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(Reposting a post from ‘Jharokha’)

We all go through tough times in our lifetimes. Many a times, the grief has been brought upon by someone close to us, causing a lot of frustration and anger to reside within us. If these emotions dwell inside a mind for too long, they end up spoiling the strength and peace of that person. So it is always best to get rid of anger, to forgive the ones who hurt you.

Easier said than done, many would argue. Yes, it is really tough to forgive someone without venting out what you might be holding inside you; without saying what you ought to have said (of course, to get back); and without pointing fingers and hurting them in return. But before you get onto such a path, do ask yourself what the higher gain would be, from such an endeavor. Will you achieve peace or joy? I am sure you will not. When you start to take a step towards blaming others for your sorrows and your state of mind, unfortunately, you are handing them the control of your emotions. Then, you would never find peace until that person completely disappears from the face of earth. Even then, you might end up wishing them to be around to vent out more of your anger onto them. The cycle of pain and accusations would go on.

So, if your ultimate aim is finding peace for yourself, the only key is forgiveness. There might be a long time before you can forgive someone who has betrayed your trust, who has manipulated your feelings, and who has never given you what you deserved. But then, constantly hating them for their actions would still keep you connected to them in a way. Would it not be better to break all relation to people who have caused hurt, even that of hatred or anger? Chetan Bhagat describes it so perfectly in his book ‘Two States’- Forgiveness does not do anything to the wrong doer, but it makes a lot of difference to the sufferer by reducing the baggage they carry on their heads all the time.

Try this simple exercise to know yourself how much difference it would make to your attitude if you learned to forgive. When you are hurt and angry, and you start thinking about the object of your hatred, record the time that those ugly thoughts stay in your mind. Do this for a day. You will be shocked at the result. And now, think of all the constructive things you could have done with that time, had you spent it in a better way.

So next time you feel like cursing someone, observe yourself. Focus on the changes that your body undergoes – change in your breathing, your eyes narrowing, may be reddening of your face. Also, observe what your mind feels afterwards. It feels more irritable, more restless. There is no lifting of baggage, contrary to popular belief. In fact, thinking such negative thoughts about someone actually attracts more negativity hence strengthening the anger and increasing the emotional wreckage. Sometimes, when we vent out negative things by talking about them, we may feel a temporary relief. But soon afterwards, the feelings return, sometimes even with a greater force.

Hence, the best therapy for anger is forgiveness. Whatever someone may have done to you, how much ever times it takes you to accept the situation, yet in the end you have to forgive and then only, you can be at peace. Forgiveness might be tough, but is not impossible to achieve. All you have to do is be aware of the feeling of hatred as soon as it touches you. Then, you have to tell yourself that it is OK to feel hatred but you are not supposed to hang on to that feeling. At that moment, think of some moment of love with someone who still cares for you, or a moment of achievement that gave you real happiness. The hatred will melt away in its own shadow. With practice, you might start associating these good feelings with the person who hurt you and will be able to forgive them, eventually. And with time, that wrong doer will not be able to evoke any negative emotions in you, and you will be able to think about the past without any anger or frustration. Some day, you might even talk about it and not be affected by it. That would be the ultimate peace. After all, forgiveness is the attribute of strong.

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You ask me to share what I feel

But this pain my heart can’t reveal

May be I want to feel the pain

May be I wish to let it remain

Inside me, where it belongs

It makes me strong to carry on

It gives me a reason to be alive

If I let it go, how will I survive?

It helps me understand

My purpose, my calling

It gives me a reason

To fight against falling

Into the darkness

Rendering my life useless.

It is, thus, my pain

That makes me what I am

Don’t ask me to share

Don’t tell me you care

There is no other lie greater

To say you love me and leave later

I know you will not stay

You will go away

Like everyone I trusted

Live everyone I loved

So leave me alone

And just be gone

On your own way

Far, far, far away

You are a strong person and take life as it comes; you take the challenges and try to make the best out of situations. Yet, sometimes, you feel crestfallen. Even the strongest have their weak moments; after all, we are just humane.

Over the years, I have met many such people who fall under the category of strong, yet I have seen them cry and I have seen them worry about little things in life. I cannot reiterate it enough that it is acceptable to be so. Who said that we cannot cry, we cannot falter from our resolve and we cannot let us down.

