The Art of Apology

 

A colleague of yours hurled verbal abuses at you. He insulted you to the core and accused you of committing a mistake which you did not commit. After about a week, he realizes his mistake, comes to you and says casually,
‘Apparently it wasn’t your fault. Sorry for blaming you’ and he leaves.

Will you feel better? Can you put the entire scene behind you? Can you forgive him?

People often discount the importance of an apology. Can you possibly imagine how the world would have been without Apology? We would be bleeding mentally and physically all over the place.

What is an Apology?

I understood that my actions or words hurt you deeply. I shouldn’t have done or said so and I deeply regret it. I want to heal the wound I inflicted upon you and ensure that we go back to being what we were before that incident.

That is an apology and it isn’t easy to say it. Because:

  • You need to realize that your words or actions were wrong.
  • You should understand the impact and the depth of the wound you made.
  • Your apology should be at least closely at par with the wound you created. Deeper the wound, deeper and more heartfelt the apology.
  • And you should really mean it.

In short, Empathy is the key. Only when you understand the pain inflicted by you, can you remedy it well.

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I adore people who know how to apologize well and just enough. I respect them and according to me, the way people apologize says a lot about their character. Here are some things that I have understood with respect to Apology:

Apology is an art – Like in the above incident, if you hurt someone deeply and simply throw an apology on their face, it does not serve the purpose. Apologize in the right manner depending upon the situation. If you deeply hurt someone, take the time to sit down with them and explain how guilty you feel. Apologize multiple times if you did something very wrong. It will make them understand how serious your apologies are. However,

Apology isn’t to be thrown around – All of us know at least one person who says ‘Sorry’ for just about anything. I have a friend who apologizes when a mosquito bites me. When asked he said that he was compensating for all the unsaid apologies. I don’t think it works that way. The reason being:

  • If a person apologizes all the time, the value of his apology reduces. If a situation arises when he really has to apologize deeply, it won’t be of much value as it is something he normally does.
  • Apology is meaningful only if it comes from the right source. If A apologizes for B’s mistake, it really doesn’t count. Or does it? I think not. I guess this must be a debatable topic.
  • People could take advantage of you. They would always expect you to apologize and get some ego boost for themselves as you anyway throw apologies around.
  • It brings down your confidence. You feel responsible for apologizing every time something goes wrong and eventually you’d end up feeling guilty for mistakes you did not make.

Apology need not be verbal – In some cases, you don’t even have to say sorry. When my sister and I fight, we end up apologizing. But I have noticed that even before I say Sorry, when I just go to her and kiss her, she smiles back. Sometimes, we just start talking normally as though nothing happened.

You need not say the words if the situation wasn’t that bad, you could just make them some tea, give them a chocolate, a gift or just a hug.

Your Right Might be Another’s Wrong – You might end up in a situation where you feel your actions weren’t wrong. A joke you said must have been funny for you but hurtful for the other. The greatness lies in understanding that it did hurt another and apologizing even if you don’t think it was wrong. I am not referring to a misunderstanding. I am referring to a situation where the same sentence/action hit deeper than intended because human temperaments and sensitivities vary.

Apology is a bridge in relationships – Think of it as glue. A really bad fight happens and the two of you drift apart. You apply the right amount of apology between the two of you in the right manner and the two of you join back together. If it is a really close relationship, it is alright even if you apologize when the mistake isn’t yours. It shows that you value the relationship more.

Apology says a lot about your character – I understand people from the way they apologize. If you are a person that does not apologize at all, it means you value your ego more than relationships. If you casually apologize after hurting someone badly, it means you have no empathy and/or you haven’t understood the other person properly and/or you really don’t care about the other person’s feelings. If you know to tone down and tone up your apology with every situation, you are sensitive to people, to their feelings and value them a lot.

A Real Apology is When You Change Yourself – if the situation warrants a change. If you made a mistake because of a bad habit and you apologize for it, the apology holds good only if you take positive measures to get rid of the bad habit. Simple?

Next time you fight with someone you love, try changing the way you apologize and see the difference it makes. Before I end this post let me say one more thing. Sometimes people don’t apologize at all. Sometimes, you might have to move on without receiving the apology you deserve. In such cases let time heal the wound and ensure that you don’t leave anyone else hanging without giving them the apology they deserve.

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I think you can win friends and hearts more from apologizing than from arguing. What do you think?

 

Image courtesy: Image 1, Image 2, Featured Image

If You Wouldn’t Eat it, Don’t Put it on Your Skin

Do you know the amount of poison we are being exposed to on a daily basis? Do you eat the Chemicals that you put on your skin?

A friend’s post on instagram and our conversation following that, opened my eyes to it. Elaine from The Fire spirit blog sent me this video by Fittuber in which he has categorized all the toothpastes, shampoos, oils, soaps etc that are used by most of the Indians in the order of toxicity. The videos were enough for me to think about alternatives.

She introduced me to a range of Organic products going by the name ‘Raw beauty’. Before I tell you more, let me clarify this. I have not been paid to write about them. I ordered their products, used them, and am writing my own opinion. Chemicals and plastics are ruining the world. If the consumption of either or both of them will reduce, that is the reward for me.

What is Raw Beauty about?

They make face wash, tooth powder, foot soak, perfume, deodorant, face serums/oil, after shave, healing salve, shampoo, hair conditioner, soap etc from organic raw materials. For instance, one of their facewash is made out of oats, aloevera and rose. I have used it and will be discussing it in this post.

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There are so many organic brands, why did you go for Raw Beauty in particular?

A question I asked myself long before ordering the products.

  1. A gut feeling. I went through their page, saw their posts full of conviction and confidence that I haven’t seen anywhere else. You are right. Maybe it’s sheer good marketing skills. But another caught my attention. It said;
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    Simple. Isn’t it? I liked the sound of every product they made and I went on to the next step.

  2. I had a chat with the owner, Sunaina.She hails from Punjab. I was curious as to how she started this business. About 15 years back, she decided to say ‘No’ to chemicals and began using everything organic. Slowly, her family began to use them too and with time she decided to make it on a large scale for more people. That is how Raw Beauty came into being. She sources some of the raw materials from farmers in Punjab and also helps them sell their harvest.

    She turned out to be so genuine and was up to answering any question I had. At various times, when I asked if her products would help me get rid of some health issues, she said they wouldn’t. Instead she could have gone ahead and gotten an order from me. To an extent, you get to know about a person’s product when you speak to him/her. It was a clear green signal for me.

     

  3. I read the ingredients. That is how we purchase things right? When we can buy things filled with chemicals, we can as well try something that promises no chemicals.

That’s all it took. I decided to give it a try.

What I ordered and my experience with it:

I ordered a foot soak for Amma, an underarm salve and the face wash for myself.
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  1. The Foot soak – It is made from Himalayan Rock salt, Epsom salt, Blend of Essential Oils and Naturally Occurring baking soda. It relaxes you after a tiring day and relieves pain. Amma used it and she found it immensely helpful as she keeps having leg pains on and off.
  2. The Gulaabo Face Wash – It is in powder form comprising of aloevera, rose and oats. This is what made me fall head over heels in love with Raw Beauty. I smelled the powder and it doesn’t smell synthetic at all. If you have a strong sense of smell, you will get the over powering fragrance of real roses and the mild smell of oats and you will know that there is nothing synthetic in it.
    The Gulaabo Face wash
    The Gulaabo Face wash – Completely Organic made of rose, aloevera and oats

    Once I washed my face with it, the difference was clear. As opposed to when I use chemicals, my skin didn’t become so dry. It got a natural glow about it which I never got unless I used a cream or a powder. My skin felt softer and smoother. ‘Porcelain’ is what comes to my mind whenever I look at my face in the mirror.

  3. The Underarm Salve – A Deoderant in the form of a salve/paste. It was a new for me. The thing I loved about it was that it smelled of spices as opposed to the usual fruity aroma. And the scent wasn’t too overpowering. After using it, I did sweat but the odour wasn’t there anymore. Mind you! I have quite a strong body odour and nowadays I don’t have to bother about it.
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    Underarm salve made of beeswax.

    They also have Perfumes (In paste form) for those who need it. I went for the deodorant as it works as both.

Pricing

As per Fittuber, companies use chemicals in their products because they are cheaper substitutes for organic ingredients. Hence all organic products will be slightly pricey. So are Raw Beauty products. But the benefits outweigh the costs.

For instance, The Gulaabo costs Rs. 500 for 150grams which means you can use it for more than 2 months assuming you use it twice a day. Rs. 250 for a facewash for a month might seem expensive, but you aren’t applying any chemical on your face thereby keeping it toxic free which according to me, is worth the price.

