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Rethinking Mistakes And Recognizing The Good In "Bad" Choices...

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on October 3, 2014 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)


“Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.”

~Unknown


 

For most of my life, I’ve seen the world in black and white, and I’ve felt constricted and pained as a result.


 

When I was a young girl, I believed there were good people and bad people, and I believed I was bad.


When I was an adolescent, I believed there was good food and bad food, and because everything tasty fell into the latter category, I channeled the shame from feeling bad into bulimia.


 

And when I grew into adulthood, I believed there were good decisions and bad decisions, which may sound like a healthy belief system, but this created extreme anxiety about the potential to make the “wrong” choice.


 

When you see life as a giant chess game, with the possibility of winning or losing, it’s easy to get caught up in your head, analyzing, strategizing, and putting all your energy into coming out victorious.


 

Back then, I thought for sure that if I made a misstep, I’d end up unhappy and unfulfilled, not to mention unworthy and unlovable—because there was a right path and a wrong path, and it was disgraceful to not know the difference.


 

One pointed toward success and bliss (which I desperately wanted to follow), and one led to certain doom.


 

With this in mind, I thought long and hard before moving to Spokane, Washington, at twenty-two. To live with a stranger I’d met on the Internet. And had only known for two months and met in person once.


 

Okay, so I didn’t really think long and hard. But I felt in my gut, when we first connected, that this was the right choice for me.


 

In fact, I felt certain, something I rarely felt about anything (except my innate bad-ness).


He told me we were soul mates, which was exactly what I wanted to hear, especially after spending six months bouncing from hospital to hospital, trying find the worth and substance locked somewhere within my cage of bones.


 

It made sense to me that, if I had a soul mate, he wouldn’t live right next door.


 

Disney may tell us it’s a small world, but it’s not; and I thought for sure there was something big awaiting me 3,000 miles from my hometown near Boston.


 

People told me I was making a mistake when I shared the details of my plan.


 

Some said I was too fragile to move out of my parents’ house, even if I’d planned to move close to home.


 

Some said I was a fool to think this man was my soul mate, or that I had one at all.


 

Some said I’d one day regret this choice and that they’d have to say “I told you so.”


 

But I felt absolutely confident in my decision—until he came to Massachusetts, two weeks before I was scheduled to move, to meet me for the first time.


 

I knew, right then, it was wrong, somewhere in my gut. I didn’t feel even the slightest spark, but my “soul mate” and I had already planned a new life together. Before we’d even met.


 

And I didn’t want to admit I’d made the wrong choice—not to him, who I was sure would be devastated, and not to the others, who I feared would be smug and self-righteous.


 

So I moved across the country anyway, thinking that maybe I’d feel differently after getting to know him better.


 

If you’ve ever seen a movie, you know exactly how things didn’t pan out. Since life isn’t a romantic comedy, I didn’t eventually realize he was my soul mate and fall madly in love.


 

Instead, our individual demons battled with each other, we fought for the better part of six months, and we eventually broke each other’s spirits, broke down, and then broke up.


 

You could say, after reading this, that I had made the wrong choice—especially knowing that I knew, the day I met him, that he wasn’t the man for me.


 

You could say I’d chosen a bad path, running away from home in a misguided attempt to outrun who I had been.


 

These are things I assumed I’d think if I ever decided it was time to leave.


 

And yet I didn’t think these things at all. In fact, this was the very first time I broadened my vision to see not just shades of grey, but a whole rainbow of vibrant colors.


 

Yes, I’d made an impulsive choice, largely driven by fear and fantasy. Yes, I’d acted against my instincts. And yet I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it had not been the “wrong” choice.


 

Because right then, I realized that, despite things not working out as I planned, I’d learned and grown through the experience, and it had served a purpose, even if not the one I originally envisioned.


Our demons colliding was a blessing, not a curse, because it forced us both to more closely examine how our issues affected our relationships—mine being toxic shame and destructive tendencies, and his being his business, and not for public consumption.


Moving so far away was valuable, not shameful, because it taught me the difference between running away from what I didn’t want and running toward what I did—a lesson I struggled to apply for many more years, but, nonetheless, now understood.


And acting against my instinct was a good thing, not a bad thing, because it taught me to listen to my intuition in the future, even if I might disappoint someone else—a lesson I may never have fully embraced without having had this experience.


That’s the thing about “wrong” choices; they usually teach us things we need to know to make the right choices for us going forward; things we can only learn in this way.


 

Notice that I wrote “the right choices for us”—not the “right choices.” Because the thing is, there are no right choices.


 

There isn’t one single way that we should live our lives, or else we’ll be unhappy. There isn’t one path that will lead us to success, bliss, and fulfillment.


 

There isn’t a straight ladder we’re meant to climb, hitting milestone after milestone until we emerge at the top, victorious, with the view to show for it.


 

There’s just a long, winding road of possibilities, each with lessons contained within it—lessons that can help us heal the broken parts of ourselves and find beautiful pieces we never knew existed. Pieces we couldn’t know existed until we made choices and saw how we felt.


 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since that very first move, over a decade ago, it’s that life never offers any guarantees. And it can also be incredibly ironic.


 

Sometimes the people who seem to make all the right choices are the least happy with the people they’re being and the lives they’re leading.


 

We could spend our whole lives looking for external validation that we’re following a path that’s “good”—living in a narrow, black-and-white world, feeling terrified of making mistakes.


 

Or, we could commit to finding something good in every step along the way, knowing that the only real mistake is the choice not to grow.


 

I don’t know if this is right for everyone. But I know this is right for me.


On this Technicolor journey of unknown destination, I am not good nor bad, not right nor wrong, but most importantly, not restricted. In this world of infinite possibility, at all turns, I am free.



By : Lori Deschene

*(She is the Founder of Tiny Buddha : Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives)*

Visit her at : tinybuddha.com

Are Limiting Beliefs Holding You Back and Making You Feel Bad...?

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on September 28, 2014 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)


“If you believe yourself to be limited in some way, whether or not it is true, it becomes true for you.”  ~Brian Tracy


 

I have often wondered why the most formative years of one’s life, in early childhood, tend to be the hardest for us to recall.


Most of us cannot even begin to tap into those memories. Those scant memories that do bubble up to the surface are often fog-tinged and dreamlike. Images or sensations may appear, but the linear, day-to-day recollection evades us.


 

Perhaps Mother Nature does have a sense of humor, because, oddly enough, it is usually only those traumatic or intense moments of our lives that seem to come up.


 

Can I remember winning the sack race when I was six? No. Do I recall my first day of school? I remember in vivid detail walking up to the school gates clutching onto my mother’s legs, panicking that I would never make any friends.


 

I have always thought that these types of memories don’t simply vanish into thin air but rather get stored somewhere in our subconscious.


The problem is that we don’t know the password to access them. The same can be said for things people said to us when we were young children. Those words and life lessons, whether positive or negative, became imprinted on our psyche.


 

If you were one of the lucky children that constantly heard “The world is your oyster” or “You can do anything you set your mind to,” you probably carried these beliefs into adulthood.


 

The positive reinforcement received from a young age seems to sustain a secure sense of self, which guides these people through their lives. More often than not, they turn out to be successful, because why wouldn’t they?


 

(Of course, there are those that receive positive reinforcement from a young age yet somehow morph into self-entitled monsters, but that’s another article).


 

If others tell you, and you believe, that there is nothing stopping you from achieving your dreams, then chances are you will take more risks in life and your life rewards will increase exponentially.


 

But what if the opposite were true? What if you were constantly fed a diet of negativity as a child?


 

If others regularly told you that “You will never amount to anything” and that “You are worthless,” what kind of foundation do you think that provided? A shaky one, and from shaky foundations come insecurity and a wavering sense of self.


Sure, some people who have this kind of upbringing find great success in life, but it is often overcompensation for this self-limiting belief that spurs people on to greater heights and bigger lives.


The drive comes from a need to prove that what they heard as children was wrong; it’s not a drive emanating from the belief “I deserve this” or, to quote L’Oreal, “because I’m worth it.”


 

I strongly believe that whatever our parents (or parental figures) told us during these formative years remains in our bodies on a subconscious level.


Have you ever had a situation when someone said or did something to you that felt like it struck a nerve? Did someone make a comment to you that unexpectedly brought back a plethora of sensations, fears, or worries that you haven’t felt in years? How does that happen?


We subconsciously reinforce those messages and viewpoints that our loved ones continually reinforced until they become our very own beliefs.


 

And then we unknowingly pass them on to our children, and on and on the cycle spins. But what would life be like if you could learn to separate yourself from a belief pattern that has no foundation of truth but nonetheless has a hold over you?


 

My self-limiting belief revolves around money and my attitude toward it. From a young age my parents worked very hard, holding multiple jobs and doing everything in their power to give us what we needed.


As they built their business together, their lives and incomes improved; however, their attitudes toward money did not.


 

Having come from a place of lack, they didn’t want us to find ourselves in that same place. So the constant message was that saving money is important, and they frowned upon spending frivolously. We learned that you buy only what you need.


 

While these financial beliefs helped me greatly in certain aspects of my life, I’ve run into some residual issues as a result. In the dominant memories of shopping with my mother, the all important question was not “Do you like it?” but rather “How much is it?”


 

My mother did not encourage spending on anything but the basics, and she hardly ever splurged on herself.


 

I internalized the message that it is a bad thing to treat yourself to nice things.


 

Years later, despite having worked hard to find myself in a financially stable position, the first thing I do when out shopping is to look at the price tag. The voice in my head tells me it’s too expensive. I tell myself, “You don’t need this; what are you thinking?”


 

In the event that I decide that I do, in fact, need it and like it very much, I drag myself to the register yet spend a good thirty minutes afterward berating myself.


 

I am fully aware that I do this, but can’t seem to stop myself.


The first step toward change is awareness, and I am consciously aware that I’m a work in progress.


 

These days when I find myself in the midst of a heated argument with myself in the fitting room mirror, I give myself a pep talk. “Do you like it? Can you afford it?” If the answer is a resounding “yes,” I go right ahead.


So, what’s your self-limiting belief? How does this way of thinking hold you back in life? By encouraging an open dialogue, we can begin to free ourselves from the invisible shackles of these negative beliefs.


 

The more we hear, read, or speak a word or phrase, the more power it has over us. By staying aware and refuting these beliefs as they come up, their authority starts to wane.


Being consciously aware that we have the power to choose how we think can be wonderfully liberating. We no longer need to react according to some outdated belief system that we inherited, which doesn’t serve our highest potential.


What we choose to shine a light on can no longer carry a hold over us. So maybe it’s time to get out the flashlight, get really honest, and work through those beliefs that no longer serve us so we can put them where they belong, in the trash.



By : Victoria Cox

*(She is a regular contributor to Amanda de Cadenet’s website The Conversation).

Li Na Announces Retirement....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on September 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)


Li Na, a trailblazer in tennis in China, Asia and around the world, has announced her retirement from the sport through an open letter....


My dear friends,


 

For close to fifteen years, we've been a part of each other's lives. As a tennis player representing China on the global stage, I've trekked around the world playing hundreds of matches on the WTA tour, for China's Fed Cup team, at the National Games and at several Olympic Games. You've always been there for me, supporting me, cheering me on, and encouraging me to reach my potential.


