Tag: Self Acceptance

Shadows have no color

13- 28 Mar 17 -Shadows have no colorThe image today has varied interpretations and perhaps it would also make us aware of how we can get in touch with our own self. It is also the first image in this blog without any words etched on it and hence I am free to interpret it my way. I am sure you too can discover new meanings in it too. Make your life colorful !

When I say hello to myself I discover me. This is perhaps the most obvious interpretation of the picture. In reality we rarely pause to take a deep look at answering questions like, Who am I? What do I seek? Where do I want to go? How can I change and become even more effective? Pausing occasionally to reflect about one’s own journey through life and the way ahead would often be invigorating, stimulating and eye opening. You could discover latent passions, uncover flaws that limited your potential and allow you to appreciate the blessings in your life.

My emotions help me touch myself – You shadow does not define you nor does it uphold you. It is an illusionary appendage that is neither harmful not beneficial. The shadow cannot reflect your inner core. It just outlines the exterior and that to, a distorted image depending on the light. For you to really understand yourself and touch your inner self, you need to understand and appreciate your emotions. Your feelings your sensitivity, your mettle have to be dug out from within you by introspection, observation, listening and interpretation. Perhaps you also have to realign your attitude, behavior and actions to get the best out of your physical and emotional potential.

I need to reach out and touch another – My shadow can fall on another but make no difference to the other person. If I want to touch another person, I will have to make the effort to reach out and touch him/ her. My shadow in fact begins from a point in my physical self; yet I am neither conscious about it nor do I give it any importance. The same is true about my shadow that touches around without them even noticing it. Yet when I stop and pay attention to others, when I listen to them, when I talk and share my thoughts and feelings I can get responses that matter to me and them.  I have a responsibility to reach out and have a positive influence on those around me.

Shadows reflect an outline; I reflect my life – A shadow just takes the form without any depth. It is my life that I lead, that projects the real me. My values, my upbringing, my education, my attitude, my behavior, my strength of character are all displayed in full measure by the way I lead my life. I would be judged (correctly or wrongly) by others by the example I set and the personality I reflect my real self in my interactions. Ironically the shadow that follows me everywhere is just a uni-dimensional projection of my physical self and even that is distorted.  When I say hello to my shadow, I am just making myself aware that there is a multi faceted individual within me that no shadow can do justice to. It also is my way of realizing that there are hues of grey within me that I need to paint brighter. I am responsible for who I am.

In the end thou art just a form but… – This is a chilling reminder that the shadow is all that you are. No color, no emotions, no attachments just a form that you can neither touch nor feel nor avoid. Yet, the form cannot be visible without a physical you and the power of light. As long as you are alive you are duty bound to make the best of your life and the light around; be it family, friends, colleagues or simply the presence of nature around you. The challenge for you is to prove Shakespeare wrong  when he said ‘ the evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interned with their bones’.

Don’t let your shadow define you; let your life be your epitaph long after you are interned.

Try these:

  • Try and write your own epitaph. It will give a purpose and meaning to your life.
  • Choose 3-5 sayings or proverbs that you can make it the bedrock of your life.
  • Click on the following links to see how people creatively use the power of shadows. Perhaps you too can attempt to do something creative in a similar way.

http://tinyurl.com/m25ywpo

http://tinyurl.com/mkd8bd5

 Identify two special qualities that endear the following people to you

  • Your parents/ siblings / a special family member
  • Your two best friends
  • Your two favorite teachers / bosses / colleagues
  • Your favorite animal or bird

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Be yourself

12- Be yourselfImitation they say is the best form of flattery. Human beings have unfortunately interpreted this to be a virtue to be imbibed. Thus, the rampant cult following for the style, mannerism, behavior and imitation of cult heroes / heroines / fashion trends / branded products. This has also triggered the advertisement industry to perpetuate this myth by getting celebrities to endorse products thereby fueling the followers need to imitate or at least believe that the products are a must have. While one cannot escape from the influences around us, we do have a choice to evaluate logically, think rationally and act intelligently. It is this individuality that we need to bring back into our life and blossom into the unique personality that we are.

To blossom and give expression to your individuality one has to remember the following

Appreciate your uniqueness – Due to the sheer number of people around us and the competitive environment around, it is easy for an individual to feel insignificant and unworthy considering the superiority of those around us. It begins in childhood. The school topper is envied by the rest while the school topper is often envious of the best athlete or someone else who has a different talent or skill set that the topper lacks. The constant criticism that we as individuals are subject to, from family friends, teachers and well meaning neighbors further dents our self confidence and our uniqueness gets drowned in a sea of comparison, expectations, influences and  criticism. If you are constantly being nudged to follow the beaten path, be aware that you are different and that you are attempting to furrow your own path amidst the labyrinth of paths around. Remember when you stand out you get noticed and then you cannot escape attention.

