How to stop feeling guilty?

The other day I committed a grave mistake in office. No damage occurred but a lot of time went down the drain. I should have been a bit more careful and double checked the code.
 
The moment I realised that a mistake happened I felt guilty. I did not have a face to face the reality. But then feeling guilty won’t solve the problem.
 

Why do you feel guilty?

 
You have certain expectations from yourself. When you don’t meet those expectations you start feeling guilty. Others can also make you feel guilty that you did not live up to their expectations.
 

How to stop feeling guilty?

 
When someone blames you or when you blame yourself, you will end up feeling low. Constant guilt might drive you into depression too. By feeling guilty you are not helping anyone.
 

Follow this 4-step process when you feel guilty

 
Step 1:
 
Tell yourself that it is okay to make a mistake. No one is guilt free. You forgive yourself for the mistake.
 
“ I made a mistake in hurry. I did my best I could then. I am a human, so my work is prone to errors. I forgive myself for this.”
 
Step 2:
 
What value of yours was broken when it made you feel guilty? Is the value outdated? Or does it matter even now?
 
“ I broke my value of rechecking. It is important no matter where and when.”
 
Step 3:
 
Fix the mistake and the harm done because of the broken value.
 
Step 4:
 
What can you do to let the value not be broken again?
 
“ I tend to make a mistake when I am in hurry. From next time, I will spend more time and not rush things.”
 
You could have hushed your guilt feeling without actually feeling it. But then it will haunt you wherever you go.
 
Instead when you deal with it in the above process, you will be facing the guilt real time and making peace with it forever.
 
Which one do you think is better? How do you deal with your guilt?
 
Let us know in the comments section.
 
Happy being guilt free!
 

Family Traditions: Why they matter?

As soon as January comes, it was a bunch of excitement in my school days. On the 31st December night, my dad used to get three different types of potato chips. Then we used to play chits till clock stroke 12 and sleep only after calling all the relatives.

During Pongal, we prepare a special meal and sweets which won’t be prepared during any other time of the year. My mom prepares the sweet so tasty that I don’t like it from any other sweet shop. I absolutely love flying kites with my uncles.

An all India exhibition is held in my city every January. It is my family’s routine to visit that. Irrespective of what we buy or what we don’t buy, we have a mirchi bajji, rose milk and doodh Pedha there.

Today, when January is almost at the end, I miss my childhood. The yearly routines and traditions we celebrated as a family. I went to attend the republic day celebrations today all alone. Even though it was beautiful, nothing can beat the traditions which I shared with my family.

Why should you have family traditions?

1.Strengthens relations

Irrespective of when the festival is and whichever city each of the family member is in, we make it a point to go home. Family tradition forces to make you meet at least this way. It strengthens the already existing bond.

2.Improves well-being

A family tradition gives you positive energy and happiness. It is something you look forward to and totally enjoy. This further contributes to overall well being.

3.Increases sense of belonging

When you repeatedly share the same activity with a group of people, you start feeling more secure around them.

What are some easy family traditions which you can follow?

1.Food

My mom has a different list of special food items for each festival. We eagerly look forward to every festival just to enjoy the food. In a particular month, every Monday evening we make fruit custard. I look forward for Monday evenings in the Month.

You can also have weekly, monthly or occasional food festivals at home. Even though it sounds like looking forward for food, it is also about looking forward to spending time with family.

2.Photos

For every festival, we click photos in various permutations and combinations. My hard disk is completely filled with the festival name followed by the year in which we clicked them. We are neither expert photographers nor expert posers. We just enjoy clicking photos with the family.

3.Clothes

Irrespective of how our family financial conditions are, we go as a family to purchase clothes for Dasara.

4.Events

Once in two years, we go out on a vacation. Every january, we visit the exhibition. These are the events which we attend. They are not really expensive. You can as well go for a movie or to a museum.

5.Gifting

Birthdays become special for the gifts we receive. Apart from birthdays, you can set aside a specific day in the year, to gift too. Who doesn’t like sweet surprises? Gifting also helps in understanding each other better.