 

Representing China on the tennis court was an extraordinary privilege and a true honour. Having the unique opportunity to effectively bring more attention to the sport of tennis in China and all over Asia is something I will cherish forever. But in sport, just like in life, all great things must come to an end.


 

2014 has become one of the most significant years in my career and my life. This year was full of amazing highlights, which included winning my second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open and sharing the extraordinary experience with my country, my team, my husband and my fans. It was also a year filled with difficult moments, such as having to deal with the inevitable - making the decision to end my professional tennis career.

 

The amazing moment in Australia was filled with joy, happiness and extraordinary sense of accomplishment. The task of finally making a decision to hang up my racquet felt a lot more difficult than winning seven matches in a row in the Australian heat. It took me several agonizing months to finally come to the decision that my chronic injuries will never again let me be the tennis player that I can be. Walking away from the sport, effective immediately, is the right decision for me and my family.


 

Most people in the tennis world know that my career has been marked by my troubled right knee. The black brace I wear over it when I step on the court has become my tennis birth mark. And while the brace completes my tennis look, the knee problems have at times overtaken my life.


 

After four knee surgeries and hundreds of shots injected into my knee weekly to alleviate swelling and pain, my body is begging me to stop the pounding. My previous three surgeries were on my right knee. My most recent knee surgery took place this July and was on my left knee. After a few weeks of post-surgery recovery, I tried to go through all the necessary steps to get back on the court. While I've come back from surgery in the past, this time it felt different. One of my goals was to recover as fast as I could in order to be ready for the first WTA tournament in my hometown of Wuhan. As hard as I tried to get back to being 100%, my body kept telling me that, at 32, I will not be able to compete at the top level ever again. The sport is just too competitive, too good, to not be 100%.


 

Winning a Grand Slam title this year and achieving a ranking of World No.2 is the way I would like to leave competitive tennis. As hard as it's been to come to this decision, I am at peace with it. I have no regrets. I wasn't supposed to be here in the first place, remember? Not many people believed in my talent and my abilities, yet I found a way to persevere, to prove them (and sometimes myself!) wrong.


 

I've succeeded on the global stage in a sport that a few years ago was in its infancy in China. What I've accomplished for myself is beyond my wildest dreams. What I accomplished for my country is one of my most proud achievements.


 

In 2008, there were two professional women's tennis tournaments in China. Today, there are 10, one of them in Wuhan, my hometown. That to me is extraordinary! Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams - with thirty Grand Slam singles titles among them - are coming to my hometown to play tennis for the fans of China! Just as I didn't think I could ever be a Grand Slam champion, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that some of the best female athletes in the world could play tennis in Wuhan, in my backyard.


 

My contributions to the growth of the sport in China are very special to me. But I don't want to stop here. Together with IMG, my management company, we are putting together various plans on how we will continue to grow the sport of tennis in China. These plans include opening the Li Na Tennis Academy, which will provide scholarships for the future generation of Chinese tennis stars. I will also stay involved in the Right to Play, an organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children overcome challenges through sport. My philanthropic work will expand in scope as I continue to dedicate myself to helping those in need. What was once just a dream in China today is a reality.


 

On a personal side, I look forward to starting a new chapter of my life, hopefully having a family and reconnecting with those I did not have the luxury of spending a lot of time with while playing. I can't wait to revisit all the amazing places I played tennis in and see the world through a new set of eyes. I look forward to slowing down and living my life at a new, slower, relaxed pace.


 

Tennis is an individual sport and as players, our job is to spend a lot of time focusing on ourselves. But no player can ever become a champion alone and nobody knows this better than me. There isn't enough space here to thank everyone who has travelled on my journey with me and contributed to my success. But I must thank those that have stuck with me through the highs and the lows and have helped me become the person that I am today.


 

Thank you to:


• My mother - for your never-ending support. Through the laughs and the tears, you've always been there for me.


• My father - you were taken away from me way too early and I haven't been the same since. You've remained the sunshine in my life and I am who I am because of you.


• Jiang Shan - you've been by my side for 20 years. You are my everything and I am grateful to have shared my life with you.


• My first coaches Ms. Xia Xiyao and Ms. Yu Liqiao - for putting me on the tennis path.


• Madame Sun and the Chinese Tennis Association - thank you for being trailblazers for tennis in China.


• Mr. Hu Dechun and the Hubei Sports Bureau - for understanding me and supporting me through the years.


• Women's Tennis Association - for your passion for women's tennis and hard work growing it around the world.


• Mr. Chan Hongchang - for supporting me when I first decided to become a professional tennis player in 2008. You helped me make up my mind.


• Thomas Hogstedt - for introducing me to professional tennis.


• Michael Mortenson - for helping me win my first Grand Slam.


• Carlos Rodriguez - for pushing me beyond the limits I thought I could reach.


• Alex Stober - for taking care of me all of these years and pulling me together when I was falling apart.


• Erich Rembeck and Johannes Wieber - for finding a way to make me pain free, over and over again.


• Fred Zhang and the Nike team - you've been my guiding light, my support system and my biggest cheerleader. I will never forget it.


• To Max Eisenbud and the entire IMG Team - for being the best management company in the world and for taking care of me every day.


• To all the sponsors that have supported me through every stage of my career.


• To my relatives, friends, and everyone who has helped me throughout my career - for always being there for me and for your never-ending support.


• To my fellow tennis players - for being a part of my journey all of these years. I have so much respect for all of you.


• To everyone in the media who's covered my career and helped the growth of tennis in China and around the world.


• To the amazing tennis fans around the world - for your unyielding support of our sport and for playing every tennis match along with me.


• And lastly, to tennis fans in China - for getting on the bandwagon and staying on it! I am grateful to each and every one of you for pushing me to be my best, embracing me and loving me unconditionally. There is no limit to how far we can take the sport of tennis in China, together.


 

When I started playing tennis, I was just a neighbourhood kid with an afterschool hobby, not realizing what magical journey lay ahead of me. If I only knew what a vehicle the sport of tennis, along with my success, would become for my beloved China. While my journey hasn't been easy, it has been rewarding. I've seen change happening in front of my eyes, young girls picking up tennis racquets, setting goals, following their hearts and believing in themselves. I hope that I've had the opportunity to inspire young women all over China to believe in themselves, to set their goals high and pursue them with vengeance and self-belief.


 

Whether you want to be a tennis player, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or a business leader, I urge you to believe in yourself and follow your dream. If I could do it, you can too! Be the bird that sticks out. With hard work, your dreams will come true.


- LI NA

Stop Waiting For Life To Change: How To Feel At Peace Now...

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on September 18, 2014 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)


“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.”

~Joan Borysenko


 

Humans are amazing creatures. We have so much potential to create, effect change, and love. We can generate and organize. We can grow and learn.


 

The unharnessed creative potential within us also means that we have the capacity for destruction. We can start wars over words, or follow our monkey minds into a frenzy of worry and distraction. We can keep on telling ourselves that when that one thing we want so badly happens, then everything will be better.


 

We are so creative that we believe our best lie to ourselves—that there is time available for us to waste on not finding inner peace. We’ll pin our hopes on the new car, new house, or new job instead and stay in limbo, waiting.


 

I had a transformational experience recently when I dug up my old journals from the last ten years and read them. I was feeling particularly miserable and a clear question popped into my head: have I just been going round in circles all this time?


 

I suddenly felt sharply aware that I had been in that place before many times—sad, demotivated, and looking for something to shift.


 

When I looked in the journals I saw that nearly every single time, I had tied my inner peace to an event or outcome.


 

For example, I had diary entries going back to my time in school where I was pinning all of my happiness on passing a particular exam or making a particular teacher like my work.


I have a diary from after I graduated where I was making myself sick with worry about getting on to the Masters program I wanted; if I could just get in then everything would be perfect.


I have an entry from two years ago where my only goal in life in a bad housing market was to sell the flat I owned that I desperately wanted to move out of. If I could just sell it then I could stop being unhappy and everything would be perfect.


 

Needless to say, with every single entry, as soon as the thing I needed to happen happened, after the briefest of celebrations, I moved onto another objective to pine miserably over.


It was always the same unhelpful, un-empowering mantra: If this goes well then I will be happy. If that goes well I can get on with living my happy, dream life. In the meantime, I would continue to allow myself to take no responsibility for my own happiness.


 

It hit me all at once, reading the entries back to back. For the last ten years or more, I have been putting off inner peace.


I have been evolving and changing in the beautiful way that humans do, and the journals were a testament to that, but the entire time, I was waiting for something to happen to me to make me happy. I cried. Not from sadness, but pure joy. I was finally free to be truly happy.


 

In that moment I realized to truly break the cycle and embrace life to the fullest, I needed to do the following, and I’m sharing these with you in the hope that you stop putting off your inner peace today.


1. Be grateful every single day:-


 

Gratitude is the grounding force of inner peace. We all have something to be grateful for every single day, and if we don’t think we do then that is the first sign that we are sacrificing our own inner peace for an ideal that doesn’t exist. Write down or tell somebody the one thing you are grateful for every day.


 

Social media is a great channel for this, as people are often projecting negativity into the world. Change the pattern. Make your status updates full of gratitude.


 

I regularly reflect on how grateful I am for my health, for my loved ones, and for my desire to help others. I am so grateful to be alive and to have this opportunity to connect with people so we can all work together to be better. I realize every day how lucky I am to have food, shelter, and health. Having these basic needs mean I can be lucky enough to think bigger and try to offer something back.


2. Do something that makes your heart sing every single day:-


 

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the perfect job. It doesn’t matter if you’re having difficulty in a relationship or feeling lost. Just commit to doing one thing every single day that makes you feel happy.


 

It can be as simple as taking a walk, writing in your journal, or doing some yoga. The more space you create for your heart to sing in your life, the more you’ll realize the peace you already have inside of you. I personally choose to do one thing each day that helps me help others to feel bountiful, beautiful. and blissful. That makes my heart sing.


3. Stop looking for fixes outside of yourself:-


Everything you want and need, you already have and you already are. You don’t need to project onto other things. Notice those patterns in your behaviour and give yourself permission to let them go.


 

You are a being full of creative potential. You don’t need anything outside of yourself. You just need to tap into what’s already there.


 

When I begin to notice myself stressing out or falling into the patterns of pinning all my hopes on one thing, I close my eyes. I sit or lie down quietly and I breathe. I completely fill and empty my lungs with long, deep breaths and know that my body will ensure I get the oxygen and life force I need.


 

I know that this will keep my organs going and keep my heart pumping blood around my body. I know that the life force in the air I breathe will keep my spirit alive in a way that no mark in an exam, no Masters program, or no shiny new house ever will.


 

I lie back quietly and breathe until the part of me that knows everything is perfect the way it is arises and reminds me that’s the case, or until the part of me that is strong and determined offers me a plan for change that I can move forward with. I wait until I either accept my situation with grace or I am motivated to clear action.


 

I stop looking outside of myself and leaving myself in limbo even though the temptation is there. Sometimes I notice it’s happening, and I laugh. I laugh and the part of me that knows everything is or will be fine smiles inside. Then I breathe and close my eyes and connect to the resourceful woman I have inside of me who knows that all my real answers are within.


4. Be still:-


 

Your potential is resting inside of you waiting for you to notice it, like I do when I close my eyes to breathe. To allow it to flourish, be still. Practice yoga followed by a relaxation and a meditation. Sit quietly in the garden and breathe. Do whatever works for you to be still.


