Outside and Inside #writephoto

#writephoto poetry

The wondrous window…
Her world, her only real realm
That connected her with clouds
Outside and inside.

The edges of the windowsill
Smoother than paths she trod
Reassured her that she was safe
In the arms of her benefactor

All fears receded within her
She licked her wounds and soothed herself
As she looked out…calmness prevailed
Outside and inside.

Starry nights churned the storm
Shook her out of her slumber
Wobbling towards the window
She looked out at the streaks of light

Which shrieked…‘coward!
How could you concede defeat?
How could you enter your own grave?
Cringe inside and outside’

The glow of each dawn descends
Deeper into her deliberations
She looks outside
To confine conflagration inside.
© Balroop Singh
All rights reserved.

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the inspiration.

You can click on Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh to read more poems.

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What I Learnt From My Critics

Critics are friends

“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” – Norman Vincent Peale

All people like to be praised as it boosts their self-esteem, keeps them motivated and happy but it also pushes them into the abyss of sham, which is propelled by hypocrisy and sycophancy.

We like to think that we are the best; we are the most successful; we are more intelligent and smart.

Anyone who criticizes us earns our instant dislike and we try to keep that person at arms length. If we happen to be at a higher position we try to take a punitive action against our critics.

Criticism is a subtle message that we need to embellish our personality and manner of working. Sometimes such messages are loud and hurting but they do ring a bell within us. They may seem to belittle us but they need to be heard.

I have learnt many lessons from my critics. When I was told ‘I am arrogant,’ I made every effort to analyze my personality. When I was told I was reticent, I tried to come out of my shell.

I learnt to smile from my critics. I learnt patience, compassion and humility from my critics.

When I was a teacher, I was given an extra charge of writing press notes of all school events. It was not an easy task and each time I handed over the report to my boss, it was criticized and thrown back at me.

Today when I look back, my heart is filled with gratitude towards her because she helped me enhance my writing skills, ignited the fire within me to put in my best and fostered the ability to become emotionally resilient.

Why is criticism essential?

  • It is an eye-opener
  • It steers us out of self-deceptionCritics
  • It points out our mistakes
  • It acquaints us with our imperfections
  • It develops our emotional quotient
  • It helps us in introspection
  • It makes us a better person

Keep the windows of your mind open:

Welcome all kinds of feedback, more so if it is negative. All people can say good things about your work, way of dressing up and demeanor. Only the truthful ones, the unsuccessful and the jealous ones would point out your mistakes. Listen to them and reflect upon what they have said. Growth and learning happens only when we are receptive to criticism.

Listen patiently:

When we listen carefully what others have to say about us, we get an opportunity to know others’ perspective. We tend to tune off even when our friends try to convey a negative aspect of our persona but each negative insight can contribute to our positive development only if we pay attention to it.

Look within:

Can you lie to yourself? Self-awakening hits us only when we find the time to drop into our heart. Our weaknesses reveal themselves one by one when we make an effort to understand the cause of criticism. Such experiences ennoble us. They prepare us for forgiveness. I forgive myself before I decide to forgive those who have hurt me with their insensitive words.

Embrace positivity:

The aunt who told me not to laugh loudly, the teacher who punished me for being rude, the friend who mimicked me for being a cry baby, the student who glared at me for giving unsolicited moral advice and the neighbor who criticized me for being unsocial, they all taught me profound lessons of life!

It is easier to praise but hard to criticize. Let’s bless our critics, as we owe gratitude to them for showing the mirror to our true face.

Critical thinking is a gift that nature has given us. Let’s use it judiciously and constructively.

I am sure you too have faced some critics. What did you learn from them?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections.

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Balroop Singh.

 

It Was Not Just An Emotional Decision!

Not just emotional

Why I chose United States of America after retirement?

When people ask me why did you relocate to U.S.A, I have a very ready and simple answer…‘Strange is pull of your loved ones.’ Love is a dramatic driving force, the most powerful potion that we drink willingly.

When they ask how do I feel, I think about my blessings…I am nearer to my children and can meet them whenever I want.

My grandchildren don’t have to travel thousands of miles to hug me and then wonder why they live so far away. They would be having nice memories of their grand parents when they grow up.

I don’t have to wait to meet them and that too after a year or two.

Was it just an emotional decision? NO!

Emotions did play a significant role but little things do matter and so I would like to talk about those.

I admire my new surroundings for various reasons.

