Are you going in the right direction ?

Many people don’t know what following your heart means. Following my heart? I had no idea that my “heart” had its own intelligence.

“Am I going in the right direction?”

Most people deal with this question by seeking the opinion of their friends and family. I used to be that person, always depending on others expertise to find solutions to my problems.

Some people overwhelm you with their detailed comments on your situation and their interpretation of your life is always influenced by the type of conditioning they have experienced in this lifetime.

Although you can get inspired by others input, such discussions can never give you the answer that is best suited for you.

Few others tell you to “follow your heart” which probably ends up intensifying your decision fatigue. Many people don’t know what following your heart means.

Following my heart? I had no idea that my “heart” had its own intelligence. What if my heart wasn’t my best friend? How do I know if my heart wants to sabotage my growth? Is my heart got totally screwed up by the years of emotional baggage I carried inside it?

Can my heart think straight? Or does my heart need new clothes, a haircut and antidepressants to sit straight? How can I trust my “heart“? These are some of the questions that used to pop up in my head.

I seemed to be doing everything “right” and according to somebody else’s agenda but I could sense something more powerful than self-doubt growing in me steadily.

Now, I wish I had someone back then tell me then that the answer has always been “Yes”. Yes, I was and am going in the right direction.

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How is that? And, how will I know that “Yes” is the right answer?

Everything we do and every step we take in life has a higher purpose. A plan is in action which could very easily be considered divine because it is originating from a space that’s beyond intellect.

Intellect is composed entirely of everything you have learnt from books, other people and your own experiences. So, it is rich in information.

However, the limitation of intellect is that it is finite. Anything that you cannot foresee is beyond intellect, it is an inexplicable learning opportunity.

So, all those horrible things that happened in the past, is it fair?

It might seem unrealistic and even completely wrong to view unjust or cruel incidences as if they have a higher purpose.

No one deserves pain and suffering. But my point is that those horrible things that you had to endure made you who you are today.

Acceptance is not about debating the purpose of every painful situation, although we all do it subconsciously. The Universe works in ways that supports our highest good and you don’t have to take my word for it.

Look back at your life and you might be surprised to find out that your suffering has been an invaluable source of life lessons. These lessons can’t be taught in a classroom.

So, ultimately your life plan led you to enrich your intellect, thereby providing you with the necessary tools to either re-use later or pass them on to your loved ones and the rest of the world.

You might ask me, “Why go through so much pain to learn these lessons?” and to this, I say, it is because we chose this by design.

Human life is all about the experience and the lessons we learn through it. If we subtract all the superficial goals, the journey of life is a pointless, exciting and profound adventure that’s totally worth the effort.

You might still ask me, ” oh, but why the heck?” and to that, I say, just because we can! So, sit back, follow your inner guidance and enjoy the ride.

It may not make sense now and may not even make sense when you are older. However, that part of you that’s divine, your being, just knows that in the end, it is all going to be okay.

Unusual self care practices

What can be so unusual about self care? The answer totally stands out from the traditional idea of self care which involves spa treatments, meditation classes, yoga, gym memberships or “protecting your energy” by staying away from negativity. In today’s post, I explore a four-fold approach to everyday life that might freshen your perspective on what it means to care for yourself on a deeper level and value yourself in a way that prepares you to face the battles of life.

  1. Getting to know yourself

Staying open to re-discovering who you are and what is important to you, in my books, is the highest expression of self care. Sometimes we tend to blindly accept certain behavioural patterns or mindset habits that we might have subconsciously picked up over the years, some of which might be unwanted or even toxic. Having a genuine sense of life-long curiosity towards why we operate the way we do without criticising ourselves is not just a path to become our own best friend but also a way to show ourselves that we care enough about ourselves to invest time for it.

2. Showing who you are

Showing who you are includes not just being vulnerable but also about confronting your overly judgemental and cruel aspects of your personality. Nothing screams self care as much as showing up as your authentic, awesome self. Regular self-inquiry aimed at improving your alignment to your core values and your authentic essence might seem like a lot of work. However, it is in the process of humbly showing up as your ENTIRE, gracious self that you experience the utmost freedom of self love and inner expression.

3. Going with the flow

Non-resistance to the flow of life significantly reduces that proportion of human suffering which is self-inflicted. Going with the flow doesn’t mean giving up or not having any goals in life. Being flexible with our plans, NOT unconsciously expecting people to fill previously-abandoned roles in our life, giving other people space to be themselves and staying open to miracles are excellent examples of self care and preservation. The concept of viewing life as an open-ended question and embracing uncertainty allows you to believe in your divine power of creation, sustenance, safety and resilience.