 

Be still so your can hear the whispering of your inner teacher who already knows the value of gratitude, joy. and the potential that you hold within.


 

Stop putting off inner peace. Start living bountifully today.



By: Raeeka

Visit her at : http://www.lovemindbodyheart.com/


Releasing Comparisons: No One Is Perfect and We All Deserve Love....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on September 6, 2014 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)


“Comparison is the thief of joy.”  ~Theodore Roosevelt


 

I spent my teenage years and early twenties believing that my weight was my worth; that I had to look and be a particular way to be accepted or loved.


I lived in a negative cycle of comparing myself to everyone. I remember sitting in on one of my lectures in university, trying to work out if my lecturer was fatter or thinner than me.


 

I look back now and wonder how many times I missed the fun and parties I was too scared to go to because I felt too fat or uncool or whatever negative feeling I was dwelling on at the time.


At twenty-seven my boyfriend of three years dumped me, on the day I found out I was pregnant. Worse still, or so it felt at the time, just a few months later he had a new girlfriend, a beautiful girl, who was also a single mother.


I think the day I saw them together was the day I hit rock bottom. I cried so much and lost fourteen pounds in five days. I felt absolutely shattered and utterly worthless.


 

Why wasn’t I good enough?


 

How could he not want his own baby yet love another man’s child?


 

Was I too ugly?


 

Was I too fat?


 

Why wasn’t I lovable?


 

Destructive thoughts whizzed around my head in a very unhealthy manor.


 

I lost my baby, which also made me feel worthless.


 

His new girlfriend had everything I thought I wanted. She had the perfect body, she was absolutely gorgeous, she also had a baby, and the man I loved, loved her.


 

I had to learn to love myself. It wasn’t easy to start, but the first step was to stop comparing myself unfavorably to everyone, especially her.


 

It was destroying me.


 

With everything that happens to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat it as a gift.


 

I wallowed in self-pity, regret, and depression for eighteen months. One day I stumbled upon Dr. Wayne Dyer’s : Your Erroneous Zone.  It was the book that woke me up and made me realize only I could change the way I was seeing myself and my past.


 

The past was gone, done, over. I couldn’t change it, no matter how much it hurt. I had to accept what was, and most importantly, I had to learn to see myself in a different light.


 

Here I how I did it.


 

At first I kept a list of everything nice anyone said to me.


 

I started a gratitude journal.


 

I went back to basics—appreciation, picking love over fear.


 

I learned that just because he didn’t love me, that didn’t mean that I’m unlovable.


 

Slowly but surely, I began to see my value.


 

I realized I was a worthwhile human being after all.


 

As a nutritionist, I help clients change their health everyday, so whenever I felt truly helpless I would find some who needed my help and offer it for free. Was it good business? Some would say no, but for me, it was therapy.


Kindness therapy, you get what you give. I was giving love, and in return I found myself. If you ever feel helpless, reach out and help someone. Smile at a stranger. It maybe the only person they see smile at them all day. You never know the ripple effect of the kindness you spread.


 

I wrote articles on nutrition for magazines. At first, I think this was to give me validation. Seeing my name printed in a magazine must mean I’m a worthwhile human being, right?


 

But the letters of gratitude I received made me realize that I knew things that could help people. One lady wrote to me saying her daughter’s behavior had improved dramatically after she implemented the changes I had suggested.


 

These small things helped me realize that while I may not look like a Victoria’s Secret model, like my ex’s new girlfriend, I am still a worthwhile human being who has the ability to help people.


 

I also started to see that even those who appear to “have it all” to the outside world often still have their own issues going on. I realized that having looks like a Victoria’s Secret model doesn’t protect you from heartbreak or sadness, a fact I had ignored until now.


 

Cheryl Cole is one of the most beautiful women in show business, yet her husband cheated on her.


 

We have to love ourselves. Comparison and envy are destructive forces that steal away contentment and block the flow of love. We don’t have to prove we are good enough to anyone; we just have to realize we were born worthy of love, and we’re lovable exactly as we are.


 

I’ve learned that there will always be people who are more and less attractive than me. However, beauty is subjective, and we all have different taste.


 

I believe beauty is a characteristic of a person. Beauty comes from a person’s soul. Beauty is in a person’s actions, how they treat people, how they care about people, and who they are as a person.


So don’t live a half-life comparing yourself to others. Comparison of any form is destructive. Downward comparisons can make you vain and upward comparisons can make you bitter.


 

We all—every single human being—deserve to be loved by others and to love others. But first we need to love ourselves.


 

Love yourself just as you are. You as much as anyone else in the world deserve your own love.



By : Kirsten Davies

Visit her at : http://www.thefoodremedy.com/

Acid Attack Survivors Pose For Photo Shoot : Shows Us What 'Beautiful Really Means...'

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 27, 2014 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)


They may not bear the features of typical models, but their beauty is undeniable.


 

Five Indian acid attack survivors boldly posed before the camera recently to shed light on their plight and to help fulfill their dreams.


 

Rahul Saharan, 24, a photographer who has long been involved with Stop Acid Attacks, a group that gives medical and legal help to victims, decided to take on the project in order to give the women a powerful platform to tell their stories, he told HuffPost via email.


Rupa, one of the models, was attacked when she was 15, while she was asleep in her village in Uttar Pradesh, according to a video on her fundraising page. Her stepmother brought four men into her room who threw acid on her face.


 

The teen was left severely disfigured, and it took six hours for her uncle to arrive and get medical attention for her. She’s had 11 surgeries and is due to have more.


 

The now 22-year-old campaigns for justice for acid attack survivors, but that’s not the only passion she’s pursuing.


 

Rupa has always dreamed of becoming a designer. She learned to sew and now hopes to open up her own shop where she can sell her designs. To date, she’s raised more than $15,000.


She plans on using the money she makes to help pay for her rehabilitation and to assist in supporting her family, Saharan told HuffPost.


 

Every year, about 1,500 women globally are subjected to acid attacks, the Wall Street Journal's India Real Time blog reported last year.


 

These attacks disfigure victims’ appearances, and their muscles and internal organs are often affected as well. Their future prospects are also impaired.


 

They often struggle to find work, and many are driven to suicide, according to the State Department.


But some progress has been made in terms of working to curb acid attacks.


 

Laxmi, another survivor involved in the photo shoot, collected 27,000 signatures for a petition to reduce acid sales -- an initiative that eventually made its way to the Indian Supreme Court, according to the State Department.


 

The court ordered the Indian central and state governments to better regulate the sale of acid, and the parliament to make prosecutions of acid attacks easier to pursue.


 

Still, advocates say, the laws are not being strictly implemented, CNN reported.


 

"Yes, the law is on paper, but you can find acid easily in local markets," Alok Dixit, founder of Stop Acid Attacks, told CNN.


 

While these advocates say there’s much more work for them to do to prevent these attacks and bring justice to survivors, they’ve already succeeded in bringing the face of this horrific crime to the public eye.


Laxmi, who was attacked when she was 16 by her brother’s friend because she had denied his advances, has already garnered a number of prestigious honors. Last March she was one of 10 women to receive the U.S. Department of State’s International Women of Courage Award.


 

Just by refusing to hide their faces, even if that's what society prefers, they are changing perceptions.


 

From his experience with the photo shoot, Saharan said he learned from these five women about deep struggle, humanity and what "beautiful really means."


By : Eleanor Goldberg



Please Note :- If you'd like to help Rupa fulfill her dream of opening up her own clothing boutique, find out more about her project and how you can get involved at : https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/chhanv-s-closet-acid-attack-fighter-rupa-s-dream





You're Not Bad; You're Crying Out for Help....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 18, 2014 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)


A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”

~Steve Maraboli


My fourth grade teacher was named Mrs. King, and she was a no-nonsense, fairly stern presence who enforced the rules and kept us kids in line. I was a timid kid who wouldn’t have dared to break rules anyway, and I assumed that Mrs. King didn’t like any of us, especially not me.


 

The only time we left Mrs. King’s classroom was to have our hour a week of “Music,” which meant trouping off to a downstairs room that contained a piano and a slightly manic woman who played us old folk songs to sing along with, like “Waltzing Matilda” and “Sixteen Tons.”


 

One day in music class I transformed into a bad kid. Instead of quietly following the rules, I made cat noises during the songs. I poked other girls in the ribs. I loudly whispered forbidden things, like “Linda is a peepee head.”


 

I don’t remember even wondering why this transformation had happened to me. It just happened.


 

As we trouped back upstairs I felt defiant, but when I heard several of my classmates telling Mrs. King about my behavior, I began to deflate. “Ann was bad in music class,” one of them said. “She was meowing in the songs,” added another.


 

“Ann,” said Mrs. King, “please come with me.”


 

I was struck dumb with terror. Now I was going to discover what happened to bad kids. I didn’t know what it would be, but I was sure I wasn’t going to like it. Shaking, I followed Mrs. King out into the hall, and into the tiny teacher’s lounge. We sat down.


 

“Ann,” she said. I didn’t dare look at her. My heart was pounding. What was she going to say about my misbehavior? What was my punishment going to be?


 

The silence stretched on, and I realized she was waiting for me to look at her. I dared to peek at Mrs. King’s face, and I was astonished. I had never seen such compassion.


 

She said, “I know your dog died…”


 

It was true. A few weeks before, out on a walk with my beloved dog Trixie, I had let her off the leash, and she had been hit by a car when running across a street to rejoin me. My parents had quickly bought me another pet.


There were no models in my family for allowing feelings to emerge. I remember being mystified when I saw my brother briefly weep for Trixie—and he hadn’t even been there when she was killed. I hadn’t been aware of feeling anything at all.


 

In the teacher’s lounge with Mrs. King, under her kind gaze, my eyes filled up with tears. I nodded. Yes, my dog had died.


 

“Maybe you would like to write a story about your dog. I know you like to write. Maybe you could give it a different ending if you want.”


 

I did write that story, but even before I began, the shift had already happened. I had my self back. It was okay to feel sadness and shock.


There was room in the world for my feelings, because someone with compassion had seen them.


 

Having feelings in response to events is normal. When we can share those feelings with caring family and friends, it allows the feelings to go through a natural cycle of change.


 

Understandings surface: “Oh, now I see what bothered me so much.” Our circle of support strengthens. After a while we feel refreshed, stronger, ready to go on.


 

Many people, though, grow up, as I did, in a family and a culture where feelings are not welcome. Feelings are embarrassing, or they show we are weak, or they are something we “just don’t do” and nobody talks about.


 

In some kinds of families, feelings are actually dangerous. “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.”


 

When we repress and deny our feelings, we cut off a natural process of healing and self-understanding. When that avenue is closed, what is left to us is “acting out”—being “bad,” being depressed, addictive behavior of all kinds.


 

Many of us deaden our feelings with unhealthy food, drugs and alcohol, video games, overwork. At some level we feel deeply out of balance, but we suppress that too.


 

This can lead to a feeling of being inwardly at war, trying to stop whatever it is, feeling ashamed, yet finding ourselves still doing what we don’t want to do.


 

What can change this is a process of bringing compassionate understanding to our warring parts, a process I call Inner Relationship Focusing.


