How do we preserve the Self and all the hard work done on it.

Working on your self is a never ending process, There is never a moment when you can say hey that’s enough and I no longer need to work on myself any further, even maintaining a status quo needs work otherwise all that hard work will be gone.
Accepting your self with all your realities is hardest thing.
I am saying here Realities because the  faults or error that you see on your physical self are so relative to your perception, your thoughts at that moment , experiences in life.
But once you have passed that self acceptance test, comes another test.
When you are in self care mode, happy in being yourself, sitting relaxed with your guards down , someone might just say you something that you feel those shards of words digging deep into the skin..hurting so bad. All that self work feels lost, gone in those moments, doubts creeping in from the wounds.
I kept reflecting for long what happens in those moments and this is what I came up with as an answer.

Preserving the Self

What happened in those moments is we were not ready to see us / ourselves from their eyes. The way they saw us , their reactions, how they spoke of us was not what we have prepared ourselves for , all this while.
We were preparing only to face our own critical eye.

So how do we prepare ourselves for these situations.

Preserving the hard work on Self.

When the weather inside us is cool , calm and we are at peace within our selves.
Suddenly a remark, an unpleasant reaction from someone who caught us offguard jolts us completely !
All the self acceptance work done so far seems gone down the drain in that moment.
So when are your guards down, When are you most vulnerable?
You are most vulnerable and with your guards down among the people you trust and love, in familial and friendly settings.
Anything which comes from these people affect us directly,
One of my friend commented : We cant control everything and we cant prepare for everything.
She is ūüíĮ percent right , we can’t control everything but what we can control and definitely prepare , is our reaction to it when it happens again, we can choose to not get affected.
We can choose to understand what someone is saying and is hurtful to us, might be the projection of their fears, their insecurities,their realities and experiences.
We have made peace with ourselves and we will not let it affect us.
But if it’s repeatedly done , a boundary needs to be setup and it needs to be respected.
Nobody should be allowed to transgress it.
We need to inform the repeated defaulters that this topic shouldn’t be further brought up again or we will not like to discuss it period.

Coping with life one day at a time

Writing Bug

The price of wisdom often comes at loss of our naivety ,our innocence, the trust in life and people. I do miss my old self sometimes, but I am more happier and at peace with my current self.
I was so upset at myself for long, for being so naive , so innocent that I actually called myself stupid when I took people at their face value : the face , the emotions , and the concerns they showed me and not the ones they really had.
I still do it though and I must admit I am still learning to cope up with the hurt I do get time to time, but that’s the part of me , of who I am, I trust people easily. Some of them put their trust back , others didn’t, some even use it.
I have learnt that what others do is definitely not my problem , I am only responsible to manage myself to safeguard my heart ,to preserve my sanity. I have stopped reading between the lines. I have stopped analyzing what others actually meant when they threw a taunt, a frown at me or purposefully ignore me to make me feel unimportant.
All this affected me in past, gave me anxiety and nervousness but not anymore.
I still trust people, I still go out of my way to help people, I still am genuinely happy for others, I will forever keep motivating people in spite of any of their behavior that affected me in past or present.
I have entrusted all my actions to Almighty that whatever good I do is for his sake only and not for any human being. I still get hurt but intensity is much less now.
How do you deal with it , would love to know your coping mechanism ?

How many of us practice Digital Kindness?

How many of us are practicing digital kindness?
When most of us are online so many hours per day, scrolling through posts of people we know or donot know in our real world.
We are so hesitant¬† to¬† complement people¬† and so very generous in criticizing, disagreeing, trivializing somebody’s concerns , low feelings or issues ! It becomes so easy to be rude, impolite to the stranger when you dont see real faces behind, trailing emotions behind .
Sometimes what we write is also not translating to what we are thinking and doesn’t get perceived in right light by the one who is reading ! I have seen people being so kind and generous in real life but not online,¬† Why is it so? Dont we deserve kindness in these digital spaces we all are occupying?
Is it true that this virtual world is making us less tolerant of each other, we tend to mute the posts or account we dont like where else in real world we have to adjust and listen to people we dont like or want to hearÔĎā.
Are we growing more impatient ?
Our attention span is getting shorter and shorter to few microseconds until the next post and next scroll.
What are you doing to practice more digital kindness , to be more tolerant and to keep up your attention span in real world?

