Archive | October, 2018

Help me Handle my Big Worries – A Childs Perspective on Managing Anxiety

25 Oct

I know that you feel exhausted trying to calm me down when I act like a complete worry worm, but trust me, this worry drains me out  too.

I can see u frustrated, and that upsets me coz try what I may, I am not able to put into words exactly how I feel.

I appreciate your trying to protect me, shield me from being unhappy, but honestly, it doesn’t help.

I know you want me to get over my distress, and you try really hard, so I want to share with you a few things you could do for me, that would help me manage my worry.

  • Please don’t dismiss my fears. My fears are very real. When you brush them aside I feel unheard. Its okay to tell me that I will learn to manage my angst and that you will help me find a way through it. That makes me feel confident of facing my fears
  • Listen to me, I need time to put my feelings into words. Your reassuring comments only help if you have listened to me. Talk to me about my school, my friends, my day, and somewhere in the middle of all of that I will be able to tell you about what’s bothering me.
  • Sometimes I am worried about happenings in my everyday life – like if I’ll be able to recite the poem in my English class or if I will be a part of the football team. At other times I worry about big things like the train accident or the shootout I saw on television. The news can be pretty scary at times. Its to clear my doubts that I ask you so many questions, so please answer them patiently. It means a lot, when you respond without getting irritated.
  • It feels nice when you hug me or tickle me or even ruffle my hair. Your smile and your voice calms me coz I know I have your love and support.
  • Remember the time I was worried about who I’d sit beside, if my friend didn’t come to class. That day you made me think aloud about what I could do if he actually didn’t come. A bit of that thinking through my worry made me feel relaxed, and I was quite convinced I could manage getting through the day without my friend. Talking about what I could do to handle my fears reduces the confusions in my head.
  • At times my mind gets stuck in a cycle of unhelpful thoughts. All I can think of is about my fears and how incapable I am in handling them. It is painful. I need to be reminded of the awesomeness in me. Would you then remember to help me focus on my strengths and talents whenever the ‘worry wart’ in me takes over?
  • Its scary when my heart beats so fast and I have this terrible knot in my stomach and sometimes I feel faint. During these times please don’t ask me to Relax. I am absolutely jittery. Instead take me through the relaxation techniques that I see you do and stay with me.
  • I do make an effort. Trust me, I do. Although it may seem like I’m being obstinate or I’m pandering for attention, I do want to get over this constant feeling of unease. I trust you and your helping me with encouragement and patience will help me manage my fears.

 

 

 

 

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Feeling Valued – An innate universal need.

18 Oct

What does it really mean to feel valued?

It’s a feeling that says – You matter ; You make a difference.

It translates to feeling good about who you are and the talents and skills you possess.

It’s when you believe that your opinions and ideas are a worthwhile addition to the people who connect with you.

It’s when you have family and friends who care about your wellbeing and you can sense that care in all their interactions.

Feeling valued is different from being liked.

When you feel valued you know that your contribution to a conversation or in a relationship has been acknowledged and thought of as worthwhile.

As human beings all of us want to feel that we matter, and that people close to us care and cherish our presence –They respect and admire us, that we make a difference in their lives.

This endorsement gives us a sense of belonging and a desire to better ourselves each day.

Sadly, outside forces sometimes don’t give us this feeling of worth. Their actions or reactions or judgments sometimes leave us feeling disappointed. We begin to question our worth and feel small and not good enough.

This can have disastrous repercussions – You constantly end up giving way for others to do what they want at the expense of your needs and your happiness, You tolerate abuse and stay in the relationship because you aren’t sure of your ability to handle challenges on your own, You prefer to not take a stand on things as you don’t believe your ideas and views are constructive, you are complacent and don’t strive for greater things simply because you don’t think you deserve any better, and many such self defeating habits.

Looking for the world to give you that sense of worth is like putting yourself on trial only to be sentenced to a lifetime of self defeating beliefs.

We are all born with potential enough to live fruitfully. Recognizing this is the key to feeling valued.

The value you place on yourself is the only kind of worth that’s in your control. When you are comfortable in who you are and appreciate yourself and your worth, its then that you open the gateway to better relationships, better opportunities and a happier you.

