Do You Strive For Perfection?

Chasing perfection?

Do you strive to be perfect? A flawless skin, a curvy model-like body, a project that could win you accolades, a loving and understanding spouse, a perfect home with smiling children. Do you think it is possible? If you do, you are following a mirage, as nothing is perfect in this world.

Why perfection? Who creates this myth? How do we start believing in perfection? Probably people around us impel us, expectations of our parents and challenges of our peer group sow the seeds of this illusionary idea of chasing perfection. We want to excel, accomplish all our aspirations and self-belief propels us towards putting in our best efforts and time.

You may reach the zenith but life is much more than just being successful, as no success is eternal and no life is perfect. Relationships go awry, marriages hit unknown boulders, unforeseen circumstances throw you overboard, and stress tells upon your health.

That perfect score of your child might be hiding a deep grudge against you for pushing him into academics. That zero size model might be starving herself into depression. That perfect moment of love loses its significance with time. That nagging habit could be alienating your spouse.

The wizard of perfection rests on ski slopes, smiling at us only till the snow melts.

I too, was fascinated by the perfect home settings shown in movies, magazines and advertisements and even tried hard to keep my home in perfect shape, yelling at my children to keep their toys and books where they belong. Any book left here and there carelessly was confiscated, and returned with the promise that they would be more careful in future…till they flew away to accomplish their own dreams and nobody spread things around!

My endeavors of creating a perfectly organized home robbed me of many moments of joy with my children. I am more tolerant with my grandchildren, never coaxing them to pick up the things they love to scatter around their house. Sometimes they clean up but most of the time they just walk off to their next activity and that is perfectly okay with me, now.

Do not seek perfection, as:

  • It encourages unrealistic demands
  • It fosters frustration
  • It creates stress and unnecessary arguments
  • It wastes energy
  • It derails dreams

Please don’t confuse perfection with excellence. You may try to excel, which leads us to better avenues and inventions. It also fills our heart with contentment but putting in your best efforts should be in coherence with self-love and personality building. When we try to accomplish something at the cost of relationships and health, when we ignore the core values of life in our pursuit of excellence, it could eventually prove detrimental for us. “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection,” said George Orwell.

Haven’t you heard that legend about Draupadi, (of The Mahabharata fame) who wanted a perfect husband and asked Lord Shiva to bless her with one? She was told that all the five qualities she wished for in her husband couldn’t be found in a single man. Her wish was granted but she was destined to marry five brothers.

Quest for perfection culminates at weird destinations! What do you think?

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Balroop Singh.

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How to Disengage from Gossip

Sunset Sky with dark orange hues

Gossip ushers in a lot of fun into conversations. All that frivolous talk about who wore what and why it didn’t suit him/her, the way she carries herself and what an odd couple they make, the way she laughs and how much he drinks…people have written novels, which center around gossip!

Light-hearted gossip may be harmless to some extent but it could be hurtful too. It has alienated many friends and created grave misunderstandings within families.

Why do people gossip:

  • They could be jealous of your talent
  • They want your attention
  • They want to ruin your relationships
  • They want to damage your reputation
  • They want to grab your position
  • They could be playing into the hands of others
  • Their own insecurities speak through gossip

It is very easy to say: “stop gossiping” but quite difficult to do so, as the pressure of peer group is so compelling that you don’t want to displease them, you don’t want to look “philosophical,” and later become their victim. You can’t distance yourself from gossipmongers, as this is an age-old practice. Even bosses like to listen to such persons.

So how to tackle them?

Just smile: It is better to refrain from adding any ammunition to the topic and just smile to convey an indirect message that you don’t want to be the part of a gossip group. A smile is worth a million words in some situations. Don’t even nod to unpleasant talk and don’t carry it forward.

Give a benefit of doubt: I have learnt this from Mr. serene, my dearest husband who chooses better words even for the person who has wronged him or taken him for a ride. He believes in the dictum: “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” The compulsions of a gossipmonger could be greater than his goodness.

Believe in yourself: Don’t get influenced by negative talk when you can’t avoid it. Tell yourself that there are various kinds of people and we have to tolerate them if they happen to be colleagues. I have never changed my seat just because of a toxic gossipmonger around me. My positive vibes often reach them.

Don’t get upset: Now this could be quite challenging if the gossip is about you. There are two ways of handling this situation. One is better to ignore. Two – confront the person calmly. He may deny, she may throw the blame at you but they would get the message that you know their mentality. You wont even have to clarify your position, as people would get another topic of gossip – your boldness! People have gossiped about my boldness too.

