Past Or Present – What Is Your Choice?

Past or present?
While it is natural to think about the past, which holds our memories and mistakes and inspires us to learn from them to move ahead, living in the present is the most worthwhile experience.

Living in the present moment, far away from the broodings of past and the apprehensions of uncertain, unpredictable future is so prudent, practical and sensible. Yet we keep drifting back and forth, seeking solace in the past memories and living in the illusionary world of future.

Why do people dwell in the past?

  • Stressful events of the past cling to us, making us think what went wrong, who was at fault.
  • Guilt doesn’t dissolve till we have ruminated enough, fixed responsibility or found a solution.
  • Negative thoughts are more powerful and require extra energy to dispel them.
  • Some hurtful memories keep haunting us.
  • Some shocking discoveries about the family could be difficult to forget.
  • Emotional distress takes a longer time to heal.

If you too get mired in the regrets and hurts of the past, I must tell you that I have not come across a better description of living in the present:

“I lit the candles and said out loud, “what am I waiting on? Someone to sell them in a garage sale for a quarter after I die?” And it was beautiful. And the smell was even more incredible than I remembered.”–Paula Heller Garland

Whenever abrasive past stands before me, I talk it out of my mind. I write a poem on the shadows of past and bury this demon with more words.

I savor the present moment. This is the only asset in our hands. Live it happily. Give your best to this moment for you will cherish it tomorrow.

I have always lived in the present, accepted the misfortunes, made peace with the disappointments, delighted in its little blessings, found happiness in whatever the present moment has offered and sat in the shadows of sadness to let the dark moments of my past pass by.Make peace with your past

Living in the present

  • Keeps us focused
  • Frees us from anxiety
  • Encourages us to put in our best
  • Makes us emotionally strong
  • Improves our mental health
  • Gives happiness that lasts

What prevents us from living in the present?

We are constantly judging ourselves, we keep talking to ourselves, finding fault with our decisions and disturb our own serenity of mind.

Past connects us with our present, which could be distressing due to our own faults.

It also depends on the kind of personality we have. Some people are brooders. They are prone to negative thinking. Doubts dominate their thoughts and anxiety flows in their veins. This anxiety ruins the little moments we could savor!

Research has shown that focusing on the past reduces the power of positive emotions.

It is very natural to think about the future and onerous to forget the past completely. Present stems from the past and steers us into the future. These links cannot be snapped. Perfectly fine! Don’t snap those links.

Living in the present doesn’t mean de-linking from the past or stop planning for the future. It just means protecting our mind from negative thoughts, leading a more meaningful life, staying focused on our goals, hoping for the best and be happy.

 “If you are depressed, you are living in the past
  If you are anxious, you are living in the future
 If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
 –Lao Tzu  

Do you live in the present?  Do the ghosts of your past haunt you? Is the planning for future overwhelming?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.



What Is The Best Apology?

Real apology
There are two kinds of apologies – one that is real, that makes you feel guilty to introspect and change your behavior. Second is the one that is done just to please, to avoid an argument, shift the responsibility or save a relationship.

When I was growing up, I was many times told to apologize to assuage the feelings of somebody though I had done no harm. Even when I refused to do a chore that I didn’t feel like doing or felt it was below my dignity to polish the shoes of a sibling, I was given a violent reward and told to apologize!

Obviously I refused, as I didn’t believe in such an apology. In my view, a sincere apology is the one that emanates from one’s heart and is well deserved too.

Do you believe in apology? Some people don’t, as it is below their dignity to apologize.


  • People who maintain emotional distance never apologize.
  • Their ego and pride is bigger than all relationships.
  • They don’t want to take the blame.
  • They don’t want to abdicate power and control over others.
  • They believe in self-righteousness, not humility.
  • Anger and bitterness may overpower their goodness.
  • Self-esteem, which they nurture, is all-important.

On the other hand are people who apologize profusely and live that moment only to forget it the next day.

  • They are most insensitive.
  • They live within moments.
  • They never make an effort to change.
  • For them, apology is just a face saver.
  • Fear of consequences propel them to apologize.
  • They could be living in the shadow of their own insecurities.

