Over 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.
I know what it is like to be at a point in life when you feel that you don’t know anything anymore. You might start questioning your judgement, your decisions and might hesitate to make any changes to your life lest they turn out to be, god forbid, the wrong ones.
We end up being in a spot when every cell in our living body tells us we need to change and do something different. We just don’t know what. And that is killing, isn’t it. It is like – somebody, please give me a clue and we keep waiting and waiting in despair.
Fortunately, there is a way of getting a breakthrough that I discovered and would love to share with you all. I decided that I will trust my intelligence. I started with the assumption that I must know something and set out to discover what that was. What I realized was that while I had no idea about what I wanted to do (and it had been a while that I was in that stage), I was very clear about what I did not want any more. I started making a list of things that were not acceptable to me any more. Not surprisingly, it turned out that I was living many of those things on a daily basis!
It was my A-ha moment! If I was so sure I did not want all these things, what was really making me live those things and include them in my life? I answered that question for each of those things and realized that there were some things that were critical to me and family at the present moment but with careful planning, I could do away with them – not immediately, but over time. With that, came another realization – it was only by being able to eliminate the things that I did not want in my life that I would be able to make space for the things that I wanted. It was simple Math. The sum total of what I can have can only be 100%. What goes into making this sum is what I can control.
I realized the power of the ‘not’ and stopped thinking of it as a negative word since then. Choose to identify the things you want in life by first striking out the things that don’t work for you.
Tried it and it did not work? I am happy to help! 🙂
Over the past years, I have often found myself wanting more – wanting to spend more time with some people, wanting to spend more time with myself, doing the things I have wanted to do and I have repeatedly denied myself those opportunities, with the convenient chart topper excuse – time!
Heard yourself saying this – ‘you know what – I would really love to..if only I had more time’? Here is the news – time stays – where it is – as much as there is. The only thing that can change is what we do with it.
The bulk of our life is spent sleeping, we spend loads of our time studying when we are young (for kids like me – I know some of the readers could be exceptions – and I think you have already got it, then!), we spend most time working when we are older – all the while, wanting to achieve something. So what did we achieve? A life which gets in the way of living everyday?
I looked at my life – I tried looking at various chunks – months, years, days – none of the chunks seemed appealing enough as some of the moments which had fit in by chance. The life that I was living everyday, did not seem as if it was designed by me or really anyone if you ask me! Was I really that bad at design? Or did I never think about designing it? Did I just live it by default all this while? Who was my life designer? My parents? My friends? Oh, I know – nobody! No wonder, then, here I am, with all these components floating around, the picture looking a bit awry, if you ask me.
So, well – here is what I am going to do. I am going to design my life. The way I want it to be. I am my life designer. What stops you from being yours again..did you use the chart topping excuse again? 🙂