Enjoy your Own Company

Picture credits: medium.com

 

Before I begin, I want to warn you that this blog post is not a motivational one. There are tens of thousands of blogs on the internet to motivate you. I don’t want to give you something that is already available.

Humans are social animals and they crave for social interactions. There is nothing wrong with meeting people because research in psychology supports the importance of relationships in mental well-being. While it’s good to follow what scientific literature says, sometimes we are left alone with our own devices. Learning how to enjoy one’s own company is one of the most daunting tasks one can ever undertake. We want to avoid it as much as possible. However, things can be a bit different for the introverts because after a point of time they simply want to be left alone.

Enjoy your Own Company

We can cultivate our ability to enjoy our own company even if it for the occasions totally uncalled for. All we need is a diary, a pen and an openness to new experiences.

1. A Diary and a Pen- Execution is prioritised over ideas and it makes sense because without implementation ideas are next to nothing. But ideas matter too because without ideas there is nothing to put into action. A single idea has tremendous power to change the course of basic narratives we are accustomed with. And that single idea can take birth when in one’s own company. In such circumstances, a diary and a pen can serve as two best friends. When in solitude, it is likely that we will be bombarded with many thoughts. Thoughts. Thoughts. And some more thoughts. Letting those thoughts simply pass by is not a wise decision (at least that’s what I think). Grab a diary or a piece of paper and a pen and write them down. Pay attention to your thoughts. Read them over and over again. Try to make sense of them. You will find how much you can offer to this world. With time, you will start craving for your company more and more because in the midst of all the chaos you are prioritising yourself, you are prioritising your ideas and that’s a bold move. All you need is a diary and a pen.

(*Thinking can be one of the flow activities or put simply an optimal experience. Great thinkers in the past used to love ‘thinking’ as it gave them a lot of joy and happiness. Democritus, a Greek philosopher, was one of them. If interested in the concept of optimal experiences and how they can be a source of happiness, I’d recommend Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi*).

2. Openness to new experiences- Sometimes a simple effort to be more open to new experiences in life can initiate enjoying one’s own company. We think we can only see the world in the company of other people. While it is true in many ways, there are moments in life when we are left alone with our own devices (as mentioned before). Should we stop exploring the world ? No. We can take a small step to go against our thoughts that are trying to compel us to stay inside. We can take a small step to become more open to new experiences even if those experiences aren’t shared with anyone but us. Pretty soon you will start seeing a cyclical pattern.

 

(*This article is based on author’s personal experiences and generalisability of ways to enjoy one’s own company isn’t guaranteed. There are many people living in extraordinary circumstances and the content might not be practical. Moreover, everyone is different in their own ways and prefer living their lives as they please. So pick and choose what seems to work for you)*.

An Introvert’s Brain

Picture credits: Personality Junkie

 

You are my best friend.
Together, we go to far away galaxies.
I see beyond my eyes can ever permit,
I feel the whole universe in me.
But sometimes you are not so loyal.
You make me go through misery.
You take me places I don’t want to go,
In the name of ‘Infinite Possibilities’.

-Sumbul

A single question that is helping me change my perspective

Picture credits: freepik

It’s a human tendency to take life for granted. I know this and you know it too. But why do we do it? Why do we take our family, friends, health, etc for granted? Why do we often miss out on acting in much better ways even though we ‘know’ nothing lasts forever?

Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, essayist, logician and a social critic aptly said once, “In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” Quite honestly, I haven’t make a list of all the things I take for granted in my life (probably it’s LIFE in general that I sometimes take for granted just like any other person) but I have come to a realisation that yes, indeed we don’t value our lives the way we should. I believe the pandemic is teaching us a lot in this domain.

Coming back to the question of why we take things in life for granted, psychology has some answers. Human beings are naturally inclined to ‘novelty’. It’s in our evolutionary history. Life, relationships, health seems like permanent. We think they have been there for a very long time and will stay with us for ‘always’. All this doesn’t feel novel or new so we don’t pay much attention. Until something big happens. The pandemic is giving us many examples. We are seeing with our own eyes that a single hour is enough to change our or the lives of our loved ones completely and forever. For many the wounds are never going to heal but others will forget everything and continue living their lives the way they had been living prior to the pandemic.

Isn’t it the perfect time to change that? After all, the losses are irreversible.