4. Empathising with others

When I started viewing Empathy as a self care ritual, my life instantly became reprogrammed to attract love, peace and conscious connections. Although empathising with others might hardly seem related to our own wellbeing, this practice cultivates the habit of valuing one’s own inner peace over mundane dramas. It helps to know that every single person in this world has their own unique journey filled with joy, pleasure, suffering and other types of karmic repercussions. Only someone who genuinely values and cares for themselves with full understanding of their own power to love, forgive and connect can actually empathise with others. This practice has the power to transmute our feelings of greed, jealousy, shame and hurt that we constantly experience into love, joy, belongingness, gratitude and service.

Five uncommon tips to ride the wave of emotions (from a self-healed survivor of depression)

As a survivor of long-term depression and a certified meditation teacher, I consider the cause of mental health and well-being to be of highest importance, especially given the current emotional burden on humanity. Emotions are like waves. As children, we played catch with the waves at the beach, as if the waves were there to swallow our feet. When we realise that these waves ebbing and flowing is a natural process, we learn to courageously step on these waves, even ride it! What makes someone change from wanting to escape painful emotions to someone who wants to ride it? What’s the difference? One word, Power! When you shift from being overpowered by emotions to be able to ride the wave of emotions, you take your power back from it thereby becoming resilient. Believe it or not, resilience is innate to us and so is inner peace. The moment we realise this, we can easily stop identifying with the emotional rollercoasters and resurfacing unprocessed traumas so that we are connected to the infinite well of peace that is within us, allowing us to learn from these events. In this post, I share five simple yet effective tips, based on my experience, to ride the waves of emotions on a daily basis while preserving your mental wellbeing.

  1. Weirdly analyse your environment

This might sound weird but when you are experiencing intense emotions, try noticing something weirdly interesting in your immediate environment. This exercise is not an evasion strategy rather it is merely an unusual way of being present. Regular practice of being present makes you believe in your power to deal with your emotions rather than becoming it. Make sure to not “escape” the situation by DOING something else, instead focus on keeping the replacement activity all about trivial observations. You might snap your fingers, pause your mental chatter, run to the balcony and start counting the number of leaves in the branches of a tree. You might try to notice the types of window panes your neighbours have. You might look at the clouds in the sky and see if you can find a pattern. You might try to “look” beyond the ever-expansive sky or try to see through the clouds and visually rank different clouds based on their density. You might start naming the different birds that fly by your building. The possibilities are endless.

2. Notice weird things about your breath and body

When you are in the middle of having an anxiety attack or a session of overthinking spiralling out of control, try to become very aware of your breath. If your breathing is fast, try to notice how fast it is. You can even start counting the number of beats per minute. Check if your anxious and erratic breath forms a noticeable pattern. Bonus points if you can match the rhythm to any of your favourite songs. By noticing such unusual details about your breath, you momentarily detach from the emotional tornado and you would be surprised to see that your breathing has slowed down. It also helps if you use your inner noise as a trigger to become curious about the sensations at the soles of your feet that are firmly supported on the ground. These exercises effectively connects you to the present moment and gives you some space to process whatever going on inside your head.

3. Cry, eat and hydrate

Yes, go ahead and cry! Forget about every time society shamed you for crying. Crying is good. It releases feel-good chemical messengers such as endorphins and oxytocin in your body. Crying helps you release difficult emotions so you finally feel lighter at heart and ready to calmly deal with difficult situations. I personally feel more powerful after I have had a good cry and it makes me unusually zen. Listen to your body-mind and acknowledge your painful emotions. Scream into the pillow. Jump up and down. Growl inside an empty room if you need it. Do whatever you need to bring out the stagnant emotions and to allow the stuck energy to freely flow through your system. Once you are done releasing your emotions, your breathing calms down. Prepare your most favourite meal, eat a large portion of it and drink about 4 glasses of water at once. Hunger and dehydration heavily influences our emotions. Once you are cried out, well fed and hydrated, you can sense some mental space within yourself to deal with any issue.

4. Watch the movie and pick out characters

Watching THE movie is a cool way of anchoring to the present moment. It merely means to observe the entire scenario that you are a part of as if it is a movie. It takes a second to snap your fingers and view yourself along with others around you as characters played in a well-directed movie. When we watch a movie, we know that we are the viewers of the movie and hence, we might feel the emotions portrayed in the movie while our identity remains separate from the movie. This exercise gives us the space we need to understand ourselves and the people who are involved in the issue by picking out the characters at play and empathising with their behaviours. This gives an opportunity to find solutions to problems objectively.

5. Stretch it out or reach out

Gentle stretching would probably be the last thing you want to do when you are knee-deep in an emotional swamp. There is something about stretching your body and how it influences your mental state. Sometimes I feel unresolved emotions come up in me while I do my yoga routine. At first, I thought of it as a bad sign, as if I am not allowing myself to relax. With time, I realised that these emotions are coming up in me to be released and the stretching of my muscles help with mobilising the stagnant energy that is possibly associated with my otherwise suppressed difficult emotions. It is not news when I say that psychosomatic illness exist and if your emotions can impact your physique, relaxing your physical body can relax your overactive brain thereby providing space for you to resolve the matters of concern. Some people like to dance to let go of repressed anger or frustration. I personally find it liberating. Dancing also helps you break a sweat, which in turn releases endorphins.

