So I was sitting on a bench. Weather was a bit gloomy. It was cold. Not too cold to shiver or anything. Surrounding was clean- actually very clean. I was breathing fresh air. Everything around me felt fresh and pure. Buildings were distant but I was simply appreciating their beauty. Then I turned my attention to ‘people’ walking around. Or should I say ‘different stories’ walking around.
Observation can be quite interesting. My simple observation made me think I wasn’t only looking at people rather I was looking at “unique stories”. Every person who was walking by me or was walking a little faraway from me is a story. Different backgrounds, different languages, different opinions, different educational degrees, different experiences facilitated the birth of different stories. You don’t know what is going on in their minds. You don’t know what they are thinking in that exact moment. For you they are simply people. But when you think about it they are all stories. Stories we are completely unaware of yet leave no opportunity in passing judgements.
Everyone is trying to make a dent in this huge complex world. Everyone wants to feel like they belong in this world which makes sense because no one should have to feel otherwise. Be kind to each other. Be humble. Be simply a good human being. You just might help re-write someone’s story for good.
Relationship is one of the pillars of our lives without which we cannot sustain. Sabotaging our good relationships for lesser important things is not a wise move. We know this truth but often times we forget our own learned lessons and do the exact thing we try hard to refrain ourselves from doing. Then comes the toxic relationships. In such relationships we are more of a slave to another person and loses our individuality in trying to conform to their ideas and beliefs. Sometimes we become so accustomed to such relationships that we forget there can be a liberation from such people.
In this modern age we seem to have forgotten the importance of spending quality time with quality people. We are sacrificing them for another promotion, another job and another business project. We are depriving them of our full attention for another post on social media. And finally we are valuing our material possessions over them. Isn’t this all messed up? Yes. It is all messed up. But we can always fix things in our lives. We just need an intention and awareness. We can definitely start with these 4 don’ts if we want to start valuing people in our lives.
1. The First Don’t/: Don’t text if you can call or meet in person.
Texting is the new normal. Is it New Year? Let’s text. Is it Christmas? Let’s text. Has someone got a promotion? Let’s congratulate through a text. Someone going through some hard time we are aware of? Let’s ask them how they are through a text message. Or even better- lets WhatsApp because it’s the perfect way to communicate. Personally I don’t like receiving text messages especially on occasions or when I am not feeling very good and people choosing texting to know about my well-being. I also do not like sending someone a text message on special occasions or when we haven’t been in touch for some time. I prefer calling at least.If possible meeting them. It is understandable when someone is far away from us and distance is a big issue because of which we can’t meet in person. It is also understandable that calling or meeting people is not possible all the time. In such cases texting is fine. Even during times like these when we have to abide by physical distancing. Unfortunately we have adopted texting so religiously that we don’t realise if that’s even the right thing to do. If you want to nurture your relationships you have to put in the efforts and time. You don’t have to call your loved ones every single day. You don’t even have to meet them every weekend. But whenever you plan to call them or meet them make sure you do that. And don’t let text messages come in between.
2. The Second Don’t: Don’t let too much time come in between you and your loved ones.
There is this idea that prevails a lot and when I hear people talking about it I say to myself, “But, it’s ridiculous”. People think it is completely okay if they haven’t been in touch with their closed friends and family members for like 3 months or 6 months or even an year. They tell themselves that when there is love deep down their hearts then not being in touch is not an issue. Well, it is true. But only to an extent. We are living in a fast paced world and losing touch with people is very common. It happens with everyone. And letting ‘busyness’ come in between is just an excuse. While it is not possible and appropriate to call people everyday we should definitely make time. If you and your friend have very demanding jobs and family commitments schedule a call or meeting that works for both of you. However you do it just do not let too much time come in between. Sometimes it ruins a lot of relationships and we should know how to keep good people in our lives.
3. The Third Don’t: Don’t make everything about yourself.
I am sure you have met many people who make everything about themselves. When you message or call them or even meet them they will eventually divert the whole conversation towards themselves. I have met such people and I do not prefer this quality in them. It’s not that they are bad people it’s just that they are not mature enough to understand a good and healthy conversation happens when everyone participates equally. If only one person is talking and the other person is listening then it’s not a conversation. Often times it happens that our friend is going through some hardships and in such situations it is our responsibility to become better listeners than talkers. Maybe the moment demands us to just listen mindfully and let our friend talk. This is a completely different scenario and it is completely apt to let our friend makes things about himself/herself. But a lot of times things are not so vulnerable and delicate and if we are arrogant we are definitely going to gather all the attention towards ourselves. There is so much that the other person might have to say and he/she will fail to do so if we are not going to give them a chance. So the next time you are having a conversation either with your loved ones or people in general make sure you take a step back and tell yourself that not everything is about you.
4. The Fourth Don’t: Don’t take people for granted.
We should not take good people in our lives for granted. I know it is easier said than done. But it’s worth the idea. It’s quite easy these days to form new relationships because of all this constant connectivity we have with everyone. Thanks to technology! At the same time, it is very hard to maintain and nurture them. It’s like watering a plant regularly and making sure it gets enough sunlight. The moment we stop doing all the necessary things the plant is going to die. The same thing happens in human relationships. If both the parties are not going to put in the necessary time and efforts in their relationship and take the other person for granted then the relationship is going to die soon. If you expect your friends or family to call you every time and give forth an excuse that you have been busy then you are just fooling yourself. Why? Firstly, busy is a decision. People always have time for what’s important in their lives. The fact you don’t call them simply means it is not a priority for you right now. And secondly, you are taking them for granted and they know you are. You believe if you are not calling them then they will because they do it every time and you don’t bother picking up the phone. Stop taking people for granted. Nobody is here till eternity.
