Dealing with Anger
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. Mark Twain
Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame. Benjamin Franklin
As someone who used to suffer from a lot of rage, I know it for a fact that anger is one of the most toxic forms of self punishment. Even when we think, we are lashing out at another person for something they did or didn’t do; we are damaging ourselves way more in the short and long term. Anger usually stems from feeling weak and feeble on the inside. And directing it towards a person in the fit of rage, tricks our minds that we have some sort of false control. But getting angry = losing control.
Of course there are times when some people test our patience beyond belief and we have no choice but to get angry. Well, not necessarily – dealing with a sticky situation with tact is millions of times smarter and more productive than dealing with it by expressing anger. Now, this scenario is very situation specific.
Here is an example:
Your good friend always makes you wait at restaurants; she always has some excuse for being late – the traffic, the deadline, the curling iron, etc.
“You always do this. I am always sitting here like an idiot waiting for you, and for some reason you are never on time. This is just so disrespectful.”
Not only will your tone of voice change when you are saying these words, but there will be an instant shift in your body language. And in all likelihood, it will be impossible for you to have an enjoyable evening, even if your friend takes your rage in her stride (which let’s face it, isn’t going to happen).
“I understand you have a lot going on right now, but I have been waiting here for a long time. Next time, I would really appreciate if you could let me know in advance if you are running late, so we can reschedule our timing.”
Now, you have managed to drive the point home without being rude or judgemental.
Of course, there are some people who simply do not change their behaviour, no matter how many tactful methods you may try with them. Again, this is more to do with them and not-so-much to do with you. So, do not take their behaviour as a personal attack. In such specific cases, set boundaries in personal relationships and come out of the professional relationship, if your work or business is getting affected.
Understanding your anger:
- When you get really angry, your body starts sending out these high-alert signals. Your muscles tighten, your posture changes, your eyes bulge out and the rhythm of your breath gets disturbed. Externally, you reek of someone who is helpless, a victim, not in control of his / her feelings.
- The minute anger takes over in a discussion / argument / situation – you will no longer care about being logical, grounded or in public. You will only care about winning the argument, reiterating your point of view and being right.
- Aside from affecting your personal and professional relationships, it will affect your peace of mind and overall well-being. People who get angry very often, suffer from depression, loneliness, high blood pressure and insomnia.
Coping with anger:
- Take a deep breath and mentally remove yourself from the situation. Give it a few seconds and re-evaluate, if it needs such a drastic overreaction. If you are in the middle of a heated discussion, excuse yourself and shake it off. Go back with new energy and vibrations. If going back is seeming highly uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation altogether and deal with it the next day.
- Try to get to the root of it. Are there specific things, people, patterns, events that tick you off? Do you see yourself reacting to similar situations but with different sets of people? Then something inside you is asking for those situations in the form of new faces and circumstances. Find out what inside you wants the anger to be there. Yes, something inside you is under the impression that it is needed.
- Sometimes it could be nothing but a cluster and clutter of old memories. Every time a new event occurs, the anger response is triggered from the same memory bank. Is it really worth being caught up in a brain loop over some story, which happened when you were five? For example, a person who responds to criticism with anger automatically turns into a three year old who was criticized by a parent. Now, does it make sense to act just as helpless and vulnerable in your 20s, 30s or 40s?
Being passive aggressive, snide and sarcastic are all forms of anger. Even if you don’t raise your voice, it will still have the same effects and alienate people. You may get the temporary thrill of getting away after making an overly smart comment, but it is far from being your authentic self. These responses still mean that you are not dealing with what needs to be dealt – your own stuff!
Get your Amazing You Journal out and write three scenarios that make you angry; these should be situations that somehow occur pretty often in your life. Even though the people who put you in these situations change, your reactions remain the same.
Some examples could be “I always attract cheating boyfriends / girlfriends.” “People always take me for granted.” “Nobody respects my opinions and life choices.”
Now, take each scenario and think back to the first time you felt like this. It could be at school when the teacher scolded you for something you didn’t do, or at home when your sister / brother always got what they wanted while no one bothered about your wish list.
How old were you when these things happened? Do you think you are just as helpless, meek and naive? Years have passed and you are no longer the same person; you don’t look the same, feel the same nor are you in the same situation.
Also, please don’t start attacking your siblings or parents because you have finally understood why you get angry at the same things. Own your feelings and emotions and let them leave your system, simply by comprehending their frivolousness.
Once you realize that it has nothing to do with the new, Amazing You, you will have no choice but to drop it. And those around you will change the way they relate to you, once you have dropped the garbage.
Dealing with Fear
Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvellously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones. Thich Nhat Hanh
So then learn to conquer your fear. This is the only art we have to master nowadays: to look at things without fear, and to fearlessly do right. Friedrich Durrenmatt
We all suffer from fear, anxiety and restlessness. Most of the things we dread almost never happen, but we may still find it hard to convince our mind at night why we are lying there restless and awake, worried about some event, which either happened years ago, or dreading some impending scenario, which may happen in the distant future.
