What we become

There’s always a rough patch around the corner waiting for you. As much as I want to be a person with a positive and sunny disposition, I cannot argue against this. Small or big, these patches await us all and they come and go as they please.

It could be a bitter argument, a time when money is tight or even losing a loved one. Each one chips away at us in its own way even if we don’t see it. You might find that things are just not the same after. I’ve had conversations which made me rethink entire relationships with someone. This summer I had went through the gruelling experience of fixing a big mistake I made.

When I think back to the days when I was working to correct things, I remember the kind of person I became. I created feelings of self-hate and loathed myself for a long time. Every day felt like I was paying for making a mistake and that I deserved it. I stopped doing things that made me happy. I stopped reading. I stopped listening to music. I was the only one punishing myself for making a mistake even after others forgave me. It seems almost silly now, but I was not then who I am now.

It took me a long time to start considering thoughts of acceptance and self-forgiveness and that didn’t come easy. Every day became replacing negative ideas with different ones. Every day became starting to forgive myself a tiny bit. And eventually, I put that horrid experience behind me and looked forward to better things.

To this day I think about the person I became after that rough patch. Someone filled with self-loathing. It wasn’t the person I’ve wanted to be. Perhaps the complete opposite. I’ve always wanted to help others and I’ve learned that I can’t do that unless I help myself first. You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself. That is who I chose to become. Someone who understands that simple fact. And I chose to start taking care of myself so that I could give back.

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” 

– Carl Jung

I’ll end with this thought: The day I realized that my hardships turned me into someone I didn’t recognize, I started looking for a way to correct myself. What happens to me cannot deter me from being the person I intend to become. It’s not strong enough to achieve that.

I hope you all stay safe, wear masks, check up on friends and family and let’s get through this responsibly!

Being yourself is hard

A few days ago, I was having a rough evening and I asked a friend, “Do you ever feel like being yourself is hard?” That question progressed into a long conversation and gave me a lot to think about. Today, I feel ready to write some of those thoughts down.

We are all wired a certain way. Some of it we control and some of it comes from the experiences and events we’ve had to live through. And the way we are defines our relationships with people. You could be the kind of person who likes to talk about what you’re feeling. Or you might be someone who doesn’t share much or shares in their own time. You could be someone who takes things seriously or someone who doesn’t.

Just like these, I have my own quirks. And they make some days and experiences hard to live through. And on those days, I ask myself, “should I not be this way?” or “Am I being someone wrong by being myself?”. The choices I make, the morals I try to live by and my faith in people are the three things I struggle with the most. So the question is whether being the way you are is supposed to give you hard days.

And the answer is absolutely. I have my reasons for being the way I am and maybe that’s something that doesn’t align with the way someone else is. No matter how much I’d like it to. I make certain choices and find out that I chose wrong. I try to live by certain morals and fail. I put my faith in people and they don’t come through sometimes. None of that equates to me being wired wrong.

I try (and often fail) to live by certain morals because I believe that’s the right thing to do, even it makes my life harder. And I put my faith in people because I’ve always had people who put their faith in me. I am the way I am because it works. It just doesn’t work everyday.

It’s not supposed to be a formula or a cheat sheet that lets you skip all the hard days in your life. You can’t switch to being someone else that may seem like they have their life figured. More importantly, you don’t need to. You are exactly what you were molded to be. And if you allow a spiritual opinion, you are exactly what you were meant to be.

You being you isn’t supposed to be easy because what you’re doing is being someone that no one has ever been or ever will be. And I pray this thought helps you brave some of those hard days that come from being yourself.

P.S. Hope you all are staying safe. Please use masks in public areas like stores and buses & let’s get through this responsibly!

Baby steps

I’ve recently found myself using the phrase ‘baby steps’ more and more in conversations. It comes up mostly whenever I am talking about rough/unproductive days and is surprisingly effective at getting the message across. The phrase just feels right. Despite the adorable nature of the phrase and setting aside mental images of pudgy babies stumbling around, let me tell you why I find it to be such an effective way to express myself.

As grown ups, we find ourselves juggling multiple things at the same time all the time. Take me right now. Currently, I am trying to study for school, to actively participate in two Toastmasters clubs, to find time to read, do laundry, meet up/stay in touch with friends after making promises and mostly to keep this blog running. I bet your schedule is way busier but I have trouble getting all of mine done as it is. As a result, I usually end up dropping the ball on something. An assignment left for the last minute, missing a Toastmasters meeting because I was working on the assignment till 3am or even just having a slow day when nothing gets done.

Now wind the clock all the way back to when you were learning how to walk. You were most likely bumping into stuff, relying on things for support and losing your balance after every few steps. Probably fell on your butt more than a few times and woke the neighbours up. But the point is you dropped the ball a lot of times. But, at that age it isn’t seen as wrongful or disappointing that you do. Instead, the act of taking baby steps is translated to “slowly but surely getting to where you want to be.” Literally.

I don’t mean to compare your difficult classes or hectic work projects to a baby walking but rather to how you treat yourself when you stumble. To me personally, the phrase articulates that I’m learning to be the version of myself that can manage my workload perfectly. A version that gets his school readings done on time so he can get to other readings of a more fictional nature. A version that checks up on his friends and gets the laundry done on time.

I think we’re all trying to be that person who can get all of our work done perfectly, but we’re just not there yet. We drop the ball because we’re human. And that can make someone think badly of themselves. Rather, think of those tough days as baby steps. Small, unsteady but necessary steps leading to a future where you get to walk down whatever path you choose. Literally.

So, don’t hate the unproductive days. Don’t hate yourself on those days. And if you ever find yourself on the floor after taking a fall, just remember.

Baby steps!