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Did I ask for it? THE KILLER QUESTION

Gautam is the world to Meera and she loves him boundlessly. She is so intimate with his soul that she would know what would he need even from a long distance and despite of her situations, state of mind etc, she is able to offer him whatever he needs before him asking for it & at times without even him knowing what his needs are. Perhaps he never had to ask her for anything – he just had it all, every single time. But when in arguments with Meera on her not getting enough attention or acknowledgment for how she loved him, Gautam’s most favourite dialogue is – “Did I ask you for it?” And the argument dies but puts Meera’s heart into pieces.

She gathers herself and reconcile her emotions on her own & within sometime is back to serving him as a devotee. She doesn’t know any different way to love someone and story continues.

Sangeeta and Gopi were married for 9 years but had no child. After years of prayers, they finally became parents of a baby boy Rahul. He was pampered and was given the best of the toys, facilities, education and lifestyle and that became his benchmark of quality life. He never had to ask for the basics and for his wish list, his one word was a command for his parents. Irrespective of how challenging it may have been, Sangeeta and Gopi would just get things for him. And every time that he would not listen to them, they had to remind him how kindly they have been bringing him up and hence deserved to be listened to, Rahul would say – “Did I ask you for it?” or “Every parent does it for their children, what special have you done?”

The stories are not just stories of Meera, Sangeeta & Gopi or Gautam & Rahul but they represent every relationship where there are people who choose to instantly gratify their loved ones out of their great love, more than they can and earlier than It is needed.

Who is wrong here? Instant responses would be Gautam & Rahul because most of the readers of this article would find familiarity in the characters of Meera or Sangeeta or Gopi and hence would understand how it hurts when this happens.

It’s easy to make a judgement but it’s also important to understand this deeply as to what is the need of people to instantly gratify someone with such love & attention. Ofcourse best of intentions & intense love with also a need to be appreciated and having an extra special identity in someone’s life but ultimately these are their reasons. Rahul & Gautam doesn’t become deserving because Rahul is the only son conceived after years of prayers or Gautam who is in a relationship with a woman who knows no better way of loving someone. Rahul and Gautam had never had a need to deserve it or earn it because they just had it and they know they will always have it from them. All of this becomes a norm of that relationship and they don’t find anything odd or special about it. It is just the way it is.

And what happens? One feels great about doing so and the receiver too feels good about not having to make any effort or be worthy of what, when and how they receive. But it’s not as good as it seems to be. What happens as it goes on and in a long run? Is that great love truly valued? Is it appreciated? It even looses the acknowledgment with time and frequency and becomes more of a right of a receiver than a privilege. It sets a bench-mark. And then you can’t go below the standards.

Have you ever heard it for yourself from your loved one – “why did you do? Did I ask for it?”

How much does it hurt? I am sure it hurts like millions of stabs in the heart. I have personally experienced and everyone too would have atleast once for sure.

And then we complain that our loved ones don’t value what they have, that you are always taken for granted, it doesn’t take a second for them to hurt you so harshly. Frankly they have no idea of the effort or the pain that you have taken to provide them. For them that’s a norm.

Let’s take this basic example, everyone needs food to live. So if you get your favorite food when you are hungry, you would just love it and relish it to the last bite. And then when you know that every time you are hungry, you will have to fetch it or cook it, so therefore, when you have it, you enjoy it and value it. But imagine, you are given your favorite food in abundance that there is no lack even for a moment and then you are made to eat even when you are not hungry, how long would that remain your favorite food and how long would you enjoy eating it. How long would you value that’s extra?

Now, is there a problem with the food or you or the abundance that has been created? What leads to lowering of interest or value in the food that you have a need for and what’s your favorite? Answer to this is nothing else but provision in abundance without being asked for.

Same applies to our relationships. When we, out of our best intent and love, start giving something in the quantity more than it is needed and before it is needed, it loses its value. And I believe the expression to best intent and love could be providing right thing at a right time in a desired quantity so that is able to maintain its charm. You are able to maintain your charm. You are valued and remembered for what you can provide when there’s a need of what you have in abundance within. There is no value of overdoing anything.