Let’s face it, most of us today lead “stressful” lives. Being behind our monthly payments, catering to unforeseen car or dental expenses, facing a health scare, can be all overwhelming, especially if you have other people depending on you. Being afraid in these situations takes away our ability to be rational and think straight. Our mind may keep thinking about what could go wrong instead of channelling the energy and focus on how things can be made right.
If you are fretting over an issue, which is glaring at you in the form of a present situation, then take action. Talk to an expert, a family member, read related books, attend seminars – do whatever it takes. Don’t just solve it in the form of evil thoughts between your ears. Take action by finding out how deep your problem is and what needs to be done. Not acknowledging is the worst and most harmful thing you do to yourself and those you love. Wake up.
While the above mentioned issues need some serious action plans, some fears are just plain baseless and they just need you to get over yourself. Here is a list of some of the most common fears EVERYONE suffers from at some point or another in their life:
Fear of rejection: Him not calling you after the first date, not getting picked for that part in the play at school, not getting a call back after the first round of interview for your dream job, getting dropped like a hot potato from a social invitee list, blah, blah, blah. People dread rejection like it’s the plague.
The sting of first few rejections is so deeply entrenched in our minds and hearts that some of us simply palpitate at the idea of putting ourselves out there. And the resistance of this huge monster called rejection bleeds through us in our interactions – future dates, job interviews, and social scenarios – instead of being in the moment and giving it our best, we are more worried about protecting ourselves from rejection. What way to live is this? We may either become too afraid to take any new action, or move to the other extreme and become too aggressive, so we can reject the world before it can reject us. Both these approaches are disempowering and they take us away from our fabulousness.
So focus on being yourself, giving your best and being happy and don’t worry about playing mind games in the hope of being protected from rejection. You are only fooling yourself.
Fear of not being good enough: When I read Sheryl Sandberg’s (COO of Facebook) book Lean In, I was totally impressed. In the book, she has addressed the issue of feeling like a phony in the workplace, despite her Ivy League education and decades of work experience with some of the best organizations out there. Well, here is breaking news. We all walk around feeling scared and terrified from time to time about “our bluff being called.” We feel that someone, somewhere will come to know how things play in our heads and will find out all our “secrets”.
This scenario usually stems from having varying degrees of doubts about our skills, talents and projections. Even the most put together people suffer from this. Every Victoria’s Secret angel dreads falling down in the sky high stilettos, every time she walks the runway. And every motivational speaker banishes the urge to run away right before his / her seminar is about to start. Well, the problem is that these feelings are never going to go away. No matter how old / wise you get, no matter how much seniority you get at work or no matter how many hats you don in your life – mother, entrepreneur, author, philanthropist. In fact, the more you put yourself out there; the more magnified your fears of not being good enough feel. So what? Should we just crawl under our sheets and not deal with it?
Wrong answer! You just get better at handling these thoughts and feelings. You just learn how to shhhhh your mind when it is trying to bug you and fill your head with crap about failing, being ridiculed or rejected. Do not give into this fear and hope that surrendering to it will make it go away one day. Just acknowledge it as just another random, passing feeling and move on to being awesome.
Fear of missing out: It would be totally wrong to assume that only teenyboppers and youngsters suffer from this buzzword FOMO. Social media has turned even the most balanced, grounded and happy go lucky people into paranoid control freaks. Is everyone hanging out without me? Oh my God, so and so is skiing in Aspen, while I am watching re-runs of The Good Wife in my sweats and eating Chinese takeout. If I don’t take pictures of my 25th birthday party and upload it on Facebook and Instagram (with the right filters) then how will everyone know that I had the best time ever!
As Mike Heck said on one of my favourite sitcoms The Middle – no one is having as much fun on the internet as they are projecting. Maybe not in those exact words, but you get what I am saying. Like, Share, Comment, Check in – there are myriad ways to get sucked into virtual world and waste precious time and brain power.
I have nothing against social media tools; I think they are great tools for keeping in touch, for promoting your business, for learning a new skill or recipe and for sharing parts of your life. But if any of these platforms are affecting you in a negative way, where you constantly find yourself victimizing yourself and focussing on your sorry state of affairs – my clothes are not good, my profile pictures didn’t get enough likes, I only have 230 followers, then it is time to take action and back off.
Fear of missing out is like being in the best restaurant, eating the yummiest dish and enjoying awesome company, all while wondering if “others” are doing something better! It’s just not worth it! Learn to not take it too seriously; or go old school for a bit and make plans the old-fashioned way by calling up your friends or sharing pictures only with a select few via emails or messengers.
This exercise is one of my favourite. Take your Amazing You Journal and write all the things you were so scared of, but they never happened. Research says over 80% of the things we worry about never happen. So make a list of everything that kept you awake at night, but never happened in real life.