If you have trouble with any of this, reach out to mental health or holistic wellness professionals of your choice. You can never have too much help when you are struggling. There is no shame in seeking help. The shame lies in holding your Ego or the opinions of others over your own happiness and well-being.

Hang in there 🙂

Check out my related post on journalling and processing your feelings (includes journal prompts):

https://soulful-kite.com/2020/12/10/journalling-dig-a-little-deeper/

Check out my related post for tips on meditating as a beginner:

https://soulful-kite.com/2020/11/28/simple-tips-for-beginners-to-slip-into-the-silence/

Does seeking help makes you appear weak?

There is a very fine line between believing in your limitless potential and deluding yourself into thinking that you are superhuman. The latter has been a deceptive source of suffering for most of us in this modern world.

I am a firm believer of the idea that we can always count on ourselves and that the best help is the one we can find within ourselves. There is nothing more empowering than knowing that failures don’t define us and the act of pushing ourselves every single time just a little farther than we think we can reach ultimately takes us to excellence.

As much as I am convinced of our ability to pursue anything under the sky and beyond, the pursuit of wanting to be an extraordinary achiever can sometimes tend to sabotage our path towards real, meaningful and fulfilling accomplishments.

People often think that those who are successful have a reputation of doing things all by themselves and appearing invincible. As time passes by, some of these people might lose sight of why they do what they do. Even though staying hungry in life can have strong motivations, for some of us, all of our intentions could eventually boil down merely to boosting our Ego and our projected self image.

Being perceived as weak means that you are not living life the “right” way. Hence, all of us love to aspire to be “strong”. In the process of wanting to be “strong” and socially acceptable, we tend to hold unrealistic expectations for ourselves, suffer from incessant self criticism and somewhere along the way, end up feeling worthless and depressed.

However, my understanding of leading life as a “strong” person has nothing to do with projecting an image of being a marvel of nature. It is all about being open and humble enough to accept help and doing whatever it takes to survive and lead a fulfilling life.

The beauty of accepting help lies in the endless amount of opportunities for innovation and expansion, which may not be accessible to you if you wish to do everything by yourself. Not to mention the amount of time and energy you might end up saving along the way. The only thing you might end up losing is your grip over your Ego, which is not costly at all.

Some of the smartest people who mean business know the importance of delegating tasks to experts of the respective niches to collectively create products or services that benefit the world. Inspiring leaders and pioneers of various industries often build their mission with cooperation, collaboration and efficiency as building blocks.

You don’t have to be a leader or an entrepreneur to know the value of seeking help. Even those who think they are aimlessly cruising through life can find and pursue their purpose by overcoming any resistance towards relying on others for help. Help of all sorts is available in this world for those who are passionate in life. Passion can be about anything. You can be passionate about living happily and if you need help with that, doesn’t matter what that means for you, you must reach for it.

It is not about how many tasks you can perform on your own, if you can be completely self sufficient or if you can stick to a rigid timeline. It is really about doing whatever it takes to efficiently create the life you want to live, even if it requires you to overcome your limitations by seeking help emotionally, financially, physically or intellectually.

So, tell me, does seeking help makes you appear weak? Maybe! But here is the thing, who has the time to care?

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”

-Unknown

Living fearlessly with a wounded heart

Imagining a world full of compassionate beings might seem idealistic to many of us, especially those who have been exposed to public hatred, humiliation and injustice. Change makers, motivational speakers, healers and other visionaries might agree with me when I say that although the idea of awakening to our true nature seem straightforward, there is a lot of work to be done. In many parts of the world, things are getting back to the new post-pandemic normal. Some of us are struggling to re-learn how to function in the world as a social being after having gone through a period of isolation. Some of us have reinvented our careers while others have reframed our idea of happiness. A majority of us consider the past 1.5 years as a period of struggle and profound growth. The relationship between struggle and growth is very interesting to me. The traditional idea of growth involves struggle and rightfully so, because you cannot make bread without kneading the dough. If we were to look at growth closely, we might realise that it is actually a change of state. Just like the myriad of triggers that shaped us into the “thick-skinned” adults, I perceive the recent struggles of humanity as a catalyst for change and consequently, an initiation of growth. I feel many of us have been walking with eyes so wide open for distractions and hearts so closed up for compassion that the wrong things in the world had to become worse for us to take notice of those things.