Recognize the good around and imbibe it – In pursuit of being unique it is important that we do not keep bending the rules, transgressing the law and walking a thin line between moral and immoral activities. In fact one must consciously observe, adapt and adopt the good from others around. It could be simple things like punctuality, orderliness, thoroughness, persistence and politeness. You would also observe that some of these good qualities are in short supply around and anyone who adopts these has a good chance of being noticed. So uniqueness is not merely in doing something extra ordinary it could be in doing the ordinary in an excellent manner. Listening skills, empathy, respect, giving an honest opinion, having the courage to disagree and to disagree without being disagreeable are all virtues that can also make an individual showcase his/ her individuality.

Do not get carried away by trends and influencers – it is easy to imitate, blindly follow and succumb to the trends of the times. One does not have to think much to do it but it could come for a price. Copying may not suit your personality, it could cost much, it will make you part of a herd, it could make you fit in with the wrong crowd and you would be blissfully unaware of it. At times it could also make you stand out like a sore thumb; an embarrassment to those who love you and possibly also harm your reputation and creditability. Your uniqueness is often reflected in the strength of you character; be it in refusing to be pressurized into smoking and drinking or to be foul mouthed or refusing to copy in an exam or being truthful even at the cost of losing friends or making enemies. Sometimes your mettle is tested when you have to stand up for your friends and risk having to face the punishment they get, although you were never involved in the aberration.

Dare to be different – Many of us don’t dare for fear of failure. There is a risk in every act we do. Not trying is perhaps the one mistake that is often common to a mass of people. How can you judge your abilities unless you attempt. Failure is just an indication that you can do better. Not trying and therefore not failing is a waste of opportunity to explore your potential. Being different can be as simple as giving honest feedback, appreciation and respect. It could be in the way you approach a challenge, it could be in attempting something you have never done before or it could be in simply walking away from a foolhardy or stupid prank. Your individuality is in being yourself, resisting the temptation to prove anything to anyone and in expanding your comfort zone by willing to risk something for a worthwhile goal. It takes tremendous guts to dare to something when you have no audience, no applause and no appreciation. Being a whistleblower, an RTI activist and a conscientious citizen are opportunities for you to explore to be different and to mark your individuality.

Make it your Life – While we do need to lead a life that meets societal norms, family expectations and fully harness our potential we must not subjugate our life to mere existence in order to comply with expectations. It is MY LIFE that I need to lead should be at the core of living. Is it difficult to lead your own life? Frankly it just requires one to be believe in his/ her own uniqueness and find the right motivation to let the work know that you are standing up to be seen and counted. This could mean risking attention, performing extraordinarily well, being criticized, getting applauded but not getting carried away by it and above all letting the world know you have arrived.

Unless you lead YOUR LIFE how will the world experience your uniqueness your individuality and your being. Have you ever copied somebody’s signature and made it yours?  Just as your signature is your own unique identify, let your life too be a unique one; one that was never there before and one that will never be there again. Make the word richer by your presence.

Try these:

  • If you could go back and live your life again what are 3  things you would do differently?
  • Can you identify an individual who gave you a wonderful piece of advice that you still cherish.
  • What is your favorite saying / proverb / quote?
  • What would you like to be remembered for?

Share with us (by writing in to actspot@gmail.com) the following

  1. A unique video clip that you found engaging and invigorating
  2. A book that you found inspirational and motivating
  3. A real life story that you could empathize with
  4. An incident from your life that you wish to share with the readers.

 

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

I am…

21- 26Oct 14- I may not be perfect‘The question who am I?’ is one that every individual seeks an answer to. Yet very few of us get an answer that satisfies us. However we all get tips on who we possibly can be, who we can aim to be, the individual that we aspire to be and the individuality that we allow ourselves to occasionally bloom. One thing is common to all of us; our realisation that we are not perfect. We are forever dissatisfied with who we are; we keep hoping to change into someone better but without having a clear idea of the person we want to metamorphosis into. Shockingly many a successful person, as judged by our yardstick of success, seem to suffer from this acute sense of not being perfect or good enough and many of them seek refuge in vices and in extreme cases suicide. Surprisingly if we just look around, it would hearten us to note that there are millions of people around us who despite the realisation that they are not perfect, still go about living a decent life and wake up each day with renewed hope and laughter. So what makes some people accept their imperfection whilst others find it difficult to adjust to their circumstances?

