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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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.

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.” 

Are you suffering from tunnel vision?

“Oh you’re so good at Math. Why don’t you become an engineer?”

“I think you guys get along really well. Why don’t you get into a relationship?”

“I saw you having fun at the party the other day. I don’t think you are an introvert.”

“You’re 25! It’s about time you should get married.”

Whenever I come across some people making comments like these to other people around me, I can’t help but empathize with them. I wish I could tell them they’re suffering from a chronic case of tunnel vision.

But now I guess it’s time for me to speak because I’ve found the medicine to this serious illness. It is ‘reality check’ – a medicine that helps people see things for what they are (rather than what they want those things to be).

People who take a dose of reality check every now and then realize that the person who is good at math might be interested in becoming a writer. The two people who get along well, might not be romantically attracted to each other at all.

Realistic people know that introverts socialize selectively, they’re not aliens altogether. And, 25 may not be the right age for everyone to get married.

The inexplicable feeling

No, I’m not the depressed kind. Yes, I’m pretty much happy with my life. But then…there are times you know. Times when you see someone else getting nostalgic about their not so good past. And, you just feel like you’ve been hit by a hammer that cuts open your resilience and all your vulnerability just oozes out, uncontrollably. Then you’re on the floor, shrinking, crippling, crying – trying to stop it.

I mean have you ever felt that way – when tears trickle down someone else’s eyes and it just shakes your subconscious? A shaking so strong that you feel you’re the one crying but you’re actually not.

Okay, no I don’t mean that you’re struck by a realization that you’re alive. You pretty much know that you’re alive already. And, this not even a realization, you know. It’s like you’re stuck by the lightning of some strange emotion.

It’s like waking up from a sleep when your eyes were actually open all this while. And then, you see this one person emoting so vividly that you feel you were always surrounded by this emotion invisibly. But you never saw it approaching you because you were busy sipping that latte of yours, trying to make things relevant and being out there.

Well, I still can’t explain…!