How to Order?

Visit Raw Beauty’s Instagram page and send them a direct message. This is their handle – @Rawbeauty2018

Will I Recommend their Products?

Yes! Yes! A million times Yes! I use them myself and will continue to do so. If you are conscious about the Chemicals in your products, do take a look at their Instagram page and consider switching to a healthier option. If you have any questions regarding them, please feel free to ask in the comments.

So, will you prefer switching to something organic and will you go for Raw Beauty?

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Image courtesy for the first two pictures and the featured image – Raw Beauty’s Instagram page.

 

Saying Yes to The World

“I couldn’t sleep yesterday!”

“Why so?”

“We went patrolling.”

“What patrolling?”, I was baffled. We were 21 when we had this conversation. We were both mere CA students and he wasn’t in any sort of organization that went patrolling during the nights.

“Prostitution.”

I held my breath. It wasn’t a topic I wanted to discuss with a boy. This was way before I realized that no topic was a taboo. I was shy and just listened.

“It has increased over the years and it has been a while since we have gone patrolling. We do this. My friends and I. We decide a date and scour the area, get hold of women practicing prostitution.”

“What do you do with them?”

“Initially we warn them. If it gets worse, we report them to the Police.”

I didn’t know what to do with this new information. But I sure did feel proud of my friend. After all, prostitution was a filthy practice! How could women simply sell their bodies for money? It is one of the biggest contributing factor to rapes and molestation. It fuels the fires. I was proud of my friend.

Until I read Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho.

***

It was a slap on my face! A wake up call. Maria’s story was enough for me to imagine the various possibilities of prostitution.  It may or may not have been a personal choice. It may or may not have been forced. But who are we to judge them unless we were born in a brothel or helplessly forced into prostitution? Above all this, is it really that bad? Is a prostitute worse than a murderer, rapist, pedophile, your uncle who touched you wrong or a corrupt politician?

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Prostitution wasn’t a problem anymore. The book opened my eyes to a new face of prostitution and suddenly prostitutes became mere humans in my head as opposed to the grotesque image I once had.

***

The thirteen year old was going to the North of India for the first time. It was a crowded train and they were group of seventeen – Two teachers and fifteen students. As they were playing card games, she heard it. A distant series of claps and clangs. And suddenly people began to droop as though they fell unconscious. Before I knew, half of them were pretending to sleep, a few were clambering up the upper berths and a couple of them were trying to get to the farthest corner of the coupe.

‘Hijra!’ someone gasped. And a fear began to creep inside her. She hasn’t seen a transgender before. But within those thirteen years, she had heard enough to fill her with dread. Before she had the time to process what had happened, the transgenders  were upon them. Clapping and asking for money, with a basket in hand. Her friend and she were the only ones who hadn’t pretended to sleep and one of them came right to them. The girls looked at them, trying to get as far into their seats as possible, the fear showing on their faces. Both the girls had a fancy magical slate they had bought for their siblings. Without further thoughts, the friend dropped hers into the basket. The person who came to them smiled and said that wouldn’t help. Soon, someone gave some cash and they all went on to the next compartment while the group laughed in relief.

Years later, I, the then child, began wondering how they feel when we shun them, look at them as though they were monsters or untouchables. What are we educating our children? Why was a thirteen year old who hadn’t seen a transgender all her life, so scared of them at the first sight? I don’t know when the transformation happened to me. But transgenders weren’t my problem anymore. Something or someone opened my eyes to a new face of LGBT community and suddenly they became mere humans in my head as opposed to the grotesque image I once had.

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***

Instances like this and my own changing perspectives about things, people and life made me realize that the world is what we perceive it to be. With time and experience, our perceptions differ and the way we look at the world differs. It is all in our head. If that is the case, what happens if we just close our head (mind)? Whatever is our perception becomes permanent. We refuse to accept anything else. When I understood this, I began to look at everything in a new light. It sounded something like, ‘Is my perception about this particular thing the only side to it? Are there more ways to look at it or deal with it?’ or ‘How can I improve the way I look at this?’ and I began to progress.

When I became open minded to things, I was able to accept many situations as a way of life. I realized people do what they do because they have been exposed to a certain set of people, situations and stories. I began to get a certain kick in analysing why people behaved a certain way and suddenly the world became an interesting place, and people, interesting beings.

Understanding and accepting the other person’s perspective is the key. Realizing that perhaps if you were in the same position as the other person, you would have become like him/her opens your eyes. These factors makes you an open minded person and you begin to say yes to the world. Along with this, if you just travel a bit around, you will know different faces, stories, backgrounds and situations and you’ll realise that life is much more vast than you imagined.

 

Here is a warm, fuzzy video on Why people love the world


So, are you the kind of person who is striving to say yes to the world? Why do you love the world? And what is your story?

Image courtesy – Image 1, image 2 , Featured Image

Changing The Way We See Equality Improves Life

So tell me. Do you believe in equality? Do you believe that two things on this Earth or beyond can be absolutely equal with not even a tiny, minuscule difference?

If the answer is yes, I would like to know two things that according to you are absolutely equal (Something measurable of course!). Because my answer is No and I am open to disagreements. Let me elaborate my views on this.

Can you say for sure that two 1 Liter bottles of water are exactly 1 liter each to the last measuring unit? There would be a very slight difference for sure don’t you think? Consider the weighing blocks themselves that we rely so much on, to weigh groceries and household products. Can you for sure, say that a weighing block will weigh exactly 1 Kg to the last measuring unit? It could weigh 99.9999999999 grams or 1000.000000000000000000001 grams.

Do these weighing blocks weigh exactly as they say they do?
Do these weighing blocks weigh exactly as they say they do?

Absolute equality is a myth. There might be a one in a million chance to achieve absolute equality. But we’ll never know because we really cannot measure the decimals to their exact value. We do not know where exactly 999 grams end and 1000 grams begin. Does it end after 999.9999 or after 999.999999999? There is no end to the number of nines you put there.

You might be wondering where I am going with this. We strive to achieve equality in many ways, in many areas in our lives. And it is when we strive to achieve equality that we begin to keep scores, we strive for perfection and seek to take revenge. I’d like two discuss two areas here:

Gender equality

It is impossible for women and men to be equals. I used to believe in it once but not anymore. I wouldn’t say that one gender is superior to the other. It all depends upon people and circumstances. Among so many scenarios, I could list down a few reasons why men and women cannot be equals:

  1. This is something basic I have observed. No two men are equal. How can we expect a man and a woman to be equals?
  2. For many women, menstruation is a pain. It gets really bad for a few that it affects their performance. It is a real issue and one cannot deny it. Meanwhile, other women have it easy with barely any pains and right there, we ourselves can see differences within the same gender.
  3. Men have penis and women have vagina (I know! It is no rocket science). The organs and the related hormones, thought processes, the mind, they all work entirely differently. They derive pleasures differently. As a result they think differently. How could there be equality between two genders that have so many differences?
  4. To add to all this, the society has moulded our mindsets in a certain manner that we are all taught dos and don’ts differently. Even if this wasn’t the case, even if we were all taught to think alike, the difference in bodies and hormones suffice to disprove equality between the two genders.

Equality is a subjective word and when feminists fight for equality, they do have a point to an extent. Let’s not get into details here. That being said, one cannot claim that both the genders are equal in all respects. There is no absolute equality.

Relationships

This is the second aspect I’d like to discuss. No two people in a relationship put in equal efforts to maintain the relationship. There is always that one person who gives more. This is because as I mentioned earlier, no two people are equal. Most of the relationship issues stem from various forms of inequality:

  • A believes he/she is giving more than B, while the latter refuses to agree or acknowledge it.
  • A assumes that B needs a certain something and keeps giving lots of it, while B doesn’t even like it and refuses to respond. An element of inequality is created here as A gives so much and B feels unsatisfied.
  • A believes that it is B’s duty to give and that it is not an act worthy of acknowledgement or applause.

    Is absolute equality in relationship attainable?
    2. Is absolute equality in relationship attainable?

If you are in a relationship and face problems, you could, most of the times correlate it to a form of inequality. It need not always be a romantic relationship. In any form of human encounter, there is a certain amount of giving and taking not just in the form of things, but words, gestures etc. Whenever there is a clash or disagreement, there is an element of inequality.

Finding the point of inequality and addressing it could solve many of the issues that we face. As for the question I asked you in the beginning, I believe nothing in this universe could be exactly equal. All we can do is to reduce the inequality. Life will be easier if we strive to reduce the inequality rather than strive to achieve equality. They are two different things that give two different results and different levels of satisfaction.

