7 simple rules to practice self-love

Since we are still in the ‘Love’ month of February I wanted to share these 7 simple rules to show some love to our ‘Self’. After all, we can only share what we have.

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Practicing Self Love

  1. Wear an outfit that makes you smile and or wear make-up that makes you smile J
  2. Eat well- Recognize the foods/drinks which make you go off balance.
  3. Make time for what makes you happy.
    • This could be prayer/meditation/ time with nature/me time. Me time could also be time for painting, journaling, dancing etc.
  4. Get your body some exercise – experiment with dancercise, rock climbing, hiking, biking and find out which form of exercise you actually look forward to.
  5. Allow yourself time to not ‘do’ anything and just be. This can be for 5 minutes or 15 minutes depending on how long you can give yourself. If not doing anything drives you nuts then simply curl up in your bed and take a nap or get a nice bubble bath.
  6. Pay attention to how many hours of sleep is ideal for you. You would know this by the fact that you don’t need an alarm to jolt you up in the morning.
  7. Set boundaries with people at work, with relatives, with friends etc. Start saying NO to those situations/people who drain you out. Respect your life enough to leave work on time most days where you feel like you have a life beyond work.

 

The Stronger I get, Harder it is for me to bend…

The Stronger I get, Harder it is for me to bend…

You must be wondering what’s with the title, guess what this title just slipped off my tongue 2 minutes ago when I was talking to my friend. Serendipity, would you call that? Well, without dragging that much let me tell you what I am referring to. I am referring to the strength of the person that we become with age, experience, insights etc etc. The word bend here is not used with a negative connotation but refers more to adjustments. Some years back when I was pursuing my MBA, I had heard the term agility which meant that you are strong but flexible to adapt to situations. I always kept that in mind as a benchmark of how I wanted to be. The professor who talked about explained the concept with a beautiful analogy of the green grass and tall trees. Tall trees are noticeable and look strong whereas the short green grass often goes unnoticeable and looks meek but when hit by a storm, tall trees fall down to the ground and the green grass survives. This questions our basic understanding of strength which often is phrased as ‘as hard as a rock’. When we consider the above example, we are forced to rethink of strength as the ability to survive which has a prelude in one’s ability to adapt. I have given the example above to contextualize the word bend in my writing ahead.

Some years back, I was going through a phase of asserting my identity to myself. I was searching for my own value system and the way I wanted to live myself which included my work, my idea of a vacation , my ideal life partner and things I would like to engage in etc. With the help of some of my mentors and great friends I became the person I wanted to be. I received positive re-inforcement for the way I was with some minor areas of improvement. It has always been tough for me to receive feedback which involves criticism but I was lucky to find people who made me understand the value of positive criticism and I paved my way through those improvements. I reached a stage where I felt that I was the best person I could be and consolidated my idea of myself through my actions. Having moved from a point where I was not sure of many things in life to a point where I was being just the way I thought was best made me confident in myself. I would easily adapt to different situations and be open to different perspectives in life. I was happy that I was the green grass and not the tall tree.

Little did I know that I was going to be presented with a relationship where I would have to reflect on my self perception of what I am. It requires discernment to be able to decide whether your assertion is proving to be stubbornness in a relationship. It is this reflection that forced me understand that when we are in a relationship, there obviously is an other( read person) whom you ( encompasses your values, habits, behaviors, beliefs etc) are trying to relate to. I was trying hard to be the green grass whereas in reality I was coming across as the tall tree in the relationship. Today while I was talking to a friend, I mentioned to him that there is reason why our parents want us to get married by the age of 23-25 or so. The reason being, at that age we are still in the process of solidifying our identity and not achieved closure on it. As we grow older, we become more of the person we are and hence not ready to modify ourselves easily if so proposed by someone else or by circumstances. This closure provides us with stability in our thoughts and does help us move in positive directions. Right at this moment, I am tempted to offer an example from partnered dances like salsa, jive etc. The feminine aspect of these dances is to be able to follow the lead offered by the masculine. The beauty of these dances is to be able to complement each other’s moves and more so for the female partner who can be the best individual dancer but has to know how to offer herself in the best with the lead. Another aspect in these dances is that, a female is more receptive and not assertive (The male and female used here are not necessarily referring to ideal man/ woman traits).

