I think it would be a gross understatement if I said that my life is great. It’s blessed beyond belief, I say. But sometimes, I do fall into the trap of blaming myself for things happening in my life that I have no control over.
There’s this certain phase of my life that I’m passing through that had kept me more on the edge than usual. I don’t think it’s necessary to go into the deets of what actually happened, but it is safe to say that after a couple months of feeling this way, I finally am back in my normal head space and I’m currently enjoying being my lowkey self.
The most important thing I learnt is that it never does any good to be bitter about life’s lessons. It doesn’t help if you’re learning from your mistakes but you’re, at the same time, killing yourself for messing up in the first place.
There’s also a fine line between bravery and stupidity; between doing some new and something unnecessary. I think I’ve learnt how to distinguish the two.
There’s also a certain flair in being able to love yourself deeply enough to forgive yourself for your mistakes, but also rationally enough to stop you from making the same mistakes going forward, and that’s something I learnt in the summer.
One of the happiest things I’ve done this week is buy a ukulele and play it all the time. Whenever I get the chance. I was playing it before I started writing, and I probably will once I finish writing too. It is a beautiful instrument. I’m in love with it.
I feel like I’m back in the mindspace that I was in right after New Year, where everything was sorted out in my head, problems weren’t problems at all- just exercises. I flew right through my grade 9 finals without feeling a tinge of doubt or anxiety. If I felt anything in those 2 weeks, it was amusement at myself for ever thinking the finals were gonna be hard. I was never in a bad mood for more than 3 minutes, and that’s a fact.
I can tell, from the way I’ve been for the last week or so, that I’m going back to being that way.
A lot of people my age have this issue of being disconnected from their passions and their everyday lives. Luckily, I don’t have this problem. At least, not all the time.
I am so grateful to say that I do what I love, and I absolutely love what I do. These things vary from trigonometry and evolutionary biology to music technology and blogging. And if we’re being honest, it also includes dancing to This is America when no one’s around. Honestly, Donald Glover’s moves are SICK.
I also have the pleasure of connecting and collaborating with people who love the same things that I do. This is true especially in the blogverse. Over the last one year that I’ve been blogging, I have talked to people from all over the world and we have shared ideas that help everyone. I have become more self-reliant, self-confident and I have learnt how to make a mark for myself. The fact that I can now change people’s minds with what I write is the biggest achievement of my journey so far as a writer.
And this feeling of love has also made its way into another part of my life which I don’t really talk about much on my blog-school. I have taught myself to stay strong in the face of adversity and extreme boredom. I have learnt to push myself to new limits without burning out in the process. Over the last few weeks, I have come to love and appreciate myself more strongly than I EVER have in my life. And I love this feeling that I love everything I do.
I have a feeling that I’m going to change this soon. For good.
By the time you read this, I will have been in 10th grade for about a week now. Remember that time when I made a post about 9th grade? It’s the same experience all over again-just now there seems to be a deathly aura all around us at school. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love being in 10th grade, I love learning new things again, I love being able to organize my life and focus on something new. I love cleaning out a slate and starting fresh with a year’s worth of wisdom to help me get better and smarter and stronger. It’s just that the idea of 10th grade tends to stress us out. Primarily because of the boards. Really, there’s no other reason. And no matter how much you want to just ignore this anxiety that everyone seems to have, it will get to you soon. Better to acknowledge it than fight it.
I, too, acknowledged this way before I even entered into 10th grade. I know that I’m going to have to work harder than I ever have this year, not because it’s hard, but because it will feel hard if I don’t push myself a little bit above the rest.
But the key here, as my mum said (love you ma), is to work hard with a sense of ease. She said, “You can be successful and still be as happy as you want.” I know this might seem very obvious, but this is very hard to put into practice. Believe me, I know. When you put your heart into something, you tend to perceive the situation as a high-stakes battle. That’s just not the case.
So, for 10th grade, my main goal is to combine what I love — learning — with what I need to do — step way out of my comfort zone and sphere of knowledge to really excel at studies more than I ever have.
