Tag Archive | Appreciate

Feel the freedom of life!

Why would you worry about being shattered, if you can rebuild yourself

Why would you worry about people’s judgment, if you can be kind to yourself

Why would you worry about recognition, if you realize how good you are

Why would you worry about losing someone, if you know to trust yourself

Why would you worry about something going wrong, if you believe you can make it right

Why would you worry about failing, if you are willing to learn from your failures

Why would you worry about future, if you are confident of your present

Why would you worry about falling, if you have the courage to rise every time

Why would you worry about growing old, if you are content with yourself

Why would you worry about dying, if you are living every moment

Why should fear hold you down, if you can touch the skies with faith!

Keep the faith! Trust yourself! Reach for the skies!

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Even God can’t what you ‘won’t’ for yourself!

What is prayer? Prayer is a positive affirmation – seeking positive energies from the universe around us. Sometimes, when we pray we ask for things, wishes to be fulfilled. What we may not realize, is most of the things that we pray for, are very much within our reach to make it happen. Every time we pray, do we ask ourselves, what can I do to make it happen?

For example: We can pray to God for good health. However, God can’t help us any more than we can help ourselves by staying physically active. If we neglect our health while it is good and pray to God to keep us healthy, it won’t work. We have to do our bit of eating healthy, sleeping healthy and thinking healthy in order to stay healthy. We sometimes wish for miracles to happen, without doing our bit.

There was a man who prayed everyday religiously, “God please grant me a hundred thousand rupees in a lottery ticket”. The god was so touched by his devotion. He said, “Your wish is granted”. The next day, the man was waiting for the good news. But nothing happened. Slightly disappointed, the man again asked God for the hundred thousand rupees. God assured him. Days passed. In spite of his prayers and God’s assurances, he did not get the money. He was so annoyed that he started quarrelling with God. God smiled and said, “For me to grant the wish, you have to buy the lottery ticket first’.

Likewise,

God can’t give you the job you haven’t applied for
God can’t bless you with the talent that you haven’t tried for
God can’t fulfil your dream that you haven’t worked for
God can’t give you a cure or an answer that you aren’t ready for
God can’t create a good-will for you that you haven’t earned
God can’t heal a relation that you don’t respect
God can’t make you happy unless you are grateful for all that you have already

You can visit all the holy places in the world and yet not find what you hoped for. Because what you have been looking for is right within you. Do all that you are ‘supposed to do’, and all that you ‘can do’ for yourself and those around you. And then turn to God. You’ll find God wherever you turn.

If we can’t be kind to a person in need, we are wasting an opportunity that He has given. If we can’t talk good about the people we meet, we are wasting time reciting His prayers. If we can’t see the goodness around us and appreciate it, we are wasting time decorating His idol that we created while not appreciating His creation.

It is incongruent to pray every day on one hand and talk bad and do bad on the other hand. Anything that we say or do is accounted for and prayer cannot take away the bad that we accumulate by thinking bad, talking bad or doing bad. The only hope of prayer is that it may motivate us to lead better lives at least moving forward. It may help divert some time and energy from gossip which creates negative energy to something more positive. It may help divert our mind from some unproductive thoughts, to something more soothing.

We don’t need to pray to God for something that is in our hands. Let’s do our bit and then pray. For all we know, our life itself may become a beautiful, inspiring prayer.

Communicating Displeasure – when is it worth it

A cactus does not become a lily because I felt bad that it pricked me. A cactus is in this world for a purpose and it shall live its purpose. Likewise, a lily. It is for me to know the difference between the two and what to expect and how to use them accordingly. It doesn’t matter if it is a young one or an old one. Each has its nature and it will stay true to its nature regardless of how I feel about it.

Likewise, if someone hurts us, we might feel like reacting to them and communicating our displeasure. But, before we do so, it is good to think through – if we really want to.

Firstly, what is the purpose – is it for our satisfaction? Just to get it off our chest? If that is the case, then it may be better to talk to ourselves about it OR we could imagine that we have already communicated it to the other and stop at that. We don’t actually need to bother telling anyone in reality as this is a purpose only for the self.

 If not, is it because we share a great relationship and this was a one off case where we want to clarify? If yes, then we may go ahead – but sticking to the observed behaviours only without attaching any labels or interpretations is important. Keeping in mind that it is our perception helps us in giving them the benefit of doubt.

 In certain scenarios, we need not have to address the issue with the person at all if we can make a change in the environment. And that would create the desired difference. It is smart and easy to work on the environment wherever we can. For example, instead of telling children not to drink ice cold water, we can stop filling the water bottles in the fridge. If we know our kid spills food, before we advice him, it is good to check if we need to change the plate or if we should make a change in the immediate environment. As someone rightly said “Don’t fix people, fix the process”.

Then, think of the other person – have you had situations where you found them very reasonable and you think they might understand what you are saying? Or have you always experienced only the side of them which you did not like as much or felt they never understood you? If that is the case, then communicating displeasure will only make matters further worse than improve in any way. If they were mature enough, they might not have said or done half the things they did. If they have demonstrated this unhealthy pattern for a long time, we telling them might not really make much of a difference apart from giving them another opportunity to talk things that might hurt us further.

Consider if the person is really important. Do you really love them? And do you want them playing an active role in your life? If not, let go. The problem sometimes is we spend 80% of our time and energy trying to fix the 20% of the problem people in our lives. They don’t change and we don’t stop trying. This only leads to a lot more of friction, a lot less productivity and unnecessary frustration.