“Sometimes even to live, is an act of courage”- Seneca
When we are at some point of our lives where we are vulnerable, we start believing we have got life figured out. We start believing that we are now invincible and nobody can dare touch or harm us. We start believing there is nothing new left to learn. However, it is a fool’s errand to think like that. Life will never seize to inspire us. It will never seize to teach us. It is a lifelong teacher and we must stay a lifelong student. At every point of life we will have something new to learn.
That’s the rule!!
I have been on the journey of self development and self improvement for some time now. It was only after I went out of my comfort zone (my home) and saw the real world that I understood there was so much to life- challenges, improvements, knowledge, achievements, principles, etc. And it was only when I went out into the real world I learned some important life lessons- the lessons which can only be learnt better if experienced.
1. You have to be patient in your life. Things will come around if you’re patient.
We believe things often work out if we are in a hurry. It is true that we must be efficient and fast but sometimes we should not rush into anything. Patience is one of the keys to success and people who cannot afford to wait should not expect better results. There’s a beautiful quote that resembles exactly what I mean- “Greatness takes time. Just remember it takes 13 hours to build a Toyota but 6 months to build a Rolls Royce.” So do your work and be patient.
2. Trust the process. Whatever is happening (good/bad), just trust your life.
It is not easy to trust anything when nothing is happening in our favor. And it isn’t easy either to be optimistic about it. And that’s where people often fail- fail to accomplish what they are seeking. Trust is very important. Now, I don’t mean trust in any supernatural beliefs which are beyond scientific explanations. I also don’t mean merely trusting things to work out while you’re sitting comfortably doing nothing. That’s just you being lazy. What I mean is doing your best and not worrying too much about the future because in life we only have control over limited things. There is so much that we don’t control. Understanding this key difference eases our journey. Every event-good or bad is making you. Let it make you. Don’t interrupt the process.
3.Be kind and humble. But not with everybody.
One of the important factors responsible for success in people’s lives can be attributed to their kindness. Being kind is not some conventional mindset. It is very much a conventional wisdom that has many psychological benefits. Nowadays, people don’t believe in these moral values but no matter what the trend has become nothing can beat the power of kindness.Kindness is the essence of our existence and if we sustain it we can make huge impacts in the lives of other people. However, I believe not everybody deserves our kindness. Some philosophical minds are of the opine that we should be kind with everybody no matter what. For some cases it is true but for others it isn’t because it is not wise to make a fool of ourselves. People who can’t value our kindness should not be a part of our lives. This may sound very rude and cruel. But that is the best way to avoid any sort of emotional baggage.
4.Take your own decisions.
All decisions in life are not easy. They demand a lot of discomfort, cognitive bandwidth and what not. When it comes to critical decisions of life it is plausible to seek help of people we trust and who are more experienced than us. But there’s a fine line between taking our own decisions and seeking help for the same. We cannot always expect someone to save us- not all the time. Many things in life happen all of a sudden and in those moments we are alone. That’s when we must be bold enough to gather courage and make the call. It is because no one else knows what we really want in life better than us. Take help and guidance if you want but the final decision should always be yours.
(The biggest and most meaningful conversation just ended).
I am pretty sure this sounds familiar. Happens with me. Probably happens with you too.
We are living in the modern world of meaningless conversations and small talks. It is like everything is superficial. We might have some good intention behind asking our friends or loved ones how they are. It is necessary that we ask them. But in the midst of a noble intention sometimes we don’t realize that we are not very observant of what we are asking and what our closed ones are replying. Sometimes or I should say most of the time (in this modern world) we don’t see the pattern in our repeated questions and answers. That is why it is high time that we re-define the “How are you?” question.
“How are you” shouldn’t always be about work
How many times you ask someone how they are and you literally mean ‘how is your work’ or ‘how is your internship/job going’ or ‘how’s studies going at the university’ or ‘how many online courses have you done during the COVID-19 pandemic’? Again, sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I know it is going to sound cliche and you probably have heard it many times before- work is just a part of life, it is not the life. We don’t try to understand that may be someone out there doesn’t want us to ask how their professional life is going. Maybe they want us to ask them how they are doing besides their work. It’s like we have made up our lives totally about professional success. We constantly identify ourselves with the kind of work we do, our professional accomplishments, etc. as if life ends and begins with mere work. The next time you ask someone about their life make sure you don’t just make it about work. Be kind and humble enough to be a little bit observant. You might make their day better.
“How are you” is also about- how are you regulating your emotions and what can I do to help if they are unregulated at this point of time
Everyone struggles. While it may be true that some people have to struggle a lot more than others, still, the bottom line is: we all struggle. It is inevitable. With different kinds of challenges and obstacles come different emotions: anger, frustration, sadness, disgust, happiness, envy, jealously, pleasure, etc. Sadly, we are very ignorant when it comes to understanding people’s varied emotions. We don’t care enough to ask how they are regulating their emotions. And so, extending a hand for help never crosses our minds. It is possible that such ignorance is unintentional and we aren’t aware of such little things. Nevertheless, it is high time that we help our loved ones in regulating their emotions- even if they ask for our help or not.
If you’re okay with their “I am fine” replies, stop asking your “how are you” question
“How are you?” “I am fine.” Done. Trust me, nobody is fine. There is always something going on in everybody’s life. It’s just that some people hide it better than the others. Our problem is that we let it go if someone says he or she is fine. I think a little push is what we need so that we create a comfortable environment for our closed ones to be able to share things with us. I don’t think we should be very quick in jumping on to another question whenever someone says they are fine. It is like we are all doing a formality by asking our superfluous the “How are you?” question.
It is easy to ask “How are you?”. But it is very difficult to bear with the real story behind that question.