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.

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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Beneath the beauty..

How would the world be if we all saw each other just as souls? An amorphous energy field constantly vibrating and constantly being created from cosmic forces. A body with no body but a hazy shining aura of infiniteness. A being with no purpose but to exist, thrive, create and experience virtual reality with so much love radiating from our core. How would it be? How would it be if people saw me with that image and not my external appearance? Imagine I said hello to you and all you could see was this insanely powerful and complicated electromagnetic field constantly exchanging information with the cosmos and energizing thoughts? No pretty eyes but my third eye. No cute smile except the kind and welcoming light. No dark hair except my crown pulsing in alignment with my energy flow. No words except my boundless spirit of one love for all genders, appearances and age. How would it be? Boring right? Yeah, I can understand you and this is exactly my point. I am a woman but I don’t identify with it anymore. The only identity I own is that I am a soul, just as divine as everyone of you. It is oxymoronic because identity dissolves when one realises that he/she is love and the higher power. However, for the sake of functioning and understanding, I am choosing to use it as an identity. So, what am I trying to say? I am trying to say that beauty is not permanent. It is an illusion. External appearance is an illusion. It’s an oversimplification of your spirit. When I understood this, I no longer see others as a guy or a girl. I see them as a person, a divine being and a fellow spirit, experiencing this wonderful journey of life. What was interesting to me is that the moment I started doing this, I  felt so free and uninhibited. No drama, no politics, no games and only neutrality. Neutrality might be boring but it has definitely made my life a lot easier.❤️

Is optimism a privilege?

Is optimism a privilege? There is this popular notion that being positive, motivated and indulging in self care are a privilege and only people who are considered privileged can afford to spend time for it. What does it mean to be privileged? I think that it means having a roof over your head, some money to comfortably support yourself and at least a hobby to keep you happy. But does privilege equal happiness? As a privileged person, I can assure you that it is not, at least for me. I would like to think that problems are always relative, always. That doesn’t undermine the suffering someone goes through. No one, literally no one alive now is exempted from the  life lessons they are destined to learn. I would like to think that every soul has a customized cosmic plan, designed by themselves at a higher state of awareness (I can say that as a God-like state, to make it easier to understand). It is important to be grateful for everything that one has but that doesn’t mean that there is no justification for someone’s suffering inspite of them having food to eat and some money in the bank. What strikes my mind now is that regardless of how privileged you are, you need motivation, self care and any tools under the sky to live your best life possible. In fact, the more misery you are going through, the more you need those tools to keep up from crumbling under the pressure of life. When life offers you help, it is a sign of synchronicity. It means that the universe is listening to you and your higher self is trying to help you. If you are just a bit gracious enough to accept help, it would make your life just a little bit more tolerable and for many of us, that’s a lot! ❤️

What makes a good human?

❤️What makes a good human? Is that even a thing? And who are we to judge a person to be good or bad?..I have always wondered! Our society loves binary categories and only recently, things are changing. I have seen it in my own life. In my past, I have heard from others all sorts of binary labels for me..I can either wear a bindi(dot on my forehead) and chant mantras or I can wear a cute summer dress and drink cocktails..I can either be shy and quiet or be flamboyant and extroverted…I can either be popular or be a geek.. I can either be spontaneously creative or I can be a fraud.. People are so quick to put other people into boxes(even in their minds) and I have always wondered why. Come to think of it, I realized that I used to do the same thing too, just inside my head. Human beings are complicated, like, really complicated. We are constantly trying to figure out people, just the degree of effort we put in varies. I get it, it is what makes life interesting! Fun fact, I am a huge potterhead so I agree with Sirius when he implied that there are qualities in everyone they consider good and bad. Personally, I choose to see the brighter colours in others, the genuine smile, the strong warrior, the cute crying rabbit and the wise and patient turtle in others. What I mean by that is, being an empath is great if one chooses to use it and to use their intuitive abilities to see the beauty in others and appreciate them and to feel the pain in others and offer love and comfort to them. But in my opinion, you don’t have to be an empath for empathizing with others and choosing to see the beauty in people. ❤️

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A warm heart knows no pain..

” But I do nothing upon myself, and yet I am my own executioner. ” – John Donne

Some people say that pain is good and it makes you stronger. They say pain makes you rise to the challenge and build tolerance. It deepens your character, tests your willpower and pushes you so hard that you create wonderful things with your life. While all of this is probably true for the pain that finds its way towards us from the outside, it is not true for the pain that resides in our minds. We all SAY that we want the best for us. We defend ourselves in front of others. We claim to do things to protect us and push us towards our idea of success. However, we fail to realize the powerful role of the constant presence of a critic, watching every move you make, every step you take and every pound you put on or off. The critic has immense attention to detail and is sometimes, nasty, inhumane and vile. The critic cannot be won over with arguments, justifications and compromises. When you sleep, the critic doesn’t sleep. That critic lives within you, relentlessly working to create and sustain emotional pain until it becomes a background noise in your mind that you teach yourself to put up with.

Self-criticism heavily influences the way we look at ourselves and the world. I believe some of the common behavioral quirks that might affect people around us such as unwarranted anger, jealousy, codependency, egotism and low self esteem often originate from a place of harsh judgement towards ourselves. We all have conditioned ourselves over the years on how to treat ourselves, how to view our actions, how to scrutinize them and how to punish ourselves. The kind of fears we make ourselves experience and hold on to in the form of insecurities end up being what we project onto others.  People start to feel unappreciated, hurt and negative thereby forcing them to distance themselves from us. We often expect perfectionism from ourselves and while we claim to take it easy sometimes, whether we actually let go is a question. Over the years, we create a toxic environment within and around us. We slowly lose the ability to feel grateful, we fail to see the beauty in other people and for some of us, we might even constantly attract negative situations and people. It is a downward spiral that has the power to leave us in a state of depression, dissatisfaction and despair.