Now, the second part of the exercise; make a list of all the things that you were scared of and they actually did happen. It could be being worried about failing a test, and then actually failing it, or about being laid off at work and actually being let go.
Now check the ratio between the things that actually happened and the ones that didn’t. Which list is longer? The baseless fears simply suck our energy and disturb our sleep patterns. The deep rooted fears give out these signals from every ounce of our being and when they actually materialize, we get a validation that they were true all along. So we strengthen them even further. Wow, this mind is one tricky business.
Go to the base of your fears, feel them and do whatever needs to be done anyway. You will not be any worse off than where you started. On the flip side, you may actually get what you want.
Now, we are not talking about bungee jumping and paragliding here, but real life, everyday stuff.
The last part of the exercise is doing one thing every week, which makes you stretch out of your comfort zone. Could be making a cold call and finding out about an opening in an ad agency or could be getting a health / fitness assessment and finally taking some action instead of being in denial.
Make a section called ‘Facing your Fears’ in your Amazing You Journal and write down each new thing you did and survived!
Dealing with Criticism
The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult. Rowan Atkinson
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving. Dale Carnegie
It is so easy nowadays to have an opinion. An opinion on a new gadget out there, the review of a local restaurant on your blog, a movie review, celebrities’ fashion choices on the red carpet and someone’s status update on social media. Broadcasting platforms have managed to give all of us a voice, and now more than ever people can express their opinions unabashedly.
Even the so-called introverted and shy people feel a sense of relief, as they can hide behind their screens and participate in forums, online communities and other forms of virtual interactions without actually putting themselves out there.
There are youngsters out there who have set up multimillion dollar empires just by giving their honest opinions and sharing their views on makeup, fashion, beauty, health, food, etc. Now that’s the power of internet and constructive use of these mediums. Millions of viewers across the globe can learn such amazing skills, thanks to these bloggers, YouTubers and online entrepreneurs. The content presented is entertaining, engaging and definitely enriching.
Well, the point here is, there is so much creativity out there, and now more than ever we are in a position to explore the most unconventional career and life choices. Of course, there are always going to be people (sometimes in hordes) out there who may not agree with you, your point of view or your way of doing things.
Here is shedding more light on criticism:
Who is criticizing?
Is your plumber giving you feedback on your hair colour? Well, then it is your fault for taking it seriously. Business advice / criticism should be taken from people who have succeeded by setting up start-ups and turned them into profitable ventures, financial advice / criticism should be taken from people who started with nothing and made something, or people to fell down several times, dusted themselves off and moved on and made it. Fitness and nutrition advice should be taken from people who have managed to create fantastic changes in the life and body.
Are you wondering why the word advice is appearing more than the word criticism? Well, because that’s what most of the criticism is – an attempt to give advice, most of the times, unasked advise. There are several other labels people may put on their opinions / criticism / advice – some may call it care and concern, while others may shrug and simple say “I am just saying.”
The bottom line is talk is cheap! And the world is not going to come crashing down without your or anyone else’s opinion.
Here are some examples:
“You have put on weight.” / “You are looking too skinny” / “You are looking tired.” / “Are you losing hair?” / “Why are you a vegetarian / non-vegetarian?” / “I think you should tie the knot now.” / “Don’t delay starting a family.” / “Are you sure this is what you want to do with your life?”
Would you want to be on the receiving end of these comments? Even if they are coming from the most well-meaning, concerned and caring person. Probably not! Most people already know the things you are pointing out. You being so smart about noticing them / verbalizing them isn’t polite or considerate. Most people will consider it a low blow.
If you are on the receiving end of these suggestions, then please control the urge of getting defensive, upset or taking it too seriously. Most of the times, if we don’t feel confident about the way we feel about our hair, skin, weight, relationship, career, finances or social life, we tend to send out these signals, which prompt people in that frequency to point those things out for us.
The trick here is obviously not to tell everyone off, but to raise your own frequency. When you do that, unwarranted criticism just rolls off like water on a duck’s back and the comments stop bothering you. Others may still project their perceived reality on you, but you can consciously choose not to take the burden of it.
Quick pointers for dealing with criticism:
Are you surrounding yourself with the right people?
It is said that we are / we become the average of five people we spend most of our time with. Models hang with other models, doctors have their group, airhostesses are often friends, bloggers have their community – hanging with dreamers, achievers, people who are smarter than you, well-travelled, open-minded, ambitious, spiritual, compassionate, passionate will ensure that every interaction is a learning and enriching experience instead of a co-dependent drama of either magnifying our insecurities or our false sense of self. Not to say that we need to meet and be friends with only people from our industry, but make sure that your social circle is on the same wavelength as you.
If you have always surrounded yourself with people who discuss other people, pass judgments, gossip and while away time, chances are on some level, you have asked for exactly these experiences. But if part of you is craving the new and unknown, you have to be willing to move on from disempowering habits and contracts. Do not be with the same set of people and expect all of them to change to accommodate the new and improved you. That’s just crazy! Some relationships last a lifetime, but some relationships may witness an end at some point during your lifetime. Cherish the good times and move on, or create boundaries.
