Category Archives: Self Empowerment

Failures lead to Success

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Don't let failure make you feel defeated

Don’t let failure make you feel defeated

There is a famous quote I quoted on my senior page by Paul Coelho that goes “You are not defeated when you lose. You are defeated when you quit;” many of us call it quits when we lose either because we are afraid of failing again or putting in the effort again.  When I used this quote on my senior page I used it because I inadvertently live by those words. My whole life whenever I fall I muster up enough courage to get back up. Falling is a part of life for me, whether it is a bruise to my head, an insult to my self- esteem, or negative thinking, I get pushed down quite a bit. I am blessed with being resilient enough that getting back up is intuitive for me. But for most getting back up is a more arduous decision.

When I applied to college I submitted a poem patterned on Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise; aside from it being a phenomenal poem it reveals the great perseverance of the human spirit.  Although this poem is a personification of slavery, a similar version can be applied to our lives now.  Everyone goes through trials and tribulations, some worse than others, some more painful than others, and some longer than others, but this does not diminish the severity of the hardship.  So if one can consider this analogy of slavery and see that in spite of all the beatings, shame, and sneers slaves went through the black race thrives and stands tall and applies it to their own life, one can overcome the fear of losing.

The more failures increase the probability of success

The more failures increase the probability of success

I remember coming across a quote while watching a movie, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”  Though this is a very simplistic quote it is very profound.  It is applicable to everyone on a very personal level; fear is one of the things that detracts us from trying and trying again.  The wording of this quote seems to make it about a sporting game, but it can be extrapolated to have a wider meaning vis a vie ‘we shouldn’t let our fear of losing, getting rejected, or getting hurt stop us from trying.’

These three verses are inspirational and logical words that can empower us when we feel we are defeated.  When we fail or lose at our first attempt to do something we often feel disheartened and lose the desire to try again. When we share our opinion, try to make a sale, try to sing a karaoke song, or make a comment on social media and fail vis a vie receiving a response of ridicule, not meeting expectations, or lose we become disinclined to try again. When I try to kick a ball, hit a ball with a tennis racket, write one page legibly, or play a timed game of Sudoku and lose, fall, or am not able to do it I used to feel ashamed and often got angry at myself, everyone around me, and the game I failed at.  Now I am a bit more patient and my anger has diminished due to the understanding that I can only do the best I can.

 

Your will can move mountains

Your will can move mountains

Losing in public makes it harder to dust off our pants and try again as there is that additional component of having our ego wounded.  Losing at something when there are no witnesses is upsetting, as the only expectation we fail to meet is our own, but when we fail in public we not only fail ourselves but also feel embarrassed. Trying again despite the damage to our ego and pride strengthens character and fortitude.  Trying again brings us one step closer to breaking out of the chains laden with others’ perception that we shackle ourselves with and one step closer to living for ourselves.

 

The road that leads to success halts at failure for a final Will call and check

The road that leads to success halts at failure for a final Will call and check

If we let our failures defeat us we become defeatists and will soon assume the philosophy of ‘why bother.’ In high school my friend said something to me that I thought was very profound then; ‘practice makes perfect; but why bother practice if we can not be perfect?’ Perfection is subjective, and being perfect is a term relative to one’s effort. If one has the will and desire continue pursuing something until accomplishment perfection can be possible, but if one quits out of fear or offence failure is impending.

When we try again after we lose, fail, or make a mistake we increase our chances of succeeding; if we don’t we are letting our failures define us.  Every second try is an opportunity to learn something new, do it a different way. So don’t be afraid of who is judging you or how you appear; give yourself a second chance at success.

 With willpower success is inevitable

With willpower success is inevitable

 

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The Greatest Love Story

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The one whose arms fit perfectly around us

The one whose arms fit perfectly around us

We often wonder, savor, dream, or ruminate on the ideal love life. We get our notions from the media, experiences, and what we observe.  Snuggling under the blanket on a cold day, having moonlit dinners, and walking across the beach under a beautiful sunset with our partner are romantic notions that we have all yearned for or experienced at some point in our lives. But what happens after these romantic events are done?