Most people are lucky to have at least one person in their life who offers them shoulder when they need to let go. Yet, sometimes, the person might not be available. What do you do then? Do you look for another shoulder or do you silently suffer? You might have done both and yet not been able to find comfort. Then, you must have wondered why it is like that. That is how our mind functions. Since we have conditioned it over the years to find comfort in the company of one person or a specific group of people, it will not feel peaceful unless those person(s) are available. Hence, even though we find someone else to share our sorrows with, it doesn’t make us feel better. And also, sometimes, you have to restrict the extent of sharing with a new friend; it takes time to build the trust. Thus, in the end, you end up feeling more miserable than you started out with.

I say, why not find a friend in yourself for moments like this? Yes, man is a social animal and yes, we need to talk to people to share our joys and sorrows. But if you have a comfortable relationship with yourself, your inner self, it is much easier to find comfort than looking for it outside. Now, this doesn’t mean you should be aloof from other people all the time.

For example, consider this. You had a bad day at work. You go home and find that the kids are already off to the playground, so you can’t get the much-needed and ever-healing hug. Your spouse carried work home or has to play a match or visit an ailing friend/relative. And after a little while, you realize you are home alone. You would have loved that on any other occasion, but today you feel lonely and absolutely need a caring hand/shoulder. What do you do?

Many of us would drown ourselves in TV, thinking that the nonsense on the screen will make you overcome that in your mind. Or may be the jokes would make you laugh and relieve you from the pain in the heart, except that neither happens today. What then? You think of calling mom or friends and realize they will all be busy with families, and even if they wanted to hear you out, they won’t be much help since they will be obviously distracted.

It is times like these you need your own self to do the counselling for you. A hobby might come in handy. Do you love painting, singing, dancing, reading? Do it. The difference between watching TV and doing something you like to do is simple. TV may or may not take your mind off the matter at hand; hobby will not only do that, but will also make you feel much better. When you do something creative that you love, your mind is already trained to release feel-good hormones (endorphins) and they help you to feel good much faster and easier than anything else you could do. And if you are one of the active types, exercise! It is a scientifically accepted fact that physical work releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body and reduce the perception of pain.

There is another way to condition your mind to feel good even when in pain – daydream, build stories in your mind. Fantasize about something that makes you instantly smile. Good things about fantasies is you have no boundaries there. You can be a superhero saving people’s lives; you could be the sweetheart of the movie star you have a huge crush on; you could fly among the stars; you could be anything you wanted and you could do anything you desired. All you need to do is fool your mind into believing that everything is fine, and it will itself find ways to beat the stress. Mind is a great weapon if you do not let your thoughts control you but can learn to guide your thoughts as you want to feel.

Simple things that we all know can make it easier to forget the pain when you are lonely and sad. All it needs is a little conditioning of your mind.

Life is lived in moments; all of us know this. But how many occasions can you really think of when the moment stayed, the feeling remained intact, forever? Well, scientifically speaking, the subconscious mind does register these things ans stores them for us to get access to them at anytime we need. So isn’t it a good practice to let your conscious mind send reinforcing signals to the subconscious mind consistently? The book I read recently emphasizes this concept in a simple way and gives you some practical suggestions to make that happen. “The Law of Attraction and Limiting Beliefs Simplified” by Mario Meigo is a must read.

Though I believe that all the self-help and inspirational books in the world are based on the concepts we already are aware of, yet when someone puts it all in words, based on their own experiences, it really helps to relate to the concept. It also helps in finding inspiration through other people’s experiences, since we ask ourselves, “If this person can do it, why can’t I?”

I would also add some things from my experience. Those moments that give you immense happiness, should be relived time and again so that they get etched in your memory. Write them down somewhere, even if you don’t want to share them. When some time, you are not having your way, it will help you feel good by reading about the moment that brought joy. Some things might seem trivial but make you feel wonderful, do not let those moments pass away, celebrate them. Intensify them, if you can. These will serve as your counselor when no one else is around.

Remember this – the moments that matter most are when you can look at what you achieved and say, “It was really worth it!”

My Books

Read the review Love No More (Love, It Is!)

Read the review Love, It Is!

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