 

First, slow down. Pause and make contact with your body.


 

Use this kind of language to describe the inner war: “Something in me wants to eat potato chips, and something in me says that that is disgusting.”


 

Then say hello to each of the parts you have identified. “Hello, I know you are there.” (Notice how that already shifts how all this feels).


 

Next, assume, as Mrs. King did with me, that there is some life-serving reason why each part is behaving as it is.


 

Lastly, ask each one: “What might you be wanting to help me with?” Wait for the answer to come from inside. When an answer comes, let it know you hear it. Don’t try to make it change. Change comes when something you feel is deeply heard with compassion.


 

I am so grateful for all the ways that compassion shows up in my life. I have learned that every part of me is trying to save my life. And in bringing compassionate inner listening to my warring parts, I have healed from writer’s block, addictions, and social anxiety, to name just a few.


 

And I never cease being grateful to Mrs. King, who showed me that day long ago that someone can look past outer “bad” behavior to the worthwhile person inside. A deep bow to you, Mrs. King.



By : Ann Weiser Cornell

She is co-developer, with Barbara McGavin, of Inner Relationship Focusing, and author of The Power of Focusing and The Radical Acceptance of Everything.

Visit her at : http://focusingresources.com/

How Sensitivity Can Be A Gift (And How To Give It To The World)....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 5, 2014 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

“We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.”

~Alan Watts


Are you good at noticing subtle details? Are you able to learn without really being aware that you are learning? Do you notice other people’s moods? Do these moods affect you?


Are you sensitive to pain? Are you equally sensitive to beauty?


 

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you, like me, are a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Chances are, you are constantly trying to make sense of how being sensitive fits into a world where a certain amount of insensitivity is seen as the key to getting ahead.


 

Chances are, you have both deeply valued your sensitivity and pushed away from it. While it makes up the core of who you are, it also makes life complicated.


 

Like you, I have struggled with being sensitive. First, it was because I had absorbed the cultural definition of sensitivity as weakness. And then when I did start understanding what being an HSP meant, starting from reading Elaine Aron’s classic The Highly Sensitive Person, I struggled to integrate this knowledge in my life.


 

Today, while I still find my sensitivity tricky, I have started seeing it differently. Now, when I think about sensitivity, the picture that comes to mind is of a thoroughbred horse.


 

This horse has a lot of nervous energy. It also has many gifts.


 

When I can direct this horse properly, it has the capability to perform at the highest standards. But if I misunderstand it, the horse’s energy is scattered, out of control. It can’t even get out of the gate.


 

So, how do we guide and direct this horse? How do we gallop out into the world instead of shying away from it? How do we bring our sensitive gifts to life?


 

Let’s look for some answers.


As sensitive people, we first need to ask: What holds me up?


 

At some point in your life, you might have absorbed the words that most HSPs hear: “You are too sensitive,” “You feel too much.” You might have believed these negative injunctions and gone through life in the absence of people who could see your gifts and champion them.


 

If you are still looking for those people, now is the time to go on a quest for them. While it may take time to find a friend or adviser, the process of exploring can itself be rewarding.


 

As an HSP, I have greatly benefited from being a part of online HSP groups. They help me see that I am not the only one having my experiences. I have also found people walking ahead on the path, and seeing them lead their lives shows me the way for leading mine.


 

We all need this—to be seen and validated for who we are. And when we find our believing mirrors, whether HSPs or non-HSPs, we can have the containers that shelter us from the storms of over-stimulation and anxiety.


And while we are working to find our champions, we also need to move inside and learn how to give ourselves what we need. When I moved from India to the United States two years back, I struggled with exactly this. In the absence of a support network, I did not know how to take care of myself.


 

How could I give myself love and attention? Wasn’t it what someone else gave to you?


 

Then, out of sheer necessity and through some trial and error, I started getting a glimpse of what nourishing ourselves means. I volunteered as a reading tutor, took photography classes, and embarked on my dream of being a writer.


 

In those moments when I felt connected to something bigger, I felt whole. There was nothing missing.


 

I started understanding that this was my area of growth, that this is what Elaine Aron means when she says that “part of maturing into wisdom is transferring more and more of your sense of security from the tangible to the intangible containers.”


 

So, think of all your safe harbors, all the containers in your life. Do you have enough of the intangible ones—work, faith in something bigger, a spiritual practice? Know that you can create an internal structure that holds you up, that sustains you emotionally even as people move away or life changes.


 

Once you have this inner stability, you can ask:


How do I participate in the world more?


As an HSP, being on the margins of the culture might have contributed to you feeling “less than.” Or you might have had a traumatic experience that you felt keenly, and you might not have found your way out of it.


Whatever the basis of low self-esteem, the truth is that without having a basic sense of self, we are adrift. Among other things, one of the reasons that I clung on to my ill-suited corporate job for years was the feeling that I would crumble into nothing without it. And I wasn’t very sure that I deserved something better.


 

In his wonderful Honoring the Self, Nathaniel Branden talks about this, and says, “The greatest barrier to achievement and success is not lack of talent or ability but rather, the fact that achievement and success, above a certain level, are outside our self concept, our image of who we are and what is appropriate to us.”


 

So, if we don’t believe that we deserve something better, we will often unconsciously put up barriers to getting it. The good news is that we can build our sense of self, brick by brick.


 

I strengthened my self-esteem by taking small risks, which grew into something bigger.


 

I left my low self-worth job for a better one. I freelanced on the side.


 

In effect, I worked hard and took concrete actions to earn my own respect.


 

Having once earned it though, it’s important that we keep acting to maintain our self-belief. For some time during my transition to the United States, my sense of self became shaky again. In the last several months, I have started remembering what I had learned—that action builds our sense of self.


 

I started to take risks again. One of them was coming out as an HSP through my writing.


My entire experience of life has been colored by my sensitivity, and yet I felt like it was something I needed to hide, fearful that people would label me. They still might. But I am a little more okay with sharing myself discerningly; reaching out in those spaces where I feel it can be helpful to others.


 

Whoever you are, wherever you stand, the task of building yourself up and finding your lost spaces is not going to be easy. But it is going to be worth it when you can stand in your center, and live from that place.


In the end, the fundamental question that we are all asking is:

How can I be more of myself?


As HSPS, we have the additional task of unlearning all that we have learned. We might have adapted in the wrong ways. Instead of learning to manage our feelings of overwhelm, we might have started avoiding the world altogether. Or we might have shrunk inside, hurt at being misunderstood.


 

But the world needs people like us—people who can empathize, who care, who can feel others’ pain. It is both our privilege as well as our challenge to learn how to do this effectively.


 

We need to take up more space, to show up as who we are. We need to unfurl.


 

It’s time to bring our sensitive gifts into this world.


By : Ritu Kaushal

Visit her at : http://www.walkingthroughtransitions.com/


How To Rise Above Difficult Circumstances And Be Happy....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on July 31, 2014 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

~Viktor Frankl


I first got wind of this transformative concept when I was a teenager reading Man’s Search For Meaning.


 

It has played beautifully into what has become my life theme: how people transcend their adversities. I’ve forever been inspired by how (some) people can go through so much and yet be able to rise above and live well. I call it living well despite…


It seems to boil down to something beyond circumstance and external situations. Because, as we all know, there are so many people who have gone through terrible situations and yet manage to be upbeat and strong, and push forward in their lives; and yet others who sink into perpetual disappointment and despair. It seems to be a natural tendency to go one way or the other.


When I went through some of my darkest times—having a child born with disabilities and having the same child go through a year-long near-fatal medical crisis, whose outcome was nothing short of miraculous—it was Viktor Frankl’s concept of “man’s inner strength raising him above his outward fate” that I kept going back to, and that definitely helped me stay afloat and cope well.


 

With my former dark time, I fell pretty deep into despair, and only with the intense help of a gifted therapist was I able to get through the initial grief and grow into my new reality.


 

With the latter situation, I incorporated specific actions and thought patterns to help me along the terrifying year of my daughter’s life-threatening illness.


 

What makes some become better and some bitter?


 

I now have a new piece of fascinating information that ties in to my life theme.


 

I recently completed a certificate program in positive psychology. There is much proven research on just how much we can do to give ourselves that meaningful and joyful life we all naturally want; or I should say, that happiness we are all after.


 

Sonja Lyubomirsky, psychologist and researcher in the field of happiness and well-being, came up with a pie chart representation showing the three determinants of happiness. Lo and behold, circumstance is the smallest piece of the pie, at only a 10 percent contributor to our happiness.


 

Our genes make up 50 percent. And here’s the most powerful and influential piece of the pie: our behavior, our intentional activities, make up 40 percent of our happiness. This can really be the make-or-break part.


 

This means there’s a lot we can do to increase our life satisfaction, above and beyond our circumstances, negative as they may be.


 

So yes, we can rise above our difficult situations and we can become better, by first and foremost recognizing and acknowledging that we are not victims but rather active players and creators of our playing field, and then by intentionally reconstructing our views.


Purpose:-


 

As Nietzsche wrote, He who has why to live can bear almost any how.” We always need a reason to go on, especially when the road is slippery under our feet. It’s all too easy to fall and succumb. But just having this stick to hold onto to guide us can keep us on the path.


When my daughter was in a rehab hospital for nine months, what got me up each and every morning was the explicit purpose of being by her side as a cheerleader, encouraging her on her tough fight and climb up the mountain of human functions—from lifting her finger to walking again. It was a very steep ascent, one that entailed lots of grueling work.


Benefit-Finder:-


 

It seems to be human nature to have a slant toward the negative. It’s very easy to spot the faults and issues in things. The good news is that even if we weren’t born a glass-half-full person, we can train ourselves to see more of the positive.


 

It’s about what we focus on. What do you hone in on—the rose or the thorn? When we take in the beauty of the rose, we start to notice other beauty around us. More comes into our purview.


 

Positive psychology professor, Tal Ben-Shahar states, “When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates.”


Permission to be Human:-


This means allowing ourselves to feel the gamut of emotions—the unpleasant ones that sometimes drive us to suppress them by numbing means, and the good ones.


Restricting the flow of painful feelings impedes the flow of the positive ones, for human emotions all flow through the same pipeline. We are blessed with a rich emotional make-up. We need to give ourselves permission to feel. This helps create a rich, authentic life.


 

Once we are aware of our feelings, we can then choose how we act and respond.


Choose to Choose:-


 

At every moment we have a choice. Are we even aware of this? We can choose to take things for granted or appreciate the good; we can choose to view failure as a catastrophe or as a learning opportunity; we can choose to succumb or make the best of what happens.


 

We can walk in the street with our head down (in our phones) or look up and smile at people, which sends in and out positivity.

 


 

So, when the rough times come or the bad things happen, are we able to find or make some good? Can we find the silver lining? Can we look to make lemonade out of lemons?


 

When adversity hits, we can become better; we can rise above; we can even grow beyond and do things we never thought we could. We now know it’s more in our power than we may like to believe.


It may sometimes feel easier to be a victim, but it’s certainly not a role that leads to a fulfilling, satisfying, and meaningful life.


 

Our choices, both concrete and attitudinal, make up this 40 percent of the pie, and this can make us better above and beyond the other half.


