If you have the ability to love, Love Yourself first! 426

YES…..Marry yourself first.

The concept of loving oneself is not new. We have TED talks, articles and movies that are spreading more and more awareness about the importance of self-love. My induction into the concept happened some three years back when I was facing some personal challenges. The situations forced me to take a hard look at some patterns that I could not stop. I wanted answers and looked into the plethora of spiritual resources – Osho, TED talks, Buddhism, psychology studies. Even though my journey with self-love started long back, I can only now (after three years) say that I truly understand and live the concept.

The concept is very simple. We reflect our shortcomings on other people. When something bothers, upsets, anger, or just irritates us in another person, it is very rare outside of us. If someone else can upset you – you have given your power and energy away. Having realized this, I set on this mission to never let anyone else get under my skin. My approach was incorrect. I saw the symptom – which was my irritation – and I jumped to eliminating it. I did not spend time introspecting the cause of the irritation or anger in the first place. The cause was simple – I did not accept myself completely. I did not accept my shortcomings and flaws. Hence, when someone else triggered my flaws, I did not exhibit the awareness to understand, register and let the irritation go. Instead, I reacted.

How could this go on? I have family, friends, work colleagues. I spend time with all of them. However, the one person I do not get any rest from is myself. I have to live in my body, in my mind, in my soul – all my life. Even when I sleep, my overactive imagination sends messages through dreams! It is impossible to get away from myself and I would be a fool not to try loving myself!

Self-love does not work in isolation of self-work. In order to love myself, it was important for me to follow these three steps:

Introspect

A lot of introspection to helps me understand myself better. When I am not surrounded by people who validate my existence, how do I validate it on my own? Who am I when no one is watching? This was tough. Mix the social life in the city with work – you hardly spend time with yourself. I had to make conscious efforts of turning down invitations if my heart wanted to spend time with myself. Eventually, I could see a clear shift. From being restless with spending time with myself, I started enjoying my cuppa, book and diary. Now I am at a point that me-time is one of the most rejuvenating parts of my schedule.

Accept

Introspection is not always pretty. The process does not always involve a cup of coffee and a faint smile on the face. Introspection has a very honest face which exposes your shortcomings and flaws. Oh, how tough this stage was for me! I had been dealing with anger issues for a long time and only now was I beginning to understand that anger was just a symptom. There were layers of self-doubt and self-defense that had shifted my primary response to anger. I had to accept it and let go of the guilt with it. I saw myself as I was. Not as others saw me. The moment we think anyone is watching, we lose our true selves.

The reality is what is inside you. This step is the toughest. We are tuned to come up with excuses for our behavior – ‘the circumstances are tough, hence I act out’, ‘I have grown up seeing anger, hence I react with it too’, ‘nobody understands me’, ‘my work is demanding and I do not have time for feelings’. We are also tuned to protect ourselves – hence more often than not, our justification for reacting to a situation in a certain way will be very comforting. We forget to question in that moment why circumstances triggered the emotions we felt. That is key. Undiluted honesty.

Pat yourself on the back

However, another very important part of acceptance is giving yourself a pat on the back for the strength in your character. I maintain a gratefulness journal and every now and then, I would write down my strong qualities that had either been passed on by my parents or that I had built. I am grateful for being the person I am, albeit with flaws.

Transform

This part was easy. I knew my flaws. I understood them. I understood what triggered them. It was time to let go. I worked on letting go my anger and of transforming myself into a person I would want to spend time with. It is an ongoing life project and I can say it is the most rewarding one. I am building myself every day.

None of the above has a start and end date. It is a cyclical process. However, once you pass the first cycle truthfully, you will look at yourself in the mirror and feel happy with the person you see. I got married in Dec of last year and it is only recently this year that I could say with certainty that I love the person I have become and I would be happy to spend the rest of my life with myself.

People often confuse this self-love with selfishness. To those people, I would appeal – please go through the cycle J, your introspection might well reveal your inability to love yourself, triggering you to reject my ability to self-love. If in doubt, if in a reactive mode, just ask yourself – would you want to spend the rest of your life with this person?