Another key factor attached to valuing ourselves is our mental health. Feelings of shame, anger, pain are a byproduct of not feeling valued. These feelings then go on to get deep rooted and emerge as negative emotional states like depression and anxiety.

A quote that we need to keep at the top of our mind would be:

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

Buddha

It can be a difficult task to learn to value yourself after years of believing that you are not good enough. All the same it isn’t an impossible task.

Each day think of small actions you could do to remind yourself that your soul deserves nourishment and affection.

Write at least 3 things that you appreciate about yourself. Read them everyday to get a change in perspective during times when you need it most.

Get in touch with what’s meaningful to you and live by those values.

Einstein said “ if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.

Comparing yourself to others, is a sure way of sidelining all the awesome things you can do or have done. It undermines your own subjective well being. Be it a lifestyle choice or a faith tradition, make your own standards.

Find the time to practise a hobby. Seek out events on subjects close to your heart and make time to attend them.

Spend time each morning reflecting on what you have done or would like to do and continue the day doing most of the things that you had decided.

Practise acts of kindness. Make deeds of compassion and kindness a part of your daily routine. This simple skill is transformative in increasing your self value.

In a group get into the habit of speaking up for yourself. It may seem difficult initially but try it – it’s a liberating feeling.

Be accountable for all the going ons in your life.This way you don’t live a life of blame or justifications. Instead you take on challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

The struggle to feel valued is very real and often the least acknowledged.

Without this core emotional need the world does not feel a safe place to live in .

The only way to fulfill this compelling need is to develop it inside out.

Start by valuing yourself and slowly you will begin to attract it from the outer world.

Celebrating the brokenness of life

9 Oct

We humans revere perfection. Right from the time I can remember, the message I received from society has been, that we are valuable only if we are perfect.

At first you want to be that perfect child — being popular and having friends; then having the perfect partner, a perfect career graph that spells success, a perfect wedding only to follow it up with a perfect home and perfect children.

But life doesn’t follow our perfect plans. It springs up surprises when you least expect, leaving you shattered and fragmented. Your cherished perfect life gets tarnished with imperfections.

If we live life on the premise that things should be the way we want them to be, then all we get is disappointment and unhappiness.

Unless we learn to embrace the imperfections in our lives, we will stifle our heads with self criticism, isolate ourselves and never feel complete.

Imperfections are a part of creation and life gets so much more meaningful when we find beauty in the quirky anomalies, the flawed and the authentic.

Be it in Nature or in the people around us or even within ourselves- there is imperfection everywhere. And that’s a good thing. Once we accept this, we no longer have the need to chase perfection — harmonious relationships, fulfilling work, or an ideal family life

Instead we begin to embrace the asymmetry of life. Our flaws needn’t be hidden anymore but emblazoned with colour ; something akin to Kintsugi [Joining with gold]

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting together broken pieces of pottery with gold lacquer. The beauty of this technique is that no attempts are made to hide the flaws or brokenness of the object. The flaws are highlighted as part of the design with the gold lacquer which makes each piece unique and beautiful.

Kintsugi talks about healing. Whatever is the issue you are going through- loss of a loved one, breakup of a relationship or any other tragedy, Kintsugi shows us the value behind respecting what is damaged or scarred, be it an object, we ourselves or those around us.

It calls us to celebrate our scars and reconcile with the flaws and imperfections of life.

 Reframing hardships and weaving them into our lives can transform the shattered parts of our lives into something more resilient and resplendent.

The process of Kintsugi depends on certain preconditions-

· The mindset of the artist. Only if the artist believes in the possibility of creating something exquisite out of the broken pieces of ceramic, will he be able to engage in the metamorphic process of Kintsugi.

· The patience the artist exhibits. Its after the artist takes time to collect all the broken pieces,reassemble them, use the right tools, join them together with the gold inflected lacquer and patiently wait for the healing to take place that he can create something astounding

Similarly, with our lives, its only when realize that we can live with our imperfections and transform our fault lines into something that can be celebrated and displayed proudly, then our life becomes more valuable — Our life then will be a story of victory.

To quote the Persian Poet Rumi –

“I said: what about my heart

He said: Tell me what you hold inside it?

I said: Pain and Sorrow

He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the light enters you”