Which ones do you like?

Is apology meaningless? Sometimes, if it is not received well.

Recently my argumentative muse mentioned that apology and forgiveness go hand in hand. In order to forgive, an apologetic and receptive heart is required. If forgiveness is not received well, it becomes meaningless.

I reminded her that we forgive for our own solace. The person I forgive may remain as vindictive as ever, may remain indifferent and hostile but all those negative vibes return to the heart they stem from. They can never touch me because the moment I forgive, I detach myself from such people.

Forgiving ourselves

Sometimes we have to forgive ourselves for the hurts we may have caused to others. We may justify our actions by telling ourselves that ‘we didn’t hurt intentionally’ but we can never comprehend the perspective of others who think otherwise.

I know forgiveness is not easy. I have painstakingly taught myself this art. I kept on reassuring myself for many years that I would never forgive certain people, as this thought gave me a grim satisfaction that I have vindicated myself.apology quote

I also know very well that basic human behavior has not changed for ages. What we have learnt is the art of wearing masks. We try not to offend, we choose our words carefully, we avoid the topic that may cause unpleasantness, and we become ambivalent whenever a direct question is asked but we never reveal what lies within our heart. We never share our most secret thoughts.

The best apology is to change your behavior:

Change may be hard but only through behavioral changes do we become a likeable person. Is it so hard to change one’s behavior?

  1. We could begin with kindness, the virtue, which is innate, which is like a candle that needs just a spark to get ignited. A kind word spoken with sincerity is always heard.
  2. We could stop making glum faces and smile more often to reassure the other person that our apology was honest.
  3. We could try to be emotionally present during our interactions and keep our digital devices away.
  4. A meaningful conversation melts away many fears and insecurities.
  5. We could respect each other with little gestures of sharing the chores we detest.
  6. It is better to forgive even those who refuse to acknowledge it. Their own moment of understanding the value of apology would hit them one day. Let their age yield them at the altar of forgiveness.

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

Why Are Some Human Beings So Vindictive?

Are you vindictive?

You must have heard the infamous refrain ‘an eye for an eye’ or the age-old dictum ‘Tit for Tat’…Revenge has always seemed sweet to most of the people since times immemorial.

Psychologists and researchers believe that human behavior is determined by the genes and the kind of environment we live in. While the role of Nature and Nurture has always been accepted, even the best of upbringing and education couldn’t exterminate the innate vindictiveness of human beings.

It can be discerned in the innocent squabbling of toddlers; it gets sharpened when they grow up to face the competitive world of sports and schooling and slowly it becomes a part of their personality.

Probably the real reason is rooted in the evolution of human race, which had to struggle to survive against all odds and challenging circumstances. In modern times, when people are blessed with all kinds of materialistic and spiritual choices, revenge refuses to slacken its hold on human psyche.

Why? What could be the possible reasons?

Revenge is triggered not just by deceit, infidelity or injustice.

There are very insignificant reasons, which may not seem as trivial as you could presume.

Negative thoughts: Vengefulness could be a reaction to their own negative thoughts, which make people insecure and jealous. Family bickering and rivalries are the best example of such insecurities. When one member of a family becomes successful or is seen to be happy, others step in with their malicious thoughts of creating rifts to grind their own axe and exploit emotions.

Ruining relationships: Jealous people want all the attention, they want to prove they are the most loving and caring and if they find a challenger, they make a surreptitious attempt to alienate your siblings or other relatives by backbiting; by creating such situations which could prove you to be a villain.

It gives momentary pleasure: Revenge seeker has his own reasons, his frustrations and failures for which he holds others around him responsible. Seeing them suffer could give him pleasure. It might even boost his bruised ego. His helplessness in reacting directly could be camouflaged in the façade of goodness. Revenge hurts you also

It assuages anger: Anger, the most illogical and unbridled emotion gets mitigated by revenge. Hurting others and meting out the most unreasonable treatment through their jibes, punitive actions or passive aggression gratifies such avengers.