The key lies in the word acceptance. When we do not accept who we are, our constant endeavour is to depict ourselves as those we hope to be. Our measure of happiness suddenly changes from finding joy within to finding acceptance from others, which would mean chasing money, fame, appreciation at any cost. We move away from who we really are to who we want others to believe we are. As a result we create an excessive artificiality around us; be it in style, attitude, behaviour, persona or interactions. Over period of time we start believing in this artificiality we create, never realizing that we have now faked and fooled only ourselves. Despite having fame, wealth and a wide friends circle, if we still experience a chilling loneliness, a terrifying emptiness and a bewildering sadness, it would help to review one’s life and the values one stands for. We may soon being peeling of the layers of artificiality that we used to mask ourselves with, so as to gain acceptance from those around us.

Every morning when you wake up, go to the mirror and figure out the dishevelled individual staring back. Perhaps not a pretty picture, yet we would begin in earnest to make ourselves look more presentable and soon one feels more appreciative of the person staring back. This appreciation of the self comes from the knowledge that the person is alive, has no pretence and has the potential to be much better than what is seen. Add a smile to the face, get a prayer on the lips and a song in the heart to enjoy and revel in the wonders of a new day. Your imperfections, your weakness, your limitations and your apprehensions notwithstanding, there will be a spring in your step, hope in the heart and fire in the belly because that is the real you who appreciates his/ her individuality and makes no fake pretence to be any one else.

Try this:

Identify 3 types of attire you would be most uncomfortable in. Can you appreciate the reasons why you think you would be uncomfortable sporting those attires?

Which of these fake attitudes / behaviour would irritate you the most and why?

  • Names dropping
  • Talking with an accent
  • Constant reference to branded products used by the individual
  • Exaggerated display of possessions to draw attention to
  • Frequent social networking updates with personal pictures and self promotional posts
  • Constant one-upmanship talks or rebuttals pontificating superior knowledge
  • Constant flattery especially of those in positions of power/ influence
  • Pretending to be subservient or display of exaggerated modesty

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Live a life that helps you leave a legacy

5-21 May 14- Live a life -Leave a legacy

Like the Northern Star that steadfastly guides the lost traveler, the quote today provides us an excellent pointer to what must drive us in making our life more meaningful, fulfilling and exhilarating. It also offers us a fresh perspective about our existence, reminding us that we need to make the most of life, for someday we will cease to be alive physically but we can ensure our legacy lives on.

Many of us get disheartened because we view ourselves as mere mortals who cannot create an impact on the world nor can we escape the drudgery of living as destiny has chosen us to. This is a fallacy that we have ingrained into our psyche and can be easily corrected by being aware that our life can positively impact all those you come in contact with and that each of us is given the opportunity to make the best of all we have. It is apt that at this juncture I share with you a link (http://chairbornewarrior.wordpress.com/category/my-second-life/ )that outlines the story of an extraordinary individual Mr.M.P.Anil Kumar who passed away yesterday. In many ways this post is also a tribute to him but more importantly his story captures the very core of today’s post.

Here are a few tips on making your life a legacy

Know yourself – This is the toughest part, partly because we can never be completely objective about our self but mainly because we are constantly evolving and our personality evolves with varied experiences, new knowledge and changing perspectives. Accepting our limitations also requires tremendous courage while identifying our strengths requires passionate self belief. Yet once we begin to understand and accept the being we are we can carefully circumvent our limitations while fully harnessing our strengths. E.g. Academics may not be everyone’s strength but some of us have diligence, commitment, hard work, vision etc as allies that we can harness fully to succeed.

Identify your passion – Many of us would candidly admit that lazing around, sleeping, day dreaming or being a couch potato is our most passionate activity. Yet we are also conscious that all of them are unproductive passions. So leaving aside these, list out some productive activities that you will happily engage in. Now creatively work out ways and means to make these activities fetch you income / returns. E.g. If you are a movie buff see if you can be a movie critic or if you have a natural flair for gadgets / gizmo’s find opportunities to leverage this passion.

Be zealous in what you do – Visualize a wonderful outcome of whatever activity you are engaged in.  This will provide you the impetus to be zealous and meticulous in whatever you are engaged in. The zeal you bring to your work will always give you an edge over others for good work is always noticed and rewarded. E.g. Have you noticed who is the co worker you can safely entrust a task to? Think about why you value his work so much.