Healthy and fresh food:

I don’t know much about economic, health or security issues, which are universally relevant but I do know that the food which we buy here is much healthy and fresh, with all the nutrition labels, giving you the information what all you are going to consume. If I buy organic food, I don’t have to think whether it is actually organic. All kinds of cooked and ready to eat food are easily available for every pocket and palate.

DSC02277Landscaping and green cover:

When I look around how each and every empty space is aesthetically planned, kept clean and green, I get a reassurance that I have taken a good decision. Nature has always inspired and soothed me. Landscaping here doesn’t just look pleasing to the eyes; it also enhances our positivity, psychological and emotional well-being. I couldn’t have got better surroundings anywhere else. I just have to look out of the window to change my mood.

Discipline and courtesy:

People greet you with a smile, good morning or a hello when they pass by, instilling a feeling of goodness. Nobody stares or ogles at you! Nobody pushes you, the queues are most organized and people stand at a distance from each other. Nobody bumps into you and apologies are instant even if somebody happens to be in your way.

Road safety:

I-80_Eastshore_Fwy
No aggressive driving

Driving is stress free and most organized. People follow the rules and wait for their turn. Nobody drives aggressively, nobody gets into your way and lane driving is the norm, which is never flouted. You don’t have any fears that somebody might overtake or almost bump into your car from the side lane and scare you out of your wits.

Respect for pedestrians:

All vehicles stop for the pedestrian even when there is no intersection or zebra crossing. No driver expects you to stop and let him pass as the first right is given to the pedestrian. On busy streets, special road crossing devices have been installed to let the pedestrians take their turn to cross the road.

Respect for each other’s opinion:

People don’t shout you down and impose their own opinion on you. What you eat, wear and how you live is not anybody’s concern. Nobody intrudes into your privacy to comment on your body weight or sexual orientation. Peace and respect is a way of life here.

Peace:

Nobody honks. Even when you don’t happen to see within a second that the light has turned green. Nobody parks illegally. Handicapped parking is earmarked clearly in all parking areas and nobody flouts that rule. The dogs are well trained not to bark unnecessarily. No DJ’s, no loud music disturbs you at any time of the day or night.

Zero tolerance to littering:

You wont see even a little piece of paper anywhere in the parks, on the roads or anywhere near your home. In some areas where people don’t seem to bother, you could find a warning: $1000 fine for littering. Everyone respects the laws here or has to pay the penalty.

I have made some wonderful new friends. What more can you ask for? There must be more countries with such splendid amenities but this one suits me.

photo 2
Sky line from my window

Thank you for reading this. Your views are welcome. Please share them.

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Balroop Singh.

When You Meet An Author And Discover A Paragon Of Friendship…

Friendship quote

I have always been an introvert, probably because of the protective environment in which I was encased as a child and a teenager. I have been never good at making friends and after a particular age I just gave up!

My earliest memory of trying to make friends is that of trying to help everyone with their homework. There were many shirkers who would come to our class without doing their homework and I would offer to do it for them!

Then I had to change my school and was at sea, sitting alone in one corner when this girl (who later became my best friend) approached me with a question…friend, what is your name?

What an easy way to make friends, I thought but I could never learn it.

I have a very limited number of friends and I can count them on my fingers but I can proudly declare that they are my true friends; I can fall back on them and they would respond immediately.

Digital world has been a blessing for me! I found it so easy to make friends online and I have made some wonderful friends. Thinking of meeting them has been out of my imaginative expanse.

Sometimes reality knocks at our imaginative ingresses louder!

One such doorway opened last week when I met Joe and his vivacious wife Becky.

IMG_3044
Joe with his lovely wife Becky

Joe Perrone Jr. met me through his blog and I liked his witty style of writing…more so as he took pleasure in laughing at himself.

I didn’t even know where he lived till I happened to mention that I would be visiting Asheville. A few instant clicking of our digital devices and there we were…face to face, shaking hands, sharing lunch and ice-creams along with never ending conversation, which was as vibrant as dear Becky!

Joe asked me are you ba..roop, I replied BaLroop, with a stress on L! And the laughter that cheered our hearts still encompasses me.

Earlier, when I told my husband that we were going to meet one of my blogger friends, he said ‘what would you talk’…oh we would see, said I, almost to myself and convinced him that it would be fun. Indeed it was!

I didn’t have to think what to talk as the conversation flowed so spontaneously that we forgot we had met for the first time…it was like meeting old friends after a long time and catching up with all the stories we had to share.

