Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Ripple Effects Of #Kindness


Everybody is in a mad rush these days.People are busy chasing their dreams and have no time to notice someone who needs a shoulder to lean on or a hand to pull him up.It is best to be self reliant but there are times when one could do with some help or support.At such times if a kind angel comes along,you could not have asked for a better boon.

It does not take much to be kind.You only need to be aware of your surroundings and be attentive of what a person near you is going through.Just a smile or a hello is enough sometimes,to break the ice or brighten someone's day.Open the door if he has his hands full,help him carry a heavy burden,thank the delivery boy,offer your seat to a feeble person standing near you or allow him to jump the queue if need be.These are very small gestures but they leave a deep impact.I,at least,fondly remember those who were kind to me.

If the kindness bug has bitten you,you can start by giving out things which you no longer need,like your shoes,apparel,old gadgets,utensils,ill-assorted crockery,books and whatever you can think of.You will make life so much easier and more comfortable for someone by doing this.

Even more important than this is,helping someone who is emotionally disturbed.Suppose you see someone deep in thought,obviously depressed,fighting a lone battle to keep his head above the waters;do not walk away,afraid of intruding.Begin with a simple query about his well-being.It will assure him that he is not alone,you care for him and he can share his problem with you.

We often hold back because this kind of a situation is awkward for both the parties.A person who wants help may hesitate to claim your time and attention even if he does trust you,while you yourself might be afraid of breaching his privacy if you butt in.At such times the other person's expressions and body language can help you decide.

If even that is not indication enough,you can start with a cursory exchange which will reveal if he is uptight or opens up.Go ahead even if you are in doubt because it is better to be considered officious rather than callous.When someone is in a quandary an outsider is often better able to gauge the situation and think up a solution.Your initiative could be a life saver for him.So it is better to engage with him instead of walking away.Such interventions can even stave suicides.

It is not the recipient alone who benefits from kind acts.You the doer too,will be rewarded in countless ways.There is an immediate rush of joy and satisfaction at having done a good deed when you help someone.It increases your self worth and reduces anxiety.The warmth of that memory will come back to cheer you up many a times.

Kindness is infectious.Even the recipient of a kind act is empowered to return this good deed when opportunity arises.The onlookers also feel happy to see altruistic behavior in this self obsessed world and may be inspired to behave similarly when they see someone in trouble.In this way you help to make this world a better place by one simple act.There is a surfeit of selfishness in the air today,you can add a lot of warmth and empathy to it.
A curious question:How many kind persons have you met so far?

Image courtesy google

Saturday, December 29, 2018

So,Are You Rational Or Emotional?

Medium Is Best
One confession: I am a diehard rationalist. I do have emotions but when in a quandary I listen to my brain and not my heart-because the heart has no brains!Jokes apart,this has proven to be the most beneficial and error-free method of navigating through life situations for me.Let me recount the advantages of employing rationality as a polestar:--
PROBLEM SOLVING
The best function of the brain is in problem solving.I think no one would confute this.
Emotions cloud thinking.They divert you from searching for a solution to your problem.The problem drags on and the stress increases.
RESILIENCE
A severe loss,a calamity,abuse or a breakup:such events will make anyone miserable-even a strict rationalist like me,because some events do need a grieving period.It is even cathartic to shed tears.But ultimately life has to go on,and for this, conscious efforts have to be made to accept what happened and switch from the trauma to the daily demands.

Unpleasant experiences like deception,manipulation,exploitation and grievous harm can be very painful.But if you analyse why it happened,whether you had unknowingly made it easy for the perpetrator to target you,and focus on the precautionary measures to be taken for future safety;then your focus will shift from the pain to protecting yourself from further transgressions.You shall no longer be bogged down by what happened.Peace will return.Life will resume as usual.
Those who are highly emotional,experience every emotion very strongly.Tragedies,trauma and abuse hit them hard. They suffer prolonged periods of suffering, thinking only about the tragic event and lamenting their lot.They may refuse to accept reality and chase shadows,disconnecting themselves from everything else.If they do not shake up their perspective soon,this can even devolve into a mental disorder like Generalized Anxiety Disorder or depression.