I unabashedly admit that I am guilty of having these yearnings. Having someone to catch you when you fall or to experience new things with is a wonderful notion, but we (I) tend to forget the baggage that will come along with that someone.

Before we can even try to find that companion that will ‘complete us,’ before we can even begin to look outward to find the partner we are willing to compromise, sacrifice, and adjust for, our even before we can expect our current partner to complement us we need to look inward and complete ourselves.

Only once we know ourselves can we experience or expect to experience

Touch the one person who truly matters

Touch the one person who truly matters

anything satisfying. The most important relationship we develop is the one with ourselves.  Most of us live our whole lives not really knowing who we are: not knowing what we truly enjoy, what really bothers us, or what we actually want.  If we do not fully understand ourselves we wander through life waiting, hoping, and searching for the someone or something that will fulfill us.  When we nurture, spend time, and learn to listen to ourselves we can understand what we really want; when we recognize what makes us happy, what makes us sad, and what satisfies us we can ask for and seek the things we want and need instead of searching for thing that may or may not bring us fulfillment.

The reason we do not get what we want is because we do not really know what we want.  Humans are fickle, easily distracted, and impatient.  We think having a partner with xyz qualities will make us happy, but look the other way as soon as we see someone more appealing.  We are attracted to and seek out person x until we are introduced to a new and shiner prospective object of our attention.  When we see something that makes us happy we run after it and when it does not bare immediate fruit a new search will begin to that will aim to fill the void that our initial search failed to fill.

Once we begin our relationship ourselves we can better understand what we really need and want.  Developing a relation with yourself is as much of an investment as taking care of a new puppy or making a new friend; you will need to spend time by and with yourself in order to learn how you feel about things, how you react to things, and what the natural tendencies of your body are.  This is the study of the self on an intimate level. Study on this level will allow us to know ourselves on a soul level.

This study will not only be an enlightening and uplifting journey, it will introduce us to the greatest love of our lives, the one person we cannot live without. Finding out our strengths, weaknesses trigger points, fears, and motivators will give us a new understanding and guide us to a smoother path in life.  We will better be able to articulate what we want and what we don’t want.

Your love story will begin while on this journey; you will realize the height of your own accomplishments, the strength of your character, the wounds you have healed, and how deserving and unique you really are.  Once you know yourself you will automatically feel a sense of fulfillment and will start looking inwards rather than out for things that will make you happy.

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When the World becomes a More Inviting Place

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Knock. knock. The world wants to play with you

Knock. knock. The world wants to play with you

All of us have been annoyed with the proceedings of our lives, at one point or another.  Some more than others, but we all feel like helpless victims at some point.  We are slaves of karma, servants to our children, and robots in a commercialized culture; sometimes we just want to break free and do what we want when we want.  When I was in law school there was a shirt that I used to wear very frequently because it was comfortable. One day while I was waiting for class to begin, I read the outside tag of the shirt; it said ‘Do what you like and like what you do.’ I was thrilled at reading this, for two reasons: I practice this philosophy and I was wearing/ showcasing this enlightening slogan, which made me cool by default.   This eloquent yet simple phrase is a philosophy to live by; we spend 75% of our lives working, and if we actually enjoy what we do rather than working to meet an ends, we will find ourselves in a much happier

People who are passionate about what they do everyday have less of a chance to greet the morning in a grumpy state.  If you enjoy what you do, where you go, and what you are working on your body and mind will have less of a reason to be negative.  When I went to work I would wake every morning enthused.  My mind didn’t find excuses to delay going to work such as oversleeping or a phantom ache.  Of course work comes with stress and other issues that can create negativity, but enjoying what you do means not forcing your mind and body to be in a place it doesn’t want to. As children we make a face and mope when told to do something we do not want to: our bodies will lag and our minds will start searching for excuses. As adults, we understand responsibilities, so feel compelled to force our minds and bodies, but our bodies still start to lag (ulcers and other disorders) and our mind tries to find excuses (making unintentional mistakes).

