Darn it! It’s us isn’t it?

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I’m in pain. A lot of self-inflicted pain. Things are not going as they should be. My work is causing me worry. The lack of self-worth is beginning to creep up sneakily from the inside (yes, not from behind, it’s always from the inside). And I feel alone, so miserably alone because it is tough to share how down and out you feel when everyone is combating their own fears and failures. My mind is abuzz with questions, as usual. Can anything other than questioning lead us to light? So now you know why I question so much :).

  • Why do people treat other people like they don’t matter? It kills me when friends, family, clients, acquaintances don’t bother responding to emails, calls, texts, Whatsapp or anything. Please don’t tell me that you’ve not seen the message, or that your cell phone or laptop was being flushed down the toilet or that you sat on it or something. Because we’re all connected and how. Of course you are busy. Understandable. My message may not be on your list of priorities. But not responding to a simple text message in any form for hours and days on end? Sorry miss, missus or sir, you are full of crap. Because hey, if you have to ignore, then let’s be straightforward about it. Stop the BSing and the excuses. No one was born yesterday. What’s worse and gets my goat is when these same ‘full of crap’ people will ask you, “I sent you a message, didn’t you get it?” And why do they ask you? Because you haven’t answered them in 30 seconds like you normally do, or perhaps you forgot and didn’t respond by quickly apologising or perhaps you just don’t know how to make excuses and almost always always always respond. It’s all about those goddamned expectations. I should’ve set mine right, right at the beginning. Am I holier than thou? Don’t I take my time over responses to email for instance? Sometimes I do but only with people I can take the liberty of doing so. But I always respond. So yes, it’s a huge bugbear. What eventually happens is that snarky, sneaky voice called ‘IV'(Inner Voice) literally drips into you, slooooowly, drip by drip. It calls on your inner resilience and asks you with a sneer, “So you don’t matter see? No one cares. And what you say is not important, never has been. He he he!” There goes my carefully constructed body of work on self-worth. Aaargh!
  • Why are we all so anxious on ‘what will she/ he think’? I have no bloody clue. I think it may be the conditioning beginning in utero, don’t you? I mean, really perhaps from the time a woman is pregnant, people always comment on her belly, the size, the shape, her form, her clothes, her nauseas and other discomforts, her cravings, her paranoias, baby names, and I think, the baby inside goes, “Oh, so that’s how it works eh? Everyone’s opinion matters. Hmmm….” Poor little baby. I used to feel very anxious about who thought what of me. Nowadays I am getting more and more comfortable in my own skin and so yes, while some people still have the power to hurt me (no, am not telling), that power has receded by a factor of 200%. Not bad Miss Latebloomer, good for ya! :).
  • Why do we so easily discount our own “feelings” and instead opt to listen to reason, rationale, or other opinions not our own? Aah! Tiring isn’t it to think that we’re always telling our heart and our soul, “you don’t matter, you don’t matter”, when all we should be doing is “I love myself”. Please read Kamal Ravikant’s simple but effective book called “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depended On It”. Read James Altucher’s post and you will know what I mean. Oh and please don’t become a James Altucher fan and ditch me ok? :)…Just kidding! See? My self-worth and insecurity was as transparent as Saint Gobain glass what?
  • Why is your approval important to me? For some reason, acknowledgement by others of our own skill, talent or success (what about failure?) automatically seems to transmogrify into our own opinion of ourselves. True ain’t it? Think of how one, just one measly moment in your life when others’ approval or opinion did not matter. Be honest with yourself, don’t give a damn about me. See? There you go, you were wondering, weren’t you, how honest you could be? For that teensy weensy moment you were actually contemplating not being 100% honest, weren’t you? :). Yup, I know that feeling, it happens :).
  • Why do we give up on ourselves? You don’t think we do? But we do. At least I do. I have, many times in the past. I please guilty. I don’t realise my own strength, my own resilience, my own good sense, my own “feeling”/ instinct/ gut-feel/ intuition (call it what you will) will hold me in good stead as it always has my back, unquestionably. And every time I have trusted my instinct or listened to my heart the results have been astonishing. The sad part is it takes a lot of time to build that trust with yourself. If you’re already there, then wow, you’re a guru and can teach me a few things. Please.

So hey, a million questions but let’s take it one blog post, one day, one scenario at a time shall we? Can’t be too rushed about these truth bulbs now can we? It’s been unlit for so long that if we rush it, it could blow a fuse. Let’s dance and sing and be merry, because I think we were put on this earth to find joy and be joyous. What’s your opinion? Share share share. Let your voice be heard. Silence is no longer golden!

Well, Adam Levine has this to say…

The 4 Qs To Get To The Truth!