Why do we have to brew so much negativity within us? Often times we don’t realize that we all are supposed to be our own biggest supporters and caregivers. We all are supposed to be rooting for ourselves to be a wholesome person who shines from within while spreading love, joy and care towards all beings. Like charity, kindness starts at home. Healing from self-inflicted pain is aided by first removing the shame and guilt that we associate with caring for our well-being. It is not selfish to be self compassionate first so that we can be better humans and serve the rest of humanity to the fullest of our abilities. Although it might be surprising to hear, it is in human nature to love, care and provide support to those in need. To be a giver of kindness, you must first show kindness to yourself. Be your own advocate. Love your quirks, give yourself hi-fives and catch yourself when you stumble. Be patient with yourself  like you would be with a friend. When you give attention to yourself and acknowledge the external and internal struggles you have been through, you begin to heal. You begin to embrace the beauty and humanness of your thoughts and actions. You begin to notice and appreciate the efforts you have made in order to cope with the challenges of every stage of life. You begin to build inner strength in a healthy way and give yourself a hug when needed. Gradually, the emptiness in you disappears and you feel complete, all by yourself. The world would become beautiful and no matter what obstacles come your way, you will have faith that you can hold your head high without blaming others or situations and see the other end of it. You will also become a happier person and people would begin to find you welcoming, comforting and refreshing to be around.

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Hence, always prioritize showing compassion and understanding towards yourself so that you never let the sneaky little critic creep into your mind.

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Meeting with your younger self

Human beings are great story-tellers. The joy of reminiscing is beyond imagination. This is particularly true when people talk about funny, adventurous or pleasant incidents. Most of us love to think of our college or school days and share interesting stories that makes us feel nostalgic. It leaves us with a desire to not just relive those moments but also to stay in that space-time forever! We make efforts to linger over those visions with an unconscious hope of feeling the same level of pleasure even in the present. After a certain point in life, somehow something about the present makes us to want to go back and keep going back in time. This sort of memory replay is not uncommon in younger adults. Sometimes we do this to feel proud of our accomplishments and our journey on the whole. Sometimes, we do this to envy a simpler time in our lives when our problems were easier to solve. Sometimes it can happen that everything is just fine yet we feel the necessity to escape reality for a few minutes. Yet other times, it can reflect an inability to let go of a painful incident. It doesn’t matter why we chose to have these “meetings” with our younger selves, we all do it.

When you decide to travel on a time horse, you may notice that you can halt at two types of stops – the ones that hold painful and embarrassing memories and the ones that hold heart-warming beautiful memories. In my experience, recollection of happy memories are more intentional than an accident. When that happens, my heart swells up in pride and I let it soak my soul, trying to hold on to that memory. When I randomly get reminded of an embarrassing memory, I hate my mind for bringing it up on a perfectly happy afternoon. My mind tries to relive the moment and the painful emotions thereby making me feel agitated. It doesn’t matter if the memory is good or bad, reliving it almost always leaves me with a realisation that the present moment is not the same. The present moment is like an open-ended question. If you allow it, the present moment has the potential to change things for the better and definitely, not worse!

Even with meditation and self-awareness, an average individual struggles to tame this wild elephant that is one’s mind. It is not easy to  train our mind to be present. It is possible with practice but not effortless for most of us. For some beginners, it can cause additional pressure to stay focussed all the time. Should we give up? I believe that we can help our mind suffer less with a range of approaches. Firstly, showing yourself some compassion and a lot of acceptance would go a long way! When your mind hops to a painful memory, accept it and realise that it doesn’t define you anymore. Be kind to yourself like you would be to your friend. When you think of an accomplishment of the past, don’t get cocky! The more wisdom you accumulate, the less entitled you feel for appreciation from yourself. That’s just how it is. That’s the true mark of growth. Loving your imperfect present and trusting your evolved self takes more maturity and less ego. Once you get a sense of this statement, it is easier than you think to embrace and let go.

Secondly, if you want to meet an older version of yourself, ask him/her for specific advice instead of mindlessly wandering in the memory land. Let me explain. All of us evolve as a person with time. At every phase of our lives, a certain aspect of our nature was at its prime and we had worked hard on the others to survive and conquer the challenges of that phase. For some of us, that quality might have been patience or perseverance. For some of us, it might have been courage. For many of us, it might have been an ability to care less about what others think. For a few others, it might be people-skills. So, I would say you take this opportunity to look back at an older version of yourself for specific insights when you are in trouble. It is a simple concept. The next time your mind reminds you of a time you turned red with embarrassment or anxiety, “pinch your conscience” like disciplining a child and direct it towards a positive learning exercise. Condition your mind to seek happiness in wandering to some memory where you can learn rather than relive the anger. I am 24. Whenever I feel discouraged or flustered on passing up an opportunity, I still look up to my 17 year-old self for advice on working hard and moving out of my comfort zone. Every time I do that, it only gives me more willpower to act and mould my present than a feeling of nostalgia.

Lastly, learn to be a proactive member of your team that is yourself! Be on board. Be on point! Don’t be that person that reiterates the obvious like a broken tape recorder! A general awareness that the time is fleeting and thousands of people like you across the globe are growing into better individuals can help you push your foot on the accelerator. Never let your mind fool you into feeling stuck in the past. Adopt subtle ways to out-smart and systematically interrupt your “auto-pilot” mode in order to anchor to what really matters 🙂

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