Reality and Imagination

Street art depicting a woman's face
Sue Vincent’s #PhotoPrompt

Brooding eyes, blasé yet discreet
Discerning depth of dark images
Wriggling away from the light
That glows to glean truth

Unstated grievances creep out
When I look within
All of you crawl like worms
Some faces visibly distraught

The artist could see you
My illusionary veil couldn’t shroud
Graphic secrets of thoughts
That groan under pictorial patterns

Onlookers may admire the art
Only I know the depth it conceals
Come and alleviate agonies
Shared stories satiate emotions.
© Balroop Singh, January 2019

Thanks to Sue Vincent for an inspiring Thursday #writephoto Imagination

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You and Me

P1020805
Sue Vincent’s #photoprompt

Reflections reflect you and me
Together for ages yet apart
We stand here
Our thirst unquenched.

Visitors come and go
Admire our vicinity to each other
Some capture us on the canvas
Of their minds

Others stand by to share
Their most guarded thoughts
Their stories of lost love
The mystery of love that lasts.

Those who came in a canoe
And stood to admire
My gnarled limbs last year
Their laughter created ripples,

Breaking your conceited calm
It revealed your cryptic cravings
Though I reach all out to hold you
Yet remain rooted in my zone.

A solitary life seems delightful
As mute connections speak
Of spiritual bliss we share,
Breathing contentment.
© Balroop Singh, December 2018

Thanks to Sue Vincent for an inspiring Thursday #writephoto Beneath

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How Individualism Affects Your Personality

An individual facing the universe

Individualism is“a social theory advocating the liberty, rights, or independent action of the individual.”

Individualism gives prominence to self-development; personal achievements and independence of a person. When children grow up with the concept that they are enough, they have the potential to accomplish their goals and they have the freedom to take their own decisions, they value personal rights and their own space more than family values. A collective decision is considered oppressive.

On the surface individualism seems to be perfect as it offers absolute freedom and infinite possibilities of following your own aspirations but dig deeper and ask those who get mired in internal strife. Ask those who blame themselves for their failure. Ask those who are drowning in the sea of anguish and yearn for help. Ask those who have to take anti-depressants to cope with the pressures of life.

While individualism adds confidence, self-discipline and self-control to our personality, many essential characteristics are disregarded.

Individualism makes us self-centered:

When you are encouraged to discover your potential or follow your passion, you develop the habit of thinking only for yourself. It is always your endeavor, your success and your happiness. Self becomes larger than siblings, friends and parents and when it is time to contribute significantly to your society, it seems a burden. Such individuals drift away from most of the family relationships and seem selfish.

Self-doubts grow bigger:

Who doesn’t have to deal with self-doubts? It is difficult to handle frustrations alone. Setbacks seem like monsters, failures have to be owned and faced alone, and loneliness grows into depression. When stressful situations are not shared, their dimensions keep absorbing your confidence. Therapists step in to reinforce the fact “you are enough” but self-doubts refuse to dispel. On the other hand, Asian cultures promote sharing personal problems with family and friends and they serve the purpose of re-igniting wavering self-belief.

Individualism creates disconnect:

Personal attitudes eat into the core values of respect, patience and generosity. Self gets so exalted that love for others seems to be a chore. You may learn tactful behavior but relationships rest on the plank of façade. Senior members of your family cease to exist for you and visiting them or looking after them is not your responsibility. Those who nurtured you with the best of their abilities seem superfluous and are expected to fend for themselves.

Individualism breeds insensitivity:

Individualism gives top priority to your own interests, you become insensitive to the needs and desires of your spouse and children. You expect them to follow you in all your decisions, as your perceptions fail to see beyond your own expectations. Aggressive behavior, violence, emotional instability, incoherence in families, lack of interest in community activities and mental health issues are directly related to individualistic culture.

Individualism, a product of the western world, has silently crept into those societies that believe in collectivism. They have always taken pride in raising balanced individuals because of close knitted ties that are nurtured, and values of respect, altruism and cooperation are imbibed naturally, while growing up.

As individualism flourished in the west, touching its highest forms of selfishness, collectivism evolved and absorbed some elements of individualistic culture, granting freedom of thought and expression, taking one’s own decisions but following family values too. Such individuals have the best of both the cultures. A healthy combination of both could prove beneficial for your personality.

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

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Balroop Singh.

Allow yourself To Be A Better Person

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.

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Balroop Singh.