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Archive for December, 2011

26
Dec

Is Perfectionism an Illusion or Reality?

I thought I was best at what I do, in fact I thought I excelled at it and no one could be better than I was. And then one day reality hit me, I was not perfect, I was anything but perfect. It wasn’t that I was bad at what I did but I was not perfect. The feeling left me dejected and low-spirited.

Many times we have heard people say, “Perfectionism is a disease”. Is this true, are we all trying hard to be infected by this disease?

We live in a society that is competitive and buries those who do not perform well. If you grew up in a family that is over focused on achievements and there is no room for mistakes, you probably think “perfect” equals to being “valued”. We are prized for getting perfect grades, perfect job, perfect partner and we start believing that if we are nothing but perfect we will probably not be valued. In order to prevent ourselves from being smeared with the tag of ‘imperfection’, we adapt ourselves to constantly strive to be ‘good’ and ‘perfect’.

When perfectionism takes hold of everything we do, anything less than perfect is experienced as ‘bad’ and ‘unworthy’.

Is there truly something called as being ‘perfect’ or we all are living under an illusion of perfection?

We all want to be perfect as we think that this is the only way to keep our flaws hidden deep within us. It is an attempt to keep shame and rejection at a distance and to seek acceptance through excessive high performance and striving to be flawless.

In reality what we perceive as flaw is indeed human.

If you seek for perfection, you will demand perfectionism in a relationship. You will reject other, and they will reject you, coz of unrealistically high expectations. Be it a relationship, family or office, we all are surrounded by people who value perfection and we end up walking everyday with a heavy bag of perfection on our shoulders which is invisible to the world but visible only within ourselves. This bag eventually becomes so heavy that we cannot carry it and we suffer the fate of unworthiness, loneliness and dejection.

Are You Living Under a Spell of Perfectionism?

Ask yourself whether you are perfect and probably all of us will answer yes. But wanting to achieve perfectionism is itself a flaw in you. We probably are not aware of whether we are perfectionist or not, so check for these signs to know if you are:

  • Frequently criticizing and finding fault in others
  • Unable to forgive others for their mistake
  • Not being able to accept people the way they are and constantly trying to change them the way you want
  • Becoming overly defensive when people give you negative feedback
  • Difficulty in adapting changed circumstances
  • Thinking all situations as black and white and judging people as always ‘good’ or ‘bad’

Coming Out of the Spell!

I was browsing through random articles on Internet and I came across the concept of “Wabi-Rabi” in Zen, or commonly the Japanese culture. Wabi-Rabi revolves around the acceptance of a beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. To elaborate there is a very famous story of Rikuyu.

Early in his life, Sen no Rikyu desired to learn The Way of Tea. Hence he visited the Tea Master of its time, a man named Takeno Joo. As a test to whether accept this man or not, Joo assigned Rikyu to tend the garden. Eagerly Rikyu set to work. He raked the garden until the ground was in perfect order, and arranged everything in idealized symmetry. Everything was in order and manicured into the most aesthetically pleasing way possible. As Sen no Rikyu finished he surveyed his work – then shook the cherry tree, causing a few flowers to fall at random onto the ground and spoil the “perfect” order.

At that moment Takeno Joo knew Sen no Rikyu would be one the greatest example of wabi-sabi way of life.

Perfection is not an end goal, it is a mental state to try and achieve the best. It can never be achieved and you simply need to make the right efforts towards the right goals. Always striving to be perfect will make your life harder to live.

Think positive and spend your time acknowledging ‘what is’ instead of ‘what isn’t’.

Don’t let negativity surround you and learn to take criticism in a positive spirit. Always remember, critics are your best friend, they will tell you things which you don’t want to listen, but if you work on them you will not be perfect but your best.

Don’t stress too much to be flawless always. Give yourself some scope to make mistakes. Ultimately, you will not be perfect but will be relieved and value your personal worth.

When you are at work, try to do your best and complete your task. Do not let the illusions of perfection blind you, it doesn’t exist.

20
Dec

Can You Change a Man?

One word and the entire article can be summarized, NO. You simply cannot change a man and this is not only me talking, you have probably heard from almost everyone, even your grandma, “don’t try to change a man, if you want to be happy then just let him be”. Still we all try to make futile efforts of changing our man. Even I have tried many times with a very little success rate. I wanted my man to be more social, less flirtatious, more understanding with my emotions, less jealous of other guys, more responsible and what not. I kept telling him that I want him to change, but like banging your head against the wall, he didn’t budge even an inch. It created a certain level of distance between us. He got back at me and made himself more distant from me. End result, all we were left was with a vast gap of in-differences and frustrations.

Many women find themselves in similar situations; they love their men a lot but cannot stand certain things about him. They don’t want to leave him but also don’t want to be with him unless he changes. So they keep trying to force their men to change and when they are unsuccessful, she feels lost and lonely and tries to look for another comfort zone where she is heard.

Women by nature are picky. They are picky for their shoes, clothes, makeup, hairstyle, food, perfume, jewellery and what not. We can’t help it, this is probably somewhere in our jeans to be so critical and picky for each and everything. Thus, I suppose men cannot fathom what a woman is and often make statements that “they can never understand us”.