And what will the status of this blog be?
Honestly, I don’t know.
I know for sure that my weekends will be filled with extra studying and mock tests and olympiad preparation and I don’t know how I’m going to fit posting into that hectic schedule. But what I do know is that I love this as much as I love myself. And when you love something that much, you always manage to do it.
Emotionally intelligent people recognize their emotions as responses, not accurate gauges, of what’s going on. Most of the time, our feelings happen to be related to our own, objective perspective of a situation, not what’s actually going on. So next time when your mind tells you your life sucks (or something on the same spectrum of thought), stop for a second and tell yourself this:
My thoughts are not my reality.
They don’t let their emotions depend on others’ actions.
This is something that we usually hear. We’ve all read the quote: ” Don’t leave the keys to your life in someone else’s hands.” I guess you have. If you haven’t before, now you have!
Realize that your emotions aren’t somebody else’s fault, and therefore, not anyone else’s problem. Tell yourself that whatever you’re feeling is a cause of your own actions, instead of becoming a passive aggressive grumpy person, who blames everyone else for her unpleasant state of mind.
They don’t assume to know what it is that will make them truly happy.
Let go of all expectations of what does or doesn’t make you happy. That is something that will keep changing as you grow. As a kid, drawing might make you smile, while now, you might say it’s playing the guitar.
They don’t think that being fearful is a sign that they are on the wrong path.
In reality, indifference is a sign of being on the wrong track. Fear just means that you care about something so much that you will do anything to protect it. Such fear must be accepted, not condemned. Just don’t let this fear stop you from doing all the things that you want to do in life.
They don’t feel the need to be happy all the time.
They are aware that happiness is a choice, but not a sustained state of joy. It is not humanly possible to experience only one emotion your entire life. It doesn’t matter if that emotion is the best feeling in the world. Like happiness.
It is important that we understand that happiness is a choice, not a sustained state of joy. It is important that we allow ourselves to experience every feeling we encounter, without trying to manipulate it. The more you let go, the more you’ll feel free.
They don’t think that infallible composure means emotional intelligence.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my half yearly exams, it’s that just because you don’t make mistakes, it doesn’t mean that you are intelligent. In most cases, it happens to be the opposite. To become truly strong, you must be willing to try, and fail miserably, many times. The more you fail, the more you know how not to fail the next time. That’s true intelligence.
They don’t think that their feelings will kill them.
This is something that I openly struggle with on a lot of occasions. I often get into a negative thought spiral, arising from my self-doubts, and before you know it, I’m questioning my existence as it were the weirdest thing that ever happened in the universe.
Over the months. I have realized that a feeling is definitely not going to shape my life (unless I want it to), and so it’s not worth losing sleep over. I’ve realized that all feelings, however ecstatic or depressing in nature, will pass with time, and so they are really not something that you should contemplate your life over.
They don’t just become close friends with anyone.
In her book How To Be A Bawse, Lilly Singh says that your mind is a huge fortress. Only you know all (or most) of its winding paths and mazes. You can invite people over for dinner to the ballroom in your fort, you might take a few on a tour of your private gallery, but you wouldn’t show someone all the little roads and rooms, would you?
I find this to be a great analogy to show that we shouldn’t really open up to each and every person who enters our lives. We must be mindful and fully aware of who we allow into our lives and hearts.
They don’t confuse a bad feeling for a bad life.
Does this statement need any explanation, really? I think I might just make a quote out of this. Let it be your motivation for today.
One of the best things you can do during vacations, especially in the mornings, is cycling. Not only does it boost you with motivation for the entire day, but it also helps you clear your head. Cycling is easy, not very straining on your body, and it is a great way to increase your health and stamina. So tomorrow morning, take your friends with you and go on a ride. Go on. It’ll be fun, I promise.
Read a book you never thought you would.
I emphasise on the second part of the heading. It’s easy to read a book that you know you’re gonna read because you’ve already made up your mind about it. I don’t want you to read the book you bought for your birthday, or the new book release from Hank Green, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (although you should buy it- it’s great), or the book you’ve been wanting to read for ages. Save those for later, honey.