I think we all have a few things that upset us right? Parents who don’t listen to what we have to say, children who’re stubborn, bosses and colleagues who’re on their own trip, friends who’re probably thinking you’re quite a dork and that really slow cashier at the check-out counter who you could shake, rattle and roll, or that lech in the train, who stares at you neck downwards (someone forgot to tell him that a woman or a person is not just tits & arse) and so on. Yes you and I we all have our pet peeves. Ever wondered why we get peeved at all and why the outcome of disagreements is usually anger leading to brooding, sulking, and just a blue funk? I personally think that it all stems from a deep-seated fear of rejection which in turn is related to self-worth. Someone or many someones somewhere told you something that in your mind meant, “I’m just not good enough!” and that was the beginning of the end of life. For there and then you and I decided to lead our lives steeped in lies. For fear of the truth. But what pray tell, is the truth?

What are the 4 questions that you need to ask that could perhaps lead you to your truth?

a) Who are you? Have you stopped to wonder what it means? 3 words that are being asked of you ad nauseam. Who are you? Are you a description of your physiognomy, or the numbers that make up our life, or the people who birthed you or the family that raised you? Who are you? Think about it. When you get an answer that is plausible, please, I plead with you, share, for I’d like to know if I could answer that query too.

b) What makes you get that buzz in your brain, that sudden giddy feeling that makes you go ‘wheeee!’ or feel that you own the world and nothing, nothing can stop you? When you sing, or connect with people or when someone acknowledges your work of art (and work of art isn’t just restricted to sketches and drawings and sculpture you know, so grow up, redefine and start taking pride in what you do, because anything you do is a work of art), or that heady sensation when you get money? What is that ‘it’? Define it. And yes, it has to be something that sustains your insides, your soul, not something momentary. Once you buy your snazzy big SUV, and have gone for a spin in it, and have received the admiring glances, c’est tout, that’s it. Then what?

c) How are you being in service to others? Now a whole lot of you may go eye-rolling in your head with this query. Service to others? bah! I want to know who is in service of me you may ask? Right. You’re done for. You are doomed to be unhappy for the rest of your life. Because the one thing I have learnt is that when you are in service to someone other than yourself, when your feeling of unbridled happiness stems from the help, service or product that you have provided, then money, success, and happiness are on a roll. The moment you start saying, ‘me, me, me,’ well, what can I say, that’s the beginning of the end.

d)

I’ve been asking myself these questions for a while now. I know what makes my heart go thump thump thump excitedly and I know to some extent who I am. Yes only to some extent, not entirely no :). And I also know my fears. I know what I would like to do to be in service of others – one of which is trying to connect with people through this blog and start a community of people who really want to explore the questions that plague you as much as they plague me. But this whole exploration is a WIP. And it’s fun. So let’s do it together. You with me or what?

As always would love to hear from you. So go on, let me hear you. What? Louder, can’t hear you! Louder still! 🙂

The Art of Doing Nothing!

Yup, yup, yup, you’ve got to be seen to be ‘doing’ something. Anything, but doing is the operative word. Our culture just doesn’t understand that one can actually sit still or look at the stars and just be happy not doing anything. As if it’s not enough that we’re judged on:

  • our looks, our bodies, the colour of our skin, the size of our thighs, our cheekbones, our butt, or even the amount of cellulite creasing our waists and other body parts.
  • our education, our home addresses, the vehicles we drive or the lack of one
  • our jobs, the companies we work in, the seniority (everyone, just about everyone at least in my country thinks that if you’re not ‘climbing the career ladder’, you’re such a loser) of your job position
  • the kind of vacations you go to, the clothes you wear, the parlour you go to or the pubs you visit or the restaurants you eat at
  • the kind of music you listen to, the kind of weddings you attend (yes, the plusher and more ostentatious they are, it means, at least you have arrived in life, whether the bride and groom have doesn’t really mean a fig)

We’re so mired and steeped in a culture that the art of doing nothing has been completely obliterated from our pysches. But I am curious to know what it means to be doing something. Do you wonder if:

  1. doing something means that you are intelligent and are purposeful?
  2. doing something means that when you are on vacation, it means that your itinerary has to be full of ‘stuff to do’ – a tick in the box for all the sights and sounds that the guide books mark as important, the shopping, the ‘I went to so and so place and it was awesome’ when secretly they are cursing spending the ‘friggin 850 US$’?
  3. doing something means that God forbid you are an artist or a sculptor or even a writer, people still ask, ‘so what do you do?’
  4. doing something means that just in case you actually love your own company, it means that ‘you could be self-centred or something is wrong with him/her, he’s always by himself, God knows how she can be on her own like that’?
  5. doing something means that it automatically has to fit the definition that the world at large has defined: to be gainfully employed in a job or a profession that passes muster by society and earning an ‘x’ amount and doing things that other ‘normal’ people DO?’
  6. doing something means that one must somehow forego passion, dreams, aspirations and join the bloody rat race and grow old in meaningless routines and never explore your full potential of who you are or what you can do?
  7. doing something means not even understanding what ‘exploring the limits of my own potential and humanity’ really really means?