With all the description above, I am trying to say that sometimes our perception of our strengths becomes our weakness. My idea of asserting myself had reached a point where I did not feel the need to change anything in myself and was not willing to bend for anything. I found that the strength of who I am was coming in my way of nurturing my relationship. It was hard on me to realize that my individuality had become too strong to accept any changes even if they were minor in mature. I felt as if I wanted to stand at a place where I was comfortable and wanted the other person to do all the hard work and reach towards me. As I write this, I would also like to mention that I am not an advocate of sacrificing to an extent where you cease to exist and fight to search who you are all over again. Instead, I would be glad if we could find a midway of doing things which calls for a lot of discernment at our end. In some heavy words, it would be finding your path between individualism and collectivism. It would be a move from being independent to being interdependent, from saying “this is me, take it or leave it” to saying “is that how I come across?, let me think about it”.

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Togetherness

Well, this is just the beginning of another life lesson for me and from the looks of it, it seems like a tough one indeed. There are times when I felt that I can live my life all by myself and that I don’t need to be married to someone but today I feel that having someone next you all the time, keeps you in check at different points of time and through various life transitions.

Being YourSelf…

What does your experience say? Is it easy being you or it is a challenge every SELF faces in the years that it lives amongst many other “selves”. Let me take you to another tangent- while I write this, I remember a quote – “Most people are other people”, they live by the way other people want them to and think with other people’s minds (the collective mind, do not read it as the mind of the Supreme Being) There are two alternate questions that pop up when we discuss this: 1) Whether an individual realizes what his Self is made up of, his distinct identity or his uniqueness in this universe?
2) Having realized it, what does one really do with it?

Lets take the first question: Right from the moment a child is born, we assign him similarities to his parents/ relatives etc etc…We tend to focus more on what our child shares in common in his peers (does he attend the same coaching classes, or the same summer camps, or may be is one’s child doing better than the neighbors’). Very rarely do we let a child find have his time to explore and find out what he really likes. For some fortunate souls, this liberty is granted in the form of extra- curricular activities in school and college. Some struggle later in lives to FIND themselves, that passion in them that lits them and sets them apart. The SELF is strong in these individuals and they cannot resist the urge to follow it and understand it. Many others resort to convenient ways of just doing what they have been asked to and live a life acceptable within the societal parameters of stable job, marriage followed by kids and the likes…In effect, the process of finding oneself is in itself a courageous task because many a times, you may have to stand alone and not have the luxury of being comparable, hence declared normal, acceptable. The uniqueness in each individual is not comparable if you do realize it, that is.

Now comes the next question: After having realized what ingredients you are made up of, what do you do? This is an even more challenging task for as SELF to conquer, for this is where thoughts start shaping up into action. For example: what happens when the blue eyed baby born in an engineer’s family, decides to take up pottery as his profession. I am sure I need not essay the confrontations that would take place in a normal setup. This is where the strength of a passion is tested through fire. Many a potter must have given up his dreams for the want of answers to practical people who believe in stable lives and who have not seen people making a living out of their passions. It is only when your courage to follow your heart is tested that you understand how clear you are about the dream you are chasing. The road ahead is even tougher for the people who decide to take the plunge and in the bargain lose out on their safety nets of bank balances, secured relationships, steady job etc etc…The individuals who reach till here know that as and when you learn more, you realize that you are alone, left with HIM. And independence is always coupled with responsibility for one’s actions.

It is also only over a period of time that one can differentiate between a fool and a wise person.
For any person, both appear to start the same way but it is only the end that justifies the strength and conviction of the SELF in either.