6.Playing

We play ludo every sunday afternoon. If it is summer holidays, we play carroms every night in our backyard. You can also set some time aside to play the games your kids enjoy.

What are your family traditions? Which ones do you miss the most? I would love to know. Share it with us in the comments section.

Happy starting family traditions!

Why should you forgive?

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

I was angry with a friend. She insulted me. Her words were replaying in my head over and again. Whenever I had some free time, those words came up in my head. I was replaying the hurt again and again. I had to stop it. I found it really difficult to accept that she could stoop that low. But that was the truth. After reading about cognitive distortions, the only way out I found was to let go off the thoughts. For that, I need to forgive her.
 
I immediately switched my mind and thought about the situation from her perspective. She was being immature but then that was the only way she could find to cover her mistakes. She had to defend. I decided to forgive her immaturity.
 
I am at peace now.
 
Even though I narrated the incident in a simple way, it was never this simple. Not this incident alone, whenever I had to forgive, I always found it difficult.
 

Why do you struggle to forgive?

 
1.You are afraid of being hurt again
Whenever I forgave, I forgot the incident too. I behave as if nothing really happened. By doing that, I gave the other person the power to hurt me again. Over time, I realised my mistake. Now I draw the line a little farther than before. By doing this, I have removed the privilege for the person to hurt me.
 
2.You are afraid that they will take you for granted
They are for sure going to take you for granted. But then you need to redefine the rules of your relationship. You can explain to the other person what you are ready to accept and what you will not.
 
3.You are afraid of losing your power
It is never a healthy relation if you are talking about who holds the greatest power. Rethink about the way you are looking at relations.
 

Why should you forgive?

 
1.Reduces negativity
When you ruminate on the negativity someone else imposed on you, you will magnify and displace the emotions on others too. You will go down spirally and hit the rock bottom. It is not a fun place to reach or stay. Stop the thought chain before you are thrown into the spiral.
 
2.Increases happiness
The one who is ready to forgive is more open to expand the relations. The more social a person is the more chances for him to feel connected. Greater the well-being, greater is the happiness.
 
3.Reduces health problems
A mild illness in the body signifies a negative thought process. The ones who are prone to heart attack are the ones with hypertension. The more you harbour anger, the higher your blood pressure goes. Do you want all this fuss for not being able to forgive? Why do you want to suffer for someone else’s immaturity?
 
When was the last time you found it difficult to forgive? What did you do then?
 
Happy letting go things!

Why is comparing yourself to others bad for you?

Ram and Shyam went to the same coaching center to prepare for GMAT. They discussed together and wrote the exam on the same day. Ram scored 740 while Shyam scored 670. Shyam has highly dissatisfied and went around telling people how Ram was lucky to get 740 even though both prepared together.
 
What does Shyam gain through this?
 

  1. Sympathy for his loss
  2. Make hard work of Ram look like luck

 
But what does it actually look like for others?
 
Shyam is feeling entitled.
 
I once had a friend who went around telling how her manager treats her like shit when compared to others in her team and how she deserves the best projects. It was not just work. She used to talk the same way about every aspect of life. She was only comparing all the time.
I was so fed up after a certain time that I avoided going for lunch and snacks break with her.  
 

What happens when you compare yourself to others?

 
1.You will sound entitled
 
Just like my friend, you will end up becoming a repeller. It feels annoying for people to hear to your endless ‘ I am entitled’ stories. You will also stop putting in efforts because you think you already deserve it.
 
2.People will avoid you
 
Your friends will understand that tomorrow you are going to compare yourself with them.
 
3.They will think you are a loser
 
You don’t become the champion by undermining others efforts.
 
4.You will reduce your chances at success
 
When your focus is on others, you are losing out on the bigger picture. The strategy. Work on yours. If needed, copy their strategy shamelessly as long as it is not illegal.
 
5.Your scarcity mentality will grow
 
There is enough luck for everyone on the earth. With others getting what they want does not reduce your chances of working towards it.
 
6.You will feel more inferior
 
Whatever you focus on, it will magnify. If your focus is on why others got and not you, only that inferiority feeling magnifies. You are comparing in the first place because you want to prove that you are not bad. Comparing erodes your self-esteem.
 