Be transparent: Honesty and truthfulness may have lost its significance in today’s world but those who uphold these values are revered. Hypocrisy can be discerned even from a distance. It is better to be transparent in your interactions especially at your workplace. If you are a boss, clarity of thought and action should be discussed candidly. Saying something but meaning the opposite could make you a butt of ridicule.

I am sure we have tried all these ways of disengaging from gossip but it continues to flourish. Reason – most of the people take pleasure in listening to juicy stories and adding their own reflections. Some people use gossip to gain popularity. Some pour it in their stories. I have read more than one book in which author has filled many pages just with chatter, without focusing on the story.

I came across gossip in school, which is a common place for friends who try to snatch each other through backbiting. It did hurt but my introvert nature didn’t help at that time. Slowly I learnt to disengage from gossipmongers and allowed myself to be a better person.

What is your favorite gossip? Do you engage in gossip? What memories do you have about gossip?

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

Balroop Singh.

Expectations and Attachments Define Life

 

expectations

Recently I came across this statement, “The best way to get what you want is not want it.” The cynicism embedded in the above statement kept me awake for many hours. I had to pen down my thoughts to calm them. How can you call self-denial the “best way”? How can you quell your desires?

Expectation is a natural human instinct – a child expects attention, love and care. If he doesn’t get the basic care, his expectations don’t end there. He seeks them elsewhere.

Those children who grow up in misery and penury don’t get immune to expectations. Their eyes are always at the sky, anticipating all that they yearn for!

Our expectations flow like a stream that keeps widening as it touches the plains. The seeds of expectation are nurtured at a very early stage of life by our parents, teachers and friends.

This so called positive assertion of “giving up what you want” may have some spiritual connotation attached to it but tell that to a child or an adolescent and you would get the real looks! They may call you cynical; scoff at your advice and consider you too old to even interact with. Buddhist philosophy appeals only to the elderly.

Wants and desires are innate. They make us human. They are those streamers that inspire us to hang out despite the windy weather. They push us toward our goals, ignite a fire of excellence and lure us toward accomplishing more. Some of them lie dormant, waiting for the right opportunity.

Life would become meaningless and hollow without desires. True, they keep on multiplying; they may even disappoint us but without them all fun flies out of our lives. Expectations and attachments define life for us.attachments

Why attachments are essential: Initial attachments introduce us to people, they underline love for us and acquaint us with the basic values of bonding, care and respect. As children grow out of those attachments, ready to face the world, they feel connected with friends; they learn the value of love and nurture relationships to live a meaningful life.

What would life be without any attachments? All human emotions germinate from attachments, which may bind us emotionally but they keep us grounded to ennoble us. Only when we feel attached do we learn compassion. Solitude seems good only after having experienced all that human beings can offer to each other. Detachment is a mere word that has failed miserably despite its valuable aspects. When we try to detach, we have to snub what our heart says. Who would like to do that?

Needs have a profound connection with attachments. Why do you need a smart phone? Our grandparents could do without it yet somebody thought of better connections. Needs, however absurd they may seem, lead us to progress, to a better society and fulfilling life.

Desires keep us motivated; they encourage us to strive, to keep going despite all the odds. They shape us into better human beings. They add fresh dimensions to mundane aspects of life.

Giving up expectations and attachments is like giving up your hold on life. I am sure all of you would agree. Please share your reflections.

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Balroop Singh.

How Self-love Degenerates into Arrogance

Self-love

There was a time when self-love was considered to be a “moral flaw.” A traditional view of self-love was equated with “doom,” a path to “failure,” “selfishness and ego.” In the words of Voltaire, “It is not love that should be depicted as blind but self- love.”

Promotion of self-love is a recent development, mooted by social philosophers, psychologists and counsellors who advocate a positive aspect of self–love, associating it with self-care, self-esteem and mental health.

However, self-love seems to be an innate trait. We know it in the cradle and the mirror accentuates it. Have you noticed how happy babies are when they look at their own image? They smile at themselves, wave at their image and feel so elated! This love keeps growing  and is nurtured by parents.

Self-love emanates from modern homes, from overstatements of individualistic and proud parents and attitudes of society.  Most of the parents tell their children: “You are the best! You can do anything.” As children have highly impressionable minds, they start believing what they are told. They grow up with this illusion; they start thinking highly of themselves and refuse to admit they can ever fail or they don’t have the ability to accomplish what is expected from them.

In our enthusiasm to raise perfect individuals, we overlook the fact that each child is different. Self-love needs to be balanced with human values of compassion, respect, responsibility and harmony. Many parents keep denying that their child is a bully or behaves arrogantly till his self-love morphs into ego.