“Things don’t necessarily happen for the best, but some people are able to make the best of things that happen.”  ~Tal Ben-Shahar


By : Harriet Cabelly

Visit her at : http://rebuildlifenow.com/


Why We Talk More Than We Listen And What We Gain When We Stop....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on July 28, 2014 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)


“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.”

– Brene Brown


I like to talk. A lot.


It’s how I get ideas and work through concepts I’m not quite clear on. It’s how I get myself motivated or calm myself down.


If you let me, I would probably talk your ear off all day. As a creative grasshopper, my mind runs a mile a minute, and has no shortage of ideas to explore.


But a conversation in which people are talking, but not listening, is not really a conversation.  It’s selfish, unsatisfying, and does absolutely nothing to build real connections.


As much as I like to talk, what I really want is to connect.


I talk about what I do because I crave appreciation and admiration. I want to inspire someone.


I talk about what’s on my mind because I want to know that I’m not alone. I want to feel accepted and validated.


I talk about what I know about anything because I want to show that I have something to offer. That I’m worth listening to, and wanting to be around.


But no matter how much I want to be accepted, loved, and appreciated, over the years I have learned that talking is not always the way to get these things.


For a talkaholic, talking is asking: for attention, praise, acceptance, love.


But talking is not really giving. It feels like giving to us, but it isn’t.

I may think that by telling my friend about what I do I’m inspiring her, but she has other worries and blocks that are keeping her from ever applying what insights she may gain from my overly generous monologue.


I may think that by espousing my opinion about everything under the sun I’m showing that I’m a worthy conversation partner, but people have their own opinions, and feeling like their opinions are heard is much more valuable to them than listening to mine.


It took many years of being bullied and feeling alienated before I realized that my strategy for getting me the things I wanted was backfiring and getting me the opposite.


I used to kick myself for that. Why couldn’t I learn faster? Why couldn’t I just be there already?


Just like every engrained habit, I realized that talking too much and listening too little was comfortable, even if it didn’t feel that way.


The reality is that listening is much more vulnerable for me than sharing even my best kept secrets.


When I’m listening, giving the other person my full attention, holding space for them, I feel vulnerable because they have control over the conversation.


All of a sudden, I’m left open and naked.


My thoughts are free to race, and keeping them focused on the other person is tough, just like meditating. Talking a mile a minute is so much easier.


By not spouting out my ideas and beliefs, I’m letting the other person form their own opinion of me. Instead of trying to direct it. I am “just me,” and I can’t put on a mask through my words, opinions, and knowledge.


A long time ago I made a commitment to be minimalistically myself—naked and raw, unapologetically open and authentic. No excuses. No drama. No frills.


On this journey of rediscovery I learned that my true self does not need a mask.


I don’t need to let my ideas and systems march forward to create a better impression. I now know that everyone else is just as broken as I am, and the cracks only have as much importance as you give them.


I don’t need to always share a story of my own in order to connect. My heart knows how to connect without my help.


I don’t need to give everyone the brilliant solution they need. I’ve learned that I can be most helpful when I just give people the space they so desperately need; then they are free to discover their own solutions, and are much more open to seeing and implementing them.


Learning to listen is a lifelong journey, one that is definitely not easy for a talkaholic like me. But the joy that comes with the rewards makes up for the pain and effort. Achievements are, after all, only worth as much as the time put in.


Talking about my achievements, opinions, conclusions, and lessons learned is a lot of fun. But listening for an hour, really connecting, fully being there, and watching the other person relax, unfurl, and bloom is priceless.


What changes have you made to become a better listener? What have you learned about yourself along the way?


By : Laura G. Jones

Visit her at : http://lauragjones.com/blog/

Why We Don't Need To Try So Hard To Be Happy....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on July 4, 2014 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)


“Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.”

~Chuang-Tse


Everywhere we turn these days we seem to be bombarded by it.  TV commercials try to lure you into buying their products on the promise they will give you it. Magazines scream it from the front pages via sultry images and sexy block titles. Gossip magazines practically have a mission statement that fame will guarantee it. Corporations equate money with it.


 

So what exactly is it? What’s this one common denominator that seems to be a worldwide obsession? Happiness!


There are thousands upon thousands of articles, seminars, webinars, TV shows, and more that try to teach us how to achieve it. How to be a happier you. How to make your family happy. And, not forgetting our furry friends: How to make your pet happier.


It’s as if happiness is some salient commodity that will come to us if we just. Try. Hard. Enough.


 

We are repeatedly told that it’s floating around out there in the world and that it can be ours. Just look at the model on the front cover of that magazine practically flaunting it with her beaming pearly white smile. Even Pharrell is in on the game and wants us to be HAPPY (and maybe do a little happy jig).


 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been seeing these types of juicy promises for years and, quite literally, bought right into it. Sure, if I just [insert the blank] enough, I will be happy. Surely this begs the question, have we pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon?


 

Think about it, the purpose of all these happiness-promisers, when you scratch behind the surface, is more likely the pursuit of profit rather than the pursuit of happiness. There’s usually a reason they keep touting the wonders of this magic commodity—it sells!


People love to read about quick fixes, how-to’s, and how not-to’s and willingly part with their hard earned cash to learn these supposed secrets. Spoiler alert…there are no secrets!


If we choose to believe that what we as a collective species yearn for is just out of our grasp then will we keep hunting forever. Perhaps we need to take a fresh look at what happiness actually is and whether it really is attainable by following steps one, two, or three.


 

Is it even designed to be a constant state of being? Who really walks around all day with a huge grin plastered on their face without the aid of narcotic substances or a seriously deranged mindset?


 

The first mistake is in believing that happiness is outside of us, and something that needs to be attained. It’s not. It’s a state of being, an emotion that can pass through us when we least expect it, usually when we aren’t paying it any attention.


 

It can creep up silently sometimes for just a few minutes at a time before it skulks away from whence it came. As humans, we have a myriad of emotions and as women, add a few hundred more on top of that.


 

In just one day we can feel a sense of love, pain, loss, betrayal, jealousy, anger, or laughter. I don’t think that as humans we are designed to have one singular constant emotion; we are complicated creatures.


 

So why don’t you see the media touting other less fun emotions? Why don’t we see articles titled “20 Ways to Feel Sadder,” “How to Cultivate More Rage into Your Life,” or “How Not to Ugly Cry”? No one would buy it! So why should we buy into the idea that we should be happy all the time?


Some of my happiest moments have been unexpected. I find it’s usually when my brain is engaged in the flow of another activity I really enjoy that I feel a sudden sense of complete happiness.


 

Another happiness inducer for me is being out in nature. That makes me feel really happy.


 

There is no one-size-fits-all happiness inducer. It can vary from hanging out with your kids or your pets to a simple walk on the beach to cooking a family meal.


My point is that it is not something that you have to work toward in the future, for it is not obtained through external effort. It is within us and we carry the possibility of it within us at all times whether we realize it or not.


Once we understand that happiness is not something that we can buy, sell, trade, or exchange, we don’t need to worry so much when we have a bad day.


 

However, do pay attention when it’s a great day, a positive day. Be thankful for it and acknowledge it. That way, when the smiley face pops up again (and it will, for nothing accelerates the good stuff in life like gratitude does) you are aware of it, again and again.


 

It can even be a feeling that you start to look forward to, like a best friend popping over for a cup of tea and a chat. Understand and accept that the feeling is temporary but will return. After all, if you’re best friend popped over and announced she was going to be saying a while, like the rest-of-your-life-awhile you might not be so happy about that.


 

If we didn’t have the sad, cry-on-your-way-home days, how could we learn to really appreciate the fun, exciting days?


 

So, stop reaching, searching, and trying to buy your slice of happiness, as it’s not something that is out of your reach.


Know that, and next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store, don’t reach for the magazine promising you the Disney fairy tale happy ending. It doesn’t exist—it’s a fairy tale!

 


Instead, smile at the cashier and wish her a lovely day. You will make her day a little happier and in doing so, maybe some of that magic will rub off on you.



By : Victoria Cox



6 Secrets To Moving On From Serious Struggles....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on June 23, 2014 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)


“Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.”  ~Unknown


 

People who knew me ten years ago would probably expect me to be dead now. They wouldn’t expect me to have escaped my problems. They wouldn’t expect me to have stopped drinking, drugging, taking overdoses, and cutting my arms.


People who knew me ten years ago saw a scared shell of a girl, terrified of her own shadow and on a mission to self-destruct. They wouldn’t expect me to have turned my life around completely. They certainly wouldn’t expect me to be sharing my story and helping others to let go of their struggles, too.


 

But then those people who knew me ten years ago didn’t know that I would find the secret to moving on from my struggles. I didn’t know it back then either; I thought that there was no hope for me, and that I would never be over my woes.


The secrets to moving on came to me slowly. It took years of suffering from anxiety and alcoholism before I found my solution, but it was worth the wait. Whatever your problems, and no matter how inescapable you think they are, the answers are always universal.


 

Here are six secrets to moving on from your struggles:


1. Draw a line:-


 

When you’ve decided that you’ve had enough of suffering, of tying yourself up in the same old knots and landing up in the same dead ends, draw yourself a nice mental line to mark your decision. Everything up until now was the part of the problem, and everything from now on is a learning experience.


 

Use that mental page break to give yourself new courage and enthusiasm for the healing process. Leave any guilt and shame firmly in the past. Decide that no matter what happens, from now on you will do your best to break away from your negative patterns and never give up on trying.


 

It’s okay to screw up, to cry sometimes, or to find it hard, as long as you never move back into that space where you’re not willing to try. Let your attitude be part of the solution to your problems; focus on living, learning, and breaking free. Take at least one extra step forward every time you stumble.


2. Learn from others:-


 

When an emotional or mental problem is holding you back, don’t try to cope with it all on your own. If you’ve ended up in a sticky place or a cycle of self-sabotage, your own thought processes and feelings will have aided and abetted you. In order to get out of the hole, you must be willing to learn from other people.


 

I have always found that those who have previously been down the same rabbit hole are the best people to give you advice and a helping hand. Hang onto the hope they present, learn their lessons, and see how the decisions they made have helped them to succeed in moving on.


 

See the patterns in others’ successes, and look for people who live the solutions. If people appear bound by bitterness and negativity, they’re probably not the ones to help you. Look for those who are truly free of their issues—the ones who you aspire to be. There is no need to struggle alone, when others can help you through.


3. Try everything:-


When it comes to particular problems, you may need to get specialist help to deal with them. You may feel you have tried so much, without success, to find the solutions to your issues that you will never find an answer. I know that trap; I nearly gave up, myself, on the quest to beat my anxiety disorder.


 

Counseling, books, courses, pills, potions, and therapy had not provided any solutions. I had almost given up hope. I am so glad I didn’t.


 

The last thing I tried was something I had never considered, and it happened to be the one method that gave me back my life. Try everything; think outside the box. The answer is only irretrievable if you stop looking for it.


4. Let go:-


To truly move on, you must let go of blame, resentment, and anger. Realize that negative feelings are counter-productive. However justified you feel they are, it is only hurting you to hold onto them. Forgive others so that you can be free to follow a new positive path.


Forgiving yourself is possibly the hardest part of letting go, but it’s also one of the most beneficial things you can do. Accept that you are only human, and humans make mistakes; it’s how we learn, after all. You did the best you knew how to at the time, and now you’re willing to admit it didn’t work out so well.