It proves one’s power: Vindictive people consider themselves to be more powerful. Sometimes they are influential due to the positions they hold. They could be your bosses or colleagues. A disappointed colleague who was eyeing the promotion you got or the boss who has been given a negative feedback may rob you of your peace of mind. Those who want to let you down would derive sadistic pleasure out of such situations.

Insecurities: “Living well is the best revenge,” said George Herbert but vindictive people don’t let you live well! Your living well exposes their own imperfections to them, making them insecure in their heart of hearts.

Have you heard of nemesis? It is the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall. An agent of natural justice… some people call it “Karma” and believe that whatever goes, comes around and you have to pay for your evil deeds.

Nemesis catches vindictive people sooner or later!

Vengefulness is a negative streak, which can only be addressed by our own inner voice. Like all negative emotions, it does hold some goodness. It acquaints us with our real self. it might lead us to introspection!

Negative emotions are very subtle and deceptive. They absorb more energy but they often walk away victorious, testing our patience and strength, ennobling us, belittling our ego, thereby transforming us into humble human beings.

You can read more about negative emotions and how they help us.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.



How Relevant Are Short Stories In Our Lives?

How relevant are short stories

Short stories are as dear as lullabies if they are introduced at the right time. While babies derive delight in looking at the illustrations and hearing the familiar voice of their parents, children love to cuddle up with a good story book.

My earliest memories of short stories are connected with my grandma, who could tell me weirest tales without a book but only at bed time. Her favorite refrain that ‘if we tell stories during the day, travelers forget their way’ was taken seriously by us. Though I chuckle at her belief now but it brings fond memories of her face whenever I think of stories.

My love for stories grew as I chose to study and later teach literature and had an easy access to all those renowned names known for writing brilliant pieces. Some of them got entrenched in my memory as they encouraged me to imbibe the values that they glowed with.

This love was recently revived by ‘What’s In A Nameby Sally Cronin, an engaging collection of twenty short stories, each story inspired from real life and emotions that every individual has to live through. Another captivating anthology ‘Twelve Tales Of Christmas’ by Cathleen Townsend infuses a spirit of togetherness and warmth through its stories of human interest. Now I am reading ‘The Story Teller Speaks’ by Annika Perry and I am amazed at her enchanting style of holding the readers.

My blogger friend Nihar whose ever-inspiring creative stories make a delightful reading, recently requested me to share the short stories that have left a mark on my personality and I got this idea of sharing these timeless classic tales.

The first one that comes to my mind is the ‘Gift of Magi’ by O.Henry. When I had read this story, I was too young  to absorb the emotion behind buying a gift, too young to understand why gifts are so important, as I had rarely received them but I learnt how important they can be and why people make sacrifices. I often wonder – could there be a better example of true love?

This value of sacrifice is further highlighted in ‘The Last Leaf by O. Henry. Old Behrman, an unsuccessful, dejected artist who was always talking about his masterpiece,  had nothing to sacrifice but he wanted to save the life of young Johnsie who had lost the desire to live. The last leaf that never fell and saved her life was actually Behrman’s masterpiece that he had painted on a snowy and windy night! How benevolence and inspiration can uplift human spirit touches my heart whenever I read this story.

‘The Model Millionaire’ by Oscar Wilde is remembered not only for the excellent prose and succinct style of Wilde’s writing but also for inserting subtle messages for humanity like… “Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed.” Generosity could be an inborn trait and a kind act never goes unnoticed. If Hughie could donate his last sovereign to the ‘poor beggar,’ the beggar didn’t disappoint him!

Saki, whose real name was H.H.Munro has written several masterpieces but ‘The Background’ appeals to me the most, as it is a satire on the hypocrisy and love of art, which is considered to be more valuable than a human being who is treated like a rare piece of art as he carried the masterpiece of a tatoo artist on his back! The story jolts you out of your slumber and makes an effort to underline what is more important – a person’s dignity and freedom or just a piece of art?

Short Stories

God Sees the Truth but Waits by Leo Tolstoy made a deep impact on me and I have discussed it time and again to fathom why does God wait so long, why does an innocent suffer for the crime of another person, how could forgiveness be as noble as it has been made out to be? Spiritual interpretations of this story have failed to convince me why was an innocent man used as a tool for the purgation of the soul of a hardened criminal? Isn’t God all-powerful?