This has been troubling me a while and I’ve been doing some thinking around it. I don’t know the answers and I’m not saying that those who put in an honest (or even dishonest) hard day’s work are all silly, stupid and right now, this very minute everyone should basically get up and revolt and quit their well paying jobs and just go fly kits. No siree, I’m not saying that. All I’m saying is why are we afraid to explore the truth for ourselves? Can truth really be that scary? My God! If it is so, then maybe, just maybe we all need to have our heads examined or change our vocabulary or change the meaning of Truth in our lexicons and erase everything that our masters have ever told us about Truth and meaning.

Doing nothing is an art. A lost art. Not everyone who is born needs to follow the rules as set by some society some where, some time ago. Let’s free ourselves from the mindsets that have held us prisoners for far too long. Let’s rewrite the rules as some of us are actually daring to do. Hallelujah to those who dare to do….nothing! Because nothing is also something after all. Think about it.

And while you mull over it, perhaps this song will help you understand that lying on the earth, looking at the sky can also be extremely rewarding. It’s actually love-ly! Try it.

Would love to hear from you about what you think of the art of doing nothing. Are we making too much of nothing, or making too much of everything? :).

 

 

Self-worth eh? What’s it worth?

Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars
Yeah, we’ll be counting stars

I highly recommend that you listen to the song. Those  are the opening bars of the song. Listen to it and tell me if you think it’s “play” or “bray” :), also if the song is apt and goes with the mood of the post. And pray what would that be you ask? Oh well, the usual crap that we all go through in life – am I really worth it? Oh come on, don’t tell me you don’t go through this in you life! You’re a superhero or from another planet or what?!

For the longest time my self-worth issues were more or less related to the following:

  1. money
  2. looks
  3. colour of skin
  4. body
  5. intelligence
  6. humour
  7. how loud I was (believe it or not)
  8. my parents and what they did in life (I did need to get a life! but please don’t tell me I’m in the company of one here)
  9. job

You know what the best part is/ was? I never knew that my intense feelings of depression, rage, shame, guilt, anger and pain were ALL related to the “Plate of 8” above! Dang it! Imagine that my Life, yes, my life, a life that I needed to feel so blessed about, grateful about, so lucky and deliriously happy about was reduced to the “Plate of 8”. Today, I felt immense sadness because my expectations on a certain front was completely deflated like air being let out of a balloon. It was then that I started examining why I felt deflated and it all boiled down to, yep, you guessed it, self-worth.

Here I am baring my soul in the hope that your soul can be healed. I hope. I pray. 

a) How much money would make me happy? First I thought “enough to buy me a fantastic home, afford me a couple of trips around the world, a gorgeous curvy beauty on wheels”. I was of course foolish to think that money could “buy” me happiness. If you still think so, all I can do is pity you. If only I had the good fortune to ask myself the question, ‘but why’.

b) Why was it necessary for me to have money? This was a no-brainer. So that I could show off and get the admiration of friends, family, peers and show that I’m worth it. If they could go, “wow, she’s doing well, she’s going abroad, she’s on vacation in the Bahamas, has a couple of huge apartments” it would mean I had arrived. God! Imagine if people “loved” me only because of the externals! If only I had my brain muscle working hard enough to trigger the question, ‘why’.

c) Nope, 

 I am attractive and the Universe has given me features that are mine. It took me a long long long time to realise that I am unique. As are you. I was never ever going to be ‘beautiful’ as defined by ‘others’. ‘Others’ are usually comprising of people like you and me :). Every relationship that I had, I was half-responsible for ruining it as I bent over backwards in being grateful that any man would ever find me attractive. “Oh my God, he likes me, no no, he says he loves me, I must put my life on HOLD and do anything to keep him here because if he goes no one else will Ever love me.” I’m still single, I’ve had my share of relationships, some casual, some serious, but I refuse to be sorry for having been blessed with so many. Because at some point in my life, I paused and examined ‘why’. If you regret your relationships you are regretting being who you are. There, that gives you an answer of where your self-worth lies on a scale of 1 – 5. 