 

Stop criticizing and chiding yourself. Talk to yourself kindly, like a patient teacher, rather than a harsh taskmaster. Unkind words will only make you feel frustrated and sad, dragging you back into that negative cycle. A warm, encouraging tone will help you get the best out of yourself.


5. Do what works:-


It sounds so simple, but people do what doesn’t work all the time. They wish things were different, bury their heads in the sand, or use sticking plasters that will come unstuck later on. I used alcohol to numb my anxiety disorder, not taking into account the alcohol dependence, the plummeting self-esteem, and the pancreatitis that would punish me for my choice later on.



Deal with reality to make sensible choices. Don’t allow anger, self-justification, or feelings of unfairness to stop you from doing the right thing. Sometimes the way we have to constantly battle and the things we have to do to solve our problems may feel unfair, but the alternative is staying stuck in pain and self-loathing.


 

Keep your end goals in mind when making decisions. Do what works on a consistent basis and you will eventually escape from your problems, making it worth the fight. The longer you keep doing what doesn’t work, the deeper the hole you will have to dig yourself out of.


6. Change your mind:-


The only permanent solution to our struggles is to change the mind that creates or perpetuates them. While your problems might not be of your own making, the endless suffering that comes as a result of them is down to the way you use your mind.


 

It may not be your fault, but it is your responsibility to work on the way you think if you want to be free.


 

My own mind-set kept me stuck for many years. It refused to acknowledge the good and was responsible for a lot of negative emotions and responses. It was only by practicing over and over to refocus my mind that my feelings, and responses to life, became more positive.


 

Watch what you’re feeding your mind, as well. If you’re feeding it a diet of dross and negativity, don’t be surprised if it’s not all that helpful. Educate yourself, and surround yourself with good, supportive people.


 

Your mind and attitude are ultimately the things that can keep you stuck—or end your struggles. Learn to use them wisely, and you can overcome any problem, no matter how serious it seems. Having a supportive mind makes it much easier for you to see clearly, and to be happy and content, even in a life where challenges crop up.


By : Beth Burgess

Visit her at : http://www.smyls.co.uk/

*(She is a solution-focused therapist, coach and writer, specializing in addiction, anxiety disorders, stress, self-esteem and mental wellbeing).*





How To Strengthen Relationships By Releasing Fear And Control....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on May 24, 2014 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)


“To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is: a dissatisfaction with self.”

~Joan Didion


When I was a young man I had an issue with relationships. Looking back now, it is easy to see that I had low self-esteem, though I could not see it at the time. Because of my low self-image and my neediness, many relationships that could have had a decent chance went by the way side.


I developed a low-level anxiety about how much any girlfriend cared for me, which, in turn, became outright jealousy and resulted in controlling behavior.


I would worry that my girlfriend was going to leave me for another man and would then become aggressive, starting arguments. I would act out when she wanted to go out with her friends. If we went out together, I would fly into a rage when we got home if she had so much as glanced at other men.


Of course, all of this behavior was about demanding, without explicitly saying it, that she demonstrated how much she loved me. This was because, despite all the evidence to the contrary, I believed she did not.


Ironically, the more she showed me she loved me, the less I believed her.


So I became more controlling. I decided I was the victim and became moody, sulky, withdrawn, and passive-aggressive, yet again manipulating my environment to get the attention I craved.

Negative attention was better than nothing. Yet if I lost all attention because of my behavior, I was okay with that. I would have preferred be alone and know I was right than be in a relationship and live with the fear that I was not good enough. But once I was alone again, I wanted a relationship to prove that I was lovable.


My Fear:-

I tried to control the fear that I was unlovable by controlling the person I loved. I even took to confronting men who I saw as a threat to us as couple.


By threatening and controlling other men, I could control my girlfriend and thus control my own fear. It seemed logical at the time.


As you may have guessed, it had the opposite effect. My attempts to control the women I dated ended up driving them away. Either they would end the relationship, or I would before they did. (It felt better to end it before they had the chance, proving the very thing I was trying to disprove).


Sometimes my behavior drove them toward other men. I made them feel so unsafe that the only safe way to leave me was to have some protection in the form of another man. Thus was fulfilled the ultimate in self-fulfilling prophecies.


Then one day, after a lengthy period of learning and reflecting on the repetitive patterns in my relationships, I decided to grow up.


I realized that I could not control my girlfriends and that trying to control them had the opposite effect. I also realized:-

  • We have no control over others. In fact, control is often an illusion.
  • We can’t make someone love us by fearing that they won’t.
  • Fearing that someone may be unfaithful will not ensure that they won’t be.


I realized that letting go of control was the safest option, for me and for everyone else. I also recognized that my fear was often greater than the things I worried about, and that I needed to deal with it.


Lastly, I realized that I needed to learn to love myself and stop expecting others to do something I wasn’t doing for myself.


As a result of some intense personal development work, I started to love myself. I started to acknowledge and appreciate my strengths and validate myself in the way I’d hoped others would; in turn, my fear subsided and has all but left.


Now I choose to trust my girlfriend. I have no more control over her than if I chose to be suspicious, needy, and fearful. In essence, I am choosing to be happy. By choosing to trust her I remove the fear, let go of control, and start to enjoy the relationship for what it is.


We can choose to live in fear or not—that’s something we can control. And we can also control if we choose to be miserable or happy. I chose happy.


By : Julian Hall

Visit him at : http://www.calmpeople.co.uk/category/blog/

The Blessing Of A Broken Heart : How Pain Can Lead To Healing....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on May 15, 2014 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)


“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.”

~Ruth E. Renkel


My last break-up was on April 16th, 2012.

I remember the date because on the evening of April 17th, as I sat with a blotchy red face and tears in my eyes, my dad told me I soon would remember that day and be glad I was no longer sad. “Men are like buses,” he said. “If one leaves you behind, rest assured another will come.”


I found his support very touching, but it did little to console me. If this guy was a bus, it was the bus I wanted to be on, period. That day, on my dad’s couch for the second night in a row, I slept a total of an hour and cried for about eight.


I found the break-up pretty surprising and abrupt. After not more than a strange feeling, and a day during which I sensed an uncomfortable distance, I said to my then boyfriend, “I feel that you might not be in love with me,” to which he responded, “Maybe.”


Boy, did I feel like a fool. What got to me the most was discovering he’d felt that way for a while but hadn’t said anything. There I was, thinking he loved me, and there he was, waiting for me to what, wise up?


It was harsh to say the least. My feeling was that he didn’t even care enough to bring it up.


The following weeks were pretty dreary. I sobbed in the shower, sobbed at home, sobbed while I was working, and felt that my worth was at zero. I’d been dropped like a hot potato by someone that knew me; that had me!


We’ve all been there, left by someone to whom we attributed a big part of our identity, someone who confirmed us as worthy of love and partnership. To different degrees, we all recover, meet someone new, and perhaps go through variations of the same ordeal later on.


I’d been through break-ups before, and painful ones at that, but at some point, in the fog of this loss, I got the feeling that rather than this one being something I had to get over, it was one I had to get, as in understand, beyond the corroboration or mending of my bruised ego.


I avoided the traditional post-break-up ranting to friends. It didn’t feel right, and there was little room for trash talking since I couldn’t see the inherent wrong in his change of heart or mind. That led me to suspect that the real source of my pain was absolutely inside of me.


I wanted to go there; I was on a mission. Determined to find the gold, I decided to put myself through a daily routine of questions regarding the source of my pain.


I first asked myself if it was really that surprising that the relationship had ended. Were things really going so well that it would make zero sense for this person to choose to end things? The answer was, unequivocally, no.


We had actually been growing apart. We had fundamental differences in opinion, which had an impact on the development of our relationship; we experienced incompatibility in our rhythm of communication; and our expectations of what it meant to be with someone were different.


On several occasions I actually found myself wanting out, wanting to not feel the potency of loneliness in the company of another; I just kept it to myself. That kind of blew me out of the water: I’d been feeling that way for a while too, and, I too hadn’t addressed it.


Once that little nugget came to light, I found my assumptions regarding his approach to breaking up were, at best, doubtful. I couldn’t sensibly hold them against him, or myself for that matter. I had to let my resentment toward the manner of the break-up go. I couldn’t be angry with him.


Lack of presence can, and often does, create a disconnect between actual experience and fantasy or expectation. It certainly did for me. There’s what I had, and what I demanded it become, and it was my relationship to the latter that I was most attached to.


Another step in my recovery was accepting that I was most upset about breaking up with my fantasy and my expectation, not with the real, flesh and blood person, and certainly not with the strained relationship.


Then there was the matter of low self-worth. How could my self-worth be challenged by my worth to someone else? As it turned out, my low self-worth hadn’t actually been engendered by the break-up but rather exposed. It was there all along, supplemented by the relationship.


The worthiness I had found in the relationship had little to do with self-worth and everything to do with my reliance on someone else’s evaluation of me.


All that while that I was looking out for sources of acceptance, affection, validation, and understanding, I could have been looking in and cultivating the one relationship through which life is experienced, the one with yours truly.


It was bittersweet to learn of this. It gave the situation a meaning and a powerful possibility for growth and wellness. I was still grieving, but I realized that what I was grieving was the tragedy of abandoning myself.


I decided to go right ahead and feel it all, with the condition that I keep a watchful eye on the narratives that came up. It was important to remain clear about what it was that was really hurting rather than letting the inner storyteller convince me that I had just lost the love of my life.


Then again, I had indeed lost sight of the love of my life for a while. This was more a case of mistaken identity, because really, what is the love of your life if not your own love?


I chose the path of natural grieving, and by doing so I became present to myself and acutely aware of how important my well-being is to me.


If I was grieving my own abandoning so deeply, then I did have deep love, tenderness, affection, and care for myself. I had so desperately needed my own company and acceptance that when the relationship curtain was pulled, the sight of the neglect was unbearable.


Little by little that presence, awareness, and allowance gave way to trust and safety within on a level I hardly thought possible. I was able to stand by myself, with all that meant, my ups and downs, my strengths and weaknesses.


I haven’t since looked at romantic relationships in the same way. I haven’t since looked at any kind of relationship in the same way.


I still remember the night of April 16th as a sad and painful one, but as the distance between me and that night has grown, a fuller picture has come into view that leaves me utterly indebted and grateful to the events that came to pass.


The night of April 16th was a rude awakening to a reality that demanded and ignited an important part of my healing, one that, in all likelihood, saved my life. I was blessed.


A Course in Miracles says that we are never upset for the reason we think. Just as words point toward something but aren’t themselves what they mention, the happenings in our lives and our reactions to them point to greater truths, but aren’t themselves the truth.


If we take it upon ourselves to see what inside of us they are pointing toward, all grievances become opportunities to heal and love ourselves.


By: Mel Moczarski

Visit her at : http://www.inuasu.com/



Be Who You Want to Be by Realizing You're Not Who You Think....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 27, 2014 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)


“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.” ~ James Allen


We all have a picture of ourselves in our minds. A picture of what we believe we are like. A picture we choose to believe no matter what.


We can cling to this idea about ourselves all we want, but that will not make it true. This is not as easy to realize and even harder to accept, but it’s an important step toward a conscious life.


I believe we all go through dark phases when our image of ourselves breaks and we start thinking less of ourselves. This phase can pass after some time if we let it, but if we insist on clinging to the picture of  ourselves in our minds, it will be harder to get through it.


