Saturday, December 25, 2010

Who Rocked My World?

Updated on 17th June 2017

Life had been going on very smoothly.My mind was at peace and  I could not have honestly wished for anything else to add to my cup of joy. I was into a well-accustomed routine. Till one day ,when all of a sudden a major change erupted on the horizon. It shook me to the core. I was in a daze & did not know what to do. The grey matter seemed to have gone for a holiday & confusion had taken over. This went on for a couple of days. Then I decided to take charge.
What the heck! why was I so worked up? A change was a change -not the end of the world.But what does one do regarding a change which is not so pleasant or seems inscrutable to say the least? The question is what can one do? Everything around us is in a constant flux and changes are inevitable. So rather than fighting them it is wiser to try and set our house in order once again.

This is what I drilled into my brain--

The shock of a change can be considerably dulled if we keep our antennae finely tuned to the rumblings that precede it.Except the sudden calamities--no change is sudden. An alert observer can see the warning signals beforehand. A couple may begin to have daily fights instead of the occasional bickering, a boss may show his displeasure in various ways,an aged parent slowly becomes weak and frail. If we notice such developments ,take corrective measures or anticipate probable changes, we will not be taken by surprise.

When faced with a major change which looks unsavory and has the potential to impact you in a big way,explore the available options.Is it absolutely compulsory to go along with it or can it be averted or at least shelved till a more convenient time?What do you stand to lose if you accept it?Are there any fringe benefits to offset that loss?And what will you lose if you forestall this development?Of course all this applies only if you have the power to choose and the time to ponder,but when faced with a sudden upheaval it pays to not be jittery and evaluate the situation carefully.

When it becomes clear that this change has come to stay it is best to be friends with it.Changes will happen. It is no use fighting them or negating them by burying our head in sand.Changes do generate a nebulous fear.We worry that it will force us to give up old associations,a comfortable routine and all that we are accustomed to.We are apprehensive of what all it will bring in it's wake.But if  a change thrusts itself in our lives then it is best to incorporate it in our future plans and organise our lives accordingly.

Major changes are very stressful for mind,body & soul.It is best to cool our minds by taking respite from activities which can be avoided and organising the day  in such a way that we can also devote some time to activities which give us pleasure.

If we think carefully,we can even derive some benefits out of a change.The only condition is that it is logic and not emotions which should rule our thoughts.

In the midst of change the familiar facets of life can be very reassuring,like your own house,your family,your friends & relatives,your familiar city,your job,your fit & able body,or your ability to tackle challenges(it is still there,believe me ).Such thoughts infuse hope, confidence and vigor.A feeling of gratitude about all this lifts the depressive mood.

While it is true that a change could transform our life to a great extent;presuming at the very beginning that this change is going to spoil things for us would be premature.It  has often been seen that what seemed tough & unpleasant in the beginning;actually opened the doors to new vistas of growth & progress.Even if a change is unfortunate,it will leave us stronger & more confident of our ability to cope with disasters.
Events like accident,disease,death,divorce,separation,loss of job or financial losses will unsettle anyone.They cause untold misery but it is also a fact that such misfortunes augment our powers of endurance and make us more self confident.Agreed,that no one would choose to evolve thus,but life offers a mixed basket to all.The only thing we can do under such circumstances is,to adapt to it as best as we can.

In the aftermath of a major change it is natural to vent our feelings to sympathetic listeners.But if this habit is carried too far then we shall turn into habitual grumblers and lose their sympathy.It serves no purpose to ask"Why me?"or "This is not fair,this always happens to me!" etc.

The sooner you accept a change the faster will you progress on the road to recovery and rehabilitation. The heart-burn & damage will be less if you make up your mind that this change is here & you have to rebuild your life according to it.Just assess the present situation and decide your course of action.If you feel at sea in the changed scenario, talk to those who care for you; or take help from a professional,or a support group of your choice.