Listen to the criticism but never let it overwhelm you – Since we cannot live in isolation, it is obvious that different people will form varying opinions about us. While some will be appreciative, there would be very many who will be extremely critical. There could be others who are indifferent while some others could be openly hostile. Be aware that there could be some truth in the criticism of others, so do not ignore the negative feedback. Yet do not let criticism dampen your spirits or cloud your judgment. Take corrective action where required but stay the course. If you know yourself you can never go wrong. E.g. If Ms. J.K. Rowling believed all the 12  publishers who rejected her first Harry Potter draft, those books would never have been published nor would millions of young readers have the pleasure of reading those books nor would she have become a millionaire and celebrity. What stops you from aiming so high?

Be the person you want others to be – If we have expectations of others, we must be prepared to walk the talk. In effect, our yardsticks of excellence for others must be the same yardstick we follow for ourselves. If we set a good example, all who observe us will attempt to imitate us. If we can simply be diligent in what we do, be truthful to our conscience, be fair to others and appreciate the efforts of those around, we would be living and leaving a legacy for others to imitate and emulate. E.g if we want our children to be honest we must ensure we don’t do any dishonest act ourselves or if we want the world to be a happier place learn to be happy first. Remember Mr.M.P.Anil Kumar and the cruel joke destiny played on him; yet he left behind a legacy hard to imagine and impossible to match.

Try this

List out 5 limitations/ weakness that you believe are hampering your progress in life. Now identify a quality that you posses that could be a possible antidote for that weakness. E.g. You are lazy. Antidote could be your ability to be disciplined or your ability to be committed to your goals or it could be your fear of monetary/ reputation loss. Now use the antidote as fulcrum to overcome your laziness.

Identify 3 people who in your opinion have left a legacy behind; (one must be a person from a historical / scientific / political / social service background   ; one from your friends and acquaintances and one a former teacher / superior ) Give an example of the one sterling quality they exhibited.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

The way to succeed is in being YOU

13-31-Be YourselfWe are often left wondering why we do not succeed and realize our full potential. Much as we ponder the answer seems elusive, our frustrations keep increasing and worse still we are envious and jealous of those whom we feel succeed beyond measure. The quote above gives clear clues as to why we fail to achieve success that is well within our reach. Here is a simple analysis of the clues and each one of us can interpret the analysis for ourselves and apply the learning to realize our full potential.

Lack of self confidence. The vast majority of us are never going to be in the top percentile of those achieving academic excellence. Unfortunately, there is an over emphasis laid on academic brilliance and that first dents the confidence of the vast majority who lack the academic powers. Perhaps this lack of confidence then translates into lack of clarity of personal goals, indecision, confused mind set, inability to focus, half hearted efforts etc. This then becomes a vicious circle where performance is not up to par and in turn one becomes even less confident. Breaking this vicious circle holds the key to regaining our self confidence and self esteem.

Comparisons with others. Almost everyone is guilty of this at some stage or the other in our life. Unfortunately, the seeds of this aliment are first sown by our own well meaning parents, elders, teachers and well wishers who invariably try to compare our progress and achievements with that of other peers. While we resented that comparison, far too often we have subconsciously imbibed it and end up doing the same and ending coming to the same conclusion ‘poor me’ or ‘lucky them’. The comparisons by themselves are not bad because it gives us yardsticks to measure ourselves. However the conclusion we draw and which then becomes our creed poses a huge problem for our personal well being and success.

Attempting to be what we are not. One of the consequences of our lack of self confidence and our penchant to compare ourselves with others is the metamorphosis that we undergo in aiming to imitate our perceived success heroes/ heroines. Unfortunately the metamorphosis is incomplete because we only end up imitating the individual without imbibing the virtues he /she possesses. The result is a lame attempt at masquerading as a success while the mind, body and soul have never come to terms with the artificiality and hollowness of the self we project.

Not paying attention to our strengths. In our eagerness to achieve success we seek to imitate others, search for shortcuts and give up far too easily when confronted with difficulties. What we fail to realize is that each of us is blessed with our own unique abilities, talents and strengths. All it requires us to do is recognize it, allow it to flower in our work and leverage it in both our personal and professional life.

Focusing too much on our limitations. Time and time again the biggest weakness that thwarts our attempts to attain success is our inability to get going. This is because we are obsessed about the limitations we perceive in us and tend to imagine failures as a natural corollary. So if at all we begin we do it with trepidation, keep looking over our shoulders for signs of failures and fail to stay the course when confronted with problems. We also fail to work on ironing out our limitations, let them become excuses and sadly become slaves to our own anxieties.

Not accepting ourselves as we are.  Perhaps the one single cause for our inability to achieve the success we are capable of is our inability to acknowledge our self worth. We are terrified of our limitations, under value our strengths, are unclear about our goals and search for answers to our problems around us. The reality is that we create a bigger problem than what exists and instead of seeking the simple answers that are within us refuse to accept the individuality we are blessed with.

