Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Five Habits Which Foment Discontent

Discontent as such is not a bad emotion.It stirs when we realize that something is not right and then it motivates us to work hard,achieve our targets and climb up the evolutionary ladder.But disgruntlement about every minor issue can devolve into an Anxiety Disorder.

Today only a small percentage is contented with the kind of life it leads.Most people are dissatisfied with who they are,where they are,and how they are.Very often it is not a person's circumstances but his outlook toward life which causes discontent.Five habits in particular,add fuel to this fire:-
  1. Comparisons-No two human beings are alike,nor their life conditions,strengths and weaknesses.It is but natural that their achievements and their stature too should differ.Unfavorable comparisons generate unnecessary stress.
  2. A hunger for more and more-Some people have this innate urge for acquiring more and more of everything-whether it be wealth,material possessions,awards or fame- which is never fulfilled.As a result they are always on the edge.
  3. Perfectionism-Perfectionists strive for excellence but it is not possible to be perfect in everything one does.Things can go wrong because of many factors.Unfinished tasks,poorly executed plans,or misfired attempts create a lot of unrest in such people.
  4. Unfulfilled Expectations-These are a huge source of discontent.We all feel sorry when our hopes are belied.The only remedy is to not have many expectations-the lesser the expectations,the greater the tranquility.We cannot change others,we can only change ourselves.
  5. Not Accepting Reality-Certain things are preordained-like where,in which family,with what kind of abilities you are born.Fuming about these things serves no purpose.Then there are tragedies,calamities,age,and illness,over which too,we have no control.Such happenings are painful for all,but ultimately,just incorporating these setbacks in our lives and going on from there is the only way.Seething about the injustice of it all aggravates misery.
Like many other things,discontent too has many facets.If it can zoom us up the social hierarchy,it can also push those seeking instant gratification into the labyrinth of illegal activities.A potent antidote for overpowering discontent is to be grateful for what we have.In the end,what better way to sum up this topic than in the words of Eckhart Tolle--
"Discontent,blaming,self-pity cannot serve as a foundation for a good future,no matter how much effort you make"

Taken from--
 https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/discontent.html

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Pit of #Self-pity

I don't know about you all but I have found
that whenever I am seething with rage,discontent,or a feeling that I have the shoddiest life possible;at the bottom of it all is--much though I hate to admit it--self-pity.

There are times when self-pity is called for and times when it is not.It is natural to pity oneself when in the midst of a tragedy,but here I am talking of the small stuff,the day-to-day hassles like a tiff with a loved one,the daily help on leave,lots of stuff on one's plate,very little leisure time,not being invited to a friend's party,no fun in life,etc etc.

These might seem like pin-pricks to you but they are enough to throw me into the slush of self-pity.I become surly and snap at whoever crosses my path.Those who know me maintain a safe distance,and then I feel lonelier than ever.The atmosphere of my home crackles with uncertainty,anything could happen!One small grievance becomes the cause of many more unpleasant experiences.All because my maid took two days' leave,or the cooler of my room had stopped working.In this way I generate many more reasons to pity myself.

We all feel self-pity now and then but the problem starts when it becomes a signature tune.Cognitive distortions like Black and White Thinking or filtration are often responsible for it.We overlook all that is hunky-dory and obsess over pesky irritants.And then there are comparisons-if we keep comparing ourselves with those who are smarter,wealthier stronger or more successful than us,then we can never be happy.Sometimes we also do it to draw attention to ourselves. Emotional trauma like a breakup,separation or a major failure or loss too,can ignite self-pity.

It is cathartic to shed tears and grieve for a while but ultimately self-pity does more harm than good.

It prevents us from trying to achieve that,which we envy in others.We have this blanket excuse that the cosmos is against us,we do not have the facilities which others enjoy.We overlook the fact that the impediments which we believe are holding us back,are commonplace problems which others faced and overcame.Self-pity gives us an excuse for being an underachiever and taking life easy. 

Indulging in self-pity in order to gain sympathy or help from others does not  work for long.After a while it begins to annoy people.It is viewed as fake behavior and people being busy with their own problems,do not like to be drawn into imaginary or exaggerated woes.It becomes counter productive.It also spoils our public image.We are likely to be slotted as weepy whiners.

What's more,our happiness becomes contingent upon others reactions.If they sympathise with us we are happy,and if not,we become even more dejected than we were before.

Self-pity prevents us from paying heed to our family,friends and the people around us.They might be looking to us for love or support,but we being consumed with our own miseries,do not get their signals.We let them down.In this way we deprive ourselves of the happiness which comes from a bunch of warm relationships.

Playing the victim is much easier than taking charge of our lives,but if we can get out of this cocoon,we shall be rewarded with better chances of success and happiness.

If you want to relinquish this habit then first of all determine which facet of life is causing you the maximum misery.Is it your health,family,friends,love life,career or your financial condition?Pick up that one factor which never fails to depress you.Can you change it?Or at least tone it down?Do whatever can be done to ease your situation and whatever deficit remains;learn to live graciously with it.

You must remember that love,luck,success and happiness are not distributed evenly in this world.There are certain things with which everybody has to compromise.Lamenting about them only makes things worse.Self-pity is not a good coping mechanism.There are no benefits,only disadvantages.Next time when you are on the verge of throwing a pity party,stop.Consider what it will do to you.And turn back.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Six Habits Which Can Keep You Subpar.

Habits are diehard ways of thinking and behaving which make us who we are.Gradually,they rule out many options from our lives because the comfort of old habits prevents us from attempting anything new.You can call it a desire to live in our comfort zones.

But sticking religiously to old habits keeps us from evolving and becoming sharper.We are witnessing massive changes around us in this era.It is not easy to keep abreast of all those changes but it becomes almost impossible if we are bogged down by our old habits.Here are a few examples:--
  • Following a fixed routine-If you are doing today what you have been doing for the bygone weeks,months or years,where is the need for your brain to strain itself?It will snooze in it's comfort zone because it too needs exercise like any other organ of the body to work at its optimum capacity.
  • Refusing to try anything new-This is partly like the aforesaid habit but it has wider ramifications.Technology has invaded every aspect of life today.Numerous needs can be fulfilled at the click of a button but if we continue to do things the old way,the brain slows down and our personality loses it's spark.We also waste a lot of time doing what could have been done in a jiffy.
  • Keeping aloof-It is not media alone which informs us about the developments which can make life easier for us.People around us can fill in the gaps if our knowledge is incommensurate  and the tech-savvy can be roped in to learn the tricks.
  • Not asking questions-We avoid asking questions in order to conceal our ignorance but in the process we become more and more ignorant.We may pretend that we know it all but others can easily see through this facade.This tendency is responsible for us remaining ignorant in many fields.
  • Rejecting criticism-There are two kinds of critics-those who wish to pull us down and those who have our welfare at heart.When we reject the second kind we lose an opportunity to improve ourselves.
  • Lack of curiosity-Newton's curiosity about the reason for an apple falling off the tree led to phenomenal changes in our views about the world we inhabit.It is curiosity which introduces us to new domains and enlarges the field of  our knowledge.
Not only do above habits prevent us from keeping pace with this fast changing world, they also nibble at our self esteem.Changing the very basic ways of conducting our affairs is certainly not easy, but incorporating at least some of these changes in our lifestyles will enable us to become one of a cluster and not  an isolated dot.