The good news is: you are whoever you choose to be.


It’s not a coincidence that all the great spiritual masters spoke about detaching from our thoughts. Our thoughts do not represent reality. We are the ones who choose to believe that they are real, when, in fact, they have nothing to do with reality.


No matter what situation life presents us, we can always choose to view ourselves the way we want.


You can either view yourself as a victim or as the hero who lived through all the controversy. It’s all a matter of perspective.


Whichever you choose you will become, since you believe that is who you really are, so you will ultimately behave that way.


This has nothing to do with the person you actually are; it solely depends on how you choose to view yourself.


I was an anxious person all my life. Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, phobia—you name it, I had it. I had so many issues that it was hard to view myself as sane.


I had to realize that these feelings were never my identity; they could never define me because how I chose to see myself, despite my feelings, was my choice.


I remember sitting on the couch and making myself sad by thinking about what a horrible person I was.


I used to believe that I was somehow not normal and that I didn’t belong here. I chose to stay at home all the time because I believed that if I went out and lived the life of a normal person, something horrible would happen and I’d end up hurting others or myself.


I also felt pity for my husband, because he had to spend his life with such a horrible person.


I was not insane or different, no matter how much I believed that I belonged in a mental institution. It took me a long time to realize that what I thought of myself had nothing to do with reality and an even longer time to apply this knowledge in my life.


I was not perfect, I’m still not, and I never will be; but nobody else is either. We tend to believe that we are the only people struggling. Always remember that you are not alone. When you feel horrible, know that there are countless people out there who feel just like you do.


If you feel alone and different from everybody else, this is just a thought; it’s not real. We can choose to believe it is, or we can choose to see that we are never really alone, and so many people share our feelings.


Just because you believe something does not make it true.



People who promote positive thinking would advise you to start thinking positively. I think this is obviously better than negative thinking, but it’s still not the solution. I believe in letting thoughts go.


Let go of all the destructive thoughts you hold about yourself. Once you are able to accept that you are not what your thoughts are telling you, you will become free.


You will no longer limit yourself with your thinking because you will accept that your thoughts are faulty.


Once you realize that your thoughts are faulty, there will be nothing else standing in your way; and when you realize that there is nothing standing in your way, you will see that it was your thoughts that were holding you back from being who you wanted to be this whole time.


When I look back at how I used to be, I see a girl who was always such a nice, kind-hearted person, but for some reason chose to believe that she was something completely different and, therefore, isolated herself from the world.


I hold no false ideas about myself nowadays. Since I acknowledged that all my opinions about myself are just thoughts that have nothing to do with reality, I realized I am who I choose to be. Nothing and no one, not even myself, can stop me from being the person I want to be.


I embrace who I am now. I love being outside, enjoying the company of people and nature, and I know that I can bring a smile to people’s faces with my kind and loving attitude. I care for my husband even more because I know that my love and attention is valuable.


I even started writing my first fiction novel, which is something I always wanted to do. I envied the authors who could come up with magical worlds and could use their minds to build up something beautiful. I thought that my mind was not a place of wonder, but since I let that thought go, I’ve started to build the wondrous world I never thought I could.


I still have thoughts in my mind that I sometimes think shouldn’t be there, but that is also a part of me. As long as I can identify them for what they are, they can do no harm. I know now that nothing can control my actions, only me.


Don’t let your mind push you around—just let it go.


By : Melinda Csikos

Visit her at : http://www.themiracleforest.com/







You Have Nothing To Prove : Knowing You're Good Enough....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 10, 2014 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (0)


“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.” 

~Maya Angelou


I sat on a big, cold stone on the beach next to Lake Ontario and watched as the waves lapped upon the shore.


To my right, there were swans and ducks floating on the water. The swans were graceful and beautiful as they glided along the shoreline, and the ducks were being their usual kooky selves.


It always made me laugh to watch them dive underwater, kick their webbed feet in the air, and wag their feathered bums back and forth. They were so natural, so unaware of my presence so…carefree.


I admired them for their untroubled lives and yearned for what they had—the complete and total lack of care for what I thought of them.


To my left in the distance, I saw the CN tower and the surrounding high rises of Toronto. I was in college studying acting for film and television, which had always been my dream.


But now, sitting next to the vast open water under the clear skies and watching as the waves slowly rolled up and receded, breathing in the fresh air, I realized this was the most content and peaceful I’d felt in weeks.


All of my life, I wanted to be an actress. I wanted to see my face on the big screen, my name credited in large, bold letters, to be a guest on talk shows and able to meet all of the successful actors I admired.


I wanted to be someone who was noticed, praised, respected, and looked up to. I wanted to be special.


I also loved the craft of acting itself and thought that connecting with other people was so beautiful. But since coming to college four months ago, all I’d really felt was judged.


Rosalind Russell said, “Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly.” That’s exactly how I felt in my program, every day.


Day after day, I would pour my heart and soul into a performance for my professor and my classmates. I’d receive some small praise but buckets and buckets of criticism on top of that—what I could have done better and what was wrong with what I did or how I looked.


Deep inside, I knew that that was how I’d learn, grow, and become better, but the constant flow of negative feedback was really taking its toll on me. Most days I would go back to my small residence room and cry about how terrible I was.


I never felt good enough. I hadn’t yet realized that I was so afraid of judgment from other people because I was constantly judging myself.


Flash forward to exam week and I was sitting on the beach. To my left was the city. The hustle and bustle, the crowds, the competition, and the never ending flow of judgment and criticism.


To my right was the gentle blue waves, the soft stones and pebbles strewn along the sand, the ducks in all their carefree and content splendor, the swans with their heads held high, floating peacefully along the shoreline.


I knew in that moment that I would have to make a choice.


I either had to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to this profession, with all its criticism, or walk away and find something new. Both choices were equally daunting.


I always loved nature and being immersed in it made me feel so calm. Life became simple and easy in those moments and it was okay to be me.


But I also loved performing—the sound of applause and the times when the light shone on me and I was approved. The brief moments when what I did was good enough.


The ducks didn’t need anyone to tell them that they were good enough. They didn’t have to memorize a script, work on it for hours, find the perfect costume, and perform their guts out to earn a single head nod.



The ducks were simply themselves. They didn’t care that there was someone on the beach. They didn’t instantly attempt to straighten their feathers or worry about whether or not I liked how they were swimming. They were completely at ease. Free.


I knew that if I continued down the path an actor takes, judgment was going to be with me every step of the way. It would be there for every performance, every agent I met, and every audition room I entered. What everyone else thought would always matter.


I decided that I would much rather be a duck with ruffled feathers and happy with myself than someone constantly striving and working toward validation from others, which was how I felt as an actress.


I had also started to hide behind the characters I was playing as a way to avoid being myself. That day, I resolved to find a different path, one I could walk down as me.


I gathered up my courage and withdrew from my program, which was terrifying. Dropping out meant letting go of the image I had of myself, and the image everyone else had of Stacey, the actor.


I had to let go of the idea of me, the idea I loved, the idea of who I wanted to be, in order to accept who I really was as a person.


Just as I was judged when acting, I knew I could also be judged for leaving it behind. But that simply didn’t matter anymore. 


The best and most fulfilling realization came to me that day on the beach. I didn’t have to earn the right to be deemed good enough. I didn’t have to work for it. I didn’t have to do a song and dance to prove I was worthy.


The truth is there will always be judgment in life. There will always be someone to tell you that you aren’t smart enough, thin enough, or successful enough. You can’t change what people think. The good news is you don’t have to. If you believe in yourself, nothing else matters.


Sitting on that rock alone, appreciating the breeze in my hair and smiling at the ducks, I finally embraced the truth. I was already good enough. And it was in that moment of acceptance that I was truly free.


You can’t change people but you can change how you respond to them, which is what I did. Now, I acknowledge the criticism when it comes and immediately let it go. When someone offers support, encouragement, and love, I bring it in and allow it to raise me up higher.


The wonderful part of self-love is that once you know you are good enough already, there’s no way to go but up. The negativity fades and the positivity grows. Embrace the security, contentment, and inner peace that come with accepting yourself.


How can you accept yourself today? My best advice is in three small words: be a duck!


Let the judgment and criticism from others slide off your beak like water, swim how you want to swim, look goofy with your bum in the air, make silly sounds, do whatever makes you happy without caring what anyone else thinks, knowing you are wonderful exactly as you are right now.


Shout it from the rooftops and let the whole world know.


“I am good enough!”


Because you really are. So, give yourself permission to be you. Accept, believe in, and love yourself knowing you are already enough and you don’t need anyone else to tell you that. It is only once you accept yourself that you’ll be free to live the life you’ve imagined.


“Be who you want to be, not what others want to see.”


I learned that lesson from the ducks. And for that, I’ll be forever grateful.


By : Stacey Lance


Accepting Yourself As An Introvert And Loving Your Inner Tortoise....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 6, 2014 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)


“We can’t underestimate the value of silence. We need to create ourselves, need to spend time alone. If you don’t, you risk not knowing yourself and not realizing your dreams.”  ~Jewel


Tortoises are out of fashion. They are no longer the wise ones, taking one patient step after another, coming out victorious in the end. Today, they are the ones who can’t cross the road fast enough, the ones most likely to get hit by a car.


There is shame involved in being a tortoise.


And so I have spent a considerable chunk of my life trying to turn into an extroverted hare, coming up with rationalizations for why I am not, most definitely not, an introverted tortoise.


For one, I don’t move slowly. In fact, I love to dance. I am quick in perceiving and understanding what people say and mean. I am not slow-witted.


But these explanations don’t quite cover what it means to be a tortoise—how their rhythms are slow and deep, how they enjoy taking in the scenery instead of rushing past, how they need the shell that protects their most vulnerable, precious self.


As introverts, today, it’s easy for us to get alienated from our own nature because of the extrovert bias in the culture at large. So, how do we reconnect with and start celebrating ourselves? It starts with self-awareness and living our own truths.


The Way We Manage Energy


As opposed to extroverts who turn to other people to recharge and renew themselves, too much interaction saps our energy. Introverts turn inward and need quiet spaces to recharge. This is why we turn to nature, to prayer, to solitary hobbies.


We already know this from our own experience. What we often struggle with is the validity of this preference for time alone. I’ve wrestled with this too, thinking that there is something wrong with me if I am not excited about going to a party or socializing at the end of a hectic day.


It’s only recently that I’ve begun to let go of this internal dialogue. By going deeper into my own creativity—writing more, doing photography—I’ve realized that what I am actually lonely for is a connection with myself. When I’m taking a photograph, for example, I feel present and whole.


Engaging in activities that make us happy helps us focus on all that is right with us, instead of wondering whether we are faulty. 


As introverts, we need to start giving ourselves permission to go deeper into our own nature. If building legos, reading books, or watching birds gives us joy, that’s what we should be doing instead of going along with what other people think is fun.


It might be fun for them, but is it fun for us?


Another thing that I’ve learned is that although I need time alone, not all interactions affect my energy in the same way. While many social interactions leave me feeling depleted, there are some that have the opposite effect.  