I want you to pick up a book from the back of your bookshelf, one that you never knew existed, or one that you simply forgot about, sit down, and read it. I want you to do this because it will open your mind to new ways to excite itself. And this applies for most things in life, not just books. By constantly finding new things that you love, you are stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning to enjoy new, completely different things in life.
Great, you’ve read a book. Now, it’s time for you to write! It doesn’t need to be really good (*cough* like this one *cough*), or properly structured. It doesn’t even need to make sense at first. All you need to do is put your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper. The more you do this, the easier it will become. This site is an example of that.
If you start to write consistently, you’ll start to notice that you’re able to think more clearly. The more you become comfortable with writing down your thoughts, the more you become comfortable with your thoughts.
I can almost see my friends cringing badly as they read that word. We millennials seem to hate the idea of meditating so much, but I just don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we are so used to running around doing stuff (basically just running around in circles), and we’re kinda afraid of stopping. And I totally get that.
If you can, and you honestly should, take 2 minutes out of your schedule in the morning and just breathe. If you’re drowned by your own thoughts, accept them all and continue breathing. Some great mobile apps for meditation are:
Oh my god, I cannot even EXPLAIN how much time management helps you organize your life. The moment you set your priorities right and schedule everything properly, life becomes 10 times clearer. But I’m not a time-management expert. Creating a schedule that’s right for you takes lots of time and effort getting to know yourself better.
In order to properly manage time, you need to understand what uses up most of your time in the first place. Then, you need to get rid of the stuff that’s a pure waste of your time. That’s half the job done. The other half is to do the things that matter the most to you and doing them with full commitment, in the time that you have. And if you ever don’t have enough time to do the things that you want to, then make the time for them.
There’s always time.
Learn a new language.
I might have said this earlier, but I’m going to say it again. Learning a new language is the best way to use your free time. I mean it when I say that. I’ve been learning Spanish on Duolingo for more than a year now, and the experience has been extremely gratifying. There’s something very rewarding in putting a little bit of effort every day into learning something, which, over time, becomes a skill that’s stronger than you ever could imagine. The bottom line is this: learning a new language is an investment that lasts for a lifetime, and you should definitely get into it.
Socialize. With the right people.
ok, coming from an introvert, that word just sounds WRONG in my head, but I gotta admit, the experience of meeting strangers is worth it. But only if the strangers are a valuable addition to your life. Over time, such strangers become your closest and most loyal friends, who genuinely care and hope for the best for you. It’s an equally exhilarating experience to make friends with people who you never expected to be friends with.
So, to my fellow introverted friends, I encourage you to take a risk, step way outside of your comfort zone, and just go make a few new friends today. I’m going to go do that right now.
Just go make a few new friends today.
Brush your teeth twice a day.
Yeah, well, I don’t really mean just that. I mean “keep yourself well groomed and reasonably hygienic.” It’s fine if you don’t bathe sometimes. I mean, it’s the vacations! Who’s got the time or interest to bathe?! Still, you probably should love yourself enough to care about your own wellbeing. The best way to take care of yourself is by making the tasks automated. And the best way to make tasks automated is to do them first thing in the morning or last thing before sleeping. That’s how most tasks work (eg: brushing).
So, starting tomorrow, create one new self-care habit for the morning, and one for the night. It can be anything from applying moisturizing lotion on your skin to combing your hair. It doesn’t matter, as long as you do it with love (omg, so cheesy) and do it consistently.
To all Indians: Have a happy Dusshera, and happy vacations!
Over the last two or three weeks, I have made a conscious effort to make my life better. I’ve been thinking happier thoughts, I’ve been more charismatic and easygoing around my friends, and I’ve done everything I possibly could to make my life better.
And it’s been working!