So what do you think? Is it possible for two people to give in a relationship absolutely equally? Is absolute equality achievable in any scenario? I am open to more thoughts on this. 😀

Image courtesy: Weighing Blocks, Image 2

My Top 10 Something New Everyday Hits

Imagine your life changing positively in a month. Imagine you looking back at the end of a month and realising that you actually lived it! You did not just work, eat and exist, but you made progress in your personal life. That was November to me.

I had taken up the #SomethingNewEveryday Challenge on Instagram and that made my November very exciting and meaningful. It was an impulsive decision. I did something new on November first and decided to continue it everyday for 30 days. The result? I am not the same person I had been a month ago. I have become more productive, focused and reduced the bouts of overthinking I used to do.

The challenge involved doing something new everyday for 30 days of November. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t well planned but I am happy with the results. Here are my Top 10 Something New everyday hits:

  1. I Made The 100 Things in 1000 days list – A challenge within the challenge. I made a list of things I want to do within the next 1000 days. 🙂 My sister and I had been planning to make this list since the beginning of 2017. I finally made it only because I had to do something new that day and now I intend to see at least one-third of it materialise.
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  2. A New Piercing – Something I had been intending to do for about 3 years. My life was taking a new turn and it was now or never. I decided to get it done and that gold trinket on top of my ear is the result of a new piercing that I got done in November. Ain’t it pretty? o:)Capture7.PNG
  3. A Brand New Phone – Another biggie that I had been planning on buying forever. Here is a video of my brand new OnePlus 5 Slate Grey ❤ I have been using mediocre phones forever and this is the reminder of an achievement – Me clearing CA and getting a job. It is more than just a phone.

4. Moved to Bangalore – Well, that day’s something new was that I woke up in Bangalore. I was rooted to Kochi and this November Challenge made moving to Bangalore easier. I was all teary eyed and whiny in the beginning. But this challenge kept me occupied, excited and happy.

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5. Started Taking Morning Walks  – After I moved to Bangalore, I used the opportunity to change my lifestyle. The first step was to wake up earlier than usual to go for a morning walk. I thought an investment would make me more responsible and so I purchased a pair of shoes and jogger pants. I still am continuing my morning walks. 🙂

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6. Meditation – Another something I have been trying to work on. As though on the Universe’s cue, my sister introduced me to the app called ‘Meditation’. After my morning walks, I spend about 15 minutes in the park meditating.

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7. New Cuisine – For a couple of something new, I tried out new cuisines or delicacies. I went to Taco Bell and tried Tacos and Fajitas for the first time in my life. I also tried the Bombay Kulfi and Ice cream from Coldstone creamery, in spite of not being an ice cream person. Do you know what the Universe told me when I went to Taco Bell?

Said the Universe
Said the Universe

8. Walk in Art Class – I do not go anywhere without planning and most importantly without company. For the first time, I decided to check out the Cubbon Park, and the Pencil and Chai event that was going on there. I walked in, spoke to a bunch of strangers, sat and made a live sketch for the first time!

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9. Changed to Copper Bottle – I have been trying to reduce the usage of plastic and plastic covers. I have also been interested in using copper or clay vessels. As I went to a shop in search of a bottle, this copper bottle happened to me and as a result another something new. Sometimes, new things just happen effortlessly! 🙂

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10. Met a Blogger and Kept a Friend – Darshith from Smiles Here and Smiles There warmly welcomed me to Bangalore and ensured that I wouldn’t leave for another couple of years. I spent every minute I spent with him and as I left, I was sure that I had made a new friend. 🙂

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The best things that happened solely because of the challenge are the morning walk and meditation that I still continue. Many of the new things happened on their own accord. The challenge helped me realize them, acknowledge them and be grateful for them. If not for this challenge, I wouldn’t have looked at buying the copper bottle as a positive lifestyle change. I wouldn’t have gone to Cubbon park to experience something new.

The benefits of Something New Everyday did not end with November. Because of my sketching experience in Cubbon park, yesterday I went and purchased a drawing book and pencils. I now, intend to explore the artist in me. This November and the challenge have transformed me no matter how minuscule the change is. I am aware that I have not merely existed. So when life begins to get dull, I will take up this challenge again.

For those who are interested in this challenge and want to know more about it, I will be writing another post on the Dos’ and Donts’ of the challenge next week. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. It would help me with the next week’s post.

So would you like to take up this challenge?

PS – You can see all my #Somethingneweveryday challenge posts in Instagram @afew.handpickedthings. Do follow me to keep in touch. 🙂

 

Much Like the Bitter-Sweet Gooseberries

As a child, I was always cautious as to what I asked Amma. Before I asked for a chocolate, I’d check its price and ensure that I wasn’t inconveniencing her. When Nestle Munch was introduced in India in 1999, there was a lot of buzz around it in school. For me, it was an extravagant something that I couldn’t ask Amma. Granted it costed only Rs. 5. Yet, I used to yearn for a Munch for a long time after it was introduced.

It wasn’t that we were too financially poor. But I knew that we weren’t rich. I knew that sometimes Amma had to make some adjustments to pay my school fees. It wasn’t really smooth for her financially. I thought about a hundred times before I asked her for anything. I’d avoid rickshaws and walk as much as I could. I’d avoid school events that were too expensive. My sister, though she was a bit more carefree in the beginning, she too grew up to become like me. We both were always careful about spending money.

*****

I am a jewellery addict. I love fashionable clothes and I don’t go for branded stuff. If I find something I really want, say a pretty dress, I do a lot of research, find all the stores selling the same dress, compare the prices, wait for half a year until the prices go further down, and only then do I buy them. The additional benefit of this drill is that, I know if I really want something. If it is just a passing fantasy, I’d lose interest and stop stalking it. If I truly want it, I’ll keep going back with the same fervor and then one day, own it.

So, we are used to low-mediocre stuff all our lives. We did have occasional splurges. I wouldn’t deny that. I do own a pair of Pepe Jeans, we eat out at expensive restaurants etc but most of it has been the mediocre stuff. I am not complaining here. My point is, I got so used to mediocre stuff that there came a point of time when I deliberately put aside expensive things. Let me explain.

Dad gifted an iPhone to Mom one fine day and we were all drooling over it. I drooled for about five minutes and left as iPhone really did not interest me then. Amma later came and said that I could have it if I wanted. I knew that she liked iPhone while I didn’t. So I denied her offer. The next day, I told a colleague that Amma got an iPhone and I could have had it if I wanted. He urged me to take it. As I spoke to him, I realised what I had in my mind. It was this.

“See, I am using a phone that costs barely 10k. Leaping onto an iPhone from this, is a super upgrade for me and I don’t like that. Yes I’ll be owning THE iPhone. But what do I do after that? The thrill ends there! If I am owning a super-phone, I want to buy that for myself like a mark of success. Now I am a mere student and this phone with all its problems and bugs is a reminder that I need to work hard for owning something better. Also, I would like to move up the ladder gradually. I’d like to buy a phone better than the old one, savour the moment of owning something better, and a couple of years later own something even better and so on.”

That was 5 years back. That was when I was still a student.

*****

This May, after lots of attempts, trials and tribulations, I cleared CA. I worked in an institute as a lecturer for a couple of months and then got a job in a company in Bangalore. I will be joining on 16th of November. The moment I realised that I had a job, I went for it. Yesterday, I welcomed home my new phone – A Brand New One Plus 5 and I still haven’t gotten over it.

I felt like I was holding something I wasn’t supposed to own. It was something so expensive and I wasn’t used to expensive. It felt so rightly wrong. It felt sinful, but in a nice way.

 

It isn’t just about a new phone. It isn’t just about the fruit of your hardwork. It is about saving the best for the right moment. How do I put this? It might be like saving your virginity for someone special, for that right moment and when things happen just the way you planned, in par with your expectations… It is about the joy when your expectations are met or even exceeded.

This feels good. Whenever I hold that sleek, shiny phone, I smile. Everyday. I never did that before with any other phones. I don’t feel bad that we weren’t financially well off. Had we been, I wouldn’t have known this joy. The bitter-turned-sweet joy of gooseberries.

 

For all those who are still struggling with the bitterness, you will taste the sweetness soon enough. And trust me! It is totally totally worth it. 🙂

7 Giant Steps to Self Development

 

This is the 7th and the last post of the series of posts I wrote on Self Development. I have started with simple and easy steps for Self Development in my first post and proceeded with various facets of it in the next few posts. If you intend to start working on it, I request you to begin with the 1st post.