Acknowledging growth is not merely the responsibility of the change makers and the dreamers. The type of growth that I am talking about is relevant to every simple, average human being. Conventionally, the concept of adulting has been about developing a “thicker skin”, holding ourselves accountable and adapting to the world. While we as a society have come up with a seemingly fool-proof system of adulting gracefully, it is not news when I say that adulting sucks. It is not uncommon to think that being an adult is to be in misery, to be often broke and/or have an identity crisis, race for power, chase after true love, survive heartbreak, evade trauma, starve and jump through hoops until you embody the overrated and possibly borrowed definition of success. I can’t help but notice that there is one thing that can make adulting bearable and that is compassion. Compassion from strangers, parents, friends and well-wishers and most importantly, from ourselves can undeniably cushion the impact of the punches life throws at us. Growing from being an adult who is a proponent of gulping the hard pills down the throat to an adult who not only favours compassion but also celebrates it as one’s true nature, could be the humble beginning of our path towards world peace.

Contrary to popular opinion, compassion is not brought out by broadening our minds or stretching our limits in order to contribute to society. Compassion is neither a monumental task nor an aspiration reserved for the wealthy members of the society. Compassion is the most natural quality we human beings can express with the least amount of effort possible. If you need proof that compassion is innate to us human beings, look at a newly born child. Even the most evil person on Earth would have been a baby, with a soul that is so authentically expressed and a heart so open that it is shaken upon hurting even a small plant. What happens when the innocent little baby grows up? The baby is exposed to layers and layers of conditioning to make it fit for the world, which also includes the process of adulting. Kids think, speak and act from their hearts. Energetically speaking, our hearts are the energetic centre of love and compassion. It is not only the source of romantic love-based emotions but also that of an overall sense of wholeness and well-being that another human being can never give us. It is our soul-base. It is the portal to the ever-expanding internal Universe. It is home to the feelings that make us euphoric, drowning us in the bliss of feeling connected to other life forms and Mother Earth.

What makes the quality of compassion seem so surreal and unattainable is not only because of our own survival instincts but also that of our parents, relatives, neighbours and well-wishers. There is considerable shame associated with being an empathetic human being, especially the shame we are made to feel by those who have been hurt so bad in the past that they had to dissociate from the cruel world by developing unhealthy coping mechanisms. What many tend to overlook is the fact that the construct of life is not meant to make humans cold-hearted. Life is meant to expose us to a variety of circumstances, people and stimuli, all of which can be labelled as merely different forms of information. Information helps us learn about and understand the world and our life. Learning lessons in life is similar to scientific research, you observe and experience everything, collect data and interpret, even make your own experiments, vary some parameters, test the validity of the results and save it for your follow-up experiments. Throughout the entire process of your research, the objects vary but the subject of interpretation is you. They are your results and your interpretations are unique to you and your conditions. A good researcher is aware of the need to be objective while a bad researcher tend to take the results so personally and blame themselves. A good doctor sutures a cut in the skin while a bad doctor accepts that cuts are dangerous, the world is dangerous and hence, never reveals the skin to open air ever.

So, are we all bad researchers and bad doctors then? Do we really need to harden our hearts because the world has been mean to us or instead we seek help to heal our wounds and march forward with our hearts open? Do we live in fear or do we brave the cold and live fearlessly? Do we go back to courageously emanating love from our hearts like we used to when we were children or do we choose to secretly curl under the bed and call ourselves wounded? Whatever you decide, remember that your heart still beats just for you, waiting for you to tune in to the frequency of love.

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Redefining love..

We can lose the habit of playing an instrument or forget how to speak a language. We could disconnect from our friends and family and even change jobs or partners. However, we can never disconnect from the feeling of being in love. Even if we don’t have a romantic partner, we are constantly experiencing forms of love from friends, family, teachers/guides, pets and at times, even strangers. We can forget what a specific form of love feels like but we can never forget the sentiment and the emotions behind the state of love. Why is love the constant emotional component of our everyday lives? Why is this particular aspect of human life glorified? Why people are running from one pole to another to find “love”? Why is the idea of “love” so varied? Why the lack of any form of “love” seems to put us in a state of depression and possibly, death? We all intuitively know that love is fundamental to our existence but why is that the case? These are some of the questions I had growing up.

The need to redefine love doesn’t come from an assumption that love must be viewed a certain way and not in any other way. We have no trouble comprehending love. When I looked up the meaning of the word Love, I found it to be defined as extreme fondness, sudden attraction, willingness to put others happiness over their own, affection towards another being, so on and so forth. Just like everybody else, I grew up holding this interpretation of love close to my heart and indeed, love is all of that! There are also the concepts of self love and self care, which are rightfully garnering increasing attention in the past years. Some might perceive the concept of self love to be a trend favoured by millennials, just like Dalgona coffee and flower crown filters. Personally, I have spent several years intellectualizing love, among many other things. People told me the concept of love morphs with age because our expectations and priorities evolve. Hence, I created imaginary containers of love inside my mind at each stage of my life and expected people/accomplishments to fill them with their strong presence. Everyone around me was designing their life in a very similar way. So, I figured this is what “normal” people do with their lives.