Two days ago, my friend and I won the city semifinals of a quiz competition, and won ourselves a trip to a 5-Star hotel in Mumbai for the finals, along with a Bluetooth speaker and a cash prize of Rs.20000. I cannot believe that that happened, because I haven’t had that happen to me in a long time. I am proud of myself for going through the uncomfortable process of doing new things because that has helped me succeed in various facets of life.
But everything has its limits, and too much of anything is bad. That includes being happy. And so, I hit a roadblock yesterday, when my recent success overwhelmed to the point of self-hate and despair. I went from being my best possible self to my worst, in a matter of hours.
I know that I want the most exciting, interesting and fun life I can possibly have, but it’s not worth it if I have to put the rest of your life away and make time only for novel experiences.
You know what the worst part about winning the quiz was?
The way people were reacting to this.
I am not ungrateful to anyone about this opportunity. In fact, I am very, very thankful to everyone who believed in me and made this possible.
What I didn’t like is the way people are cashing in on this success, and acting like I’m some “miracle girl”. Like I’d achieved something so great that the entire world needed to stop and appreciate me for my hard work.
I’m not undermining my feat. Nor am I undermining the effort I put in for this.
I just wished people would act professionally about this, congratulate me, actually be curious about what my friend and I did, and offer to help me for the finals.
But no! The people only care about congratulating me, glorifying me, saying yayyyy all the time, but they don’t actually care about ME.
This might seem very self-derogatory or self-defeating, but believe me when I say I have no little respect for myself than I did before this happened. If anything, my self-respect has grown by miles and bounds. I can’t express in words how proud I am of myself and how satisfied I feel.
I just wish I could deal with this situation in a better way.
It is a new experience, after all.
I know it sounds ungrateful that I felt sad at a time that I should have been jumping in joy, but the sheer magnitude of my success consumed me in the worst way possible. I felt like I deserved to congratulated for my efforts, but as reality was different, I felt rather disappointed.
Now, the next day, I have gotten over the sadness and I’m back to looking forward and thinking about my improvement. I learnt yesterday that the problem was that I had been carrying too much emotional baggage with me all the time, and any additional stress inevitably would have tipped my balance and made me buckle under pressure. I learnt that the key to letting of all the things that disturb you is not to discard them but to accept them and forgive yourself for any harm they ever caused you.
After forgiving myself, I continued to be my happy, quirky self, but now, I accepted every flaw that ever existed in me, realizing that my quirks are what make me different and make me succeed at things that mean a lot to me. I know that this is something that we hear all the time, but when we actually do it in real life, the process of letting go and accepting yourself and the world around you is the most exhilarating thing you can ever experience.
Thank you for reading this post, which is really something of an angry rant. Some of the greatest advice that I’ve gotten from my writer friends is that the best time to write in a flow is either when you’re very passionate about something or when you’re very angry about something. You could say that this post is a bit of both.
If you or anyone you know feels this way a lot, please leave a comment below or share this post, and I would love to have a conversation with you. It’s always great to talk to people who feel the same way about life as I do.
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will. — Charlotte Bronte
Why Being Independent Matters So Much
It boosts your confidence.
Independence and the ability to hold yourself high is a big boost to your self-confidence and self-esteem. To most, the idea that they don’t need to depend on someone else for their own happiness puts them on a track of self-belief. To me, the fact that I can take care of myself is a huge motivator and this drives me to be my own hero!
Less reliance on others
The more you rely on yourself for getting things done, the more you’re likely to get done! But it is easier said than done. However, if you keep exercising your independence like a muscle, you will obviously get better with time. Soon, independence will change from a habit to a way of life, and you will achieve things that you never even dreamt of dreaming.
Better decision making
Self-reliance does something magical to your brain. It clears all the foggy, misdirecting thoughts and internal fears in your brain, making it easier for you to think with clarity. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to think clearly without any stress clouding your judgment, isn’t it?
More time for personal development and creativity
Letting go of external circumstances that influence you can have a big effect on your daily lifestyle. When I was less independent than I am right now, I would waste so much of my time at home, going over situations that I believe could have gone better. Whatever I’m doing, a nagging voice in the back of my head would keep whining, ” The day has gone bad, and it’s your fault.” This self-defeating self-talk would kill my willpower and happiness, forcing me to depend on someone else for my mental health.