The Bet by Anton Chekhov delves deeper into human psychology, bringing out the frailties of human beings on one hand and nobility that one can acquire if one wishes to. The argument over what kind of punishment is better – life imprisonment or death penalty culminates in proving that life imprisonment could be more humane as it offers an opportunity to the criminal to change. The lawyer who chose to accept solitary confinement, just for the bet, slowly rose above ordinary human beings and understood how immaterial is the lust for money and luxury.

A Man Who Had No Eyes by MacKinlay Kantor has stayed in my memory for the outstanding style of narration, style and a sudden unexpected twist that leaves the reader spellbound. It is not just a short story… it is a comment on life, how we approach it positively and move on. A must read to change your outlook on life.

Sparrows by K.A. Abbas brilliantly highlights some harsh realities of life, which had hardened a man. But a streak of kindness, so natural to human instincts, didn’t die and it could be ignited by loving birds, without even a word. A man, presumed to be devoid of emotions, shunned by villagers and even his own family is transformed into a loving and kind human being by the love of sparrows for their own young ones.

God Is Near by James Herriot convinced me that love could be found in furry friends too. If we love His creation, we can feel the presence of God around us even without visiting any religious places. Dr. Herriot’s unspoken commitment to the dogs and cats of Miss Stubbs was no less than her housekeeper.

Short stories lay bare various facets of life. They are more effectual in conveying the values without sermonizing about them. Each emotion can be felt through short stories if they are told in their true spirit.

Have you read any of these stories? Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.




How To Knock Off Indecision And Procrastination

Are you indecisive?

Procrastination is not just the practice of putting off important tasks; it speaks volumes about the inability to take decisions that we believe to be right. It also exhibits our lack of confidence and faith in unknown fears. Unless we tackle those fears, we remain in the grip of others.

Moments of indecision slip from our hands like sand; we unconsciously transfer the power that lies within our reach; we let the seconds tick through our minds, pondering over the questions…such nightmarish moments turn into regrets that stick forever.

If we have no choice, we fret and fume, we detest all those who block our freedom but when choices lie before us, we dither, we think and we look at others to take a decision. Jim Rohn has rightly pointed out that “Indecision is the thief of opportunity.”

Why are people indecisive?

  • They don’t want to displease anyone
  • They are scared of making a wrong choice
  • Insecurities shackle their thoughts
  • They lack confidence of facing risks
  • They could be perfectionists
  • They detest change

Determination and confidence are the two essential traits of a decisive mind.

Know your mind: It is the quality of a strong and well-developed personality. We all pass through the phase of indecisiveness. When we are immature to trust our decisions, we give in to the wishes or commands of others. When we start understanding our needs and desires, we ought to acquire the confidence to take our decisions.

Build Confidence: Most teenagers try to wrest the control of their lives from the hands of their parents and want to take their own decisions. Those who live from their heart are quick in learning the art of decisiveness even if it may prove disastrous but they don’t dwell in those parallel lines, which take them nowhere. Decisiveness is the most significant personality trait that leads you to success.

Dismiss fears and sneers: Boulders of fear block our path but we have to take a detour to avoid them. When I decided to quit a secure job at the age of 24 and start a family, my colleagues looked at me in bewilderment, some even scoffed at my immaturity but I didn’t look back. I have never even had a regret though I could never reach that position, which I had secured at that young age.Be decisive!

Support: If you don’t have the nod of your family or partner, you may vacillate and wonder whether it is the right time to take a decision. Time is never right if we think too much. ‘Now or never’ is a good guiding force to knock off the monster of indecision.

Trust Yourself: Procrastination slowly gets entrenched in our personality and becomes a habit. It corrodes our confidence, smothers our thoughts and restricts our actions. We become mere puppets in the hands of people around us. Sometimes unilateral decisions lead us out of the conundrums of life.

Are you a puppet? Do you take your own decisions or procrastinate?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.