’s me.

I am so prone to over-committing. A friend will call me for some help I will agree. Then the society will have some function and request me to volunteer and I will agree. My family will make some plans and I won’t be able to say no. Children need help with homework or need to picked up or dropped somewhere, of course, I have to do. Then there is the regular work of the office, kitchen, etc. Eventually, what happens, I run around a lot trying to meet all my commitments and end up not giving my 💯% to any of my commitments. Later on, I carry regret that I could have done a better job if I had more time. When I promise it’s all with genuine feelings of commitment, I don’t mean to do the job half-heartedly. But sometimes (not always) it happens.

I am putting in a conscious effort to improve. And now trying to follow the mantra that – commit only as much as you can deliver. A lot of people around you need you. Prioritize, Distribute and then Commit. And learn to say ‘NO, where you know that you won’t be able to give your 💯%.

Remember! Over-commitment brings about somewhat similar results as lack of commitment.