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.

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Shape up

keep-calm-and-prepare-yourself-1Imagine that every relationship you are in, presents itself in a 3-D shape. Choose your favorite shape – a sphere or a cuboid or whatever.  Imagine you are in it, with the person with whom you share this relationship. And this could be any relationship – of any kind. Could be with someone from the family or a friend or an employer perhaps. The point being, that when we are in a relationship, we try and sustain the shape we are in. We try our best to let the cuboid remain a cuboid and not transform itself into a sphere lest it create discomfort for us. We hence, also try and play it safe with our relationships and fear experimentation.

As and when we find the nature of our relationships (viz.  the shape we are in), changing, from what we originally thought it might be, we start feeling uncomfortable and do take a while to get accustomed to the ‘newness’ it presents to us. No wonder then, we take time to ‘settle’ into a new relationship..are unsure..need time..and all of that. We are really trying to figure out what shape we are in and how to keep it from distorting.

The birth of a child does, in most cases I know of, unsettle relationships. Could it be because we forget that with the addition of one more person, it is time for a new shape and we perhaps are still trying to force fit ourselves and everyone else into the old one? A parent moving in with his / her children or a child moving out once he / she grows up; a spouse who has started to work or another who has given it up – all present us with an opportunity to recreate the shape of the space we are in so that it becomes a comfortable setting for all.

So, why would we, then, want to be fixated with something that is old and want to retain it, knowing that it has the potential to make everyone uncomfortable?

Welcome change. It is an opportunity to create life all over again.

So, what shape are you in?

Spiderman!

blog-3My 4 year old daughter loves Spiderman (she loves Barbie too, so I am not worried, really ;)). I was watching Spiderman 2 with her the other day and I realized that, well, each of us, is like Spiderman (minus the web..let me explain).

In one scene, Spiderman was utterly and totally frustrated with his evening sojourns and in that moment, he received advice from his dead uncle’s spirit. He said to Spiderman – ‘You have a choice’. The next day, Spiderman decided to take a break from being Spiderman for somedays to get back to being himself. He dumped his costume in a garbage bin and walked away…and he was happy!

Of course there is a longer story to it else what would the kids watch, right? But let’s hold the story at that point when he dumps his suit.

Isn’t that so much like each of us? Each day, we try to be something – something that is superlative, something that we believe the world expects of us, something like Spiderman. Sometimes, carrying the weight of being that somebody seems like a burden to us. It might be the weight of being a dutiful son or daughter when all you want to do is to go out on a date..it might be the weight of being a mother when all you want is to travel away to a quiet place..away from the madness..it might be the weight of being a star employee when all you want is to just say ‘that’s enough..let me be’ or some other weight…we all tend to carry some weight at some point of time.

All it takes is letting go of that weight. I know we might believe that we are not in a position to let go of the weight and we don’t have a choice. But, well, we do. Imagine that you are wearing a costume of that responsibility and imagine dumping it into the garbage bin, just like Spiderman! Now imagine that you are free and are living the life you want to. What costume do you imagine wearing now? Once you have visualized it, imagine placing it in your wardrobe forever. You can wear it any time you want. You can get really creative with this and let your designer instincts come to the fore.

The point being..you can choose to not wear the weight that you feel is wearing you down..let go of it. Even if it is for a while, you can let go of it. Wear something else instead…which makes you look better and makes you feel happier. You could wear the costume of a lovely princess instead of a dutiful daughter or wear the costume of a highly successful and dynamic woman instead of a full time mom…or anything else you might. Be who you want to be. There’s no stopping Spiderman..is there?

Note to my readers: This is how the Belief Closet methodology works. It is an extremely powerful technique to help you change your beliefs. It was introduced to me by a practitioner of this methodology and I can totally vouch for its results. 

Choose to have fun!