Only a couple days back I was pondering upon the same thought and something crossed my mind. It was nothing but a simple, single question. I have lost a very close relative to COVID-19. While reflecting back upon my own life I reminded myself how lucky I am. Quite frankly, I am very grateful of my life each day. Trying to keep myself in my cousin’s shoes I asked myself a question:

“HOW MUCH WOULD YOUR COUSIN BE WILLING TO PAY JUST TO HAVE A 5 MINUTE CONVERSATION WITH THE PERSON SHE HAS LOST?”

Without a doubt: A LOT!! Yes, my cousin would be willing to pay a lot. The cost will be very very high. Doesn’t that change your perspective, even a little bit? It changed mine. That question strikes me hard enough to pause for a moment and think things over again. Now, I am not saying I have become all perfect and will never take people in my life for granted. I am a human after all. I am conditioned to make mistakes. Nevertheless, I am going to try to never stop asking myself that question. It will keep me in check, I am sure.

World

Picture credits: entitymag.com

When I am in my zone

And I listen to a song

I go back in time.

There is clarity in my mind.

Emotions come forth

Yet I am full of hope.

Music takes me far away

While I enjoy finding my way.

Syed Sumbul

LENS

Picture credits: effectiveretailleader.com

When you ‘see’

What do you see?

What’s right there

or what you plot in your head?

When you use your lenses

Are they old and dusty

or new and clean?

Use them well.

They will make you.

Syed Sumbul

Decoding Myself- Impermanence v/s Inevitability

Picture credits: Deviant Art

We fear death. We fear we won’t be there anymore in the future. We fear we will have no knowledge of our own experiences & memories and how the world’s gonna keep going on without us.

We crave for life. We crave for more breaths so that we can enjoy what life has to offer. It doesn’t make sense, does it? Wanting more of life and no death even though we know life is temporary and death inevitable?


Why? I don’t understand why we do this.

How’s life any better?

It’s full of challenges, atrocities, betrayals and disappointments. We have ‘one life‘ but we can never afford to live it on our own terms. There’s people we have to think of.

Friends. Family. Colleagues. Teachers. And many more.

We have to think of them before making a decision about anything and everything. We may say we don’t get influenced by anyone, we may say we do what we want to do, we may say we are the captain of our own ships. But let’s be honest. It’s not true.

Yes, in life we make many decisions by listening to our own selves. Just our selves. But it doesn’t happen all the time. It is rude and inhumane to only think of ourselves all the time. Our choices are not as independent as we think they are. It’s pretty messed up, right? Then why do we crave for life?

At least death puts an end to all of this drama.

In life, we often fail. We get success as well, no doubt. But failure never misses any opportunity to give us some company for some time. We lose loved ones while we are alive. That’s like so unfair and life doesn’t seem to care. There’s politics. There’s violence and chaos. There’s jealousy, envy. All of this to live with in just one Life. One so-called life. How is life any better than death? Death is saddening.

Who says life isn’t it?


Maybe we are greedy when it comes to experiences. Probably that’s why we gather so much of courage to stand against what life has to offer.

Decoding Myself- Paradox

Picture credits: NPR

You see, I love this word. It sounds so sophisticated to me. But that’s not the whole story. Paradox is our lives’ reality. It’s who we are. It is a part; a big part of our lives.

We are paradoxical beings.

We wouldn’t want to be anything else, I believe.

Some days we laugh when we are actually very sad– deep within. We laugh very loudly and energetically so that no one hears what the actual sound is deep inside. Some days we are sad from the outside but still there is some contentment and joy deep down. People coming in to make us feel better when in reality we don’t want them to do anything because we are simply at ease and peace.

Many times we say things we don’t mean and don’t say the things we actually mean. We comfort people we don’t like much just because it is noble and conforms to the societal norms. There are times when we are trying hard to impress the very people who are completely different from us just because we don’t want to live with the company of our own thoughts.

Truly we are paradoxical beings. We love being one. We believe life cannot be sustained without it. We believe its one skill we must master at or else we won’t fit in the paradoxical society filled with paradoxical beings.

This is our rigidity.

This is a mistake we are committing every single day.

Who says we must do the opposite of what we love or truly believe in? Who says we must get along with everyone even at the cost of impressing them when we don’t to? Who says we must hide what we are feeling inside of us? Who says we must smile when we are sad and cry when we are deeply blissful? Let the world be a slave. You don’t have to be. Life is too short to be someone you are not. It is way too short to be living like a paradoxical being.

