How fragile can self-esteem be. I have been fighting all my life to build my self-esteem, be happy with who I am and have the confidence to live my life the way I want to. It is always an ongoing struggle. Just a small thoughtless comment from someone who is not even important in my life can make me question myself.
I grew up in a large joint family, there were so many of us, my mom, though she tried really hard could not give us individual attention. Everything was done for the collective good. I looked a little different from others, I was born darker, with unruly curly hair and was also the plump one. Things like being called “Kali” (the dark one) and “Moti” (the fat one) unknowingly worked in eroding my self confidence. No one realized how it would affect my life, not even me. There was a time during my teenage year when I hardly took any pictures, I always thought I was ugly. The only way I believed I would be accepted was if I did well in school and was the obedient one. So I worked really hard, which did help in life. It’s not that I didn’t have a great childhood, we had so much fun, we traveled and my parents are just great. They loved us unconditionally and always encouraged us to be independent. But sometimes your mind does get screwed even in the best environment.
I have been practicing mindfulness to help me deal with my issues. I focus on positive thinking and try to be satisfied with I have. This post is my way of just getting it off my chest and dealing with it. I know life is beautiful, I know I am loved, I know I am enough and I love myself. I just have to keep reminding myself.
A few days ago, I attended a session by a career coach and one thing that resonated with me was the importance of setting goals. I realised that I have never actually set goals for myself, I have just gone with the flow, sometimes even taking steps without thinking through. Does that make me less ambitious or just a run of the mill individual? So I got back home and decided to think of a short term goal and a long term goal that I could set for myself. One of my short term goal is to update my blog regularly, so that I can have a journal of my life events and thoughts. The long term goals are more difficult, I still have no idea of what I want and where I want to be in 5 years time. Should I continue the way I am, it has worked so far. I have had my highs and lows but generally I have been happy. Isn’t that the most important thing, its all so confusing. Maybe I will give it some more thought and have a long term goal written down by next week.
I have been trying to grapple with self-doubt. It creeps up on me when I least expect it. Life has been topsey-turvy. Sometimes nothing makes sense. Is there a grand plan that I am unaware of, if there is it would be nice to get a sneak peek.
A piece of cheese cake, those yummy chicken nuggets, the cake I just learnt to bake and those creamy coffees, so tempting , so avoidable and now I am left with love handles that I don’t actually love. Like the Kellogs advert says “98% of women have I hate my body moment”, I am going through mine. How I wish I had said no to that cheesy burger and creamy Haagen Dazs. I have aches all over, every muscle hurts trying to emulate those super fit YouTube bloggers. They make doing 40 sec of jumping jacks so easy but I’m left heaving after 10. But perseverance they say is rewarded, don’t ask me who they are, so I will keep looking at those awesome YouTube videos and keep dreaming I will get there some day.
My sister and I look at the same mirror everyday, what she sees is a girl who is gaining weight and what I see is someone who looks ok. The mirror lies to both of us. My sister is 5’4″ and slender, every time she looks into the mirror she whines she has gained weight, which irritates the hell out of me, because according to me its not true. She is her same slender self.
Now when I look into the mirror I see myself as someone normal, I mean I am not thin, have never been, neither am I fat. Even when the world is telling me I have started gaining weight, the mirror keeps telling me I look OK.
I think it is a deep psychological thing. I was a very healthy child, the golu molu type not very tall and then suddenly I gained in height and lost weight , my mum associated the weight loss to the sudden spurt of growth. But it was actually a chronic health condition which made me very ill for a long time. So for me weight loss is associated with being ill. When I look into the mirror I don’t want to see someone thin, nor do I want to see someone who is fat as I was teased for being one when I was a kid. So is the mirror lying to me… no it is just showing what I want to see.
Go to any bookshop, you will find a large section dedicated to self help books. Books that are supposed to help you become rich, lead a better life, be spiritual etc, etc ,etc.
To be honest I did read a few of them in my early 20’s, but now I stay away from them. I would rather read a good biography.
The other day I was discussing books with my brother, when he said he does not read self-help books. It got me thinking, do the self help books actually help. Who are they helping ? First and foremost they are helping the author. They make loads of money and generally have a happy life. I am ok with books that talk about making money, at least they are trying to help others make money while they make their own.
I have my grievance against authors who talk about how to become spiritual and better human and how to give back. While asking us to give back to society or give up our worldly goods they are collecting all the royalties from the book. Do they give up too? Its like some of the old devotional songs sung by a certain singer, where he sings about giving up worldly possession to get to God, but is charging money to sing the same songs. Isn’t it hypocricy at its best.
There are many people in this world who take great positives from such books. If it was not so, they would not be bestsellers. Sometimes we read that it changes peoples lives. To each his own, I am happy when I get to read such positive stories. But personally I feel everything is right inside us. If we really want to help ourself we need to think deep and contemplate . The answers are right in front of us. Saying that, I am at a very delicate juncture of my life, so I hope I will be able to dig deep within, and come out stronger without any help from books.
Anyone who has some positive stories to relate connected to self-help books I would welcome your comments, and also comments of people who do not agree with me.
Group assignments can be really tricky , you never know whom you’ll end up with in the team. I have a team of 7 for one of the assignments, 3 Chinese , 1 American, 2 Indian and a Lithuanian, its a crazy mix , with only one native speaker of English. Getting the point across is so difficult, sometimes the meeting gets so wild with everyone trying to say their point without realising that they are trying to say the same thing. But its fun too, when you’re not trying to argue , you get to know so much about some other country and their culture. Sharing XLL pizza and discussing things other than the coursework.
Today walking through the streets of Edinburgh , I came across a beautiful but poignant sight. I had read and heard about Veteran’s days and that poppy symbolised remembering everyone who had lost their life in conflict. Our Main Library had a small donation counter with the poppies, and so did most of the shops. I passed many people with poppies pinned on their lapel, people honouring their brave countrymen.
The garden on princess street had been decorated with poppies and small cross, The cross had names written on it, the names of all the brave soldiers who had died.
There was a special enclosure with names of soldiers who had lost their lives in Afghanistan. Looking at their photographs I had goose bumps, most of them were so young, in their 20’s with years ahead of them, dying in a conflict which was not of their making. Its so sad that people who declare wars are the ones who do not suffer at all, they all have their Z level security, their political careers or have lived most of their life in luxury. The war actually affects the families of these brave people , their loved once who have been left behind to deal with the pain or their kids who will never know the love of a Dad or a Mom.
There is no right or wrong in a war, the only truth is that young people on both ends die, its the innocent family who suffers. How I wish we there would be no more wars. Its the kind of naive thinking that may suit a kid but not me, but one can be wishful , even though its a wish which will never be fulfilled.
Rest in Peace all the brave men and women from all over the world who laid their lives for the betterment of others.
After 9 years I find myself donning on a mantel of a student again. It feels good, I feel free; though I know the freedom is short lived once the deadline for assignments starts coming in maybe I’ll start wishing for the monotonous work life I led.
Walking along the campus with a backpack is a wonderful feeling, going to the library, attending freshers event, suddenly I feel much younger than my 30 years.
After surviving for 30 years , I finally learned the importance of setting goals. It was a small task but it opened my eyes. I never believed in self-help books, glad I never spent any money on it. In this world you need to help yourself, no amount of reading will do that, the motivation has to come from within ourselves, or else its of no use.
This ramble here is my way of remembering what I learned today 🙂