What to do instead of comparing yourself to others?

 
1.Are you ready to put in the same efforts?
 
Ram went home and put extra efforts for preparation. Shyam ignored that suggestion when Ram suggested. Does he have the right to compare now?
 
2.There is enough for everyone on the earth
 
Throw the scarcity mentality in the dustbin. Feel abundant. Congratulate your friend heartfully. Work on your path. Give your best.
 
Happy feeling good about yourself !

What causes depression?

Depression is the product of your thoughts. Your thoughts trigger emotions. The emotions trigger physical discomfort. The discomfort triggers the unproductive behaviour.

If you are depressed, you are stuck in this loop forever. The first step to overcome depression is to understand the faulty thought process which is the root cause of endless misery. Even though this negative thought process has started in a naïve and non harmful way, today it acquired a giant form where you feel it is the new normal.

If you are depressed or if your friend is depressed, the depressed mind does not know that the thought process is distorted.

Here is the list for you to first recognise what it is:

1.Zero or One game:

Whenever I ask my mom, “What time is it now?” She replies “5’oclock.” The actual time would have been 4:45 PM. She never replies the correct time. For her time exists only in intervals of 30 minutes. Similarly, for a depressed mind, it is either a win or lose. They never care about the percentage of good in the game.

2.Palmistry

My dad does not like black clothes. On the day of festival, if I wear a dress, which has a black dot on it, he says “Why are you wearing black clothes on a festival day?” One small black dot makes it a black dress.

My dad owns a magnifying glass through which he could see the entire dress as black.

A depressed mind needs just one obstacle to call his project a failure. By doing that

  • He is looking at his life through a magnifying lens. He is looking at a simple obstacle as a very big obstacle which will make him fail in the project
  • He is jumping to a conclusion that his project has already failed

He is a palm reader where he uses a magnifying glass to foresee his future from the lines on his palm.

Negative prediction huh?

3.Tinted glasses

When you wear blue shades, the entire world looks blue. You can’t change the colour of objects. You can only remove your glasses to look at them in a normal way.

4.It’s me

“I woke up early today. Hence the city is flooded.”
Logic and reasoning just goes down the drain.
“My friend is not texting me. I must have angered him”
Whatever happens, you think the world revolves around you.

5.Who is responsible?

“He should have done that.”
“I should not have asked him to do that.”
This type of should statements make you feel frustrated and resentful towards life.

6.I am no good
 
“You look so beautiful in this saree.”  You let it go by saying “It is the saree, not me, which is beautiful.”
Sorry to say, but you are not being humble there. You are disqualifying the compliment. You are good. Trust me when I say this. Don’t shrug it off.

7.Give names

“I am an idiot”
“He is a jerk”
There are other good things about you. You don’t become an idiot just because you screwed up one event. Don’t describe inaccurately and give names.

How many of the above do you do? How are you planning to stop it?

Your depression is in your thoughts. Change them to better your life!

Happy changing your thoughts!

Letter to your future self

I came across a letter to your future self while reading Hyperbole and a half.
 
Dear 25 year old [note: not “Dear 25-year-old me” or “Dear 25-year-old self,” just “Dear 25 year old”],
 
Do you still like dogs? What is your favarite dog? Do you have a job tranning dogs? Is Murphy still alive? What is youre favarite food?? Are mom and dad still alive? 
 
My name is Allie and I am ten years old. I have blound hair and blue eyes. My favarite dog is a german shepard. My second favarite dog is a husky. My third favarite dog is a Dobberman Pincher. 
 
Please write back.
 
This letter makes me laugh how many ever times I read it.
 

Why should you write a letter to your future self?

 
After reading that book, I wanted to write a letter to my future self and discovered the importance of it.
 
1.Insecurities
 
You have a lot of insecurities. You wish you knew a future teller who will predict your future correctly. All those will reflect in your letter to your letter to your future self. Normally, you won’t let them out, but when you are given an opportunity you express them freely.
 
2.Dreams
 
You will have a lot of dreams. Big and small. You want to envision yourself in those dreams. Your future self is the right person to answer that.
 