In such cases nothing better than ignoring. The more we pay attention to them, the more we are giving them the control to our life and happiness. The minute we put them on ignore mode, the quality of our life instantly improves, as if by magic! That’s the power of ignoring the unwanted rubbish in life.

 Sometimes, we may hear something unhealthy from people whom we love a lot too. In those times, it is not the person, but the words we can choose to ignore for that moment and move on. If you always let others tell you who you are, you might land up losing your sense of self as soon as they have a bad day. We may not be able to control what someone else does or says. But we certainly have the power to choose what we pay attention to and what we don’t.

Lastly and most importantly, check if this is a battle worth fighting currently. It is important to pick our battles wisely. Is this most important right now and are we in a state to handle whatever happens as a result? Sometimes, we can be cognizant of our life situation and be kind to our own selves and drop the battle right there even if someone else hasn’t been as thoughtful. For example, someone has been very unkind and harsh in a remark although they know that you have recently experienced a huge personal loss. In this case, reacting to their comment will only make us feel more agitated than peaceful. They have not been kind to us doesn’t mean we increase our troubles by focusing on them. Best if ignored again.

As the serenity prayer goes – Grant me the power to change things that I can, accept things that I can’t and the wisdom to know the difference.

If we were to modify it – Grant me the power to forgive people who matter, ignore people who don’t and the maturity to know the difference & be accordingly.

When you don’t know what to say…

A man was having a heated argument with his wife in a hospital. He was telling her there was no need for her to get anxious and come to the hospital. He would’ve let her know if there was anything to be worried about. The woman on her part, kept saying, “How can I not get anxious? I have been trying to call you so many times and there was no response”. The man continued to yell at her for worrying and eventually the woman began to cry. That’s when the man mellowed down and said, “Okay, I am sorry! I should’ve called you back. I understand your concern.” He apologized for a few minutes and then, the woman calmed down and both felt better.

What happened in the first few minutes?

The man was trying to validate what his wife went through (anxiety). From his point of view, it did not make sense. Hence, he could not understand and was getting irritated. After a while, the man paused and tried to understand what his wife may have gone through, without trying to validate or justify. He moved from thinking in his shoes to the other person’s shoes. That made the difference.

Sometimes, there can be situations where we may not know what to say. Below are a few things that could be considered during those times:

It is their experience, not ours
The moment we validate someone’s experience or emotions, it is tagged based on our subjective interpretation and filters. Hence, what follows is based on thinking in our shoes. Rather, if we allow a person to experience what they are experiencing without any judgment, rationalization or validation, it is easy for them to express and move on. What we resist usually persists. The more we try to tell someone that what they are experiencing is not valid or valued, the more they may want to hold on to their thoughts or emotions. It is those times when we can think in others’ shoes, we have a larger influence.

Allow them to express
Often times, for lack of better things, we may want to say, “Why do you worry”, “Don’t cry”, “You shouldn’t cry”, “You shouldn’t feel bad” etc. when they are neck deep in sorrow. It may be better to allow them to experience and express their emotion than asking them not to feel a certain way. It is better expressed than repressed. Sometimes even saying “Don’t worry” could fall out of place if there’s every reason for the person to feel obviously worried. It’s good to weigh our words against the situation before speaking them out. Allowing natural human emotions to flow is healthy. Intervening may be required only if things get out of hand.

Acknowledge and Appreciate
Instead of the above, saying things like, “I understand” or listening attentively can be very comforting as they acknowledge what the person is going through. Acknowledging doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing. To acknowledge, is to understand. Agreeing is approving and validating that what they think and feel is right. It may or may not be necessary depending on the situation. There’s often something that can be appreciated too. For example: Appreciate the strength with which they are going through. It adds to their confidence.

Save the unsolicited advice
Troubled times are usually when advices may not land very well too – no matter how good. It may be best to save our ideas and advice for later and just stand by them for now.

No “I told you this would happen”
Someone is already feeling bad for a thing that went wrong. This would be the wrong time to say, “See, I told you”,
“I warned you” and the like. This only aggravates the guilt or bad feelings. What is important when things go wrong is for them to feel that someone is standing by them without any judgments or criticisms and will be there for them. People learn faster and better in unconditional positive environments.

One size does not fit all
Different people have different coping styles and reactions to similar situations. An open space from our end will help us understand what is their preference and how could we be there for them. If we are unsure of what may be an appropriate thing to say or do, standing in silence and expressing solidarity may be very supportive.

Times where Silence is truly golden
Not everyone may want to talk right away. Sometimes, it is best to give them time than force them to talk. What is important for them to know is that you are there for them, anytime. Whenever they feel like talking you are right there and that you truly wish whatever they are going through, gets better soon. Works wonders. Works better than being inquisitive in that moment.

Self-criticism
The one time when silence may not be beneficial is when a person is in a self-critical mode. When a person is being self-critical, silence may come across as an acknowledgement or agreement to what they are saying and that is certainly not what we want to do. It may just make them feel worse. Here’s where it may be useful to tell them good things about themselves or things that assume positive intent on their behalf behind their actions.

My problem is bigger than yours
No problem is big or small. Even similar problems are unique to different people because people are unique. Telling someone that we have experienced or heard of bigger problems than theirs may not be most respectful. We are not there to compete on who has the biggest problem of all.

Sharing stories from the past that had bad endings may not be helpful either. Rays of hope are most welcome. Experiences can be shared in a neutral way (not as advise or suggestion) if we think they can boost the overall morale.

One of the most beautiful aspects of being human is about wanting to be there for someone when they need support. That is the propelling force behind wanting us to get it right – because it means something to you and someone you love too. Good luck and God bless!