There is no point feeling the hurt and feel victim every time when you face someone not valuing your offering. There is no point to blame others. They have never been exposed to an experience of how it would have been without the kind of love that they have been privileged to receive.

Does this make you think and re-define your expression? Does this help you help others to see your love as a privilege?

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Life is like a snake & ladder game! YOU OUGHT TO MOVE

Waiting to take the BEST and the RIGHT decision will only keep you where you are – Stagnant!

There’s nothing right or wrong. What’s good/right for one is not good/right for the other and most importantly in the the context or circumstances that you have. Circumstances change and your right and wrong changes.

What’s important is to move from where you are. 

What’s important is to take a decision and take action. 

Assess the situation and take a decision while thinking what can be an outcome of it and be mentally prepared. 

Life is like a snake and ladder game. You ought to move to be a player in the game. You may find a ladder on your path to take you higher or you may be bitten by a snake to bring you down. But then that’s where when you start a journey again, you find a ladder which takes you much higher than what you could have, had the snake not bitten you on the way.

Who knows which path takes you closer to where you are meant to be.

Decide to keep moving!

Life is simply an emotion within you!

Life is an emotion – You need to experience to understand.

Your situation can be challenging, but life is nothing else but how you perceive it…It is the meaning that you give to situations around you. Life in itself is only an experience that you have within.

There are so many people out there who are living but have no LIFE in their life. Easy said than done may be, but it doesn’t mean not possible. Holding on to your chosen experience irrespective of your external situations is a conscious practice and effort. And it is possible.

Does this mean positive thinking? Not at all, because I don’t believe in just thinking positive. That itself doesn’t change anything in our life. What changes our life experience is being aware of yourself inside out, being realistically positive, being intelligent about your emotions & thoughts and having an ability to be wise to understand what you can change and what is it that you need to accept and adapt to.

We keep struggling with situations because deep inside we give so much of space to our egos and not accept that there are things that we may have no control over. We tend to believe that if we have to accept a situation, we lose or become small and hence our egos do not allow us to accept and adapt. Moreover, that rigidity only leads us to be more stressful & frustrated and actually losing on to life. We land up having complaints with life while ignoring our responsibilities & contribution to make our lives the way it is. We lack ownership.

Understand what is more important to you –

  • Your internal joy or how you perceive yourself to be seen by others?
  • Your sanity or complicated thought process?
  • Your stability & happiness with what you have or a continuous desperation for what may never give you a sense of fulfilment?

Define your happiness.

Define your life basis what gives you happiness and not what looks good to others.

Let your ego die and let your soul live.

Message for the Man – from a heart of today’s woman on this Women’s day

My Dear Man,

On this Women’s day, when I take pride to be a woman, giving unconditional love to you as a mother, self-less love & support as a wife, care & tolerance as a sister, as a daughter  giving you loads of admiration & seeing you as ‘my father – my first hero’, and standing with you in all your good & bad times in some or the other role, allowing you to take me for granted sometimes yet unconditionally partnering you in life, I also wish to thank you for being a good son, a loving & a loyal husband, a caring brother, adorable father, a big support as a friend & all the roles that you play in my life. Your love & appreciation makes me feel much good about myself.

I believe that we both have our own importance & we play a role in making each other’s life complete & meaningful. Today when the biggest fear of my life has become to keep myself safe & secure, I need you to be there to stand for me when I need you to protect me despite of any relation tag between us because if not to you, I may be a mother, a sister, a wife or daughter to someone else like you.

Pledge today to protect me, stand against any violence against me & respect my existence. I need you!

With love, from a heart of today’s woman

If a child can, why not you?

Have you ever noticed a child crying because he got hurt or broke his toy, or had a fight with another child, or other child having a better toy than what he has?

What do you do? How long does it take for a child to get over the hurt/pain and get engaged into something else that gives him pleasure? Do you think it is your credit to make a child forget what he dearly looked for and refocus his attention to something else? Of course you do need a skill to do so, however, it is also important to understand how a human mind works.