DChitwoodWhenYouHaveFunAs we recover from the aftermath of the festivities around us and gear up to deal with more, it is perhaps, an opportune time for us to reflect on the feelings and emotions that we go through as we celebrate. Many of us find ourselves in a situation where we believe we have to attend a party, even though we know it is really not going to be fun. These might be parties at work or social gatherings with the relatives whom we don’t really connect with much at all. Let us dwell on these for a bit, keeping in mind my interpretation of the fundamental principle of life, which says that, in every situation, we have a choice. If we do decide that being somewhere would be an utter waste of our time and effort and we would rather spend time doing something else, perhaps it might be wiser to politely decline and to be done with it. What a great opportunity that opens up for us – we can plan to do something we have wanted to do for ages and get really creative with that time. Should we, however, lose the reasoning battle with ourselves and the people around us who matter, we might need to consider engaging in some self-talk. Back to the principle – we do have a choice. We can go to the party wallowing in self-pity, feeling a misfit and not end up happy (just like we had known and hence, planned) or, we can decide to have a great time even before we land up there. Visualization is a great tool in helping sportsmen gear up for victory and it does apply really well in day-to-day life too. Here’s how: Imagine that you will have a great time and start from there. Work your way backwards – to have a great time, what do I need to do? Look good, for sure. Go on, indulge yourself – get creative with what you wear. What about who I take along? Pick someone who will ensure you will have fun. You can always seek permission to bring a friend along – try it. Think about how you would want to engage with people, what would you want to talk about? Has there been something on your mind you want to know more about or is there something you are dying to tell someone? Is there someone you know who might be in the least bit interesting, whom you could consider talking to? And really, this does not imply planning for a flirtation but it could really just be a simple act of thoughtful networking. Find out more about what a couple of women whom you can connect with might be up to. Find out more about the recipes of the food you like. The point being – do whatever it takes – but make it a fun time for yourself. You can decide to have fun, even before you land up somewhere. Give it a shot! Cheers! This blogpost is a reproduction of my column ‘Her Point of You’ published in SHE section of The Goan (http://thegoan.net). If you are going through change or have been planning some kind of change in your life, coaching can help you. A coach works with you to help you move from point A to point B, ensuring that you hold yourself accountable for your progress. If you would like to know more about coaching and experience a trial coaching session, contact me via my website (http://growth-cube.com). Coaching works. Try it.

Forward. Rewind. Replay.

122/365 || ResetAs I was sharing my life story with a fabulous story coach of international repute today, who is creating a pool of inspiring life stories across the globe, I discovered a pattern about the way I have been making decisions in life.

Making a decision, almost always, is about weighing the options one has and then thinking about the pros and cons before weighing in on one of the options. I use ‘almost always’ because there are times when accepting what comes our way and making peace with it, is sometimes, the only good choice to make when not many options are available to us, other than denial, of course.

So let’s say, something happens, which you were not expecting to happen. You now need to deal with it and make a decision. How do you decide? Try this. Take each option and fast forward your life post making that decision. e.g. If I take up this job now, then this might happen..and then that might happen…then…and you arrive at a certain set of things that might or might not seem appealing. The further you are able to fast forward, the better you might be able to choose. Hold these thoughts and start focusing on the option which seems the most appealing to you. Make that a ‘wannabe’ goal for yourself. Now move into a rewind mode..get back to where you are today. An then start playing your life afresh. So, if that is what I might end up with, then this is what I need to do now – to get to it. It works. This is really nothing but using your intuition for making decisions. The decisions you might end up making as a result of this would be better accepted by you and hence by people around you and are likely to leave you a much happier person.

The key is to stay focused on what would work for us in the future and the vision that we find compelling. That way, we would find our vision pulling us towards it and our chances of realizing it would be much higher.

We could, however, also use the converse of this technique to one’s benefit if our intent is to focus on something we have been neglecting for a long time, like health, for instance. Say, you want to lose weight but find that you are not able to exercise or follow a diet. In this kind of a situation, when we already have a pre-determined goal, if we focus on the things that can go wrong, we might be propelled towards action. So let’s say you have been advised to lower your cholesterol levels and you want to reduce your cholesterol by changing your eating habits. What could possibly happen if you don’t do something about it? And then..? And then..? And…is that what you really want? If not, then what should you do about it..now?

Every time you catch yourself slipping back into your comfort zone thinking you might want to take action some other time, fast forward to the worst possible outcome. Make that your driving force. You will do something about it because you don’t want to end up like that.

Have you tried this sometime? Would love to hear what your experience has been 🙂