Remember you are both the sculptor and the sculpture; it is never too late to chisel away at yourself and let out the individuality in you.

Try this:

  1. Write down 3 role models. Now outline 3 qualities / abilities in them that you envy and can adopt or adapt for your personal growth. Can you identify 2 traits / weakness in the role model that you detest?
  2. Write down 2 personal habits/ traits/ limitations that you would like to get rid of. Outline a month long plan to reduce / eliminate at least one of these 2 limitations.
  3. Given your personal and academic background, what is your dream job/ business venture?  What steps do you need to take to attain that? What are the 2 biggest stumbling blocks and the 2 major gains you attain in achieving them?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

It is OK to make mistakes.

Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can’t accept your imperfections, that’s their fault.  Dr. David M. Burns

Perfection is what is ideally expected from each one of us; our parents want us to excel in academics and sports and the extracurricular activities. The expectations from teachers, friends and extended family are almost equally demanding. Subconsciously then, we have imbibed the need to be fiercely competitive, strive to be perfectionist and despise mistakes of any sort. There are broadly 3 long term negative consequences of these subconsciously imbibed thoughts .

Our fierce determination to succeed no matter what the means used. With high expectations prodding one along, the pressure to succeed and the terrible fear of failure invariably leads one to find ways and means to succeed. We may find some ingenuous loop holes, interpret the rules to suit our needs and in rare cases even resort to dubious means to succeed. The most common example is the invariably temptation to copy, be it in exams or in assignments. Bribing, cheating, swindling are the invariable scale up of this mentality that pressurizes us to seek success at any cost.

Our reluctance to accept or understand our imperfections When criticized our immediate reaction is to rationalize and often we accept the criticism with poor grace. With rare exceptions almost every time a criticism is leveled against us there is fair bit of truth in it, but alas our mind has been conditioned to accept only praise and acceptance and criticism is taboo. Our imperfections become more accentuated when we face more competition, are exposed to people having superior skills and we face challenges that daunt us. Excuses are the most favored means of deflecting criticism. Fault finding, rebuttal, counter criticism, backbiting are other common means of expressing our reluctance to accept the reality of our imperfections.

Our reduced risk taking ability. The fear of not succeeding, the lack of confidence that comes from the intense pressure of expectations and the inability to accept failure as an acceptable option, forces a person to avoid taking any risks. In life taking a calculated risk is the norm but when our calculations are mentally skewed to ensuring only success then more often than not we prefer not to participate if given the option. Other times we put on a facade of participation giving up too quickly under some pretext, make excuses to prepare others not to expect too much and line up a litany of reasons to rationalize or justify failure or non participation.

All this adds to up to one leading a life filled with numerous negative emotions including remorse, regret, fear, jealousy, doubt and a feeling of inadequacy.  To overcome this one has to do the following 3 things.

Learn to accept the reality. Be pragmatic about ones strengths and weakness. In every race on the tracks there can be only one winner, yet there will be numerous participants who despite their reservations about being the best believe they have a chance for they are one of the best. There are many who participate to gain experience and learn from it.

Be less critical both of self and others. We are often harsh on ourselves especially when we make silly mistakes. In the same vein we can be extremely harsh with others who we perceive to have made silly mistakes. This attitude minimizes our ability to trust ourselves, makes us habitually see the pitfalls and does not infuse enthusiasm to attempt. By being less critical, more tolerant and heartily embracing the outcome of our efforts and that of other irrespective of the results, we can emerge from our self imposed hiatus.

Prepare and participate enthusiastically, embrace failure with grace and try again with fortitude and self belief. Unless one has taken efforts to succeed mere participation won’t result in success. Just as studying is a prerequisite even for the most brilliant to succeed it is essential that one prepares before enthusiastically participating. Thereafter the outcome should not be seen as indication of either a comprehensive success or a decisive failure but merely as a fair outcome. Let not failure impede your will to try again nor let a fluke victory be seen as the pinnacle of success. What is important is to try to exceed the benchmarks attained.