I started to think, is it really true that men cannot change or that we are just not making the right attempt?

I was once talking to a girlfriend of mine who recently got divorced. After battling with months of unhappiness and arguments over trying to change her husband, she eventually left him. “Everything I used to say never reached his ears. He did nothing for me”, she said. She concluded that he didn’t love her anymore and thus, was not making any attempt to please her.

Is changing one’s habits and identities, a mark of one’s love and affection for the other? We as women are programmed to be so meticulous that we start to feel that our man should do what we ask him to do and if he doesn’t we prefer to leave him and find someone else who would. Basically, what we want are trained animals who would come wagging their tails whenever we whistle.

Men are a different species from women. They are strong headed and like to live in their own space. When you tell them that they are wrong or that they should change, they will not like it. Believe me when I say this coz I have had many arguments on this.

I once had a friend who had trouble with his man. He used to keep looking at other girls whenever they used to go anywhere. She felt so embarrassed but didn’t know what else to do. She tried talking to him, fighting with him and even threatening to leave. But she couldn’t change him to stop looking at other girls. So I thought I should ask guys, “What is it that men can’t stop looking at other girls”?

The unanimous answer was, “We’re animals, we just can’t help but look. We want to have sex with every girl we see in short skirt, but that doesn’t mean we want to have sex in reality. It just means that our brain somewhere is unconsciously ripping that girl’s clothes.”

So can men every change?

Probably no, but I do believe that if approached in a right way, things can be made better. If your man is eyeing another girl, there is no harm, is it? He still loves you but no harm in letting him get an occasional eye tonic. Don’t come on too strong on your man with a big list of do’s and don’ts.

In my opinion, men are in fact more understanding than women. Don’t tell them they are wrong, you do not want to hurt their ego. But if you explain certain things in a proper way, I’m sure they will change. Instead of putting him down by pointing his bad habits, try to boost him. Don’t try to change everything about them, if they were so bad you wouldn’t be dating them, right? Walk half way yourself and change your thinking to accept some of their shortcomings.

If you see a lot of issues, then walk out before anything gets serious. But if you have vowed for a lifetime of commitment, then stick to it and change the way you think about your man. Trust him when he says he loves you and I’m sure strong love will take you a long way of mutual understanding and mutual change. Don’t be his mother by trying to tell him every time what to do and what not to do. No man wants to date his mother.

To change your man, learn to change yourself!

14
Dec

The Confessions of a Guilty Soul

What is one of the worst experiences known to us? For me personally, it would be living with the “GUILT”. The feeling of guilt ties me up in knots and makes me feel unworthy and miserable. I know that it is not a real feeling, it is just a state of mind telling me that I have sinned and somewhere not gone by the books of moral law.

The thought that we have done something wrong is what causes us the guilt. But why do we think we have done something wrong? In the books of moral values everything is not black and white, many things are written as per the situation. For e.g. people say you should not lie, but then they say again that if you lie to protect someone it is not called as a lie. Now, I personally feel this is double standards. Saying or not saying the lie is a matter of one’s own perception. You can say a lie easily and still not feel guilty and there can be someone who would even say the tiniest of the lies and still be down with heart wrenching guilt.

Coming back to the question, how can we know whether we have done something wrong or not? The truth is that we judge ourselves or there are others who judge us and tell us that we have done wrong things. Consider a child, he says something rude to someone and still not feel guilty, unless we tell him/her that what he said was wrong and that he probably has hurt someone’s feelings.

Being guilty is a consequential feeling. In other words, you are taught to feel guilty when someone judges you. You go for a dinner party and people comment on your dress and you start feeling guilty for wearing something bad. In reality there is nothing like a good or a bad dress. If we were to think that, then Lady Gaga would be among the first person to be burdened under guilt for wearing the most horrendous clothes (no offense).

When you “feel guilty,” you think that you have done something wrong and you start judging yourself. This is a mental block, not emotional. The result is your energy becomes totally tied up in knots and pulls you in different directions at the same time, with no resolution possible. You are surrounded by negative energy all over you. You feel that you have committed a “sin” and you need to be punished.

The feeling is pretty awful. But you are a “good person”, so you punish yourself for being so bad by making yourself miserable. You are stuck; no matter what you do, you feel bad. It is a losing battle, an inner conflict where you lose no matter what you do! This creates a terrible mess in your body, psyche and energy field.

Yes guilt is an indication that you did something which you probably shouldn’t have done. It will help you not to repeat the same thing again, but don’t ever let guilt guide your decision making. If you have done something you really regret, apologize and stop doing it, otherwise dispense with guilt. Do not let guilt ruin your life.

Whenever I hurt someone’s feelings, I sense it and usually feel bad. Many times I also end up in the guilt trap but I pause for a moment, take a deep breath, go to the person and apologize. I once hurt a friend by being ignorant to him. My behavior and way of talking had become rude and insensitive and I ended up hurting my friend. When I realized what I was doing, I eventually went to him and apologized, explaining why I behaved this way. I ended up saying sorry multiple times until he actually forgave me. His forgiveness was the end to my guilt. The key is to own up to things you did wrong.  Take responsibility of your actions and apologize. Such a small thing and yet we end up forgetting it.