But don’t go around telling your old friends how gossiping is bad and how you have finally found yourself. You don’t want to become that gloating spiritualist who suddenly knows-it-all. Leave everyone alone and focus on yourself.
Is it really worth it?
So someone criticized your work or idea; something you had put your heart and soul in. Or someone said something really nasty about your appearance or your personal life. Now what? If it was someone who said it behind your back, then let it be exactly there – behind you. But sometimes the best of us are caught off guard when someone says something out of the blue at a family event, during an office presentation or in the middle of a casual dinner. There is really no point in beating yourself up over someone else’s opinion on your life. If it has managed to push some button, then it is highly advised to look within and find out what you can work on.
The more you love your life choices, the less validation you crave from the outside. It is also imperative to have people in your family / friend circle who want you to do well in life and succeed.
Be a winner:
Winners do things very differently; that’s why there are so few of them. Have you noticed how the most successful people only give their opinion when they are invited for an esteemed interview? Why they don’t go around pointing out things others should do differently? Well, because they are too busy kicking ass and working on their plans and ideas instead of dishing out unwarranted opinions.
I have yet to meet a supermodel who gave unasked fitness advice and yet to meet a multimillionaire entrepreneur who dished out financial advise (unasked) at a dinner party. The more time you spend studying winners and practicing being one, the less time you will have to focus on invalid criticism.
And just FYI, the bigger things you take on in life, the more criticism you will have to face. Think of celebrities – the amount of unwarranted advice and opinions they have to put up with about their life and fashion choices! So don’t expect it to go away – as Carrie mentions in that episode of Sex and the City – the one with that “face girl” – someone somewhere could always be making a face about you, but the only review that matters the most, is the one you give yourself.
Take out your Amazing You Journal and note down the ten biggest compliments you have received in your entire life. Think of that one teacher who believed in you when you had severe doubts about your abilities or that one friend whose kind words made your day, or that day when you were sitting in your sweats, without makeup and your husband came and kissed you on your forehead and called you beautiful.
Now, the difficult part of the exercise; make a list of all the things you criticize and scold yourself about. The way you pinch a body part when you stand in front of the mirror, or the way you yell at yourself (mentally) when you forget about something important. Change whatever you can and make peace with what you can’t change.
For example, if you don’t like the number on the scale, change your lifestyle – workout, eat healthy, get enough sleep, drink enough water, etc. If you have a habit of forgetting things, make lists, download an organizational app or come up with a system!
Remember, you can only work on yourself. You can’t change other people and their behaviour. Accept them for who they are and focus on yourself.
Dealing with Hate
Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too. Will Smith
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I think Rhonda Byrne explained it really well in her book The Power. The power of love is limitless and profound. Almost all situations, hardships and aches can be remedied with love. Hate, much like anger, though directed on the outside deeply affects us more than anyone. In fact, Louise Hay explains in her book You Can Heal Your Life, how we all suffer from self-hatred in some form or another in our life. Hate cages us in the confines of our story and makes the trap bigger and stronger with each passing month / year. And before we know it, we are terrified of letting light make its way in.
Making peace with our old story and then dropping it are extremely important if we want to move on in the true sense and take charge of our life. Hate can stem from something as small as being ditched by a friend or something as big as childhood molestation. The degree of hate may vary, but it almost always has the same effect on our thoughts, decisions and physical well-being.
Forgiveness can seem like the most difficult implementation when you are really mad at something or someone. But not forgiving and retelling the same story is like stabbing yourself every day. Sometimes you may need a fresh start, a new beginning, a change of environment / location or just a change of attitude to get over something “terrible” that happened.
As Dr. Phil says it – there are no victims, only volunteers. Yes, there are baiters everywhere and we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones. But at some point, we need to get over our victimhood and drop the baggage.
Which one would you rather be – someone who always has a sad story to tell and get sympathy from everyone? Or someone who has gotten over his / her story and created a life of love, passion, creativity and happiness? Some dire situations may need us to seek therapy, get closure and take advantage of expert assistance, but we have to be willing to acknowledge that we are hurting and we need someone to help us heal. You have to be willing to reach out instead of getting caught up in the thought loop of being beyond help, or believing that nothing is wrong with you and you are just expressing yourself by retelling the same story.
In other situations, you just have to accept the present for what it is and work from thereon. Yes, you had a tough time, yes it was unfair, yes you were right and the other person was wrong and yes you didn’t deserve it. But what are you willing to do about it now? Are you willing to sacrifice your precious time in just convincing everyone (yourself included) of how you were wronged? And what do you plan on achieving once you have managed to convince “everyone” about your point of view?