Over time, a light bulb began to flicker inside my head. Years went by when the bulb would continue to flicker and one day, it switched off completely, leaving my inner world cold and dark. Much like the formation of life on Earth, an inner knowing triggered a series of changes in my uninhabitable inner world. It woke me up, made me dust myself off the ground and place my hand on my heart. The inner knowing made me re-learn what love meant. That day marked the day when I redefined “love” and rediscovered love. That day I realised that love is everything, not just a feeling or a requirement for sustenance. That day answered my list of unanswered questions about love. It changed my reality from that of seeking to being, from the state of obsession and lack to that of safety, abundance and faith. Love is the basic energetic frequency of existence of our soul. I understood that love is so fundamental because all love is, is the state of being. There are no real categories in love because, underneath all forms of love, there exists a core energetic element made of harmony, contentment and peace. This is what we all have been chasing after all our lives. The whole plot of life is to find this and anchor to this element. Our journey to find love is called life and by that, I mean finding that element of love. When we do end up finding the element, we can’t deny it. We definitely don’t need to seek it externally. This is beyond the concept of self love. This is the inner knowing that there is no “self” love, there is ONLY love.

When you find yourself in your deepest, darkest state of mind when you are longing for love, think of the core element of love I mentioned earlier. What you seek is really contentment, peace and harmony, which make up the natural state of your being. You are naturally in a state of balance, contentment and peace. But why doesn’t it feel like that? Why does it hurt so bad? Because you are disconnected from your true essence. You never healed from the wounds created by societal conditioning, cultural conditioning and familial conditioning. You are probably habituated to silencing your intuition and making choices based on fear, which is also a product of conditioning. To redefine love in your life, you must acknowledge the disconnection from your true essence to be the source of your desperation, inadequacy, sadness and frustration. And how to bring yourself back to balance, to the natural state of love and harmony? Connect to your true essence and by that, I mean, simply, follow your joy whilst completely disempowering fear. Meditation, self inquiry, spending time in nature, conscious nourishment with healthy foods and explosive creativity are all examples of ways to connect to your true essence. Eventually, when you crave love, all you have to do is connect to your heart center and feel your heart beating with bountiful life.

Stay miraculous! <3

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Battling loneliness..

Loneliness is crippling and you don’t have to be alone to feel it. It can be silent and the seed of emptiness can grow within you without you even realising it. People love to bury it deep and either escape reality or put on a mask to cover it up. There are several factors that influence somebody’s willingness to seek help from themselves or from the outside world. I come from a culture that frowns upon those who talk about their mental health and those who try to seek help. The traditional desi remedy to any problem is- “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. If it ain’t related to your basic survival, if it ain’t related to you procuring your everyday meal, if it ain’t related to your grades, if it ain’t related to what others in your social circle think of you, don’t fix it. But what happens if “it” is broken? Have you ever asked yourself if you could tell it is broken or not? If “it” is broken, if you are emotionally wounded and you don’t attempt to fix it, your basic survival is impacted by it. If you don’t have a job, you can’t buy yourself food and you end up starving. If you can buy yourself five-course meals every day but cannot have the will to reach for it and eat it, you still end up starving. When your physical hunger is not satisfied, you starve and die. When your emotional hunger is not satisfied, you could still emotionally starve and eventually want to take your life.

Aside from cultural aspects, there is this habit of comparing your troubles with others. Let me blow your mind when I say that being grateful has nothing to do with some people having it worse in their life than you. Being grateful means to be content and thankful for our blessings AND to not dismiss our pain because when you dismiss it, you are undervaluing yourself (your most valuable blessing) , which contradicts the idea of feeling grateful. Over the course of time, the habit of shoving your pain down your gut can either make you mentally explode some day somewhere or can pressure you into adopting unhealthy coping strategies that you eventually pass on to your children and/or friends. When there is no one you know has it worse than you do, what happens? Most people would feel like digging a hole in the ground and staying there, I know I did. It can make you feel isolated in this world and guess what, no one has the exact same life path as you. It doesn’t make sense to say, “oh don’t feel bad, that person has way worse than you” or to say, “There are people starving out on the street, so you shouldn’t be feeling depressed about your life”. Feelings arise first and then thoughts are associated to feelings. That is why you cannot control a feeling but can control your way of thinking. So, it doesn’t make sense to dismiss what you FEEL based on the assumption that your feelings are illogical. They are meant to be illogical, that is why they are feelings. You are a human spirit, not a machine. built on logical reasoning.