Why do children seem to be in a happier state than adults? Yes, they have their parents to worry and take tension for them; but more it’s than that.  Children are not bound by the responsibilities and restrictions adult learn to adopt. Children do what they want regardless of etiquette or consequences.  For example I wanted to watch a movie that would’ve ended at 1 AM the other night but weighed the cost and immediately reconsidered; had a child wanted to watch that same movie they would have regardless of the repercussions i.e. late for school, less sleep and would have dealt with them as they came. I ended up regretting not watching the movie the next day. If we do something we enjoy, we can save the extra energy our bodies and minds use to engage in tasks that they do not want to.

This way to a more delightful journey

This way to a more delightful journey

Finding a profession that we are passionate about is not an easy task. After all, we don’t learn passion, we emote passion. In this culture, the ultimate aim is a higher paycheck, not the simple feel good job.  However, every job can elicit some passion if we can change our perspective:

  • Instead of complaining about the hours, responsibilities, coworkers, etc. take a more active role and try owning some aspect of your responsibility; bring your initiative, creativity, and think of ways to enhance whatever it is that you do
  • If you think it is a practice run for the promotion, you will shine harder.
  • Every job is a learning experience; somewhere, somehow we pick up a few tricks of the trade
  • It is our prescribed duty and we will be graded on how dutifully it is carried out.

So go into work with a smile instead of a frown.  Don’t go in with anticipations and expectations. Change your perspective and let the prospects change for you.

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Affirm yourself

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Affirm yoursefl

affirm yoursefl

Most of us talk to ourselves; thoughts, reminders, criticisms, and commentaries are just a few ways we converse with ourselves every day. We weigh out the pros and cons with ourselves when we make decisions, we talk ourselves into or out of different predicaments, and we encourage and discourage ourselves daily.  Negativity, as well as positivity, is a consequence of our internal discussion.  As the saying goes, we are our best advocates as well as our worst adversaries.

In our lifetime, the person we spend most of our time with is none other than our self.  The influence our peers, partners, and family have over us is substantial, but minimal compared to the influence we have over ourselves.  When we think to ourselves we create an effect on our mental state: thinking about the past will create anguish, and thus produce negativity; thinking about the future will create anxiety, and thus produces negativity. Overthinking situations, or ruminating about a past and future situation, produces secretion of different chemicals that creates negativity in our bodies.

As we grow older our inner voices becomes louder.  We become more comfortable in our thoughts, so we start talking to ourselves more; our self criticisms become more apparent, due to media and norms, and thus destructive; our criticisms of others becomes internal, due to norms and etiquette, and thus destructive. For example, we start telling ourselves we are fat; this may be due to models in a magazine or what the doctor says, but with this thought structural changes happen in the brain, thereby secreting different chemicals that affect us negatively. Similar is the process when we criticize others. We meet someone and immediately make a judgment; “She’s so ugly;” what is a judgment but a criticism? Whether we disapprovingly criticize ourselves or others, the result is the same: a negative effect on our own minds and bodies.

Wake up and affirm yourself

Wake up and affirm yourself

I will not hesitate to state that 85% of our internal monologue is negative; as we grow we stray further and further from purity and are conditioned to keep our negative thoughts to ourselves.  The propensity for negative thinking is increased when we become increasingly exposed to the media, depressive states and disorders, and when we are unable to meet our responsibilities.  Once one negative comment is made, due to the afore mentioned reasons, we are pulled into a vicious cycle that propagates negativity. Recently I had some personal belongings taken from me which were misplaced. This made me upset and I started calling the person names. From names, my negativity had me conceptualizing different situations in which my stuff was stolen and misused. After thinking about the negative situations, I started calling other people names and blaming them. Thus began my sinking into unending whirlpool of spitefulness and hate.

Thinking negatively impacts our behaviors, interpretations, and body functionality; it limits our prospects and perspectives.  It makes intuitive sense; our mind set does exactly that -it sets a boundary for our mind; if we are bent on a certain outcome our minds will refuse to see any possibility beyond that outcome. An example that stretches outside of negativity, but still goes to the point of how the state of mind can limit thinking of possibilities is when I was working.  My coworker said she could not complete a certain task because she couldn’t get a certain document from Google printed. She complained that she had tried saving the document, directly printing it, and cut and copying it into Word, but it COULD NOT be done; I asked her if she tried the ‘print screen’ button.