In her wonderful book, The Introvert’s Way, Sophia Dembling discusses this with Cognitive scientist Jennifer Grimes.  Grimes says that the real issue is not how much energy we put in a situation, but whether we get an adequate return on this energy investment.  She says, “There are people who like to invest a lot of energy and get a lot back. Some people don’t want to invest a lot and don’t expect a lot back. The people who are deemed the extroverts in pop literature, the people who are social butterflies, what they get back on an interpersonal level is sufficient for them.”


As introverts, we need to be aware of this. While small talk is draining for us, meaningful conversations are energizing. They require us to expend energy, but they also give us energy back.


Haven’t we all talked for hours about something we are passionate about, and been at a loss about what to say when we are talking politely with an acquaintance?


The Rhythms Of Social Conversation


As an introvert, social conversations can be a challenge for me. I didn’t realize earlier that one of the reasons for this is the difference in the rhythms of how introverts and extroverts communicate.


When we are asked a question, introverts usually pause to think about it before replying. We need this space to formulate our answers. This is different from extroverts, who formulate their answers while talking.


Because of this difference, when we are silent, extroverts can perceive this as meaning that we have nothing to say and rush in with their own thoughts. And while they are talking, we can’t think. This dynamic renders introverts mute.


For me, understanding this has been extremely important. Instead of getting frustrated that I didn’t get a chance to speak, I’ve started responding differently. By showing the other person that I am still thinking by providing visual cues (like furrowing my brows), I hold my ground better in a conversation.

I’ve also started letting myself interrupt the other person. And in the case of those people who are extreme talkers, I’ve understood that it’s okay to disengage and simply walk away. By doing these things, I’ve created more space and freedom in my interactions.


While understanding this basic difference between extroverts and introverts is important, we also need to be aware of the mistakes we can inadvertently make in social situations. One of these is being too quiet in a new group setting. Introverts don’t realize that it is the silent person in the group who gains more and more power as the conversation goes on.


Elaine Aron talks about this dynamic in her wonderful book The Highly Sensitive Person. She says that if we remain silent in a new group, other people can be left wondering if we are judging them, unhappy about being part of the group, or even thinking of leaving the group. As a defence mechanism, the group might reject us before we have a chance to reject them.  So, in a new group, it becomes extremely important for introverts to communicate what they are thinking, even if it is just to say that we are happy to listen and will speak up when we have something to say.


The Focus On All That’s Right With Us


As introverts, most of us have heard messages about all the things that are wrong with us. We are too intense, too solitary, not fun enough. We may not have asked our own questions back.


What’s wrong with thinking deeply? What’s wrong with solitude? What’s wrong with enjoying one-on-one conversations instead of a big party? And fun according to whom?


Once we give ourselves permission to ask these questions, we can also start seeing our own strengths more clearly. What the culture considers an aberration is what makes the best part of us.


Thinking deeply gives us new insights. It helps us see new relationships between things. The solitude that we love is also the spring-board for our creativity. It gives us the chance to imagine and re-imagine our world.


Aren’t these all amazing things?


As introverts, connecting with our essence is what will help us actualize our talents. Not acting like an extrovert. I am sure it’s great to be a hare, but not if you are a tortoise.



By : Ritu Kaushal

Visit her at : http://www.walkingthroughtransitions.com/



Your Struggle Does Not Define You : 2 Steps To Start Breaking Free....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 3, 2014 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)


“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”  ~Nido Qubein


t’s difficult to remember the exact moment when things fell apart.


By now, so much time has passed that when I think back to that evening, the chain of events is clear up until everything stood still. I don’t remember how I slept after midnight or when he left.


Just the eerie glow of the flip phone in my darkened apartment as I ignored the calls after I sent the text. The text that set my whole life into forward motion after feeling stuck for years.


You’d think I would remember the text clearly, but instead I remember how my then-boyfriend rushed into the apartment, reeled when he saw I was safe, and then slid down the wall like a cartoon character, numb with tears.


I think I sent: “I won’t be here tomorrow,” but I can’t be sure. I thought about the tequila that was above the refrigerator and the ibuprofen that was in the medicine cabinet. I did nothing with either.


It was the second time in my life that I was in such a low, but it was the first time in my life that I realized I had to get help. Because when I saw how much I was hurting someone else, I finally saw how much I was hurting myself.


I tell this story today and it doesn’t feel like it’s part of me anymore, even though it’s here on this page. After that evening, I drove myself to the doctor and got an antidepressant. Then I drove myself to my first yoga class.


And this was when things really started to get interesting.


I considered the possibility that I was not destined for depression my entire life just because it was in my genes.


In fact, I was not destined to be or do anything I didn’t want to be or do. I was not trapped, not insignificant, not worthless.


Turns out, our lowest lows reunite us with our resilience.


A lot of us equate bad days, depression, and whatever else we’re struggling with as roadblocks in our progress toward being a more mindful, happy person.



Feeling down is not the same thing as moving backward. Depression isn’t regression. Your dis-ease is key to your transformation.


This is for you on those off-days, those disaster days, those days when you’d rather pull up the covers for no reason at all. This is your two-step process for easing your way into a life that is worth living again.


1. Identify that you are struggling (with depression or <insert your pain here>)


You’ve probably heard the first step in the twelve-step program before, proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous: admitting that you can’t control your addiction.


In this first step, however, it’s all about identifying with your pain without giving up your power to change it. In fact, you’re now fully stepping into your power because you’re present with your problem instead of remaining a victim.


Hi, hello—yes, I see you there. I feel you and I see you. Now, let’s get on together with this, shall we?


2. Stop identifying with your struggle


This is the most important thing to remember, always: You are not whatever you said you were in step 1. As an example, here’s how I recovered, day by day for two years after I sent the text.


Every time I felt a spark of hopelessness, I told myself: You are not your depression.


You may be or have been depressed, but depression is not who you are. That’s difficult to understand, especially when you’re consumed and it feels like there’s no other possible way to feel.  Like all the feels have evaporated quicker than sweat on a 100-degree day.


Until I started taking a yoga class once a week, I didn’t think twice about rethinking who I was at my core. But when you’re laser-focused on bending your body into yoga poses with proper alignment, you have little time to ruminate on what’s happening in your head.


And so it dawned on me that depression is a temporary experience, just like taking a yoga class. If I could get out of my depressed mind for an hour, I had the potential to get out of my depressed mind all the time.


You do, too, no matter what’s causing you pain. The pain is the starting point.


The rest is up to you.


By: Caren Baginski

Visit her at : http://www.carenbaginski.com/

Why Letting Ourselves Feel Bad Is the Key to Feeling Better....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on March 21, 2014 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)


“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.”  ~Unknown


For as long as I can remember, I have been on a quest to heal myself. From a very young age I can remember feeling different from my peers. I was always painfully shy and paralyzed with insecurity and fear, which left me in a constant state of self-criticism.


Hardships in my young life, including the suicide of my father, left me with the belief that life was just hard.


Unfortunately, I also thought that it wasn’t supposed to be and that something was wrong with me because I had so much pain in my life. My head swirled with shame wondering, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get over this, or that?”


My solution to the pain I felt was to basically wage war on myself and conquer all of the difficult feelings I experienced.  


I truly believed that I just needed to figure out the right formula, accomplishments, and milestones, and then I wouldn’t have these painful feelings and I would finally feel okay in my skin.


Along the way, I hit all of the targets I had identified: I lost weight, I earned degrees, I made money, I did lots of therapy; I created a life for myself where everything looked the way it was supposed to, but I still struggled with fears and insecurity.


This mission I was on to fix myself only added insult to injury, because my primary thought process was that something was seriously wrong with me and if I wanted to be happy, like I thought everyone else was, then I needed to stop having what I had deemed “bad” feelings.  


Rather than giving myself a break, I found the path of greatest resistance.


I was in a constant battle with myself, where every time I had an uncomfortable feeling I jumped on myself for feeling that way and immediately set out to change that feeling. I couldn’t distinguish the difference of “I’m having a ‘bad’ feeling,” from “I am bad.”


When we react negatively to our own negative emotions, treating them as enemies to be overcome, eliminated, and defeated, we get into trouble. Our reactions to unhappiness can transform what might just be a brief, passing sadness into a persistent dissatisfaction and overall unhappiness.


Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try to avoid emotional pain, it follows us everywhere. Difficult emotions, like shame, anger, loneliness, fear, despair, confusion, are a natural part of the human experience. It’s just not possible to avoid feeling bad.


However, we can learn how to deal with difficult emotions in a new, healthier way, by practicing acceptance of our emotions, embracing them fully as they are, moment to moment. For me, this has meant creating space in my life for all of the parts of experience, the ups and the downs.


Unfortunately, in Western culture very few of us have been given the tools to tolerate our own difficult feelings, or those of another person. Not only do we want to avoid feeling pain at all costs, we want to prevent the people we care about from feeling their own pain.


Recently I found myself in a situation where I was confronted with a past loss, and although it has been two years since the loss, I found myself emotionally wrecked, as though it had just happened yesterday.


In my sadness, I reached out to a few friends for comfort and was surprised at how difficult it was for them to tolerate my difficult emotions.


In an effort to help, they wanted to battle the sadness and told me things like I was sitting in self-pity and feeling sorry for myself; that I needed to practice more gratitude in that moment.


Again, they weren’t trying to be hurtful; they were just trying to help me stop feeling sad.


Thankfully, I’ve done enough work on this path to know that that was not what I needed. In that moment, I simply needed to allow myself to feel sad.  


I knew the feeling wasn’t going to last forever and I had a choice, I could either drag it out by waging war on myself, or I could recognize that, for whatever reason, in that moment, I just felt sad.


Again, our reactions to our difficult emotions can transform what may have been just a brief, passing sadness (as was the case for me in this situation) into persistent dissatisfaction and unhappiness (two decades of my life).


By learning to bear witness to our own pain and responding with kindness and understanding, rather than greeting difficult emotions by fighting hard against them, we open ourselves up to genuine healing and a new experience of living; this is self-compassion.


If you’re someone that is used to beating yourself up for feeling sad or lonely, if you hide from the world whenever you make a mistake, or if you endlessly obsess over how you could have prevented the mistake in the first place, self-compassion may seem like an impossible concept. But it is imperative that we embrace this idea if we are to truly live freely.


When we fight against emotional pain, we get trapped in it. Difficult emotions become destructive and break down the mind, body, and spirit. Feelings get stuck, frozen in time, and we get stuck in them.


The happiness we long for in relationships seems to elude us. Satisfaction at work lies just beyond our reach. We drag ourselves through the day, arguing with our physical aches and pains.


Usually we have no idea how many of these daily struggles lie rooted in how we relate to the inevitable discomfort of life. The problem is not the sadness itself, but how our minds react to the sadness.


Change comes naturally when we open ourselves to emotional pain with uncommon kindness. Instead of blaming, criticizing, and trying to fix ourselves when things go wrong or we feel bad, we can start with self-compassion. This simple, although definitely not easy, shift can make a tremendous difference in your life.


It’s important to remember that embracing your strengths and well-being does not mean ignoring your difficulties. We are measured by our ability to work through our hardships and insecurities, not avoid them.


We are all fighting some sort of battle, and when we accept this truth for ourselves, and others, it becomes a lot easier to say, “I’m struggling right now and that is okay.”


Not being okay all the time is perfectly okay.



By: Jennifer Chrisman

Visit her at : http://drjenniferchrisman.com/

*(She is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in using Mindfulness based approaches to help her clients find more meaning in their life!)*