Digital Kindness

The Blue Scarf

On a sunny autumn afternoon a  woman sauntered a shop to check scarves and under scarf caps( used by women who wears Hijab). She was checking few things for a while and then got stuck by the striking navy blue pashmina shawl , something similar she had been looking for a while . The scarf was put on display at the door.

She inquired from the shop keeper¬† a tall guy with a dark beard, skull cap on his head and a big prayer mark on his forehead. ‘Where can I find that blue scarf¬† inside the shop ?’¬† he pointed her to a row of scarves without looking at her.

The woman went to that shelf, there were indeed pashmina shawls, she checked them one by one , much to her disappointment the blue shawl wasn’t in there. She picked up other two colors that she liked thinking the blue shawl might be over. She went over to the counter to pay ,there was another woman before her so she waited for her turn.

The shopkeeper to the woman : ‘Why are you¬† not buying the blue shawl ?’

W: ‘ I wanted to buy it but¬† I think it’s over, couldn’t find in that section .’

The shopkeeper turning red, raising his voice : ‘ If you could have used your eyes, you would have find it, Allah gave¬† brain to women as well but they dont want to use it. Come I will show where is the shawl, Learn to use your eyes and brain. What do you mean you cant find it, it is there ! See. ‘

The woman heard it disbelievingly. No it can’t be true what he said, she must be day dreaming , he cant treat a customer like that, For a lot of people the response could be a fight , but hers was freeze. She couldn’t utter anything from shock. Meanwhile her eyes met the helper standing next to the shopkeeper , his hand on his mouth , and as soon as his eyes met the woman’s he pleaded her to ignore the guy .

The woman still in shock, paid quickly , thinking there must be a problem with the guy, after all who treats customer like that. The shopkeeper now turning soft, ‘oh are you an Arab ? ‘ The lady shook her head to say no,¬† ‘oh it doesn’t matter ! Here is your change, have a nice day! ‘

The woman didn’t say anything and leaves with a trail of thoughts not willing to leave her mind for a day or so.

To calm herself down, she was constantly explaining herself, he must be a sick guy , there might be a problem with him, while her alter ego was provoking and shaming her for being such a meek and a fool in front of that guy .

‘Why you didn’t throw the stuff on his face and walked off,’

‘Why you didn’t shout at him ! ‘

‘ You know you have just encountered a pathetic misogynist ‘.

The voices in her head, didn’t want to shut . She had indeed been insulted by a misogynist. She really wished and hoped that this¬† guy should learn his lesson one day .¬† Her heart went out to all such women who are living with these men and suffering every day. She has just felt an iota of that hurt and feelings that those women go through every day and sometimes some of them didn’t have a choice to even walk away.

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And you can imagine who that stupid woman was that day!

 

When do we start being a Positive or a negative person ?

11 year old me: Abba , when I am praying or Reading Quran my mind always wanders off but it doesn’t happen when I watch tv or read another book which means I am only reading from my tongue but my heart and mind is not in there. I am so upset at myself.

Abba : (laughs firsts) I am glad you noticed it , please keep trying to focus and it will come inshallah . 

me: I feel bad that my prayers will not be accepted .

Abba: Look there is always a positive way to look at things . First of all you have realized it and you¬† already know what should you do about it. Even though you feel the prayers are not good enough there is still a part of your body ( your tongue) which is still busy in ibaadah of Allah swt, things are not as bad as we think they are. You keep trying to focus and soon you will pray with full focus and attention.That’s how we all learn and practice.

The above conversation is at least 20 years old between a 10 or 11 year old me and my paternal grandfather . It is one of the many wonderful memorable conversations I had with him which have shaped the person I am. It was the first thing that played in my mind yesterday after talking to a friend who refuses to see the positive side of life and not being optimistic for the days when things will be better. She told me I am not as positive person as you are which kept me thinking for long , what could be the reason for this difference in positivism where she clearly is lacking. Is it part of personality? Is it learnt  by self  with a conscious effort ? or is it constantly fed by our surroundings and people around us in our formative years .