When I began the series, I began with 7 Baby Steps to Self Development. Many of the readers told me how simple and time-saving they were. You need to warm up before you begin the actual work out. But if you do warm up alone, it will get you nowhere. It is time to take the plunge.

All the posts thereafter were about preparing ourselves mentally. If you really try following each post, you will find yourself preparing for today’s post and that, my friends, is the leap. These are big steps and you might have to drag yourself into doing it initially. If you get through the beginning stage, it gets easier. It begins with:

1. The Big Announcement

We know that social media is a time killer. Why don’t we put it to good use? For Self Development! Once you know what you want to work on, make an announcement on Facebook or Instagram about it, the date and your reasons to take it up. For instance, announce that you will start working on your fitness from the next day. You will start by going for a walk every morning.The benefits are twofold:

  • You put it out to the Universe and with that, you have already started it because there is 99% chance that you will begin it. Once begun, half done!
  • People might be willing to join you and nothing makes it more enjoyable than a company, be it to keep track of each other or to compete

2. Take the Plunge

Get into action. Do not wait at the end of the bank and dip your toe in the waters. You might rethink. Just take the plunge. If you were a 10 AM person and you have decided to wake up at 6 AM, do not try the, ‘Let me wake up at 9 AM this week, 8AM next week, 7 AM after that…’ technique. We know how that turns out to be. Keep the alarm for 6 AM.

 

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If you have decided to exercise, start it tomorrow. Not sometime next week. Do it asap before you change your mind.

3. Quit a Bad Habit

Ah… it is getting tougher, isn’t it? I am no one to point out your bad habits. You know them and you want to stop. As long as we are discussing self-development, this is the best time. Google ways to quit your bad habit and if it involves buying something, go buy it now. You googled it last time and put it off since you were lazy to buy it.

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Amidst your quitting resolve, if you have an urge to restart it, what will you do? Have that area covered too. Start a beneficial habit that will replace your bad habit if it involves time. If it is an involuntary bad habit like biting your nails, you get bitter solutions to dip your nails in that will definitely help you stop sticking them in your mouth. 😉

4. Enroll For a Class

Dance, Yoga, Gym, Zumba, Learning instruments, Languages, Cooking, Painting, Craftwork, Workshops, Calligraphy, name it and you have it. You might have wanted to excel in something similar. Instead of binge watching youtube tutorials one day and forgetting all about it, act on it and join a class.

The thing about enrolling for classes is that you would have spent money on it and that would give you a push. Once you reach there, your tutor will give a push. When there are many people involved, you will enjoy it too.

5. Reach Out to People who Despise you/You Despise

Think of the last person you want to meet and have a conversation with. Start with someone on the peer level. Imagine sitting with them over a cup of coffee?

Hard is it?

In most of the cases, this is a drill we could avoid. Not being in the good books of a single person isn’t a big deal. But what if you have to deal with them on a frequent basis? You could either try going out for a cup of coffee together. But if that would be weird, you could strike occasional conversation – about his/her home, the weather, ask for recommendations. If that would be weird, then go to point 2 and take the plunge. Tell them how you have noticed the friction and that you want to make things better. Trying doesn’t hurt. Does it?

6. Start a 30-day challenge (Or any such)

A person who failed in 4-5 challenges is telling you this. Yes. I found it immensely difficult. And so, take it up and challenge yourself. Being a writer, mine were all writing challenges. You could take up something that would help you grow. Fitness Challenge, Healthy Diet Challenge, Happiness Challenge, Photography challenge, Journal writing challenge, Self Development challenge and there are more such. Ensure that you keep a note of it somewhere so you keep track of it. Let me tell you how my challenges went:

  • My 30 days letter challenge ended in 4 days I think.
  • The 100 Happy Days Challenge was not only prolonged for two-three years it is incomplete even now.
  • The 10 Days, 4 Things challenge? Barely completed 4 days.
  • I did finish the 30 days Book Challenge but I skipped days. I didn’t follow it on the dot.
  • And then I took up #BarAThon. And here I am! Writing my last post. I am finally successful and this has given me the confidence to take up more challenges. The feeling is out of this world! 😀 Go for it guys! Go! Go!

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    Here is one example. Source

7. Start your Life Handbook/Journal

Our life from birth has been a blur. Do you have a record of those little moments in life? Life is made of little things. Those tiny but important details you thought you’ll never forget yet you find them slipping away from your memory. In another 10 years will you remember them? In your old age will your life seem to have been an empty slate?

Don’t just fill it up with lovely moments, keep a record of them. I can’t emphasize enough on its importance which is why I wrote an entire post on it.

You don’t have to start with all these at once. You can work on them one or two at a time but make up your mind to reach to the bottom of it. We don’t have much time. The earlier we master one thing, the earlier we can move on to the next. With this ends my Self Development Series. So did you like them? Do you think you can take up one of these? Is there anything else you would like to add to this list?

Featured Image Courtesy – Here

7 Ways to Love Yourself

This is the 6th post of the series of posts I wrote on Self Development. I have started with simple and easy steps for Self Development in my first post and proceeded with various facets of it in the next few posts. If you intend to start working on it, I request you to begin with the 1st post.


Do you love yourself? To this question, most of the people would say yes but some would secretly ask themselves again, do I? I did not love myself at one point of time. It was evident in my behavior and looks. But I overcame that with much difficulty and now if you know me, you will know that I am very confident about myself and I absolutely adore me :D. I had to include this post for those who couldn’t overcome the self doubt.

1. Acknowledge your ‘flaws’

All of us have our ‘flaws’. I am talking about the insecurities here – too thin, too fat, too dark, too pale, too short, too tall, too shy, stammers, not very sociable and so on. Firstly, these aren’t flaws. You are merely different from the others and they consider anything different from themselves, a flaw. You need to realize it with conviction. For that, you need to acknowledge and embrace these flaws.

Me? I am dark complexioned. I used to spend years crying over it when my relatives and friends pointed it out. I hadn’t accepted the fact that I am dusky. I overcame it after lots of struggles and now when someone asks me to do something about my color, I tell them I like it. The truth is, I am dusky and I don’t want to change anything about me.

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My Favorite Quote

2. ‘Reasons I Love Myself’ List

Erm… yes I do have a thing with lists :P.

You are lovable. There is some feature of yours that you like. You just have to find it. Looks aren’t everything. But in order to survive on this Earth, you need to love yourself. You are your companion and if you don’t like your own company, life will be difficult till the end. Write down 3 things you love about yourself with reasons. Without the reasons you won’t convince yourself. Try adding a new reason every few days.  Every day for 30 days and beyond if possible.

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3. Find Your Confident Look

Are looks important? Yes and No. During some days, when you get ready to leave your house, you feel you look wonderful. While on other days, you don’t seem up to the mark. Different types of clothes & hairstyles affect your mood and confidence.  Observe the connection between your mood and your clothes/dressing style. In a month’s time, you will be able to tell which clothes make you anxious, comfortable or confident. Find the dress that makes you feel like you rule the world. Buy more of similar stuff and soon this newfound confidence will permanently make you feel good about yourself.

4. Experiment on yourself

One body, one life, so little time. Would you rather be the same or would you try out new things to explore your limits? Try new food, new clothes, new styles, new things, a cocky outfit, people’s reaction and how you feel about it.

Due to my complexion complex, I used to wear clothes that made me close to invisible. Thanks to a bunch of good friends, I started feeling better about myself and began to wear things I liked. It was experimental for me since I had never worn them. I was greeted with mockery and I persisted. The thing with mockery is that it stops being funny after the third time ;). Now I am known for the new styles I embrace and my friends love that about me.

I love myself more now since I wear what I want. If I hadn’t experimented, I’d still have been trying to be invisible.

5. Exercising Self Love

This is an activity I came across through the site 30 Days of Self-Love. Nothing too difficult. Every day, you need to make a video saying I Love you to yourself. Practice this for 30 days. This practice came about after watching Dr. Masaru Emoto’s rice experiment. To know more, watch this video:

6. Go easy on yourself

If you had complexes, you were hard on yourself. It wasn’t your fault. You just need to work on it like I mentioned above. If you made mistakes in the past, realized and repented, it is over. You are not the same person now. Why should the new you worry over something the old you did? Go easy on yourself. Let it go. Embrace the lesson and your renewed self. Stop blaming or torturing yourself with your past.

7. Pamper Yourself – Once in a week, pamper yourself. Treat your body and mind. Get a spa, binge watch a series or a movie you wanted to watch, go on a trip, eat what you crave for. No one knows you better than yourself. Save for something you have wanted for a long time and buy it.