Once you have accepted a change & decided to take action ,the next step naturally is to adapt to it as well as you can. If you still have any bias against it, look closely for  redeeming features & you will be sure to find them.Nothing is all good or all bad & this applies even to your past.Remember what was not so good before this change?
It is up to you to extract maximum benefit out of this change.Have faith in your own ability to come out in flying colors from this challenge.Believe that it will be good for you. Change your habits & attitudes wherever necessary, so that you fit comfortably into the new situation.Learn the skills which this new situation demands. Admittedly this is the most difficult part. But it becomes easier if you remind yourself that the old arrangement,even if it was way better than this new one,has lived it's life,or maybe it had become defunct & unproductive.Had this not been the case, it would have continued. However cool and comfortable your past might have been; no change means stagnation,and stagnation leads to deterioration.A change of job or place will add to your friend list and at the same time,enable you to get rid of old irritants or adversaries.You can make a fresh start now.

In this ever changing world it is impossible to remain in a safe cocoon for ever.Learning the art of synchronizing with changes is essential for growth & happiness.So many times it has been seen that a change which looks devastating at first sight can turn out to be good for us.Rather than fighting a change,we can pray in the words of Dr Reinhold---

God give me the serenity,
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to make Friends and Banish Loneliness

Updated on 12th June 20!7
We all need friends.No restrictions--the more the merrier!A friend is virtually a protection against loneliness, despair,sorrow ,failure, and enemies too.Imagine the plight of those who are deprived of this blessing.They secretly wish they had more friends but do not know how to go about it.The remedy lies in their own hands because we ourselves are the biggest hurdle in the way of making friends. This is a harsh truth. If you wish to change the reality then you need to accept this fact and carry on from there.Here are some tips to help you along :--

(1)CHANGE YOUR MINDSET. Do not be suspicious and wary of others. Start by having faith in the goodness of mankind and trusting people.If you are distrustful of others this attitude will be conveyed through your behavior and keep people at a distance. Learn to open up. Share your thoughts and feelings with others.

(2)APPEARANCE. While your attitude sends out subtle signals, your appearance is very much visible and tangible.Dress according to the occasion. You don't have to be la-di-da ,but do take care of your hygiene, neatness and smartness.  Physical features,height, weight,girth,hair & complexion don't matter to others, they count only because they hold you back-- spoiling your chances.

(3)EXPRESSIONS.Your expressions go a long way towards attracting people or keeping them at bay. Sure you will not consciously scowl at people when you go out, but the inner worries and conflicts do show up on your face and convey a red signal.Practice smiling before a mirror till  you achieve a good smile which is not half hearted or timid but 100% genuine. 

(4)BODY LANGUAGE.If you have been rather a recluse till now you will definitely feel awkward when you first set out to make friends.This will show in your mannerisms and others may conclude that you want to be left alone;but you do not want this to happen.Therefore look people in the eye,greet those you know and approach those who are new to you--giving your own introduction.Don't stand in a corner waiting for someone to come to your rescue.You want to make friends so you should take the lead.

(5)BEHAVIOR.Take interest in people. Try to develop sympathy & affection for them. Show concern for the happenings in their lives. Be considerate and punctual.If you have proved yourself to be reliable to someone then  you have made a friend for life. Offer help where it is needed and similarly,do not hesitate to ask for help if you need it. This will convince others that you have faith in them and value their advice. Even if you have a difference of opinion or a grouse which has to be vocalised,be tactful about it.

(6)KEEP ABREAST OF TIMES.You must have seen that people flock to interesting persons in all parties. You may not have the wherewithal  to be the soul of a party but you don't have to be a mouse either .Brush up on current affairs,introduce an interesting remark here and there and learn to bring up topics that interest those around you.If you are viewed as interesting company people would like to associate with you in future.Be a good listener but not a dumb one. 

(7)APPRECIATION.Who doesn't like approval & approbation? Pay compliments where they are due. Don't be stingy in praise--but be genuine at the same time.Everybody has some admirable qualities--appreciate those. Remember how warm & happy you feel when someone pays you a compliment? 

(8)Make it a habit to take up on an acquaintance whom you have recently met & liked.We often come across people at parties or meetings whom we like and who we wish were our friends.Well don't stop at that--contact that person at the soonest,fix up a meeting,follow with him/her an interest you both share,invite him/her to your home,say frankly that you clicked with him/her & would like to know him/her better.I am sure nobody will be able to refuse such a frank,spontaneous approach straight from the heart.