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This little girl is afraid of lights…. WHY?? Watch the video! 232

A couple of days back I and my daughter witnessed an accident of a man with his child driving on a bike. Lot many people gathered at the spot and some helped the victims. I and my daughter stopped and helped the child who did not have any major wounds but was scarred here and there and was bleeding a little. The man too, but his back was hit badly to the road divider. Probably, I am afraid the inside damage may take some time to be revealed, though I hope he will be healed fully. The public started judging that the father must have lost control. Either he was driving with high speed or was on the phone while driving.

The truth was none of these reasons and the father had no mistake. The mistake was the car that sped away which drove in front of him while they were on the road in opposite direction. The father was at normal speed but when the car took a left turn and the high beam light blinded the father and he could not open his eyes. This made him lose control as he was caught suddenly. The car driver did not realize what he did or how he became a reason for someone to fall and so he just drove away. Luckily the father and daughter did not have any much damage, but what if something serious happened? Who is responsible for it?

Dear people, most vehicles have an option to dimmer your headlights. While driving in city limits keep your headlights dim and when in a darker and outskirts place you can make it higher. Many do not realize this and drive without even bothering about it. Please, do not be a reason of someone’s death knowingly or unknowingly. Do not take away a child’s father or mother just because you were too ignorant to check your headlights while driving. Here is a beautiful video that explains what I am talking. Share with your family and friends and spread the awareness. Because like you many just do not realize and once they know, I am sure people will be careful.

“I Fear a Relapse”, Says Deepika Padukone. 1379

The trailer of the most awaited Padmavati movie was released making us wait on a tiptoe for the movie to be released soon which is actually on December 1st, 2017 (See the trailer here). While on-screen Rani Padmini fights for her honor, the actress who plays the role, Deepika Padukone is fighting altogether a different battle in her real life.

While shooting for the Happy New Year movie, Deepika was fighting her inner battle of depression. Although she did not realize it then. Her mother who came to visit felt there was something wrong and requested Anna Chandy, a psychiatrist from Bengaluru to talk to her daughter. Though Deepika ignored it for a period of time, she finally recognized her problem and took steps to cure it. However, in a recent event, while talking about the Jauhar scene of Rani Padmini in the movie Padmavati, she revealed that she lives in a constant fear of a relapse of depression. She said “ I don’t think, I am completely over it. There is always a fear of relapse as that phase when it happened is the worst experience in my life”.

Since her opening up about her condition in public, there are numerous articles written about depression and there are plenty of suggestion available for someone who is looking for help. But, the truth is a lot many of the population who are suffering from depression do not know that they have it and they need help. Most of them try to think it is nothing but stress, fatigue and they are over-worked.

Like Deepika said in one of her interviews earlier while talking about her feelings during the time, being sad and being depressed are two different things. When someone is sad, they look sad, but when someone is depressed, most of the times they hide it. They try to behave normally while the feeling of emptiness keeps nagging at them. You do not have to be poor or have to lose something in life to be depressed. Sometimes the feeling of depression has no reason.

How to recognize the signs?

When someone is depressed, you may notice certain changes in them. Such as,

  • Less interested in daily activities
  • Loss of appetite and weight changes (can lose or gain)
  • being angry and irritable most of the times
  • less energised
  • self-loathing
  • reckless behaviors
  • Change in sleeping patterns

These are some of the changes we notice in a depressed person, not for few days but on a regular basis. If you spot these in someone or if you are facing it yourself, get help. There is no age or gender who are affected by depression.

Recognizing and understanding the symptoms of depression is the first step to finding a solution. Once you know, meet a good psychiatrist and get help. There is no shame in finding help to cure a mental illness. We meet our doctors for physical illness. In the same way, sometimes our mind also need that extra help too.

Do not, I repeat do not ever be afraid to ask for help!!! Because you might be surprised that there are so many good people around you who really care and want to help you.