My friend bought a polaroid camera because she had been yearning to own one for years. Her relatives and friends accused her of wasting money. I thought it was okay. She is not the type to buy unnecessary things every other day. She was earning and she decided to own something she had always wanted. If you can’t own what you want, then what is the whole point of working and earning money?

You have saved enough. You have put others’ comfort first long enough. Once in a while, buy something for yourself even if it isn’t a necessity. Just know where to draw the line.

 

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Pic Courtesy: Here

 

Love yourself so much that you don’t need anyone else to tell you how lovable you are. I know I am awesome. So are you.

Maintaining a Journal – Not Your Regular One

No. We aren’t going back to, ‘Dear Diary, today was a normal day. I got up, brushed, pooped, ate, loafed around…’. No! Nor is this going to be something artistic. You don’t have to be a writer to make this. Think of this as a book to account your life. Something where your dreams and thoughts take a form and you make a record of them as the first step to fulfilling them.

 

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Image Courtesy: Rossifox.com

 

We are going to make a Handbook of life. Nothing too complex. It is basically the things you want to do and the things you feel about strongly. Just a few lines will suffice. But in 10 years’ time, it must remind you of important things in your life. If you are really into it, work on it in such a way that you have enough points to write your autobiography someday. J

Here are 7 pointers to help you –

  1. Invest in a Journal

Invest your time or money. This is a journal meant to store a significant part of your life. It should be majestic and inviting, shouldn’t it? I have always wanted one of those moleskin journals or the huge heavy leather ones. Their size, smell and classy looks give a sense of pride and you’ll feel like doing justice to the journal. Or convert an old Diary into a tempting one by redoing the covers. You will find enough and more DIYs on the same.

 

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Source – Here

 

  1. Places You Want to Visit

Travel bug bites most of us at some point of time or the other. Make a list of places you want to visit and write down the reasons too. If you are on the artistic side, you could fill it up with pictures and doodles. If not, plain words would do.

Another way to utilize this section is challenge yourself – 5 historical places, 5 hill stations and so on. The places I want to visit are related to phenomenon and activities – Beaches with Bioluminescence, Aurora Borealis, Star gazing areas etc. This is another category you could go for.

You see it now? Get innovative, get quirky, get it exciting.

  1. Your Wishlist

I have e-commerce store wishlists boasting of so many things I want. Yet in a few days time, I lose interest in some of them. But there are those things I have always wanted to own. The more time it takes, the surer I am of what I want. All of us have such wishes right? Don’t let it evaporate. Write it down. Seeing it again and again will make you work for it. One day, gradually, you will check things off the list.

Do you know what the first thing in my list will be? Harry Potter Books – Hardbound ❤

  1. Your Bucketlist

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice. Those things you have wanted to do apart from purchasing and traveling. Food related? How about this? Learn something you have always wanted to learn. Start something you were scared to begin – making Videos, starting a blog, an art form, something that involves getting out of your comfort zone.

Mine will have; getting a tattoo, starting a youtube channel and moving to a self-hosted platform.

  1. Things You have done

What about all those things you have done until now? Record them. Attach a picture, write a few words and the date if you aren’t much into writing. Else, elaborate. Either way, you have a record of a remarkable thing you did in your life.

 

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Courtesy: Here

 

  1. Your Ideas

I think one common thing we humans have is, the generation of ideas while we take a shower. All of us get ideas. Some of us process it and ruminate over it and later on forget it. Some of us shrug it off the same moment. Only a few act on it.

Act on it. Write it down. Don’t let doubts hold you back! It is too ambitious. I am not that talented or rich to do it. I can’t do it. Not an excuse. Write it down. People don’t get an idea and be rich overnight. We will have to work.

Dhinchak Pooja got an idea, she decided to work on it. No matter what we think of her talents, she is out there minting money. What if she thought she isn’t good at singing and slumped back?

  1. Random Thoughts

An explicable feeling. You helped someone cross the street. You gave your seat to an old woman in the bus. You saw a sad sight and it weighed you down. You saw a rainbow. Your friend said something nice. Your mother wore a lovely saree today. Your father said something touching. You had a thought. Something about office. You had a nice moment of eye contact with a stranger.

No. Don’t elaborate if you aren’t so fond of elaborating. Just write a line or two. Maybe like couplets or paragraphs. You never know what you will have there in 10 years.

Remember. Your thoughts, ideas, dreams, and ambitions are abstract things as long as they are in your head. They could vanish at any moment and never come back. 80% of our thoughts don’t take shape because we do not act on them. Give them a shape and you are halfway there. You read it another three times and you will know if that is what you really want. If it is so, you will work for it and succeed. Do not let your success die in your head.

 

7 Ways of People Planning

We are the shadows of the people around us. Our thoughts, actions, and behavioral patterns are reflections of our parents, teachers, and friends. People play very important roles in our lives and so if we are to grow, we need people who support our growth. If we have negative people around pulling us down, if people we love stop responding to us, or if we stop responding to them, there could be conflicts.

How do we grow when our mind is not sane, free and healthy? Focus on people around you, set things right and you will find things falling into place.

1. Let Go

All of us have been here. We have seen our close ones gradually slip away, some of us watched, some of us were confused, some of us threw tantrums but people who left, they just left! There is only so much you can do.

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Source: Here

When you feel someone is drifting apart, do your best to hold them back. But remember do not beg for a place. If they want you in their life, they will try to sort it out seeing your efforts. If they don’t, your begging will only make it worse. You will either give them a sense of superiority or you will be a mere annoyance to them. Learn to let go after a point.

 

2. Cutting People off

If someone is adversely affecting your life, bossing you around, making jokes at your cost, mocking your beliefs and thought processes, putting you down, cut them off asap! You don’t need that kind of negativity. Love could make you so blind that you even lose your self-respect to save a relationship. I am talking any relationship here.

 

Do this. It will be hard in the beginning. Very hard! But in a few months’ time, you will experience a kind of freedom you never knew existed until then.

3. Embracing your Home group

Your home group – The ones who watched you grow, who love you as you are, your closest circle of friends who know you raw.

Many times we chase people who don’t care and spend time with people who don’t need us. Meanwhile, there are others chasing us, sometimes waiting patiently for a word of love, for some time with us. We don’t have to go that far. There will be someone in every house yearning for our time. Bask in the love you already have rather than chasing the one you may never have. Spend more time with your loved ones. It will be time wisely spent and you’ll never regret it.

Reach out to reach within yourself

4. Talk it out

If he/she was sucking the happiness out of you or he/she just left you for better friends, the story is over. But if you just drifted apart over a silly fight or misunderstanding and if it still pains you, isn’t it high time that you tried to be friends again? We already have so many things bothering us without all the ‘ifs’ adding to them. What if you had apologized? What if you had talked it out? Is it too late?

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You wouldn’t know unless you try. Try talking things out and if it doesn’t work out, you know it is the end. You can learn to put it behind you. If not, you just got back your old buddy! 🙂

5. Mingling With Underprivileged People

When Privilege is love and care…

“I cried for shoes until I saw a child without legs” To value what you have, you should either lose it or be in touch with someone who doesn’t have it. Ever went to an old-age home?

A bunch of old and frail people hoping and waiting for their children to come back and take them home. Some of them know it may never happen, yet a ray of hope remains. Being with them will open our eyes to many things – to count our blessings, to know how they feel, to learn empathy, to realize this could be us some day.

Mingling with under-privileged people will open us to suffering, will make us more kind and compassionate, will remind us to live to the fullest as long as we can.

6. Getting in touch

Do you remember that teacher who contributed so much to your growth? That mentor whom you ran to whenever your life was a mess? Those friends you had coffee with and felt at home every single time? There are so many people we weren’t very close to but we felt a strange happiness when we were with them. They helped us grow mentally and emotionally. They were our support systems. What happened to them?

Get in touch with people who have always been there, no questions asked, even after you vanished for a long time. Go on. Pick up your phone right now and call them. I have to make a call to my LKG class teacher.

7. Forgiving

“You don’t know how strong you are until you have to accept an apology you will never get.” Life isn’t a movie where everyone realizes their mistakes in the end and apologizes. No. In life people leave you hanging amidst your troubles, never to look back. It ends there. You wait for a backward glance, an apology that you may or may not get. What do you do? Grieve the rest of your life over what happened? You need to move on. You don’t have to forget, but you need to forgive. Not for anyone else, but you.