I remember an incidence of my niece Ananya when she was 5-6 months old. She used to crawl that time. So bad on our part, that we once intensely engrossed in our own discussions, forgot to lock the front door. And you know how kids are – they will immediately sense the opportunity to explore what they are barred to do. We didn’t notice when this little one crawled between our legs and pushed open the door and went out. There were stairs – though 4 of them but for a kid like her, they were enough to do the damage. Few minutes passed and we heard the cry…we wondered where was it coming from and started looking for her.

Within a few seconds or so, I followed the sound and rushed out to see my darling  sitting 4 stairs down and yelling with her face red and big tears rolling down her cheeks. My heart missed a few beats. Just a thought of what she must have gone through when she was falling shivered me to death. I picked her up, hugged her tight and kissed her like I could never stop kissing her. And in the process of comforting her, told her how strong she is that despite of falling she is not hurt, showed her other kids playing and laughing at a distance, etc. In a fraction of seconds, I saw her starting to smile and then giggle with her tears still rolling down her cheeks. I brought her in and everyone started hugging her and loving her and being playful with her. I believe, we adults took longer to come out of that shock than she did. She became normal and started playing with her toys but gave me a lesson for life.

An incident is as intense as the meaning we give to it. And it is completely in our control to choose a response to it including the duration for which we wish to hold our responses to it. Does in any way the incident of falling was less intense for a 5 month child than to what other situations happen to us as adults if we look at the complete context of an event?  Perhaps, for a child of that age, it could be so much larger than the situations we face as adults.

Or did it in anyway mean that by laughing, the child would have undone the incidence or had not felt the hurt for next few days until it healed completely. Things will happen the way they are meant to. But how we respond to it, changes the experience of our life during that period.

More so, if a child can, we as adults should ideally have much more awareness, skill & strength to respond to our life situations.

Our choice of meaning that we give to a situation, our choice of duration to which we choose to hang on to an emotion and let it impact our state of mind and our choice of action that we take defines the quality of our life. Healthy state of mind leads to better thoughts, feelings, decisions and actions.

Your mind follows your directions. Take charge – It is do-able!

Where does one find the true experience of life?

We tend to live our lives under the cover of our hard egos and believe we are living. A strong shell of ego creates our social masks through which we see & experience the world. And beneath our ego and our social masks is the true essence of life which is completely unlived. In order to experience life in its truest form, we need to break our egos which is difficult and most of the time we need an intent & an external help. That’s where a coach is needed, who would help you break the hard shell. That’s when our social masks start disappearing on its own because we no longer care about who thinks what. And then we meet our life – the joy, the freedom, love, compassion, peace.

Focus on the Intent – Not the behavior

There came a small boy running and crying to the wise man. He was hurt.

The wise man asked him what happened. Why was he crying?

The boy narrated – that he saw a black cat stuck in the wired boundary and she wasn’t able to set herself free. She was struggling and was getting hurt in the process of freeing herself.

With empathy for her, he tried to help her and take her out of the wires safe. And the moment he released her out, she pounced her paw and scratched his hand and ran away.

The boy was hurt, disappointed and regretted feeling empathetic and helping the cat. He said, i will never ever help and next time when he sees that cat, he will make sure he throws a stone to hurt her.

The wise man explained that before we make a judgment on a situation or a being, we need to understand the context. And more so, changing your character based on how the other reacted is not a great idea.

He said, let’s try and see the full context of the situation and understand the background before making judgments based on how a situation/person seems to be on the surface.

Let’s not judge anyone on the behaviour but consider the intent as to why someone did what they did.

The black cat is seen as an inauspicious creature in our society. And hence, everytime it is seen, it has been made to get away by a threat of attack or literally attacked. So for the cat, the experience of human has most of the time been of attacking and hurting her. So in her mind, she would have no understanding of your intent. She would see human through the experiences she has always had. Your intent is best known to you. So when you, with whatever intent of helping her out of her situation, got close to her, she believed you to be attacking her or hurting her and so with an intent of protecting herself from you, attacked you back.

Do you think she was wrong?

The boy thought …paused for a few moments as if putting himself in the cat’s shoes and said NO. The cat was not wrong. She must have thought i was attacking her because of all her previous experiences.

The wise man said, then why should you change your character of helping others based on other’s behaviour or response to you? Don’t you think it is important to focus on the intent than the behaviour?