Forgiving yourself is probably going to be one of your biggest challenges in your life. Forgiving yourself for cheating on your diet, or for creating debt, or for allowing others to not treat you well, or for simply not taking a stand, are all reasons that give us permission to be hard on ourselves, judge ourselves, punish ourselves and even hate ourselves. Some of us are more internalized and we may direct all our energies inside and blame ourselves for what we did wrong. And some of us are always looking for people we can reprimand for our current state. No matter what phase of life we are in, we will always manage to find someone who did something wrong, because of which our life situation is the way it is.
Both these scenarios are highly toxic and acidic. Beating yourself up can cause multiple problems in your psychological and physical well-being. Stress, heartburn, menstrual issues, breakouts, indigestion, ulcers, low / no libido, weight gain, weight loss (the bad kind), hair loss, premature ageing, phew! Not that plotting revenge and come back plans for those who wronged us are any better. The hate directed on the outside is directly proportional to the self-hatred we feel inside. So either way, working on forgiving yourself is the key.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is participate in a big cause, which takes us out of our small stories and self-centeredness. It can be doing volunteer work at a local NGO, or becoming in charge of planting more trees in your neighbourhood. Something that provides a bigger sense of belongingness! We will still have to deal with whatever is going on inside, but sometimes all it takes is stepping out of your comfort zone, making new connections and making space for new stories. All you can take charge of and control is what is happening here and now. And how you are investing your time and energy today is totally up to you.
Whatever it was that managed crumble your foundation has passed and you have managed to survive. So own your experience and turn a new leaf, instead of re-reading the same story, silently or out loud.
However, if you are in a relationship that is emotionally or physically abusive, working in an organization where you constantly feel berated or part of a social group that is highly toxic and energy sucking, then you need to take action. These are scenarios, where making peace with the situation, read staying where you are may not work. Any situation present in your current life should be immediately changed if it is threatening or physical, emotional or spiritual wellbeing. No matter how painful it is, please take charge of the situation and talk to someone you trust, who can look at things objectively and guide you.
These are not times to say things like “I deserve this”, “It is my fault” and “Things will get better.”
Get your Amazing You Journal out and make a list of all things, which make you feel really proud of yourself. It could be the way you dress, or the way you have trained your pooch, or how your grilled cheese is the best thing ever! Write all the things you love about yourself; do not miss out on the smallest, little detail. What are the qualities you best like about yourself? What about you immediately plaster a huge smile on your face?
Let the list be really long; if some part of you starts feeling like a phony or a self-centred person, then fight that urge and carry on writing. Don’t hesitate to go in details, this is for your eyes only.
Now, take three main relationships in your life (one at a time) and list all the things you simply love about them. It could be a parent, a significant other or a best friend. These have to be three of your most fundamental relationships, which have lasted a while.
Read this list as often as possible!
Dealing with Jealousy
Envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts. Jean Vanier
Jealousy is when you count someone else’s blessings instead of your own.
As humans, it is natural for us to feel inadequate, less than, and envious from time to time. Sometimes we may look around and notice people who have so much more than us, even though they are lazy, crazy or selfish. On the other hand, sometimes we may also feel jealous of people who work really hard, are extremely passionate about the work they do and make the most of life. How come they get to know what to do with their life and we are still clueless, despite being older and having more experience?
Jealousy can totally mess up our thought patterns and value system. Judging others and their life choices, making fun of other people behind their backs, participating in gossip, are all forms of jealousy. We may think that it is harmless and we are just having fun, but it truth it speaks volumes about our character, lack of self-belief and confidence. Confident, secure people don’t feel the need to tear other people down; at the same time they don’t feel the need make anyone feel wrong to be right.
Here are subtle behaviour signs we miss in ourselves when we are feeling envious:
- We either become very hostile or start making fun of the person we are jealous of. Hostility can be expressed in many different ways. Instead of being happy for someone, we may choose to be mean to them because it temporarily makes it easier for us to manage our own insecurities. So, if your best friend suddenly has a boyfriend or is getting married before you, part of you may be really happy for her, but part of you may resent her for finding someone first.
- When we are not in regular touch with people we may feel envious of, we often make fun of them behind their backs. If they recently uploaded pictures of their holiday abroad, it would be easier to make fun of their outfits or poses, instead of admitting that we are sad about our lack of recent holidays. People often do this with personalities and celebrities as well. Judging them for their makeup, fashion, weight gain and career choices makes us temporarily take the focus away from us. This explains the endless comments and hate on blogs, fan pages, etc. of famous people.
Let’s look at jealousy from two different angles:
When you act jealous, this is what you are telling the world:
- I have a lot of doubt about my life. I really lack self-belief and suffer from low self-esteem.
- I am unreliable as I poke fun at people and talk behind their back.
- I don’t have much of a life, which is why I prefer to judge others to pass my time.
- I am an ungrateful, self-absorbed maniac who can’t get his / her act together.
When you act jealous, how it personally affects you:
- Instead of paying attention to what you need to achieve and focus on, you waste endless hours gossiping and stalking people on social media.