Never was there an awkward moment, which we often face when we meet an acquaintance. Not a word appeared out of place. I give all the credit to my dear friends Joe and Becky and their art of conversation.

Many topics were discussed, the most interesting being how he met his wife Becky, the prettiest and the most charming face, having the brightest eyes behind those spectacles.

That day I carried some profound lessons in my heart:

  • Friendship is not counted in the number of years we spend together but the mirthful moments of delight it offers us.
  • Friendship evokes your inner virtues through honest conversation.
  • Friendships can never diminish by distance.
  • Some gifts are such, which only we can give to ourselves.

friendship

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections about your friends.

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Balroop Singh.

 

 

How To Deal With Insensitive People

Insensitive People

Insensitive people are all around us in the form of friends, family members, bosses and masked well-wishers. They spread their negative energy around us with their desires, diktats and decrees.

I have already written why people are insensitive, which is easier to understand than dealing with their behavior.

Often we get weary of the environment such people create and try to shun them yet we have to face them if they happen to be around us in the form of our family members. If they can’t be avoided then we must figure out the ways to deal with them.

My immediate boss was quite insensitive and judgmental. Most of my colleagues would try to please her by nodding their heads to whatever she said or expected. I could never be herded like cattle and so was always the target of her wrath.

I have had an early introduction to insensitivity, which endowed me with some capability to face such people.

Here are some ways to deal with them…

Understand them:

It is very easy to condemn others and arrive at our own conclusions about the way people behave. We never give a thought to why they do so. We feel it is not our problem!

How people treat you is all about them…and their personality, which reveals their real self in a subtle manner. You have to be intuitive enough to pick up those vibrations.

People react to your personality, potential and work according to their own perception, capability and emotional intelligence.

When people are rude, negative emotions dominate their behavior.

  • They could be anguished by their own frustrations
  • They could be struggling with their own problems
  • Somebody could have instigated them

When they are disrespectful

  • They could be biased
  • They could have been raised like that
  • They consider themselves self-righteous
  • They could be doing it out of spite

When they are indifferent

  • They can’t think beyond their own selves
  • They consider emotions to be pointless
  • They could be weak-minded

When they are disloyal

  • They are guided by their own insecurities
  • They could be self-centered
  • Financial instability cripples their thoughts

If we try to understand their circumstances, we may develop empathy for such people.

Easier said than done? I agree! But if your spouse happens to be insensitive to your love and concern, if he/she doesn’t acknowledge what all you do to make the home a happy place, how much effort goes in bearing insensitivity, you can’t just walk out of his/her life.

You have to devise ways to deal with insensitivity.

Convey your hurts, talk to them:

I would not like to say that it is easy. Only a patient and understanding person can do so as a lot of energy and emotions are involved in talking to such a person who can’t see logic. Each time you try to explain your view, they tune off as they live in their own world.

They have never been taught to respect the opinion of others. They fail to see beyond their own hurts, which appear to be mammoth. It can be emotionally draining but if you want to keep them in your lives, keep the channel of communication open.Talking helps

They would try to duck your questions.

They would prefer to remain silent.

They could even lie to avoid any discussion.

Why? Because they don’t want to expose their weaknesses. Actually such people are very weak at heart. Kindness doesn’t reach them…probably they have never seen it and feel confused.

I wouldn’t say you should give up your own kindness. This is a testing time but how far can you push your limits and let the other person cross your boundaries is what matters.

A reminder – Never accept emotional abuse. Self-love and self-esteem should never be trespassed while dealing with such persons.

Love and kindness doesn’t flow naturally, it has to be nurtured. If the other person doesn’t respond well, if strife is all that is around you, keep your thoughts positive. Positivity can be miraculous but you are the best judge to decide whether it is the time to step away.

Learn to take your own decisions. Too much dependence and too much goodness can be frustrating. Learn to strike a balance between love and servitude.

Sometimes give them back:

Use strong words to convey what you have been saying softly. Remind them how much you have done to boost their respect. Sometimes they understand the language of reprimand better than modesty.

If they withdraw into their shell, challenge them out. Tell them to convey their grievances openly. This step may reveal the reasons of their insensitivity.

I am sure you would emerge emotionally stronger, resilient and wise. The best lessons are learnt in the furnace of living through challenging situations.

Do you know any such person who is insensitive? Have you ever experienced the stress of dealing with such people? I would love to hear your views.

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections.

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

Balroop Singh.