 You might wonder how any of this relates to Self Development. I had a rough phase during the end of last year and earlier this year. I had to cut off negative people from my life, I lost a very close friend for no reason and I was very much depressed. All I did was hole up in my room and whine away a whole lot of days that could have been otherwise productive. In a while, I realised I had to get past it. If people are causing problems in life, you deal with people in order to solve it right? That is all this is about.

I did that and felt a lot better. It cleared my head tremendously and a day became more tolerable to me that I focussed on other aspects of Self Development including taking up this BarAThon! I am happy now.

Bonus tip – We often underestimate the power of little and stupid acts 😉 I may write a post on it some day if I remember to.

 

Featured Image Courtesy: Here

7 Ways to Lasting Happiness

If you are new here and want to work on Self-Development, you can start with this post. This is a series of 7 posts that deals with various facets of Self Development. Do let me know your suggestions or feel free to ask your queries.


Life is the quest for happiness, isn’t it? We have heard that happiness can be found within us. Now I am giving you 7 methods of finding this happiness within you and bringing it to the surface. If you notice, these are either to be repeated daily or they make a mark in your life. Either way, they give lasting happiness. This is just a drop in the ocean of ways to be happy. I am restricting to 7 since my theme demands it.  I hope you find them useful.

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1. Finding time for your passion

What was that one thing you have always wanted to do/learn/be? An artist, a singer, an author, a sportsperson, an actor, a linguist, a traveler? Whatever your heart yearns for, you still can be that. You say you already have a job? That is okay. If you’re passionate about something, pursue it during your spare time!

Observe where your time goes wasted. Reduce the wastage and invest some time per week to follow your passion. You WILL enjoy those few hours because you love doing it. Because that is the dream! Go ahead. Plan, chase, sweat it out and be what you were meant to be. 😀

2. Reward Yourself at the End of the Day

You sometimes spend way too much time on your break – watching funny videos, movies, sitcoms, reading, social networking – and at the end of the day, get stressed out as no work gets done. Eventually, in spite of doing what you love, you are unhappy. The key is to find the midway. Assign a particular time, preferably towards the end of the day to do what you love. It will be the reward for the day’s work and also a stress buster. You will eagerly look forward to this particular time and have the motivation to finish your work. When you are done, man! won’t you be the happiest and the most relaxed person on Earth? 😀

3. Writing one happy thing about the day

You have heard this before and I’d say follow it. If you have been following my Self Development posts, you already have a journal to jot down your To-Do list. In the same journal, you can jot down what made you happy at the end of each day. It could be a person, a thing, an event, a phenomenon, a feeling, an action. Anything! Even better. Take up the 100 Happy Days challenge. When you voluntarily find reasons to be happy every day, eventually you will see reasons for happiness everywhere, in everything involuntarily.

4. Being in tune with nature

We often underestimate this aspect of life – The gift of nature. But think about it. The feeling you get when you go on a trek, go to a beach, sit on the bank of a lake, walk amidst the woods, ride in the rain. It is a feeling you never get anywhere else. You are in tune with nature, the bare elements that you are made of. You are in tune with yourself. You can contemplate, look for answers or simply admire the creation of the Almighty.

5. Mark your Year

And mark my words. If you follow this, in 5 years, you will thank me. It is very simple. At the beginning of every year, decide 2 (Or any number of) realistic, amazing, practical things you will do that year.
For instance, if you want to go on a trip to Malaysia, do your homework, make a plan, fix a tentative date, determine the budget, and start saving for it in particular. Prepare explicitly for it so that you make it happen.

Remember your years not by numbers but by the amazing things you did.

The year I went to Malaysia.

The year I went Scuba diving.

The year I came across this amazing blog ‘A Few Handpicked Things’ 😛 *Hides face*

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6. Spending time with a child or a pet

Children are innocent. They live in the moment. There is a lot to learn from their spontaneity and their baby talk gives you a fuzzy feeling. As for pets, love oozes like cheese fro a pizza. Hugging your dog and letting him give you saliva facial is all the therapy you need to be happy. Both these beings are always happy and do not spoil their moods with unnecessary thoughts. They are always happy and busy and if you are with them, you are always happy and busy.

I used to have a dog and whenever I was upset, she used to sense it, come and sit beside me. It took barely half an hour for me to forget my sadness.

Oh! I miss her 😦 Now I need a dog!

7. Gift Happiness

I love giving gifts. It is heart-warming to see the smile on their lips, the surprise in their eyes turning to an excited twinkle as they unwrap the gift. There is more. I tell them what I love about them, I surprise them with letters, I write things that make them feel good or create something.

Encourage, appreciate, tell them they are loved, gift little things, nothing too pricey – chocolates, flowers. In my office, when friends go out for lunch and come back with toffees, we run around in glee for those tiny treats. See? It is that easy! 😀

I sometimes tell strangers that I like there top or dress etc. It makes them smile and I feel good about appreciating someone. I send out happiness to the universe and get some back.

Psst! Appreciate my writing and I’ll be mentally pirouetting for the rest of the day (Okay I’m done promoting myself. Promise!) 😉


 

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7 Ways to Detox

This is Day 2 of 7 days of Self Development posts I am writing. If you are chasing Self development, please do join in. Begin practising these tips in the order of my posts starting here.



When a farmer tends to his crops, he prevents the growth of weed and uproots them if any. Else, it hinders the growth of his crops. It is the same with Self Development. We need to detoxify ourselves so that we grow without any hindrances.

When we talk of detox, we need to take an overall approach to it – Detoxing our thoughts, our body and our surroundings – A Physical and Mental Detox. So, from now on, we try to consciously purify our thoughts and surroundings. Here is how:

1. Water Therapy 

Yes! We already discussed this in my earlier post. In addition to drinking 4 glasses of water on empty stomach, drink warm water 40 minutes after each meal. It eases the digestion process. Following this daily will purify your blood, gives you clear skin and detoxifies your body.

2. Pranayama 

Your life is counted by the number of breaths you take, or so it is said. Pranayama is a practice of refining breathing ability.  It helps you focus on your breathing and control the same.

  • Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply through your left.
  • Now hold your breath and shift your thumb from your right to your left nostril.
  • Exhale deeply and fully through your right nostril.
  • Inhale through the same nostril (right).
  • Hold your breath and shift your thumb from your left to your right nostril.
  • Exhale deeply and fully through your left nostril.

This is one round. Do this daily for about 10 minutes. You can start with 2-3 minutes initially and increase the time gradually. Pranayama ensures that there is maximum supply of oxygen to all the parts of your body. It purifies the blood and the respiratory system.

3. Meditation

 

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Image Courtesy: Huffington Post

 

 

There is a common misunderstanding that meditation is difficult. All you need for meditation is a bit of patience since you don’t see immediate results. Meditation is the process of cultivating awareness of our thought patterns and there are many methods to do it. Here is a simple one that I practice:

  • Find an idle place and sit in a comfortable position – Vajrasana or Sukhasana (cross legged).
  • Play a soft instrumental music if you’d like that and close your eyes.
  • Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply for some time.
  • As you bring your breathing to normal, focus on your body parts one at a time.
  • Bring your attention to your toes, relax them, move up to your feet, relax your ankles, move up gradually to your calf muscles, your knees.
  • At this point, go back to your toes and swiftly ensure that all the parts until your knees remain relaxed. If not, loosen them.
  • Resume from your knees upwards relaxing each body part until you reach your face. Relax each feature on your face and begin a quick revision from your toes.
  • Once your entire body is relaxed, stay conscious of your body for about 5 more minutes.

Now bring your attention back to your breath. After about a dozen normal breaths, slowly open your eyes, look around, absorb the sights, the sound and feel the air. Congratulations! You just spent around 10 minutes of your day without letting your mind wander. Even if the mind wanders in between this exercise, don’t fret. Bring it back to focus on your body. It might take a week or so to tame it. 🙂
4. Distancing From Negative People 

Cutting off people from your life is difficult, at least for me! There might be people around you who do not fulfill your emotional needs, or those for whom you are always there but when you need them, they vanish. There could be some who keep telling you how you ‘cannot’ or ‘should not’ do certain things. People who pull you back from everything, who aim to shatter your self-confidence and self-worth. They are toxic to your growth. Cut them off from your life. If that isn’t possible, distance yourself from them. It will be difficult at first, but soon you will have a newfound respect for life.
Let me put it this way. You are a combination of people around you. You really don’t want to become the negativity that surrounds you. Do you?