For the longest time of my life, I have felt lonely, which, at a point in my life, had exacerbated my already existent emotional burden and eventually led me to my spiritual awakening. Loneliness has been the longest relationship of my life. She and I have been through a lot together and after a decade or more, I finally understand her. Now, we are so in sync with each other that we know exactly what the other wants. Some people tell me it’s sad but although I WAS sad about it for a long time, I feel like it has been a very interesting journey for me. My intention to help myself feel better led me to explore the inner workings of my mind and the unspoken meaning behind the events of my life. I realised that loneliness gave a greater meaning to my life. It made me want to dissect that feeling of loneliness which showed a sense of disconnection from this world. Throughout my teens and my 20s, I remember feeling misunderstood and I never felt like I belonged almost anywhere and with almost anyone. I now know that it has led me to a point in time where I reinvent myself and choose a life vastly more meaningful than the life I had imagined for myself earlier.

So, what to do to not feel lonely? There is no single perfect solution because it really depends on the reason you feel lonely to the extent that it affects your normal activity. For some, it could be fear of abandonment because their expectations were not met by someone in the past which caused them a lot of pain. For others, it could be that at some level they feel like they are not enough for them to maintain a state of mental wellbeing and harmony because they compare their social life to that of their peers . Sometimes, the reason is so deeply hidden that one could have a seemingly perfect life but the underlying cause of suffering was probably from past life traumas. The list could go on and on. I hesitate to give you any quick tips to cope with loneliness because there aren’t any quick tips and if they were, they are evasion strategies and I believe the only real way to cure loneliness is to identify the root cause and work from there. Having said that, there is one valuable suggestion I can give you and that is to be willing to sit down with your journal and process your pain. Help will reach you! If it doesn’t, please ask for it. You don’t have to be brave if you physically can’t be brave. There are plenty of kind souls on this planet who are qualified and who would help you ease your pain. If you feel alone at feeling lonely, don’t be because I am here writing this to let you know that you are not alone. I am connecting with you virtually to tell you that it will pass and you will find peace and happiness or at the least, a way to work with your deeper emotional wounds. If I can battle loneliness and live to see the light, you can and anyone can!

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A gentle approach to self improvement

Why is it that sometimes we can be overly critical of ourselves and other times, we are so shy to call out ourselves on our nonsense? It is so interesting to me to see how much of a double standard we impose not just on others but also on ourselves. In my opinion, while the most obvious forms of self love garner attention, the subtle forms of self love often go unnoticed. However, what I am about to discuss is less related to self love and more related to integrity. I am not referring to how you show up in the world, no. It is different. I feel that it has more to do with how you show up to yourself. “And why does that matter?” , you might ask me. Well, we owe it to ourselves to not be afraid of striving to improve as a person, every single day. We owe it to ourselves to want to be better humans. “Isn’t accepting all parts of you is what self love is all about?”, someone might ask me. True, absolutely! I am all about it! Compassion starts with self but the reluctance towards self improvement or change of any kind in the pretext of practicing self love is what I intend to discuss here.

I am not trying to say that we must yell at every person who doesn’t want to follow the path of self improvement. Change is very hard for humans. No, no, let me rephrase that. Change is very hard for human Ego. We, humans are definitely capable of positive change. Many might disagree with me. We are a part of this wonderful planet and the fundamental nature of a human is to love and be love. When we are born, we are this cute little blob of giggling, hairless, pure being, with heart full of wonder and good intentions for others. When we start to get into the conditioned environment around us with the help of our parents, teachers and relatives, we start to very quickly mimick and learn from others in order to adapt to this life on Earth. With time, the Ego develops a pretty good model of how to behave in order to survive in this crazy place. While our Ego is basically trying to protect us, it’s no surprise that Ego can cloud not just our world view but also our perception of how we must operate on a daily basis and that is why we need to self-assess gently.

Self-assessment can feel like self criticism but when you do it with love, you literally soothe your crying baby, your Ego. Over the years, I have had countless moments when I have said to myself, “Girl, nope, you can do better” and “Girl, this totally contradicts what you preach and it’s time to make amends”. It was not easy and there were several years when I was pampering this stubborn child within and covering my act with a label of Self love. I guess, for me personally, there came a point in my life when I stopped caring about others but I started to drive that energy inwards and care about what I think about myself more. This was a game-changer for me and perhaps, some people out there could also relate to it when I say we often say we don’t care about others’ opinion of us but secretly we obsess over every little detail. I did for a longest time of my life. When I drove that attention inwards, I started to see all of my “ugly” or might I say, dysfunctional coping mechanisms I had developed over the years which I had labelled as self love. This realization liberated me in a way that initially made me pass a high level of judgement on myself. However, thanks to all the wonderful resources out there, I learnt how to work through them with love and to continue to be open to the process of self-assessment without being hard on myself.

