Something’s missing..

e78e1a68a7d5d5ec8633e3925f49bd46Ever get that feeling? Technically, you might have everything going for you but do you get this feeling sometimes..can’t say exactly what it is…but something seems missing?

To begin with, know that it is completely normal and there are millions of others across the globe who feel the same way at different points in life.

That being said, then what is it? What is missing? And more importantly, how do you find out what is missing?

Unfortunately, the Math that I studied at school and college did not have a formula to find ‘x’, where ‘x’ is the missing factor to complete happiness. The funny thing is, that many of us start on this quest as if we have morphed into Sherlock Holmes, in search of the missing ‘x’. We do all kinds of things – depending on whether you are a man or a woman reading this – things range from bungee jumping to river rafting to refreshing your wardrobe to coloring your hair and the list goes on and gets crazier, as you know!

And then, what happens? We feel something is changing, yes, we are so close to finding ‘x’ and then we realize that we are back from where we started, with ‘x’ still missing. In fact, by not finding ‘x’, we have further complicated our lives and convinced ourselves that the pursuit of ‘x’ is tougher than we thought and some of us tend to try even crazier things at this point.

And then what happens? It goes on and on and on in a loop..till one day…maybe some day..hopefully some day soon…we realize…either as a Eureka moment or through our reading or our religious pursuits or through some other way..that there is no ‘x’. That in fact, ‘x’ is just like the new Pokemon Go – we create it, we catch it and we think we have caught it but it is not there. It never was. It never will be. It is augmented reality. Augmented by our mind. To make things exciting. To make us believe that there is excitement in life, somewhere, out there.

Ok..so no ‘x’, no Pokemon, no Santa Claus? I know..not fun. However, that still leaves us with ‘What is missing?’. If there is no ‘x’, then what is missing?

So, here is the thing. What is missing is exactly this, it is nothing. We have everything we need. Well, if you are reading this blogpost, then I can safely say that you have everything that you need to live happily on this planet. We just want to believe that we are incomplete. We are perhaps raised to believe that things or people complete us. When I have a…then, I will be happy. When I get a…then, I will be happy. When I…well..keep waiting..the clock is ticking..and ‘x’ is still not be found. It never will be.

So here it is. Nothing is missing from your life. You are complete. Your life is complete. You do not need anything or anyone to be happy. So give up the search for ‘x’. Be one with ‘x’ for it has always been and continues to be within you at all times. Cherish each moment you are alive. Who knows how many you have left?

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The Match

maxresdefaultBefore you read ahead, let me clarify, this is not a blog about sports  🙂

I was reflecting today on what makes people differ in opinion, in values, in ways that leads them to disagreements and almost pulls them apart. It all really boils down to different people operating in different planes.

Let us say, one person wants to go right, the other wants to go left. They meet and they start walking. Oh..but..I thought..no..actually..well..awkwardness! What just happened? It was all going well until, they started walking. That was the beginning of awkwardness.

What really happened was that two people, wanting two different things, never really discussed what they wanted. Leave alone discuss, never thought it important to articulate it, to state what they wanted.

The result – a mismatch. The root cause of a mismatch is not stating what is on your mind. Multiplied by many instances, it leads to broken relationships and irreparable damages which take eons to reverse, if they ever do.

How does one avoid it? The thing is we do not live in a homogeneous world. We will always have mismatches everywhere, with everyone we meet about something or the other.

If we could only find a way of sharing what is on our minds. Talk more. Really talk…connect…despite the distractions of the environment around us. Share with people what you want often…what makes you happy…what you are looking for…what you are not ok with..it helps minimize mismatches..helps reduce stress and heartburn…and eventually…makes for a happier life.

So, what DO you want? WHO should you be sharing that with? WHO else needs to know that?

Go on..get started…the list of MATCHES that results keeps growing..and you will see, so does your happiness 🙂

 

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).

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).

Taking the clique to the top

Woman among menAround the world, there are talks about women empowerment and how women are taking over critical roles, making a visible difference at their workplace. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that women have many battles to fight to get to the place they finally reach.

Notwithstanding the field of work, one of the most critical challenges women face today is that of ‘belonging’ to the ‘right’ groups. How much time one spends during non-work hours and with whom, might be about as critical as to how much time one spends at work. So, how does one decide how to network with the right people and eventually, how to choose a clique? Some try and fit into the ‘guys’ cliques’ – some may take to smoking to join the guys and catch up on the gossip during the smoke breaks, while some take to drinking to get into the circles that hang out in the evenings post work and find a way of getting through to the influencers. It is a known fact that smoking and drinking are both detrimental to health and adversely impact a woman’s child-bearing capacity. Irrespective, some of us choose this path.