Decoding Myself- Who Am I?

Picture credits: perfectchaos.org


Yesterday, I was taking a stroll in a nearby park. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t angry. I was simply walking believing it would make me feel good. All of a sudden I stopped. I couldn’t walk. I was completely frozen. Was something wrong in my brain? Was I getting a cardiac arrest? Maybe it was a panic attack. But it couldn’t be because I wasn’t having any palpitations, I wasn’t sweating, I wasn’t feeling any sort of breathlessness.

Hmm.

Most probably the culprit was an existential question that often comes to my mind. And the other day, it had a lot of gravity. “Who Am I?” was my culprit.

Am I a human?

Am I someone who is kind, considerate and compassionate?

Or am I merely my thoughts?

I think I am a good human but how do I decide what’s good and what’s bad? What are the parameters? Moreover, who gets to finalise these parameters? Why should those parameters be taken for a word?

I think I am an Indian belonging to a particular religion who is educated and very hard working. I think I am someone who loves watching movies and reading books.

Wait a minute.

What’s Indian by the way? Who told me that I am an Indian like it’s the truth? Why am I not an American or a British? Who invented concepts like Indian, American and British? And what’s with religion? Was Indian not enough as a category to divide me? And why do I have to follow certain rituals to become member of a particular religion? Why is everything so divisive in this world?

Into countries? Into regions? Into languages? Into cultures? Into colours? Into genders?

Most importantly, what’s up with my name? Why my name is Sumbul and not Basket? And why is basket a basket and not an apple? And why is Apple called an apple and not a mango?

Why?

Who am I in the midst of all this? What’s me? Who is me? Why do I know that there could be a multiverse but have so little knowledge of me? Why can I not figure out the me?

Am I just a body?

Am I my brain?

Am I the universe?

Because when I die everything will be an end for me. There would be no universe, no earth, no planets. I wouldn’t be bothered about countries as I’d be dead.

Everything will be an atrophy.


I still can’t figure out the ‘Who Am I?’.

Decoding myself- ANGER

Picture credits: An Evil Nymph’s Blog on wordpress

Why are you angry?

Did someone say something to you?

Did someone hit you?

Did someone lie to you or hurt you emotionally?

These are all possibilities!!

Obvious and reasonable possibilities for you to be ANGRY…

I don’t intend to deny them. I don’t intend to steal you from your pain that’s been caused to you by these ‘external factors’.

But my question is, “WHY ARE YOU ANGRY? Why YOU and not THEY?”

If you were hurt because of someone else’s actions why is it that only you are angry and not the other person when you both were in the same situation at the same time? (assuming that the other person is actually isn’t angry)

It’s simple. You CHOSE. You chose to be angry. You chose to punish yourself for someone else’s faults or actions. You chose to be angry because you had all these EXPECTATIONS from the other person. Your CHOICE coupled EXPECTATIONS is what’s making you angry and causing you misery.

Anger cannot be simply alleviated with good and positive thoughts. There is a whole lot of complexity. Your neurons are doing their part; their sole job is changing your brain’s chemistry and that is giving rise to this emotion called anger. Neuroscience cannot be ignored here. Also, there is a whole lot of explanation from the evolutionary point of view as well. But my questions are more focused into freewill. My point is that you are angry and you must do something about it. Your anger is a reaction. Sometimes it is okay to be angry because you cannot always put a hold on your reactions. It’s just not humanly possible. But being angry; constantly angry is pain. It’s a grave pain for your mental well-being. And that’s why you must learn how to take control over your reactions.

It takes time. If I say you stop your expectations from other people or you simply have to acknowledge that you always have a choice. I am afraid it is too much to ask. These ideas are easier said than done.

So how should you start? Where should you start?

Whenever you are about to angry simply tell yourself that ‘right now I am angry.’ Acknowledge your anger. Then don’t listen to your thoughts. Let them float. Let them circle around in your head. Give them time. Some time. Even more if its needed. Take a deep breath. Tell yourself that you are going to react after 1 minute. Let that minute pass. If you are still angry give your reaction time one more minute. You will cool down eventually . It shall pass. Now by doing this you are choosing not to get angry. You are choosing to let go off the expectations.

DETACH.

Detachment from the moment becomes the key.