I think all three reasons are valid and the most important one is the last one. The people around us, our parents our family , our environment,if they are positive or not. A child picks up the first vibes¬† and outlook to see life from his surroundings. Is my life or any other person’s life different from each other in terms of daily struggles ?¬† We are all in our bubble of life, struggling to survive and to be. We all have our share of problems and griefs, there might be difference in level and gravity of problems but we all have our share so why is it that some people could bounce back after a setback or problem while others cannot ? where is that subtle difference ? that difference might be coming with the¬† positive attitude in life. I think it is very important to create a positive environment around us for¬† ourselves , to preserve our sanity and imbibe the positive thinking in our children.

 

 

Self Love or Selfishness ?

I have often wondered about the difference between Self Love and Selfishness. How much of self love is okay and when does it become selfishness. Mostly the people that I have seen growing up were either in Self denial or Selfish. I have always come around the black and white brushes of Selfless and Selfish classification of people , the term  self love was new to me in early 2000 where people were writing books about it, sharing motivation quotes on it where they were changing the game of society . for example the mothers who were going out to work leaving babies behind were  called Selfish , or working daughter in laws were selfish for not taking care of in laws and house chores. Where as on the other hand , self negligence and self denial were highly appreciated and admired qualities of being an ideal woman of 70s and 90s. Unfortunately what was often seen was a selfless person surrounded by bunch of selfish people sucking his/her blood and occasionally thrown with admiration remarks  and the poor one only thriving on these remarks.

Then comes the new era of people who are indulged in self love but are not selfish . They will take care of themselves and of others too . More of themselves and less of others ūüėȬ† almost negligible. They will force themselves on others because they think it is their right. They need the things that they need irrespective of situation around them. There is problem in their moral compass which fails to tell them where lies the problem. They are always just and right in their opinions , only others have done injustice to them so far. The difference between the previous era and current is the diminished paint of black and white and it is no longer easier to point finger who is selfish now. Everything has been neatly hidden under the carpet of self love without their conscious thinking.

I think the idea behind the post was not so much of rant which it turned out to be¬† but a conclusive and educative¬†one,¬† to be aware of our own behavior and its impact to people around us. Where and how¬† do we set the limit to our self love ? I am not a fan of being in self denial, we should all strive to be happy which is our right but it shouldn’t be at cost of somebody else’s happiness. Our comfort , pleasures should not be come from somebody’s discomfort . Empathy is an attribute that we all need to learn and always keep¬† practicing it because there is never enough. There will always be situations where we will lack empathy and then we have to ask ourselves deliberately¬† practice it. Self love is good , much needed and deserved but we need to keep an eye on our subconscious or conscious evil self that it should never become selfishness.

 

The not so funny side of being funny!

Hello Everyone ! I am hoping you are all doing fine in your lives and blogs ūüôā I was not so active on my blog because I didn’t have much to say. My talkative mind was sober these days with my new found hobby of painting, well not so new, painting for an year now. I am not a born artist, drawing a straight line without a scale/ruler is difficult for me but I am getting better at it, though I am good with colors, love to mix and match , I do much better at canvas , just throw in some random colors, put in my palette knife and try to bring out some abstract art, my every weekend game ūüôā Sounds fun isn’t it ?

Apart from it, I want to thank you all for following my blog and reading my posts for which I am truly grateful to Almighty that out there , are some souls reading  your thoughts , connecting and responding .

The reason for today’s post: There was always one topic I wanted to write about but I never did it , always kept it for later and I think the later has come . Humour .

Humour is good , it adds an extra spark to your personality , lits the surroundings and throws in roars of laughter and keeps life light. We need humour in our lives otherwise life is too boring but have we looked beyond that light hearted humour or evaluated the cost of that half a minute’s laugh, what is the price of it, Is it expensive ,where is it coming from , who is paying the cost ? There is a darker side to it, the evil sinister side, the bad face of our society which ward offs all bad and mean things to people in name of humour and I totally hate it!¬† Pick up any comedy show and you see our comedy is nothing but¬† a true reflection of who we are . I remember watching The Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma which was nothing but making fun of people , saying mean things to them just in the name of humour.The only difference was his characters were fictitious but his jokes were taken from real life situations and later these were¬† reapplied by our young generation in their daily lives to create fun and jibes.

Is it really funny to make fun of somebody’s size and weight , their color or face, their failures or shortcomings ?