(9)Steal your friends' friends.I read this somewhere and I liked this a lot so I am repeating it.It is a good idea and should be easy too.

(10)Join hobby groups or activities which interest you--you are sure to meet like-minded persons there.

I know what many of you must be thinking. It is easy to put all this on paper but difficult to put into practice. I agree with you . For a person who has been clammed up till now, all these initiatives will seem like insurmountable hurdles. Relax ! You don't have to go full throttle the very first day. Slowly master these techniques one by one. When you let down your guard against other people you will be able to bring about other changes too. If you are snubbed in your advance just think back what went wrong but don't give up. Maybe the other person was not in a good mood. It reflects upon his temperament rather than your self-worth.

So friend, what are you waiting for? Get started and gather a host of friends around you!

If you liked this post you may like to read this one too--

Thursday, December 2, 2010

# Inferiority Complex--A Pernicious Trap

Updated on 6th June 2017

I don't know about you all but I at least have often felt that I am an imperfect and incompetent social misfit.I lack so many qualities which I yearn for and admire in others.Almost every human being that I come across appears to me to be smarter and more capable than me.That is why I often try to blend into the landscape.Believe me, it is not a transitory feeling.It has been with me ever since I can remember.

I used to be side-lined as a child while my siblings took center-stage.Even when I tried to assert myself my efforts came to a naught.  I thought that I was making more sense than others but nobody paid any heed. Perhaps I did not have the courage to assert myself vociferously. By and by I learned to keep my opinions to myself. What the heck! if they didn't want my views it was their loss. Slowly this built into a habit and became my personality trait.I came to believe that I was inferior to others.

Thus it was that I turned into a mouse whom nobody took seriously--not even I myself. But this was just a beginning, not the end. I did not realize then,but now when I look back, I realize that I lost so many opportunities just because of this shortcoming. You can call it an # Inferiority Complex if you like.

I would not attempt anything ambitious even though my I Q had been judged as genius grade. Firstly because I thought that I would not succeed;and secondly because I was afraid that I would make an even bigger spectacle of myself when I failed. The intelligence was there, hence I did achieve a modicum of success. But I realize now that I lost much much more than I attained.

All because of my own thinking which confined me to my hole. Rather a trap--a mouse--trap I should say.Who is at fault for all that I have lost?My parents,siblings,friends or teachers? NO! It was my own weakness.After all, I did succeed as far as I ventured. What stopped me from going further? My own mouse-trap! No one put me there. I myself built it around me. My pessimism and defeatism have cost me dear. If only I got a second chance I would show what I was capable of. But life doesn't work that way. So I try to make the best of my remaining years.

Having  journeyed through this hard terrain,I think I am qualified enough to write more about it.I exhort those of you who have shut yourselves in a mousetrap,to get out of it at the soonest without wasting any more time. Believe me, it is nothing more than a delusion. You are as good or as bad as the next person.Desist from shutting yourself in this prison of inferiority. Perhaps your formative years were such that you felt rejected and neglected. Gradually you began to believe that you were really not good enough to deserve anything better. This feeling was reinforced by subsequent experiences till it sank into your unconscious mind to chain you as it were. 

Once you realize that these bonds are fake and self-imposed what is there to hold you back? I agree wholeheartedly that it is not easy to shake off these shackles. They have become your identity,an armor behind which you feel safe and comfortable. You don't have to attempt anything big or taxing. Family and friends too, do not demand much from you because you are supposed to be inept and incompetent. So why give up this cozy arrangement, you may well ask. 

The decision is totally yours. It's true that the mouse-trap does give you protection,but at what cost? If you were to leave it's confines you would find another set of satisfactions waiting for you. Try it. After all, what is there to lose? You are already at the bottom of the ladder. You can only go up from there.That feeling of inferiority embedded in your unconscious mind is totally a self-imposed myth.Once you decide to get rid of these chains, replace them with an affirmation that you too,are as good as anyone else. 

When it comes to deciding who is superior or inferior,physical features don't count because many unattractive persons have made their mark at international levels.And if you talk of brains, then the average human operates much below his potential .Very often we dismiss a task as too tough,but if we set our mind to it,we are pleasantly surprised.We generally underestimate our capabilities.