Then there are some who join the ‘women’s’ cliques’. They fall into the circle of women who hang around with the women even during office gatherings, insist in engaging in girly talk even when there are men around. No judging either of these categories but none of these are really geared towards reaching the top.

There is also another category, though. It is that of the ‘non cliques’. Almost as if by resolution, some of us cite our personal circumstances as reasons (and there might be some really genuine cases too), to avoid belonging to any cliques. We would conveniently avoid any gatherings and find creative ways to say ‘No, I can’t make it’. Needless to say, getting to the top is a distant possibility for those of us who belong to this group.

There is hope. There is a fourth type. Women in this category do not feel the need to belong to an existing clique. They create a need around them for a group of people to want to belong to them and for what they stand for. Usually, they attract a group that is cross-gender and diverse. They stand up for a vision, for their values and their beliefs. They garner support towards their vision and draw like-minded people who are looking to belong to some clique. It takes a strong woman to stand apart from the cliques, to choose to not fall into the trap of ‘choose from what you see’ and to create her own clique. It takes someone with a solid self-belief to be invited as a ‘guest’ to existing groups and yet not feel compelled to follow existing clique norms and practices. It requires thoughtfulness and diplomacy to deal with temptations. Is your clique taking you to the top, yet?

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

Stop stressing and start adapting

Stress - business person stressed at office. Business woman holdA woman is key to the culture of a house and its level of happiness. Many times, owing to the transitions we women go through, we might feel unsettled but still choose to continue life in a limbo, without making a conscious effort to adapt to the change and reinvent ourselves appropriately.

Let’s say we move to another city. How much time do we spend in consciously planning how to settle in to the culture, how to get to know the life of the locals and most of all, how to really settle in. We tend to believe we are now in a foreign land, complain about how things are different and then expect for a magic fairy (usually the man in our lives) to make us happy in the new land. The same applies to other key transitions; say motherhood. While we do read books on pregnancy and are all geared up to have a baby, how many of us consider getting coached or counselled by maternity coaches or become part of support groups for new mothers? How many of us wallow in self-pity?

The same applies to working women and how we sometimes fail to reinvent ourselves to suit our changed roles as we move up the ladder. How many of us purposefully think about a promotion as an opportunity to rethink the way we dress or how we conduct ourselves? Suddenly, we find ourselves amidst a different audience, are required to manage teams, etc. All this requires is some proactive thinking and planning on our part. While the organisation would send us for training programs, most certainly getting one-on-one guidance by hiring an executive coach would yield far better results.

The point being that one of the things we as women often fail to do is to reach out to others for help. Even if it is garnering sponsorship or mentorship, we wait for someone to assign a person to us. Nothing stops us from identifying a suitable person we feel most comfortable with and requesting them to handhold us through a transition. Sheryl Sandberg, in her book, ‘Lean In’, talks about how women tend to hold themselves back and in the process, give up critical opportunities to their male counterparts. On deeper thinking, we would find that this happens not just at work but in everyday life. All we need to do is acknowledge the upcoming change and seek active support to cope with it. Smart women do!

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

Refuse to accept

whatever-course-you-decide-upon-there-is-always-someone-to-tell-you-that-you-are-wrong-ralph-waldo-emersonOver the last decade, I have had an opportunity to closely observe many family customs, rituals and practices. I feel blessed having been raised in a family that had a democratic set up. There are certain practices that my parents followed and while we were always encouraged to participate and contribute in whatever way I could, there was really no compulsion to do anything especially if it did not resonate with us.

Over time, this practice has become so deeply ingrained in me that I find it to be an extremely empowering way of dealing with situations in which people around me ‘expect’ me to do some things. Of course some people frown when I question them with the intent of helping them break free from age-old customs that they resentfully follow without questioning their rationale.

Your child turned one? Great! What would happen if you don’t splurge the money on inviting people who really have no reason to feel thrilled and instead, open a bank account for securing your child’s future? A baby boy was born in your family (very Indian :)) ? Congratulations! How would buying clothes and jewellery for relatives help you or the baby boy? What else could you do with that money? You just bought a new house? Yeeaah! It is time for celebration! You would need more money to settle in so why not celebrate modestly. Sure everyone likes to share happiness but it is important to remember the point. Share happiness. Why does money have to play a critical role in that?

Most times we tend to fall into this trap of ‘people will expect’ or ‘people will think’..when what we forget is..we are those people too! By doing exactly what has been done and what
other people expect, you are saying ‘Yes, I agree. That’s the right thing to do’. If you genuinely believe that, go right ahead. But, if even for a moment, you find your energy draining at the thought of doing that task, know that it is a signal your body is giving you to rethink your actions.

Refuse to accept things as they are. Make your own decisions about what works for you. You can do whatever you want to. The only person who stops you from doing that, is mostly, you.