3.Relations
 
You love a few people and want them forever in your life. Your future self has the answer if they are still a part of your friend circle and stood the test of time
 
4.Habits
 
Do you want to get rid of a certain habit but still not able to? Your future self will have the answer to whether you were really able to get rid of that habit or not.
 
5.Apologize
 
You must have done really stupid things in the past and also at some point of time before the future sets in. Ask for apologies to the known and unknown mistakes you did which gave your future self a tough time.
 
6.Convey love
 
Your parents stay with you for a limited time. Your friends may or may not be there forever. You would or would not have found love of your life. But you have yourself. Irrespective of who is there beside you, the letter will tell that you are always there for yourself.
 
This one letter removed the burden from my heart and took my worries as its responsibility for the future self.
 
You will feel relieved and excited and will discover yourself when you do this exercise.
 

How to write a letter to your future self?

 
First decide what is the future you are aiming at. It can be anything from a few weeks to a few decades. Or you can write multiple letters with different timelines. Then write down points taking the above section as guideline. Now you can compose your letter like a creative writing exercise or can make it as an interview with questions for your future self.
 

Where to write?

 
1.Journal
 
I wrote my first letter in my diary. All I wanted to do was feel the experience of writing a future self.
 
2.Email
 
You can either schedule a mail to yourself on gmail. Or use websites like http://lettertomyfutureself.net/ which will post you the letter in the desired timeline
 
3.Book
 
When I searched for more options, I found a letter writing book. If you enjoy the activity, you can go for that too.
 

Sample letter

 
Dear me,
I hope you are doing well. I am sorry that I put you through so much of pain. But without pain was there ever any gain? How many books have you read and which one is your favorite? Were you able to finish writing any of the books you started? How have your friends been? Do they still make fun of you? How are your students doing in life? Were you able to do that Ph.D which you always wanted to do?
Lots of love.
 
Irrespective of the method you use, you will discover that this exercise helped you set goals for the future and also gave you immense happiness and job.
 
What will you write about in your letter to your future self?
 
Happy writing a letter to your future self!
 

How to find your true self

Since my childhood, I have been intrigued by the question  “Who are you?”
 
I didn’t know what I am.
 
If I said  “I am X who works for Y and stays in Z”, does is it answer the question?
 
Am I the profession I do? Or just my name?
 
Or should I identify myself as a daughter of P?
 
I can be anything. My co-ordinates can be located using multiple points.
 
But they are what I am externally. So that you can identify who I am.
 
But who am I internally?

Why should you know your true self?

 
Every morning you have two choices.
1.Live the life the way it takes you.
2.Build the life you dream
 
If you want to choose option 2, you need to know what you are, your needs and wants from life. You should know what you truly want and not just what you think you want. You need to a little deeper inside yourself to see what exists there.
 
That gives you a true freedom and meaning to your life.
 

How to find your true self?

 
1.What will you be doing in life if money was not a criteria?
 
You need money to lead a comfortable life. You might be stuck in a job which does not define you but you still continue because you need it for a living. So forget about money for an instant and think what would you be doing if that is not a criteria.
 
2.What will you be doing in life if you are not doing for gaining fame or power or love?
 
Many a times, you do things expecting something in return. If you don’t feel the need for power or fame or love, will you still be doing what you thought you wanted to do for the previous question?
 
3.Who matter in your life?
 
“I have 1000 friends on facebook” said X. May be it is an achievement. But then how many of the 1000 matter to you? Is it less than 5? What are your needs from them? What you think you need from them and what you actually need from them?
 
4.What do you value the most?
 
What are the principles on which you run your life? Do those principles actually help you in achieve your goals? Or are they circumstantial principles?
 
These questions might be either too easy or too overwhelming. Whatever it might be, it requires deep thinking from your end.If you are just reading this without working out, you won’t gain anything from this post.You need to do a lot of soul searching and then realise what is that you really want.
 
Happy discovering your true self!
 

The actual cause of Loneliness

Loneliness is a very loosely used term.
 
