Being complete and happy

happy-womanLet me ask you a question…do you feel complete? If yes, my compliments to you – perhaps you may not then find this a redundant read. If not, then why not? What do you believe will complete you?

Being complete is a matter of choice…or is it not? A woman is incomplete without a man…? A woman is not complete till she becomes a mother..? It is strange how some previously-held beliefs have been fundamentally challenged and even proven irrelevant by women today. In fact, some new beliefs have been added, which have not been stated by any religion or by our grand-parents explicitly. But they do seem to hold good for many. Beliefs that say ‘every woman should work and be financially independent’ or ‘an educated woman can educate an entire family’ and so on and so forth.

While these are good beliefs and are perhaps meant for the betterment of the society, it is ironic that talks of completion and what one ought to do exists only in the context of women. That being said, let us reflect on how-in our lives-we have at some point in time, believed that we were or are incomplete.

We are all created equal, as complete beings. Unless there is a medical reason to it, let us assume that we are perfectly capable of being happy under any circumstance, unless we choose not to be. Let us now, challenge this assumption.

Some of us might be single and might say, how can I be happy if there is no man in my life? Well, think about it. There are many women in this world, who do have men in their lives but are excessively unhappy because of it. So, then, what is the guarantee that a man would change things for good and make you happy?

Some of us might believe that we can be happy only if we experience motherhood. There are so many mothers in the world who are unhappy with their lives as they have had to give up things they loved in order to raise the kids. Others are coping with the ill-health of their children and find it tough to get through each day.

Eventually, we are all able to get out of our situations but for that time, we yearn for something else, believing that something needs to happen to make our lives complete and to be happy.

Do you feel incomplete because you do not have a job or earn enough money? Women who work and try and manage everything else would love to be in your shoes and to have the opportunity to get some time for themselves, perhaps join a hobby class or start a fitness regime.

Feeling complete is really a matter of choice. If each of us believes that we are complete, we would be happy and fulfilled and would not wait to experience happiness. You are complete. Now.

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

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The Superwoman Syndrome

superwoman4Do you know a superwoman? Someone who manages her household chores, manages her family’s needs and also works to make a living? Maybe you are one too!

In today’s world, women who are able to delegate seemingly routine tasks, focusing their efforts on earning money, tend to be more appreciated by their family. At the end of the day, bringing in money does create a higher degree of empowerment. Most jobs, however, are fairly demanding.

For a woman, the demands are exponentially higher as they often find themselves faced with conflicting priorities – that of attending social gatherings as the woman of the house vs that of spending time with their children vs that of being the good daughter / daughter-in-law and being the one to handle religious or medical trips. The result, sadly, is quite the opposite of happiness or satisfaction.

Some of the more common health conditions in women today include obesity, heart diseases and depression. These are, I would argue, a result of the behavior of a woman trying to juggle multiple things, expecting to be perfect at each. Many times, while the men in the house are expected to share responsibilities, the share is seldom fair. Exceptions do exist but then, they are exceptions.

I am yet to meet a woman who has it all figured out. If someone has a rocking career, her marriage is on the rocks. If someone has both those figured out, her kids might be going off track. As for those for whom all three seem to be in control, their own health is probably at high risk.

So what do we do? Of course there is no right answer. The answer is something that each of us must ry and figure out for ourselves.

There is, however, a perspective I have to offer.

Acknowledge that you are one human being and that you are gifted, like every one else on the planet, with only 24 hours in a day. Know that you have limited capacity to work. With that as the boundary, put yourself at the center. Start with yourself. What would you want to do on a daily basis or a weekly basis to keep yourself happy, healthy and fulfilled? Go for a walk? Visit a dietician? Take music lessons? How much time would that take?

Distribute your time amongst the remaining people / tasks that you believe are important for your happiness, in decreasing order of priority.

To be happy, we first need to be in control of what we do through the day, the week, the month, the year and eventually, our lives. If everything or everyone around you seems to be taking control and you feel torn between priorities, perhaps it is time for a rain check.

There is no prize for being a superwoman, so why would you want to be one? As the old cliché goes, health is wealth. If you plan to be around for the people who matter, then try and be just a woman.