But now, I don’t care about what circumstances that come my way, I just accept it and move on. As for that evil voice in my head, I’ve put it to sleep for good. My focus has been shifted to improving and nurturing my own personality.
“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” — Bruce Lee
Increases your self-value
Making the decision to stand up for yourself teaches you the importance of self-worth. When you realize the true extent of your strengths as an individual, you strive to do everything in your power to protect those strengths and nurture them. You accept yourself for your flaws, for your innumerable cracks and quirks, because you now realize that these are a part of your core personality. You take pride in knowing that you are everything you want to be, and everything you will be in the future.
How To Increase Your Independence In Your Daily Life
Learn to enjoy your own company.
Embrace the feeling of being alone. It might seem pessimistic and introverted to distance yourself from normal surroundings for a while. But in a world increasingly focused on speed and competitiveness, solitude is precious and something to be treasured.
Solitude gives you time to reflect on life and greater meanings of the world. Every day, try to spend some of the time you spend alone to focus on yourself. Make time to be introspective and think about your life. Consider where you are and where you’re going. Think about your short and long-term goals. It will help you find calmness in a world of growing chaos.
Engage in tasks that require your best efforts.
When you force yourself to focus only on the tasks that require all of your concentration, you block yourself from all others distractions that can lower your self-esteem. For example, whenever I’m feeling a little depressed, I play the guitar, sing or write. These are tasks that need me to be 100% in the moment, keeping my mind free of any distractions that will negatively affect me.
This also works if you’re trying to be more independent. If you do things that put you in a state of extreme focus and concentration, you’re more likely to do it on your own. The more you do things this way, the less dependent you’ll be on other people.
Talk to yourself. Understand what you want and what you need.
Please, please, please read what I’m saying very carefully: NOTHING MATTERS MORE THAN THE FACT THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW YOURSELF TO HELP YOURSELF. It doesn’t matter whether you just want to solve a personality type test or if you’re trying to get yourself out of a situation of self-despair. If you don’t know what in the world your mind thinks of itself, you’re busted. Why? Because you don’t know what you really want in life. You don’t know why some things make you smile and some make you cry, and so you don’t know how to make yourself better.
Getting to know yourself isn’t a cakewalk. But just like getting to know anyone else, it requires time and effort. It requires that you go out of your way to make sure what you’re doing makes sense and feels right not to your friends, your relatives or your pet cat, but to you. You must be willing to be vulnerable to yourself, in order to fully, truly be yourself.
Independence in my life has opened me up to a beautiful, vivid world outside of my bubble of fears and doubts. It has allowed me to treat life, not as a task to tick off a list, but as a gift. I have stepped way outside my comfort zone, something that I never would have done, and in doing so, I have been able to enjoy my life with clarity and a sense of gratitude. I have stopped looking at myself as insignificant, and I have started believing that I do have some value in this world.
The last one week has made me feel much more alive than I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve tried new things, made a fool of myself, pushed myself to new limits, and most importantly, GROWN FROM THE INSIDE.
But opening up to myself at such a level was not easy. to do. It was something I had been putting off for a long time because I was too afraid to know myself. But now that I have, I feel free.
If you’re reading this, first of all: thank you! You successfully read an 1100-word essay! Second: Thank you for your time and attention. It really means a lot to me that my writing gets noticed so much, and words cannot express my gratitude towards every single one of you who reads my stuff.
This post has been pretty personal for me (not that the others aren’t) because it’s made me think about my own struggles with self-love. It’s made me realize that ever since I started blogging 7 months ago, I’ve become WAY stronger and happier than I was, say, a year ago. I’ve learnt to love myself on a scale that I’ve never done before, and all the credit to my happiness goes to you, dear readers. You have made my life colourful, exciting, and full of amazing opportunities.
I love all of you. Thank you for making my life beautiful.