The boy understood. He promised that he will never change his character and will continue doing good.

Does our perspective not completely change if we learn to look at the intent than the behaviour? And when our perspective change, our actions, our approach, our beliefs, our character and our results change.

Does this make you think? Do you think you could have done any better in your life situations?

Do share your experiences.

Appreciate what you HAVE before time makes you appreciate what you HAD!

It’s a human tendency to keep safe things they love the most and not use it for the purpose it is meant for and for the reason it is with you. The intent may be to preserve it for longer or forever and use it only on special occasions. But the fact is that it is also natural for everything to age and lose its beauty and purpose with time if not put them through its life. What is it anyways doing for you if kept too safe? Rather relish it for the time it is meant to be. Atleast you will have good memories to cherish….and not regret having it and yet not experienced it. What a loss!

Same is true for relationships…people tend to take their most important relationships so much for granted that they don’t spend a moment to flourish it, strengthen it and live it. They believe as if it’s going to be there forever. And ironically relationships die a painful and early death due to lack of attention and sense of value. People tend to focus on and attend what’s compulsive, which doesn’t give them true happiness or what gives them a social recognition/validation. But in the process, they ignore the natural warnings and lose what they had unconditional and gives meaning to their life. But ultimately everything has a life and life is too short…who knows whose time is over what moment. 

So while you are alive, experience love, experience people, appreciate what you have, recognize what makes your life more meaningful and invest in them. Not to devalue things over people, but things may still be bought again…people WILL NOT.

See the value and appreciate what you have before it’s too late. Let everything and everyone “LIVE” their purpose that they are meant to in your life than simply existing.

Break the ceiling

Women finding an influential place for themselves at the top!

We keep talking of how women are now able to reach the top positions in the industries and how time is changing. While that is true, it is not to be denied that the journey for women to such positions are still extremely difficult and not all women with aspirations and ability can make it to the top. I personally would want to talk about some root causes to this concern before we talk about the issues at the Corporate. Society, homes or Corporate, there are people and more than anything else, there has to be a reason with people than the technicalities, material & other tangible factors.

Root Cause analysis – We need to start looking from our homes, families, and environment that we are brought up before we start talking of our work place, Corporates etc.

What I am going to say is neither to portray women as weak nor to upset the men who experience just the opposite from their partners J . This is not in that context nor do I claim 100% men/women as that.

We accept or not but we still are a part of the Patriarchal society where theoretically we may claim to give men & women a same status, same opportunities, same rights but when situation arises, the expectations to maintain harmony and peace at home is usually from women and hence she is mostly the one who is expected to compromise, succumb, have men to win the argument  etc etc. Women are considered the backbone of the family and hence the total burden of every part of the body lies on the backbone. As women, we tend to accept these as our imbibed values, responsibilities and it becomes our instinctive behavior. And so when we are out in the industry, we either behave the same way despite of carrying our aspirations deep in our hearts – working extremely hard and waiting for seniors to notice & award us the position that we aspire for OR try and play a different role which may create conflicts between our personalities at home & outside and it becomes a challenge to strike a balance. For those women who are able to carry the same strong personality, in most case can confirm affects on the relationships because of the same reasons which make men find it difficult to accept or manage this side of the women.

The same upbringing – though theoretically same but in a practical implementation having expectations from women, unknowingly build the egos of men & shape the way men expects from the other gender &  always have the priority. This impacts not just their personalities at home but everywhere. It becomes difficult for them to accept a women leadership and hence all politics happen. And that’s none of their fault completely to be honest but the way they are brought up.

Undoubtedly, there are women leaders who very appreciatively acknowledge the support, the encouragement and sacrifices of their spouses that made their journey to the top much easier. And hence, such examples supports the fact that for a women, in the current social environment, to make this journey successful, an environment & support primarily from their family is so much equally important than the support from their employers to feel well equipped and enabled emotionally, mentally & physically.

Coming to the Corporates/industries, other challenge that is seen is also that if a woman is successful to reach at the top, there are judgments made about probabilities of her having a bad marriage, bad relationships, her making illegitimate compromises to reach a point in career etc etc etc. Why is that? A successful man at the top leadership positions can have a happy marriage, good relationships and could earn it purely based on his caliber but a successful woman is judged to have only one successful side of her life at a time.