5. Cleaning Your Room 

I know clean people, messy people, and the ones in between. I belong to the last category and I’d like to move on to the first. Here is why. On the days my room was messy, I was grumpy, gloomy and irritated. It took me a long time to notice this pattern. After every exam, I used to clean my room and there was a certain happiness I found when I walked into an impeccable, sweet smelling bedroom. If a neat place could give us so much joy, there will be prolonged joy when our room is always clean.

I know many friends who boast of their messy room. I used to do the same. I’d say it is because they haven’t observed themselves enough. They will know the difference once they start keeping it clean. There is always a difference. You need to look for it.

6. Declutter

Clutter is useless, space consuming crap that fill your room, table and wardrobe. Take the time to sort through your stuff, one area at a time. Put aside things that you don’t use at all. Even if they are in a good condition, if you don’t use them, they are useless to you. Stop preserving them (unless they have an emotional value). Getting rid of clutter is symbolic of freeing space in your mind, keeping account of things you have and making note of new things you will need.

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By cleaning and decluttering, you are detoxing your surroundings. When you walk into a clean room, you will be able to think clearly. A messy room brings your attention to all those tiny objects laying strewn around and it messes up your thoughts too.

7. Digital Detox

Again something I covered in the previous post? Not quite. Here, I am asking you to do something bigger and better. Can you stay away from phones for 2 hours a day? This means no social media, no chats, no calls for 2 hours. Come on! That is easy.

As children, we never had any of these gadgets. Then why is it so hard for us to stay away from them now? Coming from a college where we didn’t even have access to Television or phones, I can say with conviction that it is possible. Simply find something else to do during that time – Meet a friend, read a book, exercise, go for a walk, talk with people at home, learn something, create art, go for a drive and so on. See? I just gave you a plethora of options and they aren’t exhaustive. So let us work on that digital detox, shall we? 🙂

I know I know! Today has been a bit harder than yesterday. But hey! You don’t have to start them all at once. Focus on one point at a time, get used to it and add the next. Let us own our life, make things happen and spread this positivity! So will you be joining me in this endeavor? What are your thoughts on Day 2 of the Self Development Programme? Did you like it?

This post is a part of the BarAThon hosted by Blog-A-rhythm.

7 Baby Steps to Self Development

I have always wanted to make waking up early, exercising, meditating and eating healthy  an integral part of my life. I am sure most of us have these in our Self Development bucket-lists. While some have successfully included a few in their routine, most of us have failed. A month ago, I realized that it was high time I took positive ownership of my life and began my research for Self development.

There is no point starting away with hefty, boring and difficult things right? It is better to start small, accomplish our goals step by step, gain our footing and then take bigger steps. So, this is what is about to happen over the next few days:

  • I have taken up #BARATHON – A blogging Marathon where I will be blogging on alternate days starting 17th June.
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  • I will be providing tips on different facets of Self Development on all 7 days.
  • Do not venture into them all at once as they could overwhelm you. Take them a few at a time. I will try my best to guide you.

Today (Or the day you choose to begin), being the Day 1, I have 7 simple steps to Self Development, each of which takes only 15 minutes or lesser. If you put your heart and soul into it, you can start with all of them together.

1. Wake up, Make Your Bed, Brighten up Your Room (Time required: 2 Mins) –  Easy right?
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Image Source: Jeff Finley

Making your bed is the first thing you do after you wake up and so, completing the task no matter how tiny it is, gives you a sense of accomplishment. Open the curtains, breathe in some fresh air and bask in the sunlight. Now you have triggered a good mood, made a neat bed and set a happy tone for the day.

2. Water Therapy (Time required: 5-10 mins) – Do not let the word ‘Therapy’ frighten you. All you need to do is, drink 3-4 glasses of water on an empty stomach. A few of the benefits being:

  • It purifies your blood and keeps your skin healthy and clear.
  • It helps in flushing out toxins from your body
  • As your grandparents might have told you, it helps in your bowel movement, prevents constipation and indigestion.
  • It helps the body fight against infections

Initially, it will be difficult to drink four glasses. Start with 2.5 glasses and increase the quantity every five days.

 

3. Make a Daily To-Do List (5-10 mins) – Once you freshen up, make a list of things you wish to accomplish that day.

  • Put all of those tiny, huge and in between things in the list. This prepares you for the day ahead.
  • Allot time limits for each of these activities and prioritize them.
  • Mark each activity as and when you are done with it.
  • Try completing all the activities on the list.

4. The Two Minute Rule (2 min per activity) – Now that you have a To-Do list, finish off all the activities that can be done in less than 2 minutes immediately. Returning calls, replying mails, sending important texts etc are the trivial things we tend to put off since they require less time. Eventually, we end up forgetting them. Instead, be done with them and then move on to the bigger ones.

 

5. Read/Watch a Motivational Piece (Time: 10 mins) – Try including this in the morning so that you feel motivated and look forward to your day. You get many motivational pieces and videos online. You could go for any of those. Rob Dial, Jay Shetty and Sean Stephenson are a few I follow on FB for some drops of motivation. This single activity broadens your mind and gives a positive outlook towards life.

 

6. Go Gadget FreeYou wake up and, even before you open your eyes, reach for the phone. This is more of a request. This doesn’t take your time, instead saves it. Please do not open your laptop, phone or any electronic gadget for the first 1 hour of your day. If you are striving for Self Development, you need to ensure that there aren’t any distractions and that the beginning of your day is productive. Remember,

Your first hour sets the tone for your day.

The Gadget free period was an idea I got from Tara Nair‘s blog. 🙂

 

7. Keep a Gratitude List (5 min) – Keep a journal and at the end of each day, list down 3 things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. A very simple exercise. If you have to repeat any during the following days, it doesn’t matter. Continue doing this for a couple of weeks and you will notice yourself becoming more grateful and happier for all that the life has bestowed upon you. 🙂

Evidently, all the above points are very easy and doable. Do not look at them as a set of 7 tasks. Instead, approach them one at a time and you’ll easily sail through them. The only difficult part will be the gadget free time. You will get past it in a week. I assure you! Just wake up and make things happen!

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Image Courtesy: Dan & Lynn Ventura

Do let me know if you are taking up this Self Development Challenge and the results. Chime in your suggestions and ideas that I could incorporate in my routine. This is easy for starters, isn’t it? 🙂

 

Linking this post to the BAR-A-THON edition 2 at Blog-A-Rhythm

 

A Complete Guide to Online Shopping

Lately, most of my shopping needs are fulfilled by online stores. During the last couple of years, I got lots of gift vouchers for online stores that, I shopped to my heart’s content, not without some lessons. There are boons and banes of shopping online and so, it is always better to read up and do your researches before you leap into the mess that is online shopping.

I have plenty of friends and relatives who are still skeptical about online shopping. They haven’t tried it yet since they have lots of doubts and rightly so. Every customer has the right to ensure that the product they buy is worth the money. So, I decided to compile a list of Do’s and Don’ts based on my experiences with online shopping.

1. Shop from an Authentic Site – This had to be mentioned for the sake of newbie shoppers. Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, Snapdeal, Jabong, Limeroad etc have been the most prominent shopping sites. Others such as Ajio, Koovs and many more have joined the bandwagon. If you shop from lesser known or completely unknown sites, there is no guarantee of receiving your product, let alone getting them in good condition.

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Image courtesy: Here

2. Look out for Ratings and Reviews – Before shopping anything expensive, see what the other buyers have to say. Sites like Flipkart and Amazon have ratings and reviews for almost all the prominent products. The key point here is, if a customer is too happy/unhappy with his product, he will definitely come back and write an honest review. That being said, a couple of bad reviews in a hundred do not matter. Go by the majority reviews for inexpensive products.

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Also, in some cases, you will know minute details about the product from the reviews. For instance, I decided to buy a dress and the reviews said that the size M of that product was equal to the standard size S. So I ordered size S instead of M (being my size) and got the right fit.

3. Read the Description – This is something people don’t notice. In most of the sites, you will notice that certain descriptions cannot be found unless we look carefully for them and expand them. Reading description is very important because the image of the product could be misleading. They might show a picture of a set of four plates but they might be selling only two for the price.

4. Look for Quality Assurance – Multiple sellers sell the same products. Some sites have their own Quality Assurance checks. They do multiple rounds of checks for some of their products which is an additional guarantee that the seller and the products are genuine. You could identify these products by the seal affixed next to the product in their page. Amazon and Flipkart have this facility and so, look for sellers whose products have this assurance seal and pick amongst them based on the ratings.

Image result for flipkart assured

5. Keep the Shade Difference in mind – when you are purchasing something whose color you are particular about, keep in mind that the shade could be slightly different due to glare and lighting when the image was taken. That being said, you are not obliged to keep products that are entirely different or unsatisfactory for you. There is a thin line between unintentional shade differences and tricking you to buying slow moving products by displaying different stuff.