I think it is very important to lead a mindful life , to be aware of our actions and words and their impact on us and around us. Humour is good but we need to careful and watch what are we saying in name of fun . ‘ Just kidding‘ or ‘ just joking ‘ could be injurious to you and others as well. With this internet thing people are getting really creative to make memes and being funny , what if the same joke is done on you? Perhaps it could be a no issue with you, you play it game but¬† the other might be too sensitive. Someone might be struggling with weight issues, skin issues or has a height complex , someone trying to overcome his possible shortcomings and you might just rub it in.¬† As a human being it is our duty to live responsibly and take care of not hurting others.

A humble advice out to some cool guys out there : Stop being cool and playing a bully just in name of humour, don’t hide behind it, if you have guts say those things on a person’s face and allow him/her to smash your face.

The thin line between being Proud and taking pride.

Some recent incidents and conversation in near past have left few open questions in my mind. How can we be sure that we are not being overconfident and proud while we assume we are simply taking pride in our things and being confident . The recent conversations with many  successful people have put me in this doubt if they are aware of the impression they are creating around as proud  and arrogant .

Being confident is a good thing , one need it always ! Speaking up your mind is another good thing but speaking trash is not . Being proud and passing judgement based on your experiences is not. At least I don’t expect it from educated elitists. Communication is an art and everyone needs to learn it. Conveying your thoughts with right words in right tone while being polite and sparing few seconds to think over what you are saying is utmost necessary before you put up your arguments . Getting aggressive , making fun of people , not giving others chance to speak and not open to listen to others ! so guys what are you doing in those debates and discussion groups , please get a training in communication and then grace us with your benign presences. My message to ¬†Indian News channels who bring in any x ,y, z to get their Trps high and add some masala in their discussion panel.

Coming back to discussing the terms being Proud and taking Pride . When can we say someone is proud and arrogant than just being a dignified and satisfied being. We often use terms as proud parents , proud citizens etc when we are happy and satisfied with ours or near ones’ achievements or things we/they have. That’s a right thing to do but when we put others down, or put ourselves in higher position than rest or be self important to limits of superiority about self , there lies the problem.

Psychologists have even recommended to refrain from using the word Proud or Pride because it might lead you to be arrogant , to bask on something that has happened and it is dependent on external factors, it might lead you to err and be proud . Using the positive terms as dignity and self worth are much better. There is nothing wrong in respecting ourselves and demanding respect from people, acknowledging ¬†our self worth, being more humble and showing gratitude for things we have and our achievements rather than just taking pride. ¬†They are driven from inside, they give you positive energies to ¬†transform you into somebody better which on contrary pride doesn’t.

I have been using quite a lot the word ‘Pride’ for example ¬†when I started wearing my Hijab In one of the post I wrote ¬†: ‘It’s a pride for Muslim women’ , What I meant is I am no less of a woman if I wear a Hijab than any other woman but my sentence could be very mistaken for being proud in negative way ¬†that I am considering those who don’t wear Hijab as less. The word ‘pride’ came to fill up the gap and lack of respect we feel exists for Hijab clad women. It was ¬†a defensive sentence because my post was to defend my position as Hijabi woman ¬†, which now ¬†I am self analyzing a year later after re- reading my posts . It could have been better If I would have omitted the word ‘pride’ and wrote : ‘Our dignity and self worth remains same as any other woman despite of what we wear, we feel ¬†confident and dignified wearing our Hijabs ‘¬† could have been so much better with this. ¬†S always think, weigh and then speak or write your words ūüôā

Learning and improving should never be stopped .

Psychologists-have-even

References: 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intimacy-path-toward-spirituality/201506/three-vital-differences-between-pride-and-dignity

 

Indians Living Abroad

Living in another country than your country of origin  has all its pros and cons , Besides it makes you over sensitive to the behavior of people around you and attached to every little detail that reminds you of your country, hearing a fellow speaking your language or smelling the familiar spices from the food  warming up in your office microwave always bring a smile on your face .

My work place has a lot of Indians so whenever I go down to cafeteria for lunch , I feel like I am in Bangalore or Chennai office with queues of Indians alongside the microwave to warm up their meals.The locals (Belgians)  prefer to take food from canteen except few who bring their lunch from home ,  mostly  it is us Indians who occupy all the microwaves during lunch time so normally it could take upto  10-15 minutes in the queue to warm  up your lunch.