Managers avoid hiring women for the fears that they may leave or relocate after marriage or get pregnant or may have issues with timings at work etc. Wouldn’t they expect their working wives to be moving cities with them or get pregnant and have their families?? Who make women pregnant? And the same men, for their own working wives, would have different opinions & expectation s from their employers and still be least empathetic about other women working in their own teams. Unfortunately, even women managers are unconsciously biased against women.

All of this is the basic societal facts that create an environment which makes it so much more difficult for women to be a successful leader than men. To change this for our future generations to come, it is ultimate pivotal that we change the way we bring up our children – bring up individual kids (and not daughters or sons) with the same ideologies, principles, and values, even in practice and develop a society making it excellence based and not gender based.

It is important that we see individuals as individuals and not discriminate our beliefs based on their genders. I have personally experienced what it means to have the Trust beyond gender.

Apart from observations in the industries for quite a few women co-workers & acquaintances, I personally also have had some bitter experiences of being politically agonized by peers and seniors to break me during my journey, but I was also fortunate enough to have a manager in one of my previous organization who trusted me for who I was as an individual/professional, my skills, values & caliber. And that not only helped me push my own boundaries but also explore myself deeper as a professional. That’s what works and that’s what is needed.

Originally published on my LinkedIn account – https://www.linkedin.com/in/ireetuverma/

Probe your conditioning or pay the price!

I was sitting by the window with a hot cup of tea on a cloudy winter Sunday morning and watching outside…it was nice! Winter chill outside and the warmth of the hot cup covered with my hands.  About a few minutes later, a shine appeared in the sky and the sun tearing the clouds & spreading its rays showed!  The dampness disappeared and the sky looked bright.

The small children came out of their homes fully packed in layers to play and the silent park turned into a lively park with a bunch of kids running around playing, laughing,  screaming with joy. I enjoyed watching it for a while and then started working on my computer, still sitting by the window side.

20 minutes or so would have passed and a nice laughter of an adult woman grabbed my attention. I looked out. To my surprise, the highlight of the park was 3 moms and 1 dad spread across the park and playing with a Frisbee. The kids were playing in one of the corner but the ‘parents turned kids’ were running all across the park, laughing, jumping to catch the Frisbee and dodging the throw. They all were truly enjoying themselves completely. I have previously seen men getting together to play cricket but women playing like that was my first experience. There didn’t seem any inhibition of what would people say, how would they look jumping or running around like kids, irrespective of their body weights, status as a mother of 1 or 2 kids of decent ages, being dressed up in Indian women wear and not in sportswear. It was as if nothing mattered to them at that moment. Parents, who were always seen sitting in sun supervising their kids playing, were today playing like kids. It was a treat to the eyes and even mind – it was refreshing and inspiring. I lost focus on my work and was so much fascinated to watch them play. Just in some time more, even the kids chose to leave their own play and chose to cheer their parents…they all looked so proud. I looked around and there were quite a few neighbors in their balconies and quite a few old people sitting on the benches in the park witnessing the parents playing and every single one of them had a smile on their faces. No one looked like judging. Everyone including me was in that moment.

That experience was impactful. I kept thinking of what would have made those parents especially the moms step above all their usual inhibitions and break free. And more so, what thoughts keep them away from being themselves and enjoy life. Where does it say, that when you grow up and become parents, you ought to behave in a certain manner? Where do these rules come from? Has anyone thought that by going by these conditioning, we are denying ourselves of so much life in our lives.

What is the value of such moments for us as adults, even for our kids experiencing their parents so joyful, and for those who aspire to do so but do not have courage to take that first step for themselves and hence grow older than they really are? Does anyone judging you matters when it’s about so much value in your own life without harming anyone?

Why do we keep following so many conditionings without questioning or thinking what is it doing to us and people around us? Should we not be a pioneer to change the rules, the illogical conditioning? Should we not create a new a world where everyone has a right to experience their lives the way they want, where age is no restrictions to do things that make one happy?

Be that one example. Be fearless. Be free.

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