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(This post is a reproduction of one of my articles in ‘The Woman’)

Chatting casually over emails with an old friend, I realized that women tend to get overly frustrated, at some or the other point in their lives. It does not make any difference if you are single or married; working or student; stay-at-home or working mom; living in nuclear or joint family; that feeling of crankiness creeps in some way or the other. Many a times, we blame it on our difficult circumstances – tough job, unsupportive spouse, young kids, meddlesome in-laws, or some other life situation. But, I think that one reason that causes the other situations seem out of proportion is that we do not take as much care of ourselves as we should. I am not referring to getting a massage or facials or haircut etc. Though these things might cheer you momentarily, what really makes a huge difference to your outlook is your healthy state of mind, i.e. when you feel loved, cared for and respected.

We women are so busy living up to our various roles – daughter, sister, wife, or mother, that we forget out own self. We tend to go out of the way to make everyone in our lives feel emotionally content. But, how many times in a day do we actually make an effort to fill up our ‘emotional tank’? I am not suggesting that we should forsake everything in life and just concentrate on self-happiness. All women know, within their heart, that their true happiness lies in that of the ones they love. I am not asking women to be selfish. But in order to be selfless to the extent we are or want to be, we should be caring towards ourselves as well. If one is not happy from within, one cannot be at peace with one’s life. Hence, frustrations ooze out in various ways – irritation at small things, anger at kids or husband, or general feeling of dissatisfaction.

I can be more giving only when I have immense love inside me. I can be more caring only when I feel cared for. I can perform my duties as a mother, wife or daughter to my best ability only when I recognize and fulfill my needs as an individual. How do I do that? For the start, I can pamper myself with finding some time just for myself. Even if it is just fifteen minutes a day, I can take my mind away from everyone else and think about myself. I start enjoying being just me, for a few moments. In this ‘me-time’, I can start doing something that I really enjoy, something that makes me genuinely happy, something that is done for the sole purpose of bringing joy to me. It can be reading, writing, yoga, dancing, painting, singing, embroidery, anything at all. It is important to make this something as a part of my routine. I don’t put this activity off for some other day, but I do it today. I enjoy it now. This way, I give my mind what it yearns for – peace and contentment. These few minutes of peace make an immense difference to the whole day. If I make it a habit of spending some time just by myself and start enjoying it, I become more efficient in other roles I perform.

If you have a supportive family, you can go one step further. You can spend a couple of hours with your friends, may be once a month. Have you observed how men feel more cheerful and energized after a game of football or badminton with their friends? Women can start with similar kind of activities with their friends. If you can leave the kids at home and can go out for a “girls’ evening out” and do whatever you feel like – watching movie, playing tennis, going to an exhibition etc., it would give you a kick for many days. It is just a matter of spending some quality time for yourself that would make a magnificent difference to your whole attitude. So, why not grab a pen and make a to-do list for yourself as you do for other household work?

…in every field of work to make success happen is – to do what you love to do! The one secret ingredient is – love!

I have read many many books, blogs, articles, stories about how some one succeeded, what worked for them etc. I appreciate these people sharing the tips with the rest of us (of course, the lucky ones make success and money, even from sharing stuff!). But the underlying message everywhere is the same – do what you love to do. Or to say the reverse, I am yet to find anyone who succeeded doing something they didn’t love to do. And I am not talking about having a decent job and some money and a good existence. I am talking about the success as in being happy about yourself and your life every single day, if not in every single moment.

If you think about it, most of us who are not struggling with major health, financial or personal issues, are successful. If you compare, you will find that there are many people who have much less than you. But I am not talking about that. I am talking about living your ideal day – every day. For example, I would want my day to start with writing and coffee! I picture myself engrossed in writing in the early hours of morning, congratulating myself for writing about 200-300 words before the start of the day, when my little angels come rushing to me, kiss me good morning while my husband smiles at me and asks how long I have been up. This is the start of my ideal day and the other part has many such moments. That is what success means to me.

What does success mean to you? I am really happy for you if you are one of those few people who are really content with what they have and are capable of living their whole life being satisfied at all levels – health, emotional, financial etc. I would love to learn from you. But if you are like the less content ones like me, who want more from their life than what they have, here is the mantra. I repeat – just do what you love! Everything else will fall into place – you will find opportunity (or opportunities), you will get lucky, you will deal with the obstacles, you will learn to stand up for your dreams, you will be alive! Just put lots of love into your dream, and go for it.

One of my favorite quotes: “I’m going to succeed because I think I’m crazy enough to think I can.”

Sometimes, you feel so low as if your heart is sinking and you want to take it out and smash it into small pieces and throw them away so that you cannot feel anything again. What do you do in those moments – cry, scream, go quiet, get angry? It seems like the end of the world, and you are lost trying to understand what would make all the pain go away.