Even lesser disappointments seem unbearable to emotional people because they they forge strong relationships and expect a lot from them.Their involvement in everything-whether love or work-is total.That is why they find it difficult to get over broken ties or major failures.Emotional fragility prolongs their suffering and delays the healing process.
EQUANIMITY

Problems will come,failures will distress and people will annoy,oppose or deceive.It pinches.But then,you cannot expect to succeed every time;or command people to like you and be on their best behavior when they accost you.But you can take heart from a thought that along with adversaries and failures there are friends,supporters,and achievements too in your life.This acknowledgement nullifies the stress.
On the other hand if you allow the hydra-headed monster of distressing emotions like sadness,anger,hatred and  despair to overpower you,then you offer a BIG space to anxiety;because firstly,emotions can project a spark as a flare,and secondly, such events,being beyond your control,cannot be stopped,and you shall continue to remain disturbed. The only thing you can do is,adopt a level headed approach to life and stay balanced.
                                      MENTAL HEALTH
Those who abide by rational thinking are rewarded by sound mental health.Whenever a catastrophe threatens,a host of doubts,fears,worries and conflicting emotions besiege us,pulling us this way or that.Rational thinking alone can show us the best possible way of getting out of that conundrum. It protects us from emotional problems like anxiety and depression. 
Emotional people are fine human beings:sensitive,sincere,caring and empathetic.But they are more vulnerable to the ups and downs of life.Emotions present a subjective view of a circumstance or imbroglio. They can mislead.They magnify a problem;even scaring you with a worst-case-scenario which may not be likely at all,thus giving a free field to anxiety.You can overcome this tendency by focusing more on your thinking and less on feelings.If only you could build a shield of rationality around your heart you would be so much calmer.

It would be unfair to wind up this post after going on and on about the benefits of logic without sounding an alarm.Too much of reason and minimal emotions will make a person cold,insensitive,selfish and callous.A moderate balance is what one should aspire for.Early exposures have a big role in making us who we are,but if there is a marked tilt towards one side then any time is a good time to correct it.

Sometimes it is difficult to decide where we stand in a wide spectrum.Given below is a quiz to help you along:--
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/dec/10/acquiescence-if-you-choose-emotions-over-logic-personality-quiz

The image and quiz courtesy google search.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Luminaries

Some people have all the luck.They are truly blessed.Not a single incongruous note in the lyrical symphony of their lives.I have often looked wistfully at them and wished for a perfect life like theirs.But almost immediately I chastise myself.How do I know what transpired before that star touched the zenith?More importantly,who knows what the future holds for them? After all a high tide cannot stay high for ever,it has to come down.

Why this happens is food for thought.Is it destiny or mere rotation of the wheel of life?It could even be mere negligence or mishandling of lady luck's boons. Attaining an iconic status is not easy.It requires hard work and vision.But even after reaching the pinnacle one's metier has to be safeguarded wisely:from self as well as jealous rivals.

The self is the first wall of defense against a downfall.Many luminaries have come to a sorry end because of their own imperfections. They topple to the ground when their luck runs out.
  Causes of Downfall
Corruption
Corruption is rampant in our country.From politicians,bureaucrats and big business men to the humble peon,at every level you will come across people who strive to grab more than they are entitled to.The higher the strata the greater the loot.We do not know how many escape unscathed but some,like Suresh Kalmadi,A Raja and Lalu Prasad Yadav are finally caught and sent to jail.What a dire contrast to their earlier,opulent lifestyles!

The immense power which politicians wield propels them to subvert the law and milk their status to rake up as much wealth as they can.Unfortunately,with their cohorts shielding them to the best of their ability,many escape the net and must still be at large..

Exploitation
When someone is recognized as an ace in his calling,he sometimes regards his juniors as lesser beings and exploits them without any compunction. MJ Akbar,a minister in the central government,used his clout to satisfy his carnal desires.He had to resign from his post after intense public humiliation.

There are many,many more of this kind,but why go deeper in this filth?


Illegal Activities

It is not corruption or sexual exploitation alone which can turn a lucky spell into a sorry phase. Some icons break the law nonchalantly,thinking no one would dare to question them. Sanjay Dutt did just that and had to spend many years in jail for buying an illegal weapon from a known terrorist.


Arrogance
An elite family background and powerful connections embed in some people a conviction that they have special rights and privileges and this misperception one day brings them crashing down from their high horse.Remember how Manu Sharma,born in an affluent family with strong political connections,blew it all when he murdered Jessica Lal for refusing to serve him liquor? He was sentenced to life imprisonment after a huge public outcry and media pressure. 


Personal Failings

Having loads of cash in hand is temptation enough for some to splurge it on their pet fancies:profligacy,alcoholism or drug abuse have left many Bollywood actors penniless.How painful it must be,to be reduced to a near beggar like state after having been idolized by millions.

How much does one need to live a comfortable life?There can be no definite answer to this.The higher you go the more zeroes you will add to the figure.But why do those who belong to the top echelons,who are virtually rolling in wealth,deploy questionable tactics to extract more or satisfy illegitimate desires?

In doing this,they even lose the amenities they once enjoyed;well not always-the judicial system being what it is-but the risk is always there.Had they been more ethical,content,and law abiding;they could have enjoyed a longer,more satisfying innings.What's more,they would have been acclaimed for their integrity.But no,insatiable greed overcomes every other consideration.

As Benjamin Franklin said, "It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it."

Image and quote from google search.