He has hurt me, I will show him now

When people ‘wrong’ us and are ‘unfair’:

Our first impulse is to let them know that they are wrong, to give them a ‘piece of our mind’.  We now have to show them that they are ‘wrong’  and they simply need to realize that. Why? Because we think that’s the only way our anger at all that unjustness can cool down.

But what have we done? That person will most probably jump to the defensive, will consider us emotionally weak, or might just keep it in his mind that we made him ‘wrong’.  Because we tried to take them on a guilt trip, now they might avoid us more or worse might jump at proving us ‘wrong’ at the slightest chance or hurt us more. Now our personal or professional relationship is strained and can potentially crop up difficulties for us.  ‘Well, that’s fine, I can bear with that’ , some can retort in a fit of self-righteous indignation.

We want to control their behaviour and do not realize that neither are we equipped to do that, nor is it a wise thing to do. We only can try to influence people’s behaviour. We might forget  in the heat of the moment that what is in our control is not other’s behavior but ours alone.

Forget divorces, break-ups and tension in families, even in professional lives, this tends to cause a lot of strife and unnecessary stress to oneself and others.  In many a professional circumstance, this has taken away the focus from what needs to be achieved. Instead it simply caused a diffusion of time and energy in unnecessary arguments directed at proving oneself ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’.

So does it mean that we simply bear with all the unfairness and not stop it? Does it mean that we simply start behaving like saints and show our other cheek when somebody hits us on one?  Do we stop at forgiving them and generating loving kindness to them? How will that ever improve the situation at all?

Let us consider some alternatives then and evaluate them:

  1. Express after forgiving: We can definitely express how we feel: angry, upset, irritated etc. We can do this AFTER we actually generate some forgiveness to them and wish that now we take action for the benefit of all. We can use the Ho’oponopono healing formula: WE take responsibility for the whole situation even if that be on a mysterious level and say ‘I am sorry, Forgive me, Thank you, I love you’ to the situation. Why? Because this simply clears our mind and gives some space for our minds to keep focus on the objective of a situation, rather than who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
  2. Assert your boundaries: We can assert our boundaries and tell them that their behaviour is not acceptable to us. This can be done in many ways.
  3. Avoid blaming and insisting on them to ‘accept their mistakes’, instead give positive redirection: Instead of saying, ‘you are so selfish’..we will make a positively re-directed statement that communicates our expectations from them in a way that can actually influence them.  ‘I have respect for you and I have sensed you to be someone who believes in working co-operatively. However due to this behaviour, I feel hurt and its not acceptable for me. I am sure you will consider this next time’. By telling something like this( i am sure you can come up with something much better.. 🙂 ), we not only give them space to actually reflect on their behaviour but also affirm that they are capable of a better behaviour, without directly telling them so.


    If you think a person an idiot, he will come up to your expectation, if you think of him as smart, he will come up to your expectation.  Our expectations are generally met…whether that is negative or positive… which do you choose?

  4. Give them a consequence.    ‘If I am hurt again, I am sorry I will have to distance myself from you or might have to stop helping you or extending co-operation to you’… etc. Generally, a consequence which is related to you not being hurt again. You will have to choose this intelligently. This is not blackmail, remember, its simply telling them that their behavior will have a consequence.  We are taking responsibility for our own emotional well-being, communicating our boundaries and protecting it.

Now we have exercised assertiveness without being aggressive.  We have given space and more chances for the person to actually consider and reflect on his behavior. 

If we had jumped to blame him and show him ‘wrong’ , then in all probability, this person would have immediately jumped to defend and worse re-direct the blame on us. That way, he may never for a moment reflect on his behavior or try to correct himself.  That way, we have unwisely multiplied our hurt and stress to ourselves, instead of lessening it.  But take a different path, we have not only improved the chances of enabling our own emotional well-being, but also given space to the other person to think and correct.

We need to catch ourself ‘blaming’, ‘being right’ or showing others wrong. This is something that we all do. We are all used to this impulse from our childhood. Now that we know its not very useful, work out alternate ways of enabling a more intelligent outcome. Journal your little victories, develop your alternate habits which can not only result in your emotional well-being but also help you achieve personal and professional goals in a way that will showcase your competencies much better.