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

The rise of the She-preneur

51cc68bdbcf38aceed4c87a1dd6f5eccRunning a business is not everyone’s cup of tea. Or is it? It is just a matter of finding the right kind of tea that works for you. Many of us do hail from the ‘salaried class’ background and understandably so, have apprehensions about our ability to start and run a business.

‘Should I or should I not?’ If you are going through this dilemma yourself, it is important to get a sense of whether you have indeed chosen the right path and if you have the right plan and resources to sustain your business idea over time.

Here is a set of simple questions to help you do a self-analysis and gain confidence in your idea. It is important that you answer these questions objectively and not add in a ‘but…..’. This would make this exercise more meaningful for you.

Have you chosen to do business in something that you are absolutely passionate about so much so that you tend to lose track of time while doing it?

The point is, if you have chosen something that you love doing, chances are, it will make you happy and you will be able to sustain it. As for money, it will flow in sooner or later.

What is your plan to get people who matter, to support you in this venture?

Many times, lack of support from family and friends can become the biggest obstacle to starting up a business. It is important to start work on garnering that support so as to pre-empt that situation.

How can you leverage your network to ensure you are not limited by your skills or your bandwidth?

Getting a sponsor who can truly add value to the business is a critical success factor for any entrepreneur. It could be an expert or someone who has a keen eye for business. Getting a mentor is another smart choice to make. Is there someone who can help you work through some challenges that you believe you might not be able to handle by yourself? Sometimes, paying people for services they are good at can be a real time saver and propel your business forward, faster.

What is your plan to work around the key obstacles which stand in your way of getting started?

Having people on your side and the right sponsorship is also not adequate at times. There might be a need for funds or for a change in lifestyle or something else without which, starting a business may not be feasible. As long you are able to acknowledge those roadblocks and have a plan to address those, you are on the right track.

How will you define success?

This is again, a tough one but something that needs your absolute honesty. Only you can determine what you would like to accomplish from your chosen business. Having a purpose which is larger than your own needs and wants is often a great way of ensuring that the business will last.

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

What’s up with women?

jealousyIf you are a woman, it would perhaps take you just about a few seconds to think of a woman who makes you completely miserable. Every time I experience rivalry amongst women or witness spiteful actions or hear maligning gossip, I can’t help but think about how women tend to lose the opportunity to collaborate to make a huge difference to the world.

I am certainly not exempt from such behavior and I cannot say I have wonderful relationships with all the women I have ever met but interestingly, I can’t think of many men who indulge in such thoughts about other men.

So what is it with us women? It may be our genetic constitution after all, though I would argue that no matter what, nothing stops us from thinking about what we think and feel. The ability to choose one’s thoughts is perhaps one of the most wonderful gifts that human beings have. Being aware of our thoughts and feelings is a precursor to being able to choose positive thoughts and to shift to a mode of abundant happiness.

If all this sounds theoretical to you, I would urge you to try this out and to share the results with other women. Every time you find yourself in a situation where you really cannot stand another woman, here are some steps to follow to remind yourself that she is one of your kind and because of the unique journey she has traversed, she too deserves to be respected for who she is. Here is how you can make a shift in three simple steps:

Step 1: Find out her life story. What did she go through in life? What are some things she is battling with everyday? How would it have been for you had you been through a similar experience?

Step 2: What are some of the things she is appreciated for by others around her? What is really holding you back from appreciating her?

Step 3: What about her inspires you? Yes, this is a tricky one. The thing is, every woman you resent, is very likely to have something or the ability to do something that inspires you. What is it?

If you have been really honest about answering these questions, you might find yourself changing your stance and almost feeling empathy for her. That is a great starting point. You could choose to be inspired by a woman or think about how much you despise her. How you deploy your energy is really a choice you need to make. Is your time and energy better spent on doing things that make you happy or would you rather spend them on thinking about how to change things that might really be out of your control?

You don’t have to be best friends with every woman but yes, it helps every woman to be accepted for who she is and to be appreciated for what she does and how. Be one of those women around her.

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