- You forget to count your own blessings and take things you have going for you for granted. There are people out there right now, making a few bucks a day, lining up for clean water and bathroom facilities and begging for food. The very fact that you have paid for this EBook, means not only that you are doing well, but you also have electricity, a gadget to read this info and a pretty decent internet connection.
- Jealousy totally drains you of your power and confidence. Even if you manage to look all put together and confident on the outside, somewhere you constantly fear living in a house of cards, which can be blown away with a stroke of strong breeze.
Dealing with jealousy:
- Jealousy is often a result of competing with other people. If two people started a certain journey together, and only one of them managed to move ahead really fast, then the other may feel jealous. Well, the first thing that can be done to remedy the situation is to eliminate the competition. The sentence – you only have to be better than yourself may be a clichéd, but it is one of the most empowering and liberating ways to lead a happy and productive life. If you spend all your time in learning skills that are important for your growth, fuelling your mind, body and soul with enriching and loving experiences, then there is very little room left for what or how everyone else is doing.
- Envy often stems from lack of information as well. With social media platforms, few physical interactions and periphery level information, we often feel that others have it so much better than us. Do not judge someone’s life based on few bits of information in the form of broadcasting messages, dinner parties, social pretence, tagged photos and hash-tags. These are getaway tools we all use to escape reality from time to time. But don’t make that someone else’s complete reality and get jealous of it. No one’s house is always clean, no one’s kids are always adorable and no one has the perfect marriage or career. The perfect pins, filters and hashtags are just a glimpse of people’s good hair days and good technology. And even if you think that “they have it all” you should be happy for them, so you too can attract those things.
- Do you want to feel confident, happy and full of life? Then worry only about fitting in within. Jealousy often comes because we feel that other people are getting all the love, approval, abundance, while we don’t get anything. Do things, which make you, feel good about yourself. It could be a morning walk, a spin class, a Zumba session, meditation, reading a new book, watching a super fun sitcom or getting a makeover. The recipe for success may vary, but there is a sure shot recipe for failure – try to seek approval from everyone and please everyone. Setting goals (with deadlines), making a wish list, travelling to a new place, learning a musical instrument, taking language or cooking class, are all things that help us improve ourselves and keep jealousy at bay!
Please don’t do this:
If you have been rather open about your jealousy in the past, don’t try to go around showing everyone how you are no longer jealous and how you are “So Happy” with yourself. We often think that others can’t call our bluff, but most smart people can. And saying things like “I don’t care”, “Whatever”, “I love myself” will make people want to run as far away from you as humanly possible. We all know how we feel about people who are self-proclaimed perfectionists and critics. Even if you finally know the secret ingredient to the sauce, there is no point in saying, hey here is the secret ingredient, especially if no one has asked you.
When you work on yourself and implement the changes (by keeping things under your hat), you embody a certain mysterious quality, which will draw the right people to you. Remember how you hate unwarranted advice? Well, here is news, others do too!
Overconfidence, deluded behaviour and being full of yourself are all forms of fake entitlement, which do not imply that you are confident. The key is to remain passionate, compassionate, down to earth and comfortable with who you are.
Take out your Amazing You Journal and make a list of ten things you could work on. It could be a visit to the dentist, you have procrastinated for months, or finding out more about that volunteer work you have been meaning to do for the longest time, but “have never had the time”. Assign a deadline to each of the things and make sure you follow through.
The second part of this exercise is slightly tricky, but can be highly beneficial. Every person in our life is better at something than us. So if you know a friend / parent / cousin who is amazing at something you have always wanted to do, then praise them for it and ask them if they will help you learn that skill. It could be a red velvet cake recipe from your friend or how your cousin has the knack for investing his money and constantly multiplying his wealth. Swallow your pride and ask them to share. And yeah, if someone comes to you asking about something, be generous and kind and share.
Dealing with Stress
Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment. Dale Carnegie
When you really need help, people will respond. Sincerity means dropping the image facade and showing a willingness to be vulnerable. Tell it the way it is, lumps and all. Don’t worry if your presentation isn’t perfect; ask from your heart. Keep it simple, and people will open up to you. Jack Canfield
Most people today take great pride in being stressed out. It is assumed that if you are not stressed, you are not stretching, striving and reaching for the stars. Being ambitious means being stressed out, having a deadline means being stressed out and running late too is a great cause of being stressed. And when we are stressed, the best things we can do are judge and worry and lose control. It is so much easier to judge the traffic, our family members, our boss, our colleagues, our kids, our society, our environment and ourselves, since we are so stressed. Have you ever bothered slowing everything down (especially your mind) and interrogated – what the hell is going on? When did it all get so messed up?