If you want to get rid of your inferiority complex raise the bar bit by bit.List the tasks you think you are not good at.Undertake them one by one and gloat over your successes.Graduate to steeper levels.Your recent gains will fuel your confidence and you will no longer think of yourself as a loser.

Voila!You are no less than anyone else.Repeat this affirmation day in and day out, esp. when your mind and body are relaxed; like before going to bed and before leaving the bed in the morning. At these times your mind is most receptive and impressionable. This will take time to show results. But one fine morning you will realize that you are free of that wretched encumbrance known as Inferiority Complex and you will be free to roam the sky of all your aptitudes,abilities and aspirations. So leave the mouse-trap and fly high!

Monday, November 15, 2010

How to be Happy :))

Updated on 15th Jan 2016
We all yearn for happiness and strive for it in different ways.Yet it eludes some of us completely and persistently.Why?A very tantalizing question--that! According to  Dalai Lama "Happiness is not something ready made.It comes from your own actions".Does this mean that we are responsible for our misery too ?

This should lead to a good honest session of introspection.Are our actions always aimed at increasing the quantum of happiness? Or are we more concerned with other issues related to wealth,status,power,success,competition,rivalry,and jealousy?But do these pursuits really make us happy?Every new acquisition or achievement enthralls us for a short while and then it is relegated to the background as a normal feature of our lives.It goes without saying that some amount of money and comfort is needed in order to be happy.But if status & riches were the sole essentials for happiness,we would not hear of multi-millionaires & celebrities committing suicide.If you act in tandem with what gives you real peace of mind,and not what the world recognizes as the mark of a success,you will be happy.

Be flexible
We do not always get what we strive for.Flexibility is an important ingredient of happiness.If one door refuses to open, knock at the next one.Incidentally this is equally true of romantic relationships.It is a fallacy to think that only that one person who thwarted your advances or ditched you, was worthy of your affections.The world is full of deserving persons who can be loved and will love you in return.

Nurture your relationships
Accept love and reciprocate it generously and genuinely.Warmth and support of friends, relatives & colleagues are a source of joy and security.Don't take them for granted,express your love and gratitude for their presence in your life.Spend quality time with your loved ones.Share your thoughts and worries with them.They will help you to overcome your problems--or at least offer moral support.Whenever you are down and out, recollect dear relationships and pleasant memories--these will cheer you up.It is truly gratifying to realize that one is loved & needed by other significant persons in one's life.The therapeutic value of such an assurance cannot be overemphasized.

Live in the present
It is no doubt essential to make reasonable provisions for future needs but other than that it is best to live in the present.This is absolutely essential when you are going through a rough patch.Living one day at a time makes the burden more tolerable.
Worrying unduly about future or obsessing about the past ruins the present.If perchance,you have committed some blunders then use them as stepping stones to a more evolved you.Do not ruminate over those mistakes.Avoid guilt trips and self-bashing.

Be proactive
Face problems as soon as they appear.If you bury your head in sand they could assume gigantic proportions by the time you look up.

Associate with happy, positive souls
Keeping the company of cheerful people will rub their cheer on to you.Avoid doleful and pessimistic people or else they will blacken your mood as well.

Ignore those who are out to tear you down in order to elevate themselves & also those who are over-critical & habitual faults-finders--they will not only demoralize you,but also leave you tense and frustrated.

Shun Negativity
Equally important --shun negative emotions like, anger, fear, hatred, jealousy,greed and vengeance.If you think you have been wronged by someone, try to look at things from his perspective & forgive him if you can.A closure gives peace of mind.

Spread cheer
The best way to be happy is to make others happy--smile at them,compliment them,help them,appreciate them and see their happiness coming back to suffuse your mind and soul.

If you have spare resources give to the needy--it is immensely satisfying.

Do not compare yourself with others
Do not compare yourself with others. Appreciate your own worth.Nobody is all tops or an absolute zilch.

Reserve a time slot for the all important 'me time'
Be creative,pursue your hobbies and reserve a time-slot for yourself--your pleasure and your needs.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Take good care of your health.Adopt healthy habits.Follow a daily routine of exercise ,Yoga or meditation--whatever suits your fancy.This will stimulate the release of happy hormones.