Some children who are raised by narcissistic or indifferent parents, may grow up with low self-esteem but they pretend to be ‘super’, to suppress their real sentiments. I have seen a lot of children who wear a badge of exalted self, just to show off! If you try to point that out, they feel hurt. It is most difficult to handle their self-esteem when they are passing through adolescence.

I am sure you have met such people who say: I dislike him…I want to be happy. I am so successful! I want you to work as I say. Follow my instructions. My peace, my pleasure, my contentment… The key words here are ‘I’ and ‘My’.

They underline so much of self- love that YOU and WE are completely lost. When we get immersed in self- love, we fail to see the world as it is. Our focus remains on our own feelings, our own achievements and gloating about them. It is natural that such people get disliked as they are considered to be arrogant, with an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

Relationships suffer the most due to self-love, if it exceeds its genuine limits, as your needs and desires become more important than the aspirations and expectations of your family members. When care and respect for one’s own self becomes excessive, when people attempt to exalt themselves or consider themselves superior than their siblings, friends, or colleagues, such a love becomes a curse for their personality.Self-love quote

There is no harm in looking inwards, to discover your true self, to recognize what you want to be, to look after your needs and even luxuries but looking down upon others, using them for your own benefits, disregarding their sentiments, hurting or bullying them to prove that you are better than them, smacks of arrogance.

Self-love is not just respecting yourself, it is also understanding the thin line that separates self-belief and self-esteem. Self-love is often equated with self-esteem but when it makes you blind to your own faults and gives you an inflated ego, it is time to introspect.

Is your self-love positive?

  • Do you think you are the best?
  • Do you consider yourself ‘always right’?
  • Do you try to belittle others?
  • Do you always shift the blame?
  • Do you get provoked by difficult questions?

If all your answers to above questions are positive, then your self-love could be detrimental for you.

How much you love yourself? What are the parameters that you follow to exhibit your love and authority? You can share your valuable views here.

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You can read more about personality building here.

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

Balroop Singh.

Why Some People Don’t Smile?

Smile with flowers
Nature smiles through flowers

Walking by my favorite creek, which is surrounded by thick green cover, sending vibes of peace, interrupted just by the soft sound of flowing water, I look at a squirrel that pauses by to smile at me and my thoughts jump faster than my furry friend, wondering…why are human smiles waning?

A smile sends vibes of positivity; it may not know any language but it lightens up the atmosphere; connects us and eliminates doubts that may surround us. It is said to “fit the lock of everybody’s heart.”

The natural smiles of a child convey that smiling has been in our DNA since time immemorial. Where do they go when we grow up?

Smiling is juvenile:

People who don’t smile connect a stern face with machoism. They keep emotions under wraps to accentuate their power and strength. Lack of smile shows their attitude, their emotional balance, style and social status. Incorporating sensitivity in the upbringing of boys is a recent development, which reveals the importance of emotions. But an expressionless face only reflects arrogance and a clamor for supremacy.

Smiling invites trouble:

If you have been raised in a conservative society, you know smiling at strangers could create problems for women. It could send a wrong signal to a guy who interprets your smile in his own way. He could follow you till your home, try to talk to you, make lewd gestures or may dream of dating you. The first advice that is given to girls in such societies: ‘Don’t smile.’ Later it becomes a habit.

Smiling can be misconstrued:

Workplaces are also hubs of hollow rumors. Your ingenuous smile at a colleague or boss could be misinterpreted by co-workers who quickly arrive at conclusions that you are seeking a favor or you are eager to please them. Wearing a smile like an attractive attire could prove to be detrimental for some while it may give a boost to the career of those who don’t care for gossip.

Smiling makes them vulnerable:

People who don’t want to communicate, who consider themselves to be superior but are actually weak and insecure, choose to wear a strong exterior in order to hide their true self. They wear a mask of toughness. They have probably faced too many snubs to appreciate the value of a smiling face. For them, smiling is superfluous and relationships immaterial.

Some people forget to smile due to storms of life that had knocked them down. The cauldron of circumstances mold them into hard nuts, fears convert them into indifferent individuals who find it hard to discern light within. Grief pushes them into an abyss of darkness, which seems natural to them. They have to make a special effort to smile and that too when they are told to.

Some people don’t smile because their profession doesn’t let them. How can you expect police officers and lawyers to smile warmly? Models are told to keep a straight face so that onlookers appreciate the ensemble they display rather than their looks.

A real smile stretches beyond the face; it touches your heart, diffusing warmth and friendship whereas a fake smile exposes itself effortlessly. I am sure nobody likes a fake smile yet some people carry them with confidence.

“A smile puts you on the right track. A smile makes the world a beautiful place. When you lose your smile, you lose your way in the chaos of life.” – Roy T. Bennett.

Do you smile to add beauty to your surroundings?
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.