6. Read the Return Policy – I cannot stress how important this is. Most of the above-mentioned sites have transparent return policies. The things you need to look for are:

  •  The period within which the products should be returned – 7 days/10 days/15 days/30 days. This would help you take action within the specified time.
  • Whether they have a pickup facility or whether you will have to courier it yourself.
  • In the latter case, whether they will reimburse the courier cost and the amount up to which they will reimburse.
  • Whether the refund will be in store credits or in cash.

 

The site will have a link to their return policies. Read up before you decide to purchase. Check the return period for every product since it changes with the type of product, brand and seller.

7. DO NOT Fall For Discounts – Whether it is a flat 90% off or Buy 1 Get 1 Free, use your common sense. I used to stalk shopping apps for a long time since I had vouchers close to 30k. I learnt that they keep changing the type of offer to attract customers but eventually, the prices varied only slightly. While this isn’t the case always, it happens most of the times.

They price a Kurta at Rs. 1500 and sell at 40%  off (Rs. 900) normally. When the festive season comes, they sell it at 60% off while increasing the MRP to Rs. 2000. Frequent shoppers will not note the initial MRPs which have been struck off. We only notice the red colored 40% off/60% off since they are more catchy. Eventually, you are purchasing the same Kurta with only a difference of Rs. 100.

What you should do? The description will have the type of material used. Estimate the market price of the material and the quantity you would need for the kurta. Add the average stitching charges. Compare the cost to the price of the Kurta. Slight price fluctuations are acceptable considering the seller’s profit, packing charges, the convenience of buying from home etc.

8. Look for the asterisk – If you find a mail with unbelievably good offers, do not fall for it and make purchases. Look for the asterisk (*) and the related terms and conditions. For instance, every shopper wouldn’t get a 100% cashback. They aren’t running charitable organizations. Nor are they Santa Claus’s grandchildren. So, always approach every mail and every offer skeptically.

9. Know the difference between return and exchange – This knowledge is important both online and offline. In common parlance, when you return a product, you get a refund. When you exchange a product, you get the same product of different size or color. This option is available in most of the prominent sites. So, if you love the product but need a different size, you don’t have to be disheartened. You can always exchange them.

10. Know your Voucher Expiry – If you have gift vouchers with you, remember that most of them expire in a year’s time. When you purchase a product towards the last week of the expiry date, ensure that you won’t have to return it (exchange is alright). Once you return the product after the voucher expiry, the refund to your wallet will be useless since the voucher has expired.

For instance, buy a dress from a brand you are familiar with or purchase branded makeup or body care products.

11. Search for Discounts online – There are umpteen discount sites such as CouponDunia, Nearbuy etc. Be on the lookout for discount coupons or offers through these sites so that you make maximum out of your purchases. But keep two points in mind; Point 5 and point 10  😛 which is…

12. Know the Difference between Want and Need – We all love to save some extra bucks. Sometimes we get too carried away in saving that we will spend more on unnecessary garbage than we intended too. So, just because you save 200 bucks in every purchase, do not end up burning a hole in your wallet.

The mantra here is, look for discounts when you need to buy something. Do not buy because you have discounts. When you see an eye catchy discount ask yourself, ‘Do I really need it?’

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Image courtesy: Here

13. For any issues, contact the Site – The competition is very high today. The sellers would do anything to keep up their reputation. So do not hesitate when something goes wrong. Make the best use of social media. Firstly, mail them the issue. If you get no response within a reasonable time, tweet the issue tagging their handle, post on their facebook page or message them. The response is quick and the issue is resolved in no time.

14. Leave a review – This is a bonus point I added which, if followed by you, will help the other buyers. The way ratings and reviews would help you, you could help someone with your reviews too. A two liner about our experience in their site would help other buyers make a decision. It will also help the seller improve his products. When it comes to electronics and expensive products, the importance of a review increases manifold.

The reason why I like showroom shopping is that we know exactly what we are buying. If they are clothes, we can try them on, compare and take home the best. But the plus point about online shopping is that I have a wide variety to choose from and I get customer reviews too which isn’t available in showrooms. It is definitely more convenient and so I believe everyone should get comfortable with it in a healthy manner. So shop online, shop safe and shop skeptically.

So do you shop online often? If you don’t will you do it after reading this post? Do let me know in the comments if there are any more points to be added to this list. 🙂

PS – This is not a promotional post in any manner. Being someone who has shopped online frequently, I decided to help others who are still alien to the concept. The pictures and examples given are from personal experiences and for clarification purposes.

Best Facebook Pages for Self Discovery

Among all the social media sites around, Facebook is my favorite. It might be because I have been delving deeper into the jungle that FB is through the ages. In my quest, I did find some amazing pages and communities there. While bloggers flock around twitter, I haven’t quite gotten the hang of twitter and I can’t get enough of Facebook. So I decided to compile the best pages that happened to me on Facebook.

If you are a reader, a thinker (overthinker), an introvert or if you are always in awe of mind’s weird ways, you will be able to relate to this list.

  1. Literature (Reading is Sexy)

    The name has it all. They put up quotes and poems. Some of them are on repeat mode, yet you cannot really get annoyed. Because, how much can we remember? Even if we do, we can never have enough of certain quotes, poems. Pablo Neruda, Charles Bukowski are some of the people who have created some amazing stuff that you could read over and over again. The page is about such things. Here is a glimpse of one of their posts.

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2. Beautiful Minds  –

We need more beautiful minds like these to curate all those quotes and inspiring videos. About themselves, they say the quotes they post are to inspire people to think. They give a spark that could grow into a fire and spread from minds to minds. Here is a video from this page that would stay with me for a while. I urge you, please do watch it. Click the link. Click it!

3. The Mind’s Journal –

Their website has articles about thoughts and the mind that makes them. These articles help you know yourself better. They could be written by someone just like you or someone with an elevated mindset, a more experienced soul who could help you walk through your situation. As I had mentioned earlier, a spark is enough to make you think, to change you, to know yourself better. If that is what you are looking for, this is the place.

Here is a glimpse of the article from the page and here is the link

Screenshot of their article on Empath
Screenshot of their article on Empath
4. The Idealist –

The page dwells on ideas and so the cover pic says:Image may contain: one or more people and text

5. Berlin Artparasites –

A magazine that expresses ideas and emotions through art, this is one whacky place with whackier concepts. Their storytelling have unique pictures and write-ups that make us think. I have noticed that the artwork most of the times make no sense on their own. But with the write-ups, they just blow our minds away!

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6. The Mind of an Introvert –

Ah again! It is all there in the name. This is a personal blog with write-ups and memes about introverts; some their own, some they found. I had a tough time choosing just one meme/quote to put up here! 😀 I wouldn’t say this was the best. They are all amazing people!

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7. Rantings of a beautiful Mind –

Another mind boggling area that sometimes leave me spell bound!

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8. Spirit Science –

Dealing with the science of spirit, this page comes up with articles on meditation, concepts such as flower child, Indigo child, Rainbow child, whether you or anyone around you are empaths, HSP or narcissists and so on. Like other pages we discussed earlier, this one helps you delve into yourself and understand your own personality.

9. WordPorn –

Ah well! Most of the booklovers know about this. Like Literature (Reading is Sexy), this one discusses authors and their works of art. They share quotes and poems which are soul stirring.

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10. Love What Really Matters –

This is one soulful page that shares experiences of people. It discusses Love, not just between couples, but love in every form. It makes us think from others’ viewpoints, it makes us happy that humanity is in fact still very much there. These is a page with stories of real people like you and me! And sometimes about dogs too. Real, supercute dogs 🙂

11. Open Letters That Matter

Letters to him, to her, to yourself, to your body, to someone who ruined you, someone who stuck through the storm and many more. There are umpteen letters there and many of them will strike a chord in you. You will be able to relate to some, you’d feel sorry for some, you might even realise that you were an oppressor unknowingly, at some point. They are open letters. They matter.

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Screenshot of the post: A Letter to ‘My Dearest Body’

Facebook is one vast universe of ideas, opinions and thoughts that I know there are many more people and pages waiting to be discovered. This isn’t an exhaustive list. If you could relate to all these pages and if you know more like these, do let me know through the comments. And do share this post if you feel more people need to know about these virtual places of solace.

PS – All the images in this post, have been taken from the respective facebook pages. Had to upload the images since the embed wasn’t working well on wordpress. A Few Handpicked Things do not claim ownership to any of those.