Remember: The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. Elbert Hubbard

Action Points:

  1. Choose the one or two aspects of your life that you are most criticized for and try to resolve the issue by trying consistently for a month. Eg. Reducing your weight/  girth or a bad habit of being critical of everything / your tendency to overuse certain words like you know, ummm., hmm, you see  etc.
  2. Try the following simple activities and see if you can overcome your own inhibitions.
  • Thread a needle
  • Learn 3 new words every week and use it in your communication
  • Find something positive everyday in someone you dislike
  • Experiment with something goofy eg. Wearing mismatched clothes/ wearing a hat to work (if that is not part of the attire)/ surprising your friends/ colleagues with some goodies for no particular reason.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog  www.poweract.blogspot.com

Being happy

A happy life is one, which is in accordance with its own nature. Marcus Annaeus Seneca

The essence of happiness lies in trying to keep in harmony with the world around us. The trouble unfortunately is that most times the world seems to be at cross-purposes with our feelings, wants, expectations and hopes. Obviously, when things are far from what we ideally want it to be we get disturbed, annoyed, irritated, upset and very unhappy. Let me share an example to illustrate the point. This morning I was traveling along with my family to Bangalore by the 7.40 am flight from Pune and had a connecting flight at 11 am to Cochin. After checking in at Pune, we were informed that the flight was delayed because of fog both at Delhi the originating destination of the flight and also at Pune and the departure was rescheduled for 8.30 am. Thereafter it was further delayed and ultimately we departed only at 10.30 am. Obviously, there would be no connecting flight and we had to compromise and take the next evenings flight a very tough decision to take since we were to miss some family functions for which the whole visit was planned.

How does one reconcile with this paradox of excitement turning to disillusionment and possibly frustration and anger?  The answer lies in accepting the reality with equanimity, assessing the alternatives calmly and trying to find positives in the unavoidable. As I write this post I am staying with my brother in Bangalore a completely unplanned and unexpected bonus. Now when I look back at the day I can see that my initial annoyance actually turned out to be a extraordinary experience. To begin with my son and ardent Manchester United fan felt privileged to visit the newly opened Manchester United Restaurant at Bangalore (this will be the highlight of his life and the one talking point for the New Year); my mother was thrilled to meet the grandchildren in Bangalore (which was never planned) and for me the experience fitted in with my post today.

If one thinks positive, seeks happiness and accepts the bitter and sweet experiences as flavors of life then nature gives us the gift of happiness daily. John Powell has correctly titled his book Happiness is an inside job and this is a message that we must tattoo in our minds and hearts. We alone determine our happiness and no amount of material wealth or possessions or relationships can give us happiness unless we seek it out within us. All of us are also guilty of succumbing to negative emotions like jealousy, pride, greed, envy etc. as a result of which we cannot filter out happiness and enjoy it for the negative emotions block the pathway to happiness seeping inside us. Instead, if we replaced these emotions with just one single feeling of LOVE we would find happiness everywhere and that to all the time.

Seeking happiness is not the same as chasing happiness. The majority of us are disillusioned because we confuse these two terms. When seeking happiness we are making an effort to find the positives, the goodness and reasons to enjoy the moment and the situation. When we are chasing happiness we are trying to force situations to meet the demands of what we perceive is our happiness. The former approach succeeds because inherently there is happiness in plenty and we are merely searching for the right tap to pour out to our hearts content. The later approach fails because we are trying to dig bore wells in parched lands in the fond hope of striking water. If after reading this post you did not find the key to happiness that you were so desperately seeking you have been following the wrong approach. Ask others who believe that they found the keys to happiness in this post and they will tell you that they can do it because they found out that they were trying to open the wrong locks and are now focusing on those locks that open with the keys hidden in this post.

Remember: “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” Frederick Keonig

Try this:

  1. Can you recollect the 5 happiest moments of your childhood? Now try and recollect the 5 happiest moments of the past 5 years. Now ask if you are creating situations conducive to your younger siblings/ children/ friends enjoying the same type of happiness that you have just jotted down.
  2. Now list out who/ what makes you unhappy in the following cases and reasons for the same
  • Name the people who irritate you – e.g. your subordinate who does not take any responsibility and your powerless to reprimand or punish him/her.
  • Situations that irritate you e.g. The traffic jams
  • The songs /movies that you hate e.g. pure classical because you do not understand it
  • Social/ technological/ infrastructural/ scientific changes that annoy you e.g. The toll collection outlets on highways because it slows down the vehicle and negates the purpose of the high ways.

Now try to find out the good things about the above and see if it reduces your negativity. Reducing unhappiness is equivalent to improving your happiness quotient.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Unconditional acceptance

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding.

If you want to know the secret of a popular person, just observe their interactions and communication style and you will make the profound discovery that they are spontaneous and large hearted. It is in those two qualities that they give themselves completely and freely off and that is what the world wants, appreciates and acknowledges. Most of us for example will give alms to a beggar when he / she approaches us but rarely do we stop to give something more as a planned offering given out of our own free will. True we may spare old clothes and left over food, but those are all from our excess and more with a view to avoid wastage than as a genuine heartfelt offering of love. On the other hand, observe volunteers who work in the social service sector for free; they put their heart and soul in what they do.