I still catch myself doing this, but whenever I was able to apply the above points, I have seen better outcomes. I have been able to strengthen relationships, that I thought were almost finished. More than everything, it gave me peace and confidence.

Did it make a positive difference to the situation and to yourself when you tried something like this? What else did you try, which made a difference in such situations?

Related Links
What to do when I am right and they are so wrong?

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Posted in Achieving Serenity, Art of Letting Go, Emotional Intelligence, Transforming Negativity | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Art of ‘Playing’ Life

How to live in present, while still visualizing a grander future for yourself? How to create a future that you love, without worrying about it? How to do our work like we play as a child?

For that we need to answer, how much do I appreciate what I am at present, how much I am completely grateful for whatever it is today, how much I am contented with what is today. Then the grander vision becomes a play….because you don’t NEED the grander vision, but you simply want to ‘know’ it can be achieved for its own sake. Then working towards the grander vision becomes a ‘play’ , a wonder, a curiosity and a simple fascination.

Our life today maybe ‘great’ or maybe ‘difficult’ as the world would have defined it for us, or as we are tending to feel today. But still in itself, it IS possible for us to love our life just as it is today. The greater we appreciate life and see the beauty of any situation, even if it was a loss or a disgrace or an illness or pain, the greater we have the capacity to be ‘present’. The greater we have the capacity to let go and play like a child, the greater is our capacity to dream big dreams if we want and make it come true.

In fact, even that pain or loss becomes as ‘play’ , if we look into it deeply. Dreaming big and the struggles that come with it will also become a ‘play’ and will not bear heavily on us. We wont be attached to whether that dream will come true or not.

Zen priests used to etch out intricate designs in clay, so intricate and fine that it used to utterly intrigue western scientists in trying to figure out the ‘science’ and the ‘art’ of it. But what was absolutely more intriguing is that these priests used to etch it out and destroy the clay design back for re-moulding on the same day. Only pictures of their designs remain to this day, but not the designs. And if somebody fortunate has the chance, they can catch them doing it and actually see it with their bare eyes. Now, it makes us wonder, why did the Zen priests do this? Why etch out a painfully intricate design of the highest quality and then destroy them all?

Have you seen a child play on sand. It makes its wondrous creations… a castle, a house, a doll, a stadium… with the greatest of love and fascination. And when the wave is ready to destroy the sand creations, the children go behind, watch it, clap and jump and laugh as the waves crushes the sand buildings.  The child does not give up on building, thinking all the creations will anyway get destroyed. It now plays the buildings yet again and enjoys its crushing with the same fervour yet again.

Isn’t this the life that we take so seriously? Whether that is fame or disrepute, gain or loss, pain or joy, praise or blame – the 8 loka-dharmas that escape no beings on this world, are all impermanent. That is the inescapable truth, the law of the universe. All the 8 are sand creations, sand buildings. And yet we put our energy and attachment into it, so much that when that inevitable truth dawns due to a harsh event of life, we are not able to accept it. We resist life. We get stuck in our past losses or our anxieties and worries of the future.

We think that just because we put in so much of our dedicated efforts into something,  by that very fact, it is our birthright to own it permanently. Our energy and our efforts that we put into a relationship or a work, seems to make us think we are entitled for ownership on it.  So much so that it simply seems ‘unfair’ or ‘unjust’ that it be taken away from us, by the hands of ‘fate’. But the hands of ‘fate’ already had this written on that piece of work or on that piece of relationship even when it was born newly. ‘This shall also pass’…. is etched on each piece of mine and your ‘possessions’ and ‘creations’ of life.

Does this mean that we should not put energy into our ‘creations’ , our ‘work’ and ‘love’? Since anyway its impermanent? Our fame, our titles, our houses, our relationships are all finally not ours. If we are lucky they might stay with us for a lifetime, but finally they refuse to be ‘ours’ at death. They refuse to accompany us with ‘death’. They are all threatened to pass away to naught, to nothingness, on our death. What accompanies us with death, is only the skills that we learn, the qualities – good and bad that we learn to ‘hone’ in our lives.

Knowing this truth, the wise simply ‘play’ life, live totally in the present. Whether that’s simple or grand, it doesn’t matter.  Some of them love to create fascinating things and they do, but they don’t claim ownership on it. In that creation or in that simple life they choose, whatever they accumulate for their