Self-Acceptance

“Why don’t you smile, Aprajita?”

“Did you go through a tragic experience?”

“Hey, why is it that you have to try so hard to smile?”

These were the questions that I grew up with. The answers to which I didn’t want to confront for a very long time in my life because I knew how much that process affected me.

I knew I loved smiling, giggling, laughing and even making a fool out of myself for that matter. Well, who doesn’t?

Until I was in my late teens, I used to smile but I made sure to never open my mouth when doing so, I used to laugh but covering my mouth with my hands.

Despite my happy emotions asked me to crazy at times, I always held myself back. Even when I smiled or laughed, I quickly got back to my normal state because I didn’t want to embarrass myself.

Then at one point in my life, I met a girl called Prativa Ghimire. We happened to be friends in a coaching class. She observed me cover my mouth while laughing, many times.

One day when I was about to do the same, she caught my hand and stopped me, “I’ve noticed you do that often. Don’t! Maybe you’re conscious because of your crooked teeth but it makes you look beautiful. So, show it often.”

Although those words didn’t seem to be be so powerful back then; when I reflect back at my life today, I realize how that episode changed a self-defeating perception that I had nurtured for long.

That day and the days that follow, led me towards understanding one of the biggest lessons of my life, the importance of ‘self-acceptance’.

Most of us, consciously or unconsciously are in wait of that Prativa to tell us that we are perfect, the way we are. But, just take a moment to imagine – if we learned how to accept ourselves right from the beginning in our conscious lives, we would make the process of living so much simpler and joyful, wouldn’t we?

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A Gratitude Letter to My Inspiration

Dear friend,

I thank you for being there.

I am blessed to know you in person and to realize that you have a colossal impact in my life. When I am 80 and wrinkled, I may forget many things but even then I will remember you. Here’s to you, the person who, at every step possible, has guided me and helped me grow.

If it were not for you, I would not be who I am today. Thank you for encouraging me to explore my thoughts, reflect on my emotions and express my feelings.

Thank you for always being patient with me. Thanks for listening to what I had to say and adding value to it.

Thank you for considering me a friend even though I was learning from you.

Thank you for sharing with me your learnings in order to help me see things more clearly.

Thank you for laughing along when something I found amusing and so did you (which others could hardly understand).

Thank you for believing in me at times I thought nothing positive would ever happen.

Thank you for helping me nurture self-confidence slowly yet steadily.

Thank you for helping me understand the value of kindfulness. I am trying to be more kind towards myself.

Thank you for helping me push my boundaries and take steps towards leading my life well.

Thank you for being fine with my silly mistakes, yet guiding me to improve myself.

Thank you for demonstrating that we don’t need big things in life to be happy; small pleasures help us cherish life better.

Thank you for the times you considered me capable of sharing your existential angst with and your search for meaning.

Thank you for making me see the value in my own life story. Thanks for bettering my understanding of redemption.

Thank you for showing me that it’s okay to be vulnerable and that it’s not always about being strong; vulnerability is a strength when we choose to experience it with people who know its value.

Thank you for talking to me about football (and not assuming that I don’t watch football because I am a girl and on top of that a poet).

Thank you for all the moments that we have shared together, all the memories we have made and all that is yet to come.

I know you have your own lows and blues too. Life is not always the same.

But, whenever you are stuck in a whirlwind I hope you go through these words. These words may not help you come to the surface immediately but it will remind you how you have bettered the lives of people like me and that things will be okay.

Thank you for being the wonderful human being that you are.

Nothing but gratitude,
AJ

Sincerely, your friend

WhatsApp Image 2018-03-28 at 5.48.21 PM

Dear friend,

I want you to know that it really hurts me when you’re sad. I can’t go to the roots of your emotions and cure them which makes me feel helpless, hopeless, and pathetic even. I know life’s treating you bad and you have had to go through so many tests, time and again. But, I request you to not let the despair consume you so much that you lose yourself in this journey.

I should have been a support all this while but when I see you suffering – I break into pieces. And, when I reach out to you, I cannot assure you well that things will be fine because I myself am not whole. My voice quivers even before I can say anything.