Depending on our early situation at home, the amount of worry and anxiety we face everyday will greatly vary. For example, people who were raised by happy go lucky parents, taking life as it comes will probably not sweat the small stuff. However, if somewhere along the line they are bitten by the ambition bug, they will blame their parents for being “so chilled out” instead of programming them to always be in investigatory mode and reach out. On the other hand, people who grew up in homes where everything from grocery shopping to vacation planning was a super Type A assignment will grow up to be individuals who will take themselves and life too seriously, till they will one day wake up and realize that it isn’t supposed to be so serious and it’s ok to relax a little. Soon they will accuse their parents for pressurizing them so much from an early age about everything from grades to goals.
Well, to drop worry the first thing you need to do is drop the tale you are telling yourself that someone programmed you to be the way you are and that’s why you have so much worry / anxiety and stress in your current life. The authority figures in your early life – mom, dad, older siblings, extended family, teachers, and neighbours did the best they could and now it is your turn to decide if you want to stick to the same programming, or simply reboot and adopt a faster, more up-to-date program that gets the job done and eliminates the worry. In simple words – create a paradigm shift.
Whether we like to agree or not, 95% of our worry stems from “what will they think” syndrome! Somewhere this simple syndrome turns into a deadly disease and obsession and rules our life. And everything becomes about fitting into the perception we have created for the outside world. This just takes us far, far away from our authentic self. Are you dressing a certain way, talking a certain way, holding the wine glass a certain way and driving a certain car just to fit into a mental mould? Let me start by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying current fashion, gourmet food, trips abroad and fancy cars. As long as, you do not limit your whole identity to these things and use them exactly for what they are – things!
In the process, if you neglect to nourish your authentic self and your soul, you will constantly be worried about something being taken away and going wrong. While debt, disease, marital problems are all real issues, worry is a highly useless mode of dealing with any of them. If what you are doing on a daily basis isn’t bringing you joy and satisfaction on a deeper level, you will always carry the superficial burden of worry.
When you are in tune with your authentic self, you are a lot more aware of your behaviour, thoughts and actions. And when you carry forward your life with awareness, you stop taking things so seriously. The debt still remains an issue, but you find a practical, logical and realistic solution to take care of it instead of being worried sick about it.
What do I mean by awareness?
There are so many spiritual and religious definitions of the term awareness. Here is how I would like to explain it:
What is the kind of person you want to become? Not to impress anyone, not to gather validation from anyone, but just to be at peace with who you are. If anything you are doing in your life doesn’t feel like it is in sync with the kind of person you want to become, it may be time to pay attention (generate awareness to that area) and create a change.
Awareness also means understanding that somewhere it’s all temporary, yet everything is here and now. HUH? It’s all temporary – lose the seriousness and expand your happiness quotient! Do whatever needs to be done with complete passion and sincerity. Everything is here and now – the only thing you have is the present moment. Yes, five year plans are great and goal setting is awesome, but if the present moment is becoming your enemy in the process, then it’s time to hit the pause button and realign yourself. How is what you are doing today adding value to the big picture? How is it making your beautiful soul shine and touching the lives of those around you in the most amazing way?
When you are worried and stressed, you are in no position to help yourself, let alone be of any assistance to your family, friends or the society. In the book The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer explains how today most people (at least the ones who can afford to take this program) are not in the midst of physical danger; where they have to fight for basic survival (like in case of people who survived major wars, attacks and invasions). However, we have made our psychological problems so big that our mind thinks that something very valuable needs to be protected. So a mean comment may have the same psychological impact as a bullet (ok, maybe not to that severity, but you know what I am trying to say here).
Our attempt to protect ourselves (psychologically,) by protecting our identity and our point of view, makes us very defensive. And what we work so hard to avoid and resist, constantly shows up at our door in newer, renewed forms.
So what’s the solution? Let’s see some ways to deal with worry / anxiety:
Have you noticed how when you are doing something highly enjoyable and fun, you completely lose track of time? How all your worries and problems temporarily disappear as you are so happy to be exactly where you are, doing exactly what you love doing. When do you experience these states? While playing with your dog, while taking a long walk in nature, while spending time with your honey, while working on your favourite assignment in the whole world or while getting the world’s best foot massage? The activities that bring your awareness to the present moment without your mind drifting in a million directions, without you checking the time every few minutes, are your most favourite activities, and probably also the ones you have “no time” for.
Our minds have become so cynical and judgmental that we even worry about having fun (not the let’s get drunk till 4am fun, but more like the daily activities that make us meditative fun), So if something doesn’t feel like work, we probably won’t invest time in it.
The trick is to realize how you are being and behaving when there is no one around? Are you being a good companion and friend to yourself? If you completely dread the idea of being with yourself and creating your own space, then it is time to make some changes. These are the moments, when the chatter in our head slows down, when we are not worried about our hair being messed up and our zits showing, but somehow we are at peace. We don’t need a photo filter or a hash-tag to tell anyone that we are at peace. Try to find a timeslot (even if it is 10 minutes to begin with) and practice being alone probably not doing anything!
This will help you find the stillness / awareness within, which will make you realize that we are all connected and in the larger scheme of things, worry is baseless.