In our own life there are ample opportunities for us to share ourselves with those who need us.  Beginning with a smile that costs us nothing but enables us to connect with a everyone, we can express ourselves through our conduct, being polite, attentive, even tempered etc. and in our attitude of being positive, helpful and affectionate. In other cases we offer our services out of a sense of obligation as in the case of a blood donation camp or participating in events to make up the numbers. Here the approach is to be obedient and disciplined and cooperative but the spirit seems to be artificial. On the other hand there are many who take the initiative knowing fully well the responsibilities and the pain that comes with the job.

Notice the people who are always smiling and cheerful and you will see that they do not feel obliged or stressed by anything. This is because they have no expectations nor do they feel constrained to act as a matter of duty. Whatever they do they do so out of their sense of compassion, a feeling of gratefulness and because of their urge to share. There are no rewards except perhaps the joy and contentment that accompanies a spontaneous gesture be it taking the injured to the hospital, spending time with the aged and infirm or holding the hand of someone who is deeply distressed and distraught.  These rewards are priceless and that is why they are rewarded only to a select few who just plunge in and initiate action when the going is tough.

Look back and visualize your favorite uncle/ aunt/ grandparents/ teachers and see a common trait that endeared them to you.  They tried hard to understand you, your needs, your feelings, your fears and your longings. While they may never have been able to really fulfill all your needs, you could sense a feeling of comfort, a glow of happiness and the magic of serenity when they were with you. They may have spoken little, offered you nothing but by their sheer loving presence reviewed your spirits and recharged your life. How did they do it? Simply by being there when you wanted them most; you didn’t ask them to they sensed it; they didn’t lecture you but merely held your hand; they just gave themselves to you unconditionally and presto life was wonderful again.

Remember: “The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well”  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Try this:

  1. Volunteer to participate in some social service activity and ensure you stand by your commitment. Choose to share of your talents / your time/ your expertise/ your creativity
  2. Make it a practice to use the power of our senses to give unconditionally to all. Do this in the following manner ( but use discretion please)
  • Sight – Appreciate the grooming / manners/ help/ spontaneous gestures/ the beauty around
  • Smell – Appreciate the aroma of the food/  the perfume/ the fragrance of flowers
  • Touch – Hug a child or a close friend or use it as a gesture of deep sympathy
  • Hearing – give a patient hearing / listen attentively without prejudging
  • Tasting – Criticize with caution / appreciate with warmth all those who feed us

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Forgiving ones own self

How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself. Publilius Syrus

Many of us live with regrets and those regrets never let us enjoy our life to the fullest. There is always that lingering feeling of uneasiness that mars our bliss, spoils our fun and restrains our exuberance. What compounds our misery is that our regrets are of our making, they are often not life threatening but would certainly qualify to be life altering and they can be overcome with patience and resilience, provided we are prepared to let go the hurt, erases the pain from our heart and mind and accept the reality that the past cant be changed. Most regrets are relationship related and we could either be the culprit or the victim and it takes tremendous fortitude to overcome the past and forgive ourselves.

We do not forgive our selves particularly when we have hurt people very close to us or when we realize that we have let down those close to us because of our own folly. Many a time children regret their rather brash and rude behavior with their parents much later in life and by then there is a perceived divide that the child in us cant forget but which the parent has forgiven and possibly forgotten. Anger is a key trigger that ignites uncouth behavior and threatens relationships. When in anger we resort to plain speak often bordering on the uncouth, make wild and hurtful accusations, twist facts to hurt and humiliate others at whom we are angry and even lapse into making wild assumptions that translate into pitiful laments and harsh accusations. Then when we are more clear headed, we often become remorseful and regret our actions and continue to wallow in self pity.

Our plight is made miserable by the reality that the past can’t be undone and much as we wish we cannot erase those memories from our life. The challenge for us is to get to terms with this reality and realize that just as we have the power and the need to forgive others, we have to exercise this power to forgive ourselves too. To do this, we first need to accept the reality that the past can’t be changed nor can the painful memories be erased. Then possibly we can attempt to minimize the guilt by apologizing to the aggrieved party/ parties if possible. This is very very tough because it is an admission of our own errors and to admit that means hurting our own ego. Thereafter it is then essential that one genuinely feels sorry for the indiscretions (Catholics have the sacrament of Confession which is wonderful heart cleanser if practiced with earnestness). In cleaning our heart and mind by using the twin detergents of apology and remorse, we will have forgiven ourselves. 