If you say you are lonely, the advise you receive is

  • Mingle more
  • Be social
  • Become attractive
  • Keep yourself occupied
  • Change places
  • Go on a vacation
  • Try a new hobby

 
The above list will help those who are temporarily lonely. But if you have been experiencing chronic loneliness, you will desperately try all of them only to feel more lonely and feel more distressed that you are hopeless. By escaping from reality you are only building a temporary respite. The root cause is not solved and it keeps haunting you over and again.
 

Root Cause of Loneliness

 
One of the root causes of loneliness is insecure attachment. According to research, 40% of the adults are insecurely attached. Insecure attachment happens mostly in infancy when your parents did not reciprocate to your emotions and attention bids.
 
Insecure attachment is of two types: Attachment anxiety and Attachment avoidance.
 
Symptoms of Attachment anxiety:
 

  • You overly apologize
  • You need constant confirmation that you are loved
  • You are always in need of emotional support and can’t get enough of it
  • You often feel painful emotions
  • You constantly imagine rejection
  • You are too sensitive to handle
  • You open up too deep and fast in a relationship
  • You are stuck in a miserable relation because you prefer it to being alone
  • You are always on the lookout for the right person to connect to and expect him to be the solution for all your problems

 
Symptoms of Attachment avoidance:
 

  • You can relate only when there is a purpose and terrible at small talk
  • You never ask for emotional help
  • You derive your worth from competence. If you are able to achieve, you feel pride and if you don’t you feel shame.
  • You are often in need of a company but don’t know what and how
  • You try to prove yourself in the conflict rather than solving the problem

 
You may have both attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance too. Don’t blame your parents now because they did their best in raising you. They might be also insecurely attached and would not have known how to provide the right care.
 

What can you do to stop feeling lonely?

 
1.Mindfulness
 
Research found mindfulness can create same impact on brain which secure attachment in childhood does. Mindfulness basically helps you deal with the painful emotions which you encounter in insecure attachment. Once you feel aware of your emotions and pay attention to it, you will become the parent who gives secure attachment to the child.
 
2.Self Compassion
 
Self-compassion is about giving yourself permission to make mistakes. When you make a mistake you should not beat yourself up but talk to yourself in a soft and gentle manner on the path to avert the recurrence of mistake.
 
Reference:
1.http://iojes.net/userfiles/Article/IOJES_253.pdf
2.https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-014-0303-5
 
What type of attachment do you have? When are you starting mindfulness practice?
Share it with us in comments section.
 
Happy fighting loneliness!
 

What do you like about yourself?

 
Yesterday, as a part of Secret Santa celebrations, my colleague was asked to boast about himself. All he said was what he liked about himself. We live in a society where talking what we like about ourselves comes under boasting.
 
I agree that it is not a good practise to talk about yourself all the time but it is a good thing to know what you like about yourself.
 

Why should you know what you like about yourself?

 
1.Builds self-confidence
 
The more the things you like about yourself, the more confident you become. The same has been suggested in a course on building self-confidence.
 
2.Improves self-awareness
 
When you know what are your best qualities, you have a lead in the game of life. You know how to play the game to your strengths while staying away from your dislikes.
 
3.Helps in becoming a better person
 
While trying to find what you like about yourself, you will encounter 100 things you will want to love about yourself. You can make a list of that and slowly turn that list into what you like about yourself.
 
4.Helps to come out of self-loathing
 
When you are drowning in negativity, just open this list. It shows you why you are not bad. It will give you reasons for why you should love yourself.
 
5.Exercises your brain
 
When you create this list, you will think about yourself from various angles. This gives a good exercise to your brain.
 
 

How to figure out what you like about yourself?

 
1.Daily list
 
In the month of November, I did an exercise to write one thing good about me daily. This was a kind of self-gratitude and also gave me a list to bank on. But the downside of this exercise is that not all things you make a note in it are the good things about you. May be once a quarter you can pick up the things which really define you and save it as a master list. For the remaining things, you can work on them to make them a part of who you are.
 
2.One time list
 
Today, in my 10 things a day exercise, I wrote down 10 things which I like about myself. This exercise made me feel good about myself. It gave me an identity of who I am.
 