To self-assess gently, we must first address the thought that often comes up in this context: “Something is wrong with me”. Believe it or not, it is possible to change without being your worst enemy of all, your inner critic. There is a very fine line between feeling inadequate and feeling accelerated towards levelling-up your game. That very fine line is made up of a solid foundation of self worth and an eye to identify opportunities for improvement. When your idea of self worth is tied to doing something and not doing something, it is problematic because this is where the thought of not being a perfect person comes from whenever you take any form of criticism. When you know that you are worthy regardless of how “perfect” your life is, a little bit of effort towards self improvement doesn’t feel so threatening. Recognizing the potential to improve in a certain aspect of your daily life is often initiated by inspiration. Inspiration can very quickly turn to envy and I believe that for however small amount of time, we do get inspired first and then it triggers our “Something is wrong with me” web of thoughts and this probably shuts down our desire to get inspired to actually do something about it. This source of inspiration doesn’t have to be external. You don’t have to adapt a morning routine from an Autobiography or a money-making strategy from a book on Business. You could! However, I believe the simplest of changes is the one motivated by intrinsic factors. Ironically, many of us are most stubborn to it as opposed to making changes that are driven by the lives of our favourite famous personalities.

The most important aspect of self-assessment gently is to get an understanding of who you are as a person. I am not talking about what you tell others who you are and what you THINK you are. Getting to know who you are is an undertaking that’s totally worthy of your time and this is going to take some deep journalling sessions. You tell people and you tell yourself what you like and what you despise but is that all true? How have you been feeling lately? Have your priorities changed? In this age of social media, it is very easy to lose touch with self awareness because we are constantly trying to project a version of ourselves that is deceptively convincing. Somewhere along this journey, we lose sight of the true version of ourselves and the version we project onto the outer world. All of this might sound like a lot of work but think about this: there is no person in this world you have been with long enough in this lifetime than YOU. I feel it makes total sense to constantly check in with your beautiful self and be your own accountability partner. If I buy a new iPhone, I would do everything in my power to maintain it to the extent I can. Human mind is a complicated and highly intellectual machine and while we operate it, we forget who we are. We think we are our mind. If we start approaching this as an act of maintenance and care with an open heart and love, the shame associated with the act of dissecting aspects of your living is dissipated.

When there is no fear or shame associated with change, introspection and improvement, the obstacles of self-assessment is removed. But the final component to this process is LOVE. When I say the word Love, I imply that there is no space for judgement. Whatever comes up when you review your life, it is important to treat it with love. What do I mean by that? I want you to use your power of love to heal whatever needs to be healed. You are a spirit having a human experience and the biggest tool in your toolbox is Love. Whatever comes up when you go through a review of your life, you accept and you look at them for what they are. If the moment calls for it, you can get excited about this new set of challenges. You are a well of infinite power and solutions. When you believe in your ability and inner wisdom to find solutions for literally anything conceivable. In your own eyes, you become invincible. You cry, you wipe your tears and then you tell yourself, ” Okay, this is new, let me find a solution for this”. You are the coach you get a lifetime access to and hence, no amount of self-assessment is going to scare you.

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Way out of darkness..

There are people who love motivational content and there are people who think motivation is overrated. Among those who love motivational content, there are some who respond to “tough love” or the so-called “if your ambition doesn’t keep you up all night, you are doing something wrong” approach. Many others respond to the method of acceptance and letting go approach that promotes healing. Few others respond to “to hell with those who disagree, I love myself, hashtag I-don’t-care” approach. Depending on the issue people deal with at that particular moment of their life, people resonate with different approaches. My encounters with people who don’t believe in investing in personal motivation have taught me a great deal about my own life. People who belong to this category whom I’ve met often tend to express their discontentment with life and humanity in general. They tell me, “Well, all is not well. People are dying and all of these positive messages are bullshit. People are mean. The world is cruel and nothing good ever happens to anyone, at least to me. What do I have to feel optimistic in life?”. I am no stranger to this thought-process.

My understanding is that no one refuses help unless they have been disappointed with the forms of help that often finds its way towards them. Even if you meet the most cynical person in this world, that person might probably remember a brighter time in that person’s life when the belief in the abundance of love and light was unshakeable. Over time, people build a protective shield around their hearts made of what they call “hard reality”. This grew to become an important lesson that was passed on to future generations. In my opinion, gradually. this worldview left our hearts a bit heavier than it was before at every step of evolution. Residual sadness morphed to take a permanent role in our lives and this fuelled the growth of denser emotions such as hatred, depression and anger that never left our system. This is the collective darkness of humanity.

When I began pondering over the collective darkness, I began to realise that there is something very important that the disappointed bunch tend to not realise. It is the fact that they are not alone at carrying this burden. There are people who project a fake life and there are people who project a life that they are constantly striving to live. Most of those who are into promoting a positive outlook of the world have darkness in them as well that they are constantly battling and healing from every day. Most “positive” people you would find right now online or offline are/have gone through difficult periods in their lives. We know how hard it is to get up in the morning and do something worthwhile when all they want to do is sit on the bed and sulk in sadness. So, all we all hypocrites? No, it is not what I am saying. The point I am trying to convey is that people who try to motivate you are not perfect. Everyone works through certain issues, overcomes obstacles, learns from them while they still struggle at something else.