So, how do we actually get over the guilt?

Stop judging! There is no other solution than to stop judging our own self and to stop accepting judgment from other people as well. Feel your real feelings and not the ones that have been bombarded upon you by the judgment of other people. Nothing is good or bad or right or wrong. Stop thinking that anyone is wrong and you will be able to relax and come out of guilt. Always remember, forgiveness is simply giving up your own judgment about something. So start forgiving, stop judging and live happily.

06
Dec

Is First Love your True Love?

We read the story of Romeo and Juliet, think about the undying love they had for each other and start feeling that in fact first love is the true love. It might be for some but I personally feel that falling in love at an impressionable age can seriously damage your future love life. My first love was Tom Cruise when I saw him walking out of the aircraft in Top Gun holding his helmet in one hand. Boy! Did he look breathtaking or what, I was literally heads over heels for him but surely that cannot be my true love, right. In fact if I look back into my generation, I don’t think there was any girl who didn’t have a picture of Tom Cruise above her bed or under her pillow. Does that mean that all those girls had Tom Cruise as their true love? Certainly not, I hope!

Whether it was a high school sweetheart, your first real relationship after college, or the first person you said “I love you” to, chances are that you still hold fond memories of that person in your heart somewhere. There is no harm in having memories of the past, but if those memories make a constant appearance in your fantasies then it’s a sign to think again.

We all have at some point of our lives experienced a heart break from our first love and feel that our life is now over. We say to ourselves, “I will never love anyone the way I loved her/him”. We are devastated and we think that life has no meaning without him/her. And then comes along someone else who doesn’t sweep you off the floors, who does not make your heart skip a beat, but someone who cares for you, who understands you and who accepts you for who you are. You share thoughts, words and emotions that are not only sensual but deeply meaningful. That my friends is indeed your true love and you definitely should not lose that person over someone who is now just a fleeting memory of your past.

For me true love is a lifetime of experiences. True love is like a plant, you sow the seeds, put water every day and watch it grow. True love builds over time and has potential to last forever if cared for properly. True love is not about reaching the peak of orgasms, true love is a commitment made forever. It is so special that it fills your heart and explores emotions that directly touch your heart. True love is for lifetime as it brings together your soul, hear and mind. You become friends, lovers and share each and every thought and feeling. True love is sensual, passionate and sexual. The bonding is so deep that you forget who you are but what you have become. It’s a lifetime experience of flirting, talking and eroticism, it is not a one-time thing.

I do not say that first love cannot be true love. Even true love can start out as first love and grow through and survive all the stages of a relationship. The person with whom you get to experience happiness and pain apart from just kissing and sex, is your soul mate and your true love. It could be the first person you set your eyes on but if it is not then do not hold that person in your dreams coz it could spoil your relation with your real true love!

01
Dec

Are You Dating Your Smartphone?

Today I bumped into an old friend and we decided to have dinner at a newly opened classy Italian restaurant. It was a good place to sit and catch up. While we were sitting and talking about the good old times, I happened to glance at the couple sitting next to our table. They both were busy with their smartphones texting, facebooking and tweeting. When me and my friend were done with the dinner and were paying our bill, I noticed that the couple still had their head bent down and were glaring at their blue mobile screen while their hands were busy texting, facebooking and tweeting. They were not having any conversation, no eye contact and no smiles, just endless phone conversations with million other people with whom they were connected within the cyber world. What could have turned into a romantic date between two people had become a date of an individual with his smartphone.

Now, I do not deny the fact that I’m literally addicted to my smartphone. Being a Digital Junkie, I’m always connected via emails and messengers. I’m constantly replying to emails and chatting with clients and colleagues. My work is always on and does not stop even when I’m on the roads. But I always try to not let my phone distract me when I’m out with friends or family (Although on occasions I have been blamed for being non attentive to conversations and being busy with work on phone). Still in my opinion being always on the phone while on a date is simply rude, it’s better if you do not even go on a date if you plan to spend it having conversation with your smartphone instead of the date.

But when I saw that couple in the restaurant, a thought struck me. Technology has advanced to great levels which were not even imaginable few years ago but it has made us less focused on each other and more focused on what is happening everywhere else. Being engrossed in technology all the time has really changed the way we communicate these days. Instead of phone conversations, we text, we email, we tweet, but picking up the phone and dialing the numbers is just too cumbersome for us. Everything is becoming automated, less emotional and less personal. Now with the SIRI, I can only imagine how impersonal we will get, we will just rely on the phone to do things for us.

A date is a time of bonding for two people to know each other and spend time with someone you really care about. In fact a successful date is a milestone in deciding whether that person will be your soul mate or not. Now think about it, if you end up dating your smartphone instead, how you will know the person and if that person is perfect for you, you might even miss the opportunity of knowing him/her.

Many times I have been out with people I care about and I end up talking to my smartphone and I have duly being scolded for it. Be with people who are sitting with you and pay attention to them, period. Your smartphone maybe very smart but it is not smart enough to live life with forever.