My husband shared a beautiful story with me that talks about pain…it might help:

http://www.higherawareness.com/growth-tools/become-a-lake.html

Easier said than done, I know. Every pain and sorrow that we feel seems to be big while we always have the solutions to other people’s problems. Once my uncle had said to me, “Always remember this. Your loved ones can sympathize with you when you are in pain, they might even help & support you; but it is only you that has to bear the pain.” The words keep resonating in my head and I understand that no one can feel my pain, but at least I can seek support and help from those who care. After all, wouldn’t I do my best for someone I loved in the same situation?

It is not easy to bring out the positive thoughts when you are facing something that you feel is a big problem. But that’s exactly what defeats the problem. If you can gather the will inside you to tell yourself that though you accept it is a problem (and a big one!) yet you will do your best to deal with it, the problem loses its hold on you. And you can pave the way for the hero inside you.

Remember all the stories about people who have fought back in worse situations and emerged winners? Some of those stories must have left a mark on you and are still fresh in your mind…then, revisit them. Think of those people.

Sometimes, just getting away from the scene helps. Go to a different place and look at different things – maybe the busy road outside your office. Just observe for a moment how everyone is rushing by and not looking at anything but the way ahead. Do you see the young dog running by here and there and trying to cross the street? Or the beggar sleeping on the roadside, oblivious to his tethered clothes and the hot sun over his head?  It is amazing how when you start to observe the things around you with much interest, your mind doesn’t brood any more about the problem at hand and you might even find a solution after it is relaxed and refreshed.

Read the following inspirational quotes:

“All things grow with time, except grief.”
“Some lessons in life are best learned through pain and grief.”
“The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God.”
So whatever bothers you and keeps you stressed, just remember that you will get through it and you will emerge a winner as you know its true…that a hero lies in you…

(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.

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!”

There might be thousands of writers out there, yet it is not easy being a writer. It requires efforts equal to any other art form or a serious job. You don’t become a writer by just writing once in a while and never revisiting your work. You become a writer when you absolutely love writing and manage to find enough time to do it; are constantly working hard to improve your skills; read as much as you can about writing so that you can do better; can find something interesting enough to write about, every other day.

Each small step you take makes a difference and takes you closer to your goal. And, the goal in question is always the same – being a writer and loving it for the sake of it! If you don’t love being a writer, you might as well not be!

Know it – that it is going to be tough. You have to sacrifice your sleep, TV time, internet-surfing time and all the unproductive stuff. You have to forget about the real world and get into your writing as if only that world exists. You have to write, no matter what. If you don’t have it in you…better quit and forget about becoming a writer.

First, you have to become a writer, then you can think of publishing, making money, being famous etc. But the work comes first. There is no other way to do it. There might be many easy ways to earn money, if that’s your purpose, being a writer ain’t one of them! Of course, you could make money by writing things that get the attention of mass…but that success will be as short-lived as a reader’s attention. I am assuming that most of the authors do not run after money and success…they just want to be recognized for being an author and for loving what they do.

As a budding writer, you must have heard this advice often – read a lot. And you know what, it’s true. Apart from writing stuff as often as you can (article, story, poem, novel, blog post etc), you must spend a lot of your free time on reading stuff others have written. You can stumble upon good support material for your writing, you will know what are the kind of works already present in your preferred genre, you can guess what kind of material is being read and is popular. And very important, you will be able to connect to other new writers who might be in a similar situation as you and would turn out to be a good help. Sometimes, you can spark a new friendship there! There are so many advantages of reading, especially in the current era, when Google is like a best friend to a writer. This is an era of information…grab anything and everything that is available on this magic land called internet and use it for betterment of your writing!

I have been writing for more than 20 years, but I took it up seriously only a few years back…I love it more day by day! As I get deeper into this realm of writing, I evolve and I learn, and I enjoy it even more. Writing can be learned/improved only by more writing. You have to bring yourself to a level where you are practically living in the world of writing – unless you see every single situation with a writer’s eyes, unless you are looking for a new story every single awake moment of yours, and unless every conversation you are a part of, instigates the author inside you…you still are not ready. You still have a long way to go.

I am not saying you should shun all your other responsibilities and just write, but the desire to do so should be fierce in you. There are situations in everyone’s lives which lead to postponement of your dreams, but if you can keep that dream alive till you are, you have potential to live it some day. That day will soon come. The speed at which it arrives into your life to become a part of you, depends entirely on how strong your wish is to make sacrifices in the present to give yourself that chance in the future.

Yes, being a writer, you will almost never see immediate results. Unfortunately, for some, they never come. But are you willing to take that risk? Are you ready to take a plunge in the dark, just having the weapon of passion with you and with no promise of ever making it big? If your answer is yes, my dear friend, you are absolutely ready. Just go for it!

My Books

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

Read the review Love, It Is!

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