Perhaps it would be useful for those who don’t believe in motivation to know that nobody is perfect. Each lesson that is shared with them by any influencer must be taken for what they are and it doesn’t have to be another excuse for you to feel bad about yourself or your coping strategies. It is possible to learn from others mistakes and lessons without them threatening your self image. Personally, as someone who is a motivational content creator, my intention is never to downplay others struggles and I can vouch for many who are like me that no one in this line of work usually wishes to rub their happiness on others faces. Most people think long and hard in extracting those lessons from their life that they learnt by experiencing a lot of pain and they want to provide value to the world by sharing their lessons. Life is a very individualistic journey yet we all have many things in common. Since each person’s awareness and perception is technically unique, any number of solutions to an issue can be possible and it is up to each of us to accept guidance that most resonates with us.

So, open your arms, give yourself a hug and don’t shy away from seeking help. Even if it might seem hard to believe, there is love and light in this world that is shining on our darkness right now. Let us collectively work through the darkness and find the light in each of us.

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Journalling- dig a little deeper..

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn” – Anne Frank.

For some reason, journalling feels laborious for many of us. Who has the time and patience to sit down, open a notebook and write down our feelings, am I right? Even if we bring ourselves to buy a journal and cultivate the habit of writing everyday, it often seems like a feat too unrealistic to fit into our routine. Either we are enthusiastic about writing for a day or two and then, we forget about journalling or we realise the amount of effort that is required and we say to ourselves, “Chuck it, I am just going to watch a couple episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and I am good to go”. I have been there. But let me tell you, I am alive now because of my habit of journalling and I have stuck with it long enough to tell you first-hand, how beneficial it can be for anyone. Journalling is for EVERYONE, is inexpensive and with exceptions, one of the most trustworthy source of solutions because when you journal, you look inward to seek answers. The best part is that there is no rule to journalling and it is all about you creating a safe space for your inner expression. Journalling is not just for navigating difficult times but also for finding out what you value the most in life and help shape your goals. You can use it to track your progress, develop habits and even, understand what kind of human relationships you wish to have in your life. It is also a wonderful tool to help reprogram limiting beliefs using affirmations and positive words. You can declutter your life with it, identify inner child wounds and access your inner wisdom to guide you into total acceptance of who you are and how others in your life behave around you.

I started journalling at the age of 9 or 10 originally to cultivate a habit of recording everything that happened in my life, just because someone at school told me it was a good habit to keep a diary. As a chubby lonely preteen, I derived so much joy from sharing my daily activities to my only friend, my journal. I spared no detail! I would make colorful little doodles in it with my favorite set of crayons and I used to carry it with me to every event and vacation. It was my priced possession! During my late teens, my purpose of using a journal evolved from merely record keeping to finding an emotional release for my moody days. I would write everything I felt on a piece of paper, read it once or twice and then, tear it up and throw it in the bin. Hailing from an Indian household, journalling was my only way of seeking therapy and finding peace during my dark times. With time, I started to get creative with my journalling habits. I was a very indecisive teenager and I used to ask questions to dissect situations. From my teen years through early adulthood until this day, journalling has been my way of connecting with my inner Self. Lately, I journal to connect with my higher Self as a way to not just find solutions to difficult problems of my life but also to help connect with my inner source of abundant creativity. To me, journalling is more than just a coping mechanism, it is meditative and an expression of self love.

Today, I want to share 30 journal prompts that I feel would help many people out there. Some of these were invaluable to me during my self-healing process:

  1. What is important to me?
  2. What do I need to do to tend to things that are important to me?
  3. What am I currently struggling with?
  4. What can I do to overcome this?
  5. Why am I unhappy/upset?
  6. Why is there no peace within myself?
  7. Am I content with my life? Why not?
  8. What am I genuinely good at?
  9. What is my biggest strength?
  10. What makes me insecure? Why?
  11. What am I grateful for?
  12. What ritual/habits I wish to develop?
  13. What are my limiting beliefs?
  14. What is the thought-process that is hidden behind my limiting beliefs?
  15. Are these thoughts true? OR am I assuming them to be true?
  16. What are my true interests? What makes my heart sing?
  17. What qualities in others are attractive/unattractive to me?
  18. What can I do every day that is just for my own happiness?
  19. How can I reach my goals without going crazy? How can I structure it?
  20. Why don’t I trust that person?
  21. Is that person ashamed of me or it is me who is ashamed of myself?
  22. Is that person judging me or am I judging myself?
  23. What can I do to release my anger without hurting others?
  24. Am I sad or am I just bored?
  25. Am I hungry or am I depressed?
  26. Am I angry or just disappointed?
  27. How can I cultivate more self love in my life?
  28. How can I have more humility?
  29. What can I do to coexist with people who are not like me?
  30. What can I do to forgive people who hurt me?

I hope this helps anyone who needs it…Happy journalling! <3

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