When I think negatively, I can feel it physically. Getting up from the couch, doing exercises such as bridging, or climbing into the car, activities I can do myself everyday become unusually hard when my mind is negative. My balance or strength will lack somewhere, and performing these mundane tasks will leave me with a scratch or a bruise, on these days.  Thinking positively is slightly inconvenient. Our minds are naturally inclined to the negative, whether we are talking gossip, news, food, movies etc., our mind tends to focus in on the criticisms: the bad rather than the good. Whether our minds are conditioned to this or there is an inherent tendency I don’t know, but focusing on the positive rather than the negative has proven to be healthier.

To change our interpretations of the world, we first have to change the interpretation of ourselves.  We cannot change the media, our friends, or family who criticize us, but we can change ourselves. By taking the time to appreciate our attributes and strengths, we can be more well equipped to combat criticisms. If we take that 85%, and turn even 30% into positivity, we will make so much of a difference in our attitude that people will wonder.  Meditation, putting a conscious effort not to ruminate on the ’bad’, and simple affirmations are some of the countless ways to stay positive.

Thoughts are mostly destructive as they entail rumination and tend to focus on the past or future. Staying in the present (is hard!!) is a sure way to block some negativity. Past and future analysis will cause anxiety. Simple and daily affirmations, to appreciate the self are calming and reassuring ways to positivity. When’s the last time you rolled out of bed without a negative thought such as ‘I’m late for work, I wish I didn’t have to work today, I shouldn’t have seen the movie last night, I have to prepare lunch’, or something of the sort? Can’t remember? Try saying ’good morning’ to yourself; we like when others say it to us, but if we say it to ourselves the effects are far more reaching. Why wait for the compliment, let’s compliment ourselves; why think about how others will judge us when the most important judgment comes from us. So stop negating and start affirming yourself.

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Mental abuse

Mental Abuse
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Mental Abuse

The strangling effects of abuse

Many people are subject to abuse on a daily basis, and many of us are subject to it from an early age. Although the effects of abuse never become less injurious, we do get accustomed to being abused. In childhood when we get poked fun of by other children the scars can reach deep. Belittling comments that are commonplace such as ‘you are fat’ or ‘you are stupid’ may be more or less harmful to a child depending on the self esteem that has been instilled in the child: the stability and security that has been provided to the child, and how often the child is put down.

Generally abuse is learned to be tolerated at an early age. Even if we are not subject to the belittling comments repetedly from others into adulthood, the comment is learned and if we are not provided the stability and security or given enough leverage to develop our self esteem and self confidence the comment is turned into a negative affirmation. So in essence we start abusing ourselves.

Once we start internalizing the negative judgments, disparaging comments, and demeaning actions of others towards us, the abuse begins. A person can be bullied, humiliated, severely tortured for his characteristic {being fat or poor}, his past {decisions or background}, or his beliefs {same sex marriage),and once we internalize and start repeating to ourselves the negative comments of others the destructive aspect of abuse set in.

One can claim sympathy from others and themselves when they succumb to saying they are a victim of abuse. Yes, abuse does exist; yes, there are perpetrators of abuse, but the facilitator that converts the abuse (n) into abusive and debilitating (adj) is the individual receiving the abuse.

When we say or even think that we are victims, we weaken our selves. In the society in which we live there will always be an oppressor and the oppressed; it is the oppressed that defines the cruelty of the oppression.

Let me give you an example, when I was in college (20) I was verbally abuseed by a group of ‘cool kids’; they made fun of the way I walked and called me mean names; although this hurt my dignity and although I did cry I did not let this abuse become abusive. How? Had I ruminated on the nasty names I was called or started feeling sorry for myself due to my walking ability, I would have given them the power to define me and subjugated myself to them and their abuse, instead I got angry, set up meeting with the dean, and forgot about it.

Once we call ourselves victims, once we allow ourselves to consider a demeaning remark someone else says about us: we become abused. All throughout high school I was made fun of for the way I walked and although it did hurt, although I would cry etc. etc. I never let it become abuse by knowing these were ignorant comments. Now I can also say that these comments were more harmful to the commenter’s rather than me.

 

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