No sooner we manage to forgive ourselves a big burden is lifted off our backs and we begin to breathe easy, feel rejuvenated and begin to view our surroundings in new light. There is a spring in our step, a glow o our face and a warmth in our hearts that will automatically be transmitted to all those whom we come in contact with. There is no more regret, no more guilt and no more unhappiness. 

Remember: Forgiveness is a funny thing.  It warms the heart and cools the sting.  ~William Arthur Ward 

Try this:

  1. Recollect at least 3 situations when in your anger you have either hurt/ humiliated/ insulted /ignored /answered back / accused unfairly / shouted at someone. Ask yourself if you now regret that behavior. Do you still carry the burden of that indiscretion. If yes work out a way to forgive yourself of that guilt. 
  2. If someone who hurt you and insulted you terribly sought your forgiveness would you be able to forgive easily and freely. If not ask your self if your digging a grave of regret for yourself. If you can forgive freely, examine your own feelings thereafter and feel yourself unburdened and relaxed.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com 

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog   www.poweract.blogspot.com

Accept gracefully the reality…

Happy he who learns to bear what he cannot change! J.C.F. von Schiller

While it is perfectly alright to attempt to improve and change, it is often quite a tough task to accept that some things can’t be changed. If we were to attempt to rewind out lives, almost all of us would want to make drastic changes in the way we grew up and the way we lived. Alas we don’t lose much sleep over the impossibility of changing the past because we are reconciled to it. We may have a few regrets though, like occasional lamenting that we should have studied harder or that we should have expressed our love for our parents and siblings more often or that we should have followed our hearts desire in our career choice and not have been pressurized by family and friends.

Our problem invariably starts with the recognition that there are a few imperfections in us that we would desperately love to iron out but some of them are near impossible to change. If we are not blessed with a silky voice, it would be impossible to acquire one now. Similarly you would come across so many people seeking miracle cures to improve their height, their looks or nonexistent talents. What is more difficult to accept are what we perceive as our strengths being run down or criticized. While every student who enters the portals of Harvard or Stanford or the IIT’ and IIM’s would visualize themselves as natural leaders and possible business tycoons, the reality is that quite a few of them will have to somehow reconcile that despite their academics and special talents they still don’t have the critical competencies that will catapult them into the orbit of their dreams.

Ironically there is booming business ostensibly promising changes that people crave for. Beginning with quick fix solutions for balding men which spans the entire range of creams, lotions, oils and culminating in hair weaving , there is a whole range of beauty and fairness  therapies targeted at ladies. The fashion scene is not too far behind and the battle of the bulge and the size zero craze have panned out as booming business propositions. Health food, spas, massages are the new life style miracles promised to one and all. The education sector is more blatant promising to make toppers out of dunces and extending their magic to getting admissions in premier institutions and promising astronomical salary packages for their graduate students. What is typically left unsaid is that everything is relative and subjective. Eg. The hair weaving works on just a few and the battle of the bulge requires a lot of discipline, strict diet and regular exercise.  As for education there are limited seats so it is just impossible for everyone to make the cut.

Amidst this chaotic cacophony of false promises, impossible dream peddlers and fantasy seekers, the person who steps back and does an objective reality check and accepts the results is the winner in life. Even if we are excellent in certain areas of life, the reality is that only the extraordinary can make it big in those fields. So there is nothing unfortunate or humiliating about being prudent and giving up our chase of what we realize is an elusive dream and instead focus on harnessing the best out of the existing resources we are blessed with. Look around and identify the happy people and it should not surprise you to see many a housewife falling in that category. They are happy not desperately trying to balance career and family. Surprisingly there would be many a career woman too who has resourcefully balanced career and family perhaps at the cost of putting their career plans slightly on the back burner but delighted that they are enjoying both a successful career and a quality life. If you are not enjoying your life, pause to ask yourself if you are chasing something will always elude you  and instead focus your energies on some of your passions and you will experience a calmness and peace that invigorates and energizes you.

Remember: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr

Try this:

  1. Make a list of 5 changes that you want to bring in your life. It could be personal or lifestyle changes and at least one of them should be a change that you hope to bring about in the next 1 month. Jot down the changes in some tangible form eg. Don’t say I want to lose weight but say I want to lose 2 kgs in 2 months. Start working on those changes immediately.
  2. Make a list of changes you wanted for over 3 years but have not succeeded. Analyze each of those failures and identify if the goal was wrong or the method faulty or the change sought was foolhardy or preposterous.  Do you want to still pursue those changes?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com