Earth is a teeny-tiny planet among millions of galaxies, planets and stars; you are part of one of earth’s smallest portion (in some country, some city, some neighbourhood, worried sick about something).
This is not to trivialize what you are feeling, but to help you drop the seriousness of the story you keep believing – one which others have told you and one which you keep telling yourself! Sometimes, all you need is to not pay attention to yet another useless thought – be it your own, in your own head, or verbalized by someone else out loud.
Make laughter, love, happiness and helpfulness your priorities and bid worry goodbye!
Dealing with Guilt
No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now. Alan Watts
Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness. Audre Lorde
When we are young, fear of guilt, shame and embarrassment are stuffed in our heads in the form of hidden cryptographic messages from those around us, to get us to do the “right thing.” Good girls don’t talk with their mouths full, decent girls don’t dress so provocatively, boys don’t cry, and of course the ultimate guilt of doing something wrong and being judged by someone up there. These are often said by well meaning adults, who are just trying to do their job and raise us well.
Unlike anger, guilt doesn’t have a very open and vocal expression and it can be very draining, if it is unnoticed as a pattern or trigger. The source of most guilt is some cryptographic message programmed in our heads when we were too young to know otherwise. But since a large chunk of our belief system is formed before the age of five, what makes us feel guilty is almost always stemming from one of the messages we strongly received well before the age of five.
If you were constantly made to feel like you have disappointed a parent, you will go through life always worrying and feeling guilty about disappointing people. You will either be inflicted with the disease to please in your job, relationships and everywhere else or you will choose extreme selfishness as a defence mechanism, so that you don’t have to carry the burden of feeling guilty anymore. But despite always getting your way and being selfish, somewhere you will always be consumed by that guilt. That’s why people, who grow up in extremely conservative homes with too many restrictions, either live a life filled with resentment or flip their personality and forget their moral compass altogether.
This form of guilt deeply affects the person inflicted with it and everyone around as well. They pass on twisted versions of the messages they received during early childhood to the next generation, to their friends, partners, etc. Also, since everyone receives very different messages, they also feel that they have the right to judge someone else with different programming. That’s why it is so easy to label everything – good, bad, pretty, ugly, right, wrong. When someone doesn’t agree with us, they are not agreeing with our original programming, which means that they are making us very uncomfortable. We now feel the need to protect, guard and defend our programming because that’s all we know.
Opinions on sex life, homosexuality, live-in relationships, spending habits, fashion sense, nutrition, religion, and everything else stems from variations in messages we have all received. What has this got to do with guilt? Well, it’s pretty simple. Whatever we are trying to defend doesn’t need our defence. We are only defending it because somewhere we don’t want to feel like idiots who believed something, which wasn’t true, for so long. And if making someone else feel wrong, guilty, shameful and embarrassed about their opinions, programming or decisions, takes away that burden of feeling stupid for a while, then why not! Well, this pattern is more like a bottomless pit!
As an adult and a fabulous human being, at some point you have to take complete responsibility for your own programming instead of worrying about everyone else’s. The old adage – chew the meat and spit out the bones holds true here. If any part of your programming is not benefitting you, empowering you and helping you grow as a human being, then drop it and move on. Hold on to the good messages and drop the ones, which are no longer useful or meaningful. And do this with only your own programming; don’t try to reboot everyone else. They will do it when they are ready; just like you are doing it only now, because you want to and you are ready.
Guilt is also one of the laziest approaches. We use guilt to just feel guilty and not create any change and not take any responsibility for what’s going on around us. Attacking food because you are guilty, trying to overcome guilt by binge drinking or maxing out your credit cards because you can’t handle what’s going on are all lazy and cowardly approaches to cure some temporary symptom instead of changing a lifelong pattern. You may eat out of guilt and then shame yourself for pigging out; you may shop all day and then judge yourself for spending too much. Who are you helping here?
Guilt, anger and shame are all sisters, cousins and aches of the same family. If you want to stop doing the dance of getting angry, feeling guilty and then shaming yourself, then write down the things that make you feel guilty the most right now in your Amazing You Journal. Any five things that give you the burden of guilt, and ask yourself in a moment of stillness – do I need this? Sometimes releasing something dense is just seeing it with absolute clarity and letting it go. Seeing something clearly itself will make it go away; all you have to do is be willing to take off the fogged up glasses that delude you.
If you are taking advantage of someone, fleecing someone, taking things for granted, cheating on your spouse, and feeling guilty about it, then too guilt is of no use, unless you are using it to become a better human being. Continuing to do it and just convincing yourself that your guilt is your punishment is a lazy and loser approach.
To become the independent, ferocious and full of life person you want to become you have to let go of everything that keeps you and your precious life energy trapped and confused. Forgive the one ones that need to be forgiven, forgive yourself (because you deserve it), heal your self-esteem and choose a life filled with awesomeness, positivity, love and grace.