Stop hiding, start living

f2c551c6f6e0085ac489bb94900a09c0As women, we spend our lives living up to the expectations of the people around us. Like it or not, we are brought up to believe that addressing the needs of others around us is more important than living our own lives and we tend to succumb to this belief and adopt it as our own as fighting it and wanting to live our own life takes far too much effort.

If you find yourself in this category, know that you are possibly trapped in a hideout, which is a reason (read excuse) to stop ourselves from doing the things we truly want to do. I cannot do this because my husband…or because my child…or because my in-laws…or my boss… the list goes on. Interestingly, there are abstract hideouts too, like our income or our looks or, and this will sound a bit ridiculous but it is true for some, even our colour. I cannot do this because…I cannot wear this because…I cannot go here because…For men, of course, hideouts take a different spin. It is the newspaper or the cricket match or the occasion that calls for drinks or perhaps the next big car.

The point is that we all tend to live in these hideouts endlessly unless we are required to pull ourselves out of the inertia for reasons that we believe we have no control over, though for which, we may be secretly thankful at a later point. The sad part is that in some cases the reason to break free never presents itself, and if it does, it arrives too late when most of our desire to live has ended. I would argue that each of us has one or many hideouts, but the truth is that each of us is capable of recognising our hideouts and abandoning them for good. It requires courage and means facing the real world with all its opportunities and challenges. It means saying no to things which no longer work or make us happy and going out of our way to do that one thing that we have always wanted to do.

Happiness is like a flame that needs a constant supply of oxygen and oxygen is scarce in hideouts. Sometimes, resorting to hideouts might be good, but only for a limited period of time. As long as we are conscious about our choices and have a plan for getting out when we want, it works. So, what’s your hideout?

This post is a reproduction of my weekly column  written for The Goan (http://thegoan.net).

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Being single in a relationship

Couple crisisSome of us who are in a relationship, either live-in or engaged or married know what it is like to be in a relationship. Others still feel as though they are single. Singlehood is often a state of the mind and not necessarily a social status.

Many-a-times, being in a relationship is about sharing responsibilities but more importantly, it is about sharing experiences. Not being able to share experiences day after day, simply because there is a lack of opportunity for conversation can be detrimental to a relationship. This could be on account of many reasons, maybe one partner travels extensively or keeps long hours at work or has a widespread social circle, so much so that your relationship takes a backseat and feelings of confusion and doubt creep in, often leading to disillusionment and heartbreak.

The good news is, there is a work around. Women who find themselves ‘stuck’ with partners who seem to be occupied with a zillion other things and are unable to be there when it matters and when it is required can find ways of getting through such times. All this needs is an acknowledgement of the situation, prior planning and the desire to have some fun. Acknowledgement is usually the toughest part as it means waking up from our dream of ‘one fine day…’ and starting to live our life, despite everything. As a starting point, consider falling back into your social circles. Look up friends from school and college and find opportunities to get out and spend time with like-minded people.

Consider planning your week ahead of time. Being able to look forward to the weekend to catch up with friends or family over meals or a movie can boost your spirits a great deal.

Self-care and spending time with oneself are as much or more important. A wonderful way to get back in touch with yourself is to revive your long lost passions – refresh your music collection, join a dance or fitness class or just take up a new hobby – learn gardening, baking, music or meditation or better still, consider adopting a pet.

Another interesting way to spend time reflecting on your day and to engage in self-talk is to write a journal or a blog. Focus less on facts and more on feelings as writing is therapeutic and often recommended for people dealing with a lack of clarity about a situation at hand. To be happy in a relationship, it is important for you to be happy first. If what we have does not work, change it.

This post is a reproduction of my weekly column  written for The Goan (http://thegoan.net).

Get ready ladies. It’s showtime !

get-ready-for-the-next-shot-its-showtime-100172087What does it take to be a resounding success at an event? Whether it’s a presentation at work or an important social event that you have to host/be a part of, there are several things that get us worried. More often than not, we get through them smoothly. There are, however, a few things we can do to ease the pressure.

Before the show, gather information about the people expected to be there. What do we know about them, what could they be thinking or feeling or expecting? What do we know about their likes, etc. Think about how you would like to present yourself. This is not just about what you would wear or how you would look, but more about how you would want to be perceived. Would you want to be confident and happy or tense and uptight? What can you do to prepare so that you present yourself in the manner you have chosen? Plan for what you have to say or do. Run through the event over and over in your mind and think about what you would want to leave the people with. A message or a feeling or a thought, perhaps?

Wear a black hat. Think about everything that could go wrong and how you would respond to such situations. If you are unable to find answers yourself, talk to others who might be able to offer you their perspective. After you have prepared for everything that could go wrong, it is time to get positive. Talk to people who believe in you, who would be good for your confidence, watch an inspiring movie clip. Basically, do something that makes you feel good.

Visualise success. This is one of the most powerful techniques used by players and performers around the world. While you have a plan for everything that you think can go wrong, imagine that at the end of the event, you get a resounding applause. And you will. On the day of the show, arrive at the venue/office early because being early gives you an edge. You can get familiar with the environment, get some feelers about the people and what they are thinking.

And finally, be ready to change. No matter how well you might have thought through the situation, you cannot predict the future. Be prepared to follow cues and change your plan. If you need time to figure out what to do, excuse yourself for a break and get back in with a plan. Good luck!

This post is a reproduction of my weekly column  written for The Goan (http://thegoan.net).