Be grateful
Last but most important--be thankful for all you have been blessed with.Contentment and thankfulness are the most essential ingredients of happiness because--

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to Imbibe #Positive Thinking

Updated on 14th Jan 2016

Two men look out from behind the bars,
One sees mud and one sees stars.

This is what positive thinking is all about,looking for a silver lining in dark clouds. Actually, positive thinking is more than mere thinking.It is a philosophy of life,a mindset, a habit- -either innate,or developed over the years by diligent practice.It entails facing life's upheavals in an optimistic & constructive manner--thereby making the best of even a bad situation.It is like a true friend; which,once adopted,will stand by you & help you  sail through difficult times. While some people are born optimists others are not so lucky. But this does not mean they are destined to remain pessimistic all their life. They too can become positive thinkers with regular practice.
There is a wonderful concept to guide you further towards acquiring positivity - the concept of  MEMORY BANK . This bank has two kinds of deposits which you can draw from,positive & negative. The interesting thing is that the more you draw from an account the more it grows . And if you don't draw from an account it will diminish. So the thing to do is to draw from the positive deposits  & let the negative ones wither away.
 Suppose an exam is approaching &you have lots to catch up with.If you are  pessimistic you will think that you cannot possibly pass this exam & begin to worry about the consequences that will follow.Your negative deposit will come up with past instances of failures.You will lose sleep, confidence & valuable time;thereby failing and making your prophecy come true. This failure will go to swell your negative deposits so that when the next crisis crops up you will recollect your failures and be disheartened even before you have tried to overcome it.
 On the other hand, had  you recollected your achievements and believed in your abilities, you would have gained confidence , been energized into trying your utmost,passed the exam & further increased your positive balance; which would have  come to your aid again & again.
Here are some tips to get on the positive bandwagon:-
Shun Negative Emotions
Negative emotions like worry, fear,guilt, sorrow, remorse, bitterness, prejudice, greed ,resentment,vengeance swell your negative deposits. The more you draw from them, the more your negativity will increase.This post will help you to get rid of negative thinking.
Keep Away From Negative Influences
If you are already struggling with pessimistic feelings, melancholic persons will further accentuate your negativity-refrain from spending time with them or asking their advice.Shun tragic movies,sad songs & heavy,morose literature.Similarly,if sordid,depressive news of murder, gruesome accidents or other crimes perturb you then shun them on TV & newspapers.
Forgive Yourself
If you committed a mistake inadvertently or knowingly,just leave it there in the past.It should only serve to educate you;and not flog you.It happens with everyone----we learn as we go along.
Do not castigate yourself for everything that goes wrong.
Sometimes events occur at their own velocity.You are not able to prevent a mishap from unfurling despite best intentions & efforts.Flogging yourself for such incidents will only sadden you.You will suffer guilt pangs for what was not your doing at all.
Resuscitate your self-image.
Positive thinking asks for a sound foundation.It becomes  difficult to be optimistic if one has low self-esteem.If we think we are no good then we cannot expect any good from life. Those having low self-esteem tend to focus only on their shortcomings & blot out their achievements.This kills confidence & generates pessimism.Therefore it is important to refurbish your self-image in order to inculcate positive thinking.Nurture your self-confidence.Without it,positive thinking will not be of much help.
Recall your strengths and achievements.Whenever you find yourself losing hope,recollect the accolades   earned, exams passed and targets achieved.Think of the relationships which sustain you.This will renew your hopes & perk up your spirits.Follow this routine at night to get a sound sleep & wake up in good cheer  next morning.When you start the day on a positive note you will have confidence in your abilities, spread good vibes & attract positive people--which is essential to finding success & happiness.
 On the other hand, if you morose,negative people will be drawn to you. They will sap your energy & diminish your confidence--discouraging you with their criticism . 
Not only people, even situations & opportunities that come your way, largely follow your thought patterns. Just a small example--suppose you are faced with two career options,one demanding & the other laid back.If you are besieged by feelings of incompetence & hopelessness you will automatically choose the easier one and hence pursue a second-grade career all your life. 
On the other hand, if you decide that you have the ability & you can do justice to an upscale career, learning the ropes on the way;then you can give it a try & maybe lead a much more fruitful life.
 In this way, you attract what you think & shape your own destiny. As your attitude changes, your ways of tackling problems also change & this, in turn, changes your luck.