d) I was born dusky, which is an euphemism for ‘dark’. My true friends always said that in a land other than where I was born, I’d be treated as exotic because of the colour of my skin. Oh well! Even as I write this I can feel the emotion choking me and the huge lump in my throat. This is a scar that goes deep. I was always called “black bull” in my country’s native tongue ‘Hindi’. I would see boys sniggering at my looks. I remember in a public pool where I went swimming when I was 9 or 10, I once had a couple of young boys who tailed me to one end of the pool and kept whispering loudly, “let’s see, she seems cute, oh let’s see if she’s cute” and then when I surfaced from the water at the other end, they took one look at me and said, “chheee!”. That, there and then broke my heart in a million little pieces. That, there and then laid the path to my eternal damnation and unhappiness, because that, there and then, ladies and gentlemen, was the easiest handing over of power to the ‘other’ for my happiness. I think it was Confucius who said, “happiness is an inside job”, but I had already taken a tumble through the rabbit hole of “self-worth zero”. If only I had the guts later on in my life to delve into my disappointments and ask ‘why’.

e) My body is a gift. It truly is. It allows me to do things that is a miracle, even as I grow more deeply entrenched into old age. But for the longest time I was driven to be a certain size. I hated the size of my breasts, I hated the size of my thighs, my waist, my back, Jesus, I hated being trapped in my body. Diaries were written about how ugly I was. Tears were shed. Depression was courted. Diets were made and diets were broken. My body was punished. And it obeyed me, no matter what. I love my body today. I still have some cribs, God, yes, but I refuse to live on boiled eggs and water (as I did when I was studying in college), just so that I had a “figure to die for”. What good did it do me? Did I get modelling assignments, did I have amazing boy friends, did I do anything of note because of this ‘body of work’? What, you kidding me? If only I had paused every time to ask why.

f) In our country like in China and many other Asian nations (read “Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mom” by Amy Chua), we are obsessed with how well we do in school or college. And when I say ‘well’, it usually means ‘good grades = brilliant = beautiful child, good child’. The sense of rejection that I felt when I was 9 and in grade 4 because I happened to get ‘2nd rank’ and was thus berated for having been careless to have relinquished my ‘1st rank’ is something that you may scoff at, but only a 9-year old who is dark, plump and not very popular and whose parents were away toiling away in another country, can perhaps hope to understand. If only I had the wisdom then to ask why.

g) I’m not a rib-tickling, laugh-riot, a female Jon Stewart, no. I do have a very loud voice and in my anger (which incidentally is nothing but fear of rejection and an indication of low self-worth) or pain or frustration I can raise it enough to be heard over a din. I am serious by nature though many of my friends tell me that I’m quite funny. Even these characteristics were weighed by me to beat myself about it again and and again and again. It was like the stoning of Jesus, difference being I was stoning myself (and not on Ecstasy or cocaine) for being born me. If only I had the sense and the humour to stop and ask, Why?

h) My parents come from very modest backgrounds – money-wise or education-wise or jobs-wise. That they were who they were was not good enough for me. I questioned myself sometimes why they weren’t ‘better off’. Like shiny, brilliant epaulets that I could wear on my shoulders and show off? Aah, if only I had the modesty and the sensibility to ask ‘why for Chrissakes!’

i) And finally my job. I was never good enough ever. I was a good worker. I was a smart woman. I was talented. But I was conflicted about doing stuff that I was actually not really good at. My heart was into writing. I thought I could make waves in advertising. I didn’t. I did something else in advertising by default. Did I persevere and shine in that field? God, no. Writing was my calling. I pursued it elsewhere. Did I persevere? No, I did not. I was a rolling stone and so I never rose the career ranks. I was a specialist made to do a generalist role. My bosses, mostly women, all of whom I have learnt hell of a lot from, many of whom I am still in touch with, couldn’t really mentor me. I don’t think we really know how to ask for mentorship or give it in our ‘full of crap dog-eat-dog corporate world’.

Today, I don’t earn even a quarter of what my peers and my friends earn. Of course money being such a ‘hush hush’ topic, none of my friends will ever ask me or vice versa ‘so how much do you make’. That is strictly “no entry” but I know. There are dark, lonely moments where only I have approvals for “Entry”, when I look up at the ceiling in the dark and I feel small and full of shit. After all look at ‘xyz’, look at their FB pages, see where they travel, their clothes, their ‘likes’, their popularity, their cars and fancy homes. And they have the looks and the husband the smart children to boot. What the hell do I have?
…thankfully I have stopped to ask ‘why’.

Pause. Please ask yourself why at every stage when you feel bad due to the “plate of 8” or whatever else your plate holds. Go deep. Keep asking why till you finally get to the root of it. And then you will set yourself up for liberation. Liberation from at least some of the chains that have held you prisoner in your own mind, heart and soul. Some may still remain, but you can make your peace with it. Because at the end of it all, you are worth it. Never ever forget that. Money, jobs, looks, skin, humour, fat arse, dandruff, you laugh funny, but who gives a rat’s ass? You are you. Aren’t you?

Pause. Reflect. Question. Root. Release. Liberate. Self-worth. Heal. 

It’d be great if you have a “plate of 8” or if what I just wrote made a difference to you. Peace out!