What can you like about yourself?

 
1.Physical aspects
 
What do you like about your body? What are some of the best material things you possess?
 
2.Interpersonal aspects
 
What do you like about how you deal with people?
 
3.Intrapersonal aspects
 
What qualities of you help you?
 
4.Skill set
 
What skills of you are you proud of?
 
5.Compliments
 
What others like about you, might not be the same you like about yourself. But if they are same, you can include them also in this list.
 
If you keep pondering, I am sure you will come with an amazing list.
 
Share with us what you like about yourself in the comments section.
 
Happy loving yourself!
 
 

Why should you do a healing letter exercise?

We are healed of a suffering only by expressing it to the full.” Marcel Proust

 
Is there a tiny devil in your head which keeps speaking all the time? The tiny devil has only one duty. It harbours hate, jealousy and anger. It does not let them go and keeps on reminding you of the revenge. But does taking revenge solve the problem? Of what use is it to keep thinking negatively about something or someone day and night?
 
Does it not eat away your peace of mind? Is it not harmful to your well being?
 
It is okay my friend. Everyone has the tiny devil in his head. But what you need to do is to kill it. At least temporarily, if not permanently.
 
One way I found to kill the tiny devil is to write a healing letter.
 

What is a healing letter?

 
It is a letter where you write down your deepest feelings about an incident which is bothering you.
 

What are the types of healing letter?

 
1.Forgiving yourself
 
Humans make mistakes. Some make small ones. Others big ones. We learn from them. Without mistakes and failing, there is no learning at all. Due to our mistake, a life must have been lost. You can’t bring back a life. But you can heal yourself from the pain.
 
Dear self,
 
You should not have done that. You should have picked up the phone when she called you. She needed you in that moment. You are not the reason for her death. But you could have prevented it. But you did not. It is an unforgivable mistake but you did not do it on purpose. It is okay. You will be careful next time. You can’t go against fate and correct a few things. I am forgiving you for what you have done. I have confidence in you that you will not make such a mistake again. You are a strong person and you will be able to stand strong against the storm.
 
Be the strong you.
 
Your love.
 
You need not write whatever I have written. You can say all the mean things you intended to say and then say that you are forgiving for all of it. Bring the event to a closure.
 
2.Forgiving others
 
You might have been angry with someone and that anger is eating you up. Then write down a letter addressing them.
 
Dear Mr. Made me angry,
 
I hate you from the bottom of my heart. I should have never dated you in the first place. You were the one who was after me for months. Now you have ditched me and said the relationship aged. I have done so much for you even though you never reciprocated back anything.
 
I have a big heart unlike you. I am letting go you off without cursing you. Stay fine.
 
Your big heart.
 
You can write anything. Whatever comes to your mind. Just let go off the pain. Let the paper take all your emotions.
 
3.Emotional healing
 
Sometimes it is not a forgiving letter but emotions which cloud your mind. Misery which lingers in your head and does not let you focus on anything.Take a piece of paper and write non stop. There need not be coherence. Chuck the grammar. Don’t care which language you are writing in. Just keep writing it.
 

Do healing letters really work?

 
I once hurt a person by saying things which I should not have said. I felt bad. It was miserable. I decided to write a forgiving letter. And I felt really light after that.
 
In another instance, I was hurt that I did not get what I deserved. The pain was not letting me stay sane. I wrote a forgiving letter saying that may be he tried his best and he can’t do justice for everyone. I felt better after that.
 
Everytime I feel my mind clouded, I resort to my diary and start writing. Your mind just gets cleared and you will clearly know the action steps you need to take.
 

Do you have to send the letters?

 
No you need not send the letters. If it is a pure forgiving letter and want to make your relationship better with the person you can send it. Otherwise you can just write it. If it helps you, you can just tear the paper into 100 bits and throw it in the dustbin.
 
Once when I was 15 years old, I wrote down all the issues which were troubling me and tore the paper into really tiny bits. It was very relieving.
 
Have you written a healing letter anytime? How did you feel after writing one? If not are you going to write one? Share it with us in the comments section.
 
Happy healing!