I don’t know what time shall bring forth but I want you to believe that there’s goodness hidden in every despair. I want you to believe that life’s testing you again and you shall come out with flying colors. I want you to know that no matter what happens there are people who love you and look up to you. I want you to know that you brighten the lives of many people with your smile.

I also want you to know that I will be there whenever you need me to help you carry that baggage. To listen to all your pain and to give you a shoulder whenever you need to shed some tears.

Sincerely,
Your friend

Take a pause.

Whenever one utters the word ‘communication’, we immediately think about ‘speaking’, ‘listening’, ‘writing’ and ‘giving feedback’ etc.

But, are we missing out an important aspect of communication?

What about ‘taking a pause’?

Taking a pause is something very important but also something that is seldom taught. I call it a rare art.

Take a pause before you speak anything. You’ll be surer of what you want to say. Take a pause before you decide to lend your ears to someone’s feelings. Listening takes a lot of patience. Take a pause before you decide to write anything. Your words will be clearer and precise. Take a pause. Breathe. Take a pause especially before giving a feedback. What may be important to you may not be relevant to others.

Take a pause.

Minimalism Says

Materialism says, “You need this. You need that. You need everything.”
Minimalism says, “You need to figure out what you need.”

Materialism says, “Lift that bag up. It’s got exciting things.”
Minimalism says, “Keep the baggage down.”

Materialism says, “You don’t have enough.”
Minimalism says, “Enough is enough.”

Materialism says, “Things are what you should value.”
Minimalism says, “Does that thing add value to your life?”

Materialism says, “Consume.”
Minimalism says, “Contribute.”

What should I write about?

I really want to write something today. No, not because I’ve not written anything in days but because I really want to write.

But will I?

Let’s see.

There’s one problem though. What should I write about?

Should I write about how my days are better now, but they are more or less the same? Should I write about my stumbling on the lane and laughing at myself later? Should I write about my new neighbors — the pigeon family? Should I write how funny and philosophical I can be at the same time? Should I write about my period cramps that alternate between fine and very bad? Should I write about my novel love for winters which I previously hated? Should I write about my writings which make no sense to me but everybody else understands?

Well, I am still thinking…

The wonderful art of breathing

Every now and then we constantly move here and there; speeding to get tasks done, to meet deadlines. We’re in a constant battle with our older-selves. We constantly strive to be better than before, to fulfill our growing desires and to keep up with the modern day consumption trends (so that you know, our social network portrays our best version). Amid all the commotion and rush, what we forget is, we’re humans which precisely differentiates us from the machines which we are unknowingly becoming.

Struggle, is necessary for survival said Mr. Darwin – the evolutionary biologist and who are we to deny? We all have our own struggles and that is how we determine our trajectories of growth and stories of survival. What Mr. Darwin didn’t tell us is that there is but a need to remain calm while we’re struggling to do something with our lives. When we try to restlessly take that next step, to make a mark, we hamper the health of our mind — our sanity. And, this is how we become dispassionate too soon after starting something.

I myself was an anxious person. I reacted to situations in a hurry without giving them much thought which invited a phase in my life when nothing seemed to be alright. I never analyzed any decision before taking it. I never truly relished the small moments I had with people in my life. Even if I was right in an argument, I chose the wrong way to express it – by lashing out at the other person. And, let’s not even talk about how sensitive I was. One bad day could make me dispirited for days. As a teenager, I seldom realized that we need to discover harmony beyond haste.

After experiencing some life-changing events, I came across a wonderful mentor – Sagar Satyal, who through his own examples, demonstrated the need to be more mindful. The first step towards which is knowing what is essential to us – a perspective which we can gain from breathing. A simple act of breathing can also help us take a pause and can strengthen our ability to respond rather than react.

This impacted me in a lot many ways. Indeed, when we share a quiet moment with ourselves and inhale a portion of air moving by, we replenish our natural state of flow, our consciousness; and when we exhale, we sweep away the heap of panic, distress, and worry that block our passion for living.

To this end, I would like to say that the art of breathing, makes me believe in what my mentor as well as a friend, Sagar always says: “We need to keep moving forward because even if now there are grey clouds all over, the blue sky is still beneath. We need to learn to laugh at things that didn’t go well yesterday. So what if yesterday was not good, today can be one.”