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!