Positive thinking subdues worry and enriches our mental health by many degrees.Tensions recede and we feel hopeful of overcoming our troubles.An optimistic fellow is always happier than a pessimistic one.
It enables us to think up a solution to our problem in a rational manner rather than panicking and losing heart.
Positive thinking does a lot more than merely instilling hope and pointing to solutions--it also energizes us to get into the fighting mode in order to overcome our difficulties. We are able to defeat our misfortune & smile again.
A positive attitude attracts friends and cements relationships.
It also boosts our physical health and immunity, while negative thinking leads to anxiety, poor health, poor stamina& poor performance,all of which combine to create a substandard life.
A positive person exercises better control over his life-situations and the quality of his life improves greatly.Certain downturns in life cannot be avoided but keeping an optimistic outlook, looking for the silver lining and concentrating upon it,result in success and happiness.  

The image has been taken from google.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beat the Blues

Updated on 8-9-18

Tension is inseparable from our lives today.A fast-paced life keeps everyone on edge.Super ambitions and tough competition give scarce time to relax.No one likes to live with tensions but there is no dearth of precipitating factors.Slowly, in addition to destroying our peace of mind,stress damages our physical health too.However,we can contain the damage by modifying our attitude and response toward stressors which impact us.

1) The very first mantra for avoiding tension is to nail down it's root cause and find the solution in a RATIONAL manner.Whenever a crisis looms up it is natural to worry how it will affect our lives.This gives rise to all sorts of fears which increase our despondence and cloud our thinking;thereby suppressing our problem solving skills.Therefore whenever faced with a problem, use your thinking power and shun the emotions.

2) An important requirement for a tension-free life is ACCEPTANCE. Whenever you come across a person or a situation which you don't like but can't change; take it in your stride.Find ways of working around it. Do not obsess about it or fight it endlessly & uselessly.You cannot change what has happened,you will only tire yourself out.

3) Another important attribute which helps to avoid tension is FLEXIBILITY.Life will not always proceed along a road map laid by you.Some wishes will be fulfilled while some others will be thwarted.You may be denied a goal you had set your heart upon or a beautiful arrangement may come crashing down.This happens to many--you are not the sole sufferer.Change along with changing conditions.Do not pine for what was,it has gone for ever..Flexibility implies setting a new goal if the old one is inaccessible.If you don't get what you like ,then it is best to like what you get. 

4) It is not the events per se, but our reactions to them which generate tension.A healthy attitude towards life,reasonable expectations and faith that no matter what happens,you will be able to extract some good out of it;keeps tensions at a low ebb.Positive thinking introduces a touch of balance to a tumultuous mind.It instills hope & assuages tension.Even unpalatable events can turn out to be beneficial in the long run.

5) Look at the TOTAL PICTURE of your life. Do not concentrate on the dark & dreary aspects only.Do you have a sound body,sharp brain,supportive family, friends,a roof over your head,the basic amenities of life,a good education or professional qualification & a job to sustain you?You may not have all of this,but even a healthy body or a supportive family is not bad to start with.Think about the brighter side & do not sweat over paltry irritations.Look at those who are worse off than you.

6)FIX REASONABLE TARGETS which are in tandem with your intellectual,physical and emotional quotient.A major cause of tension is striving for what is physically or mentally impossible.Each person is endowed with unique gifts--running after the herd compels you to undertake what you are not designed for;and invites frustration. 

7) CONTENTMENT goes a long way to curbing tension.If for some reason ,you are not able to reach the pinnacle of your ambition, appreciate & enjoy what you have.

8)COMPETITION is productive only up to a certain point--after that it becomes taxing and frustrating.

9)Say NO to what you cannot handle.Don't heap too much on your plate.


I am sure if you try to inculcate the above habits you will feel more relaxed and tension-free.When agitated because of a tough situation,tell yourself 'This too shall pass',and you will feel lighter.