Today was one such another day of waiting in the Queue, so when it came our¬†turn to warm up, me and my colleague, ¬†We decided to keep our boxes together and increase the timer instead of warming one by one. I think it took us less than 4 mins to finish , ¬†meanwhile we were standing there , there were those restless glances exchanged between the other Indians behind us as if we are taking a lifetime and those expressions of seeing a monkey on the microwave rather than a human being ! Generally they are polite and smiling when it comes to someone who is not Indian and¬†cooking ¬†his food in Microwave for more than 10 minutes, it was such a disgust in their eyes of ‘ O my God these Desi pendu people ‘ , I am still not over it ! I have seen them for almost two years near that microwave , either before me or after me , never smiling to anyone who is an Indian and not from their Company.

This is just one of many incidents which I can write a book about , I have actually came to the conclusion that we Indians never respect other Indians inside or outside our country .We still live in the mindset of ¬†third world countries where the West is still superior to us. ¬†Have ¬†you ever seen an American or German or British ¬†not respecting their fellow country men in a third country. ( The names for ¬†these Countries are just for example sake ) Probably you won’t find many examples, but what I have felt and written here I am sure many Indians living abroad can relate to it.

The terms like ‘Arey ye to desi hai ‘ , Leaving the door on the face, bypassing the queue , Just because on the other side is a ‘desi’¬†and not a European .How easily we take the liberty of breaking the rules and disrespecting the etiquettes with another Indian , Why ?¬†or in other words we do not respect our own self because every other Indian that you see around is a mirror image of you irrespective of what you wear and eat and this is how the rest of the world see us, we are only Indians for them ¬†, It doesn’t matter if you wear western clothes or traditional Indian clothes , eat the Indian food or European food, hang out with others ¬†Indian or Locals , Speak English with an Indian Accent or British Accent for the rest you are one Entity , one single identity ¬†to be referred as Indians and if you are complaining about loopholes of a ¬†third world society , we better leave those ¬†habits that has still kept us in the third world , Why ¬†these double standards ! If you love right to equality , no discrimination based on anything, ¬†equal respect of ¬†all jobs , practice it with all human beings, start right from yourself and your home first! Once we achieve this , our societies will progress with a big leap, ¬†back at home and wherever we are.

Welcome to the Age of Digital Anxieties

Recently read one of the article  from  Brain Pickings  called  We’re Breaking Up by Rebecca Solnit about Modern Non Communication and how it is changing our lives . My mind instantly found words to conform the behaviors  experienced everyday which I was communicating  through words like addictions , dependencies on internet and phone.Undoubtedly internet has changed our lives forever and there is no life imaginable without internet,without our Dear Phones held in our hands constantly .

Being a digital migrant and some of you might ¬†be digital natives as well ¬†there is constant surge of anxieties within us all the time, for example right now I have switched the tabs on my Chrome Window once ¬†every 5 minute to check what’s happening elsewhere. I am always switching between my work laptop and phone. There is¬†a¬†constant anxiety to check Facebook or Whatsapp even if there is nothing really exciting happening .There is always this ¬†feeling of ¬†restlessness ¬†to keep switching from what I am doing currently. ¬†Is it ¬†lack of focus and self control or boredom ? ¬†Or is it FOMO , the fear of missing out on information ? My rate of getting ¬†bored of whatever I am doing ¬†is just ticking high with years passing by, I ¬†always feel an urge to keep switching my focus , my concentration to something else of what I am doing in that moment.This need of doing many things at one time , this lack of interest in one thing as soon as you start it, ¬†this lack of focus and attention of what a particular task deserves , it all annoys me in fact it bothers me. I want to be perfectly engrossed to what I am doing at that moment, that is how I was ¬†but not any more .

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So far , I have been consciously minding myself and learning to discard these impulses, constantly reminding myself of how should I behave but the reality is  the anxiety of Digital Age  do exist and the struggle is also real , it is just that nobody is talking about it much until it will be an epidemic.The fact that you cannot be really alone even when you want to is disturbing ,to shut down your brain of everything else except where you want to focus is getting difficult everyday. To introspect, to muse requires lot of self motivation and practice than ever.

I am trying to regulate the behavior by switching off my data for few hours on work , going for a walk without phone, doing something for an hour without technology like reading a book , cooking , they are helping me so far. Do let me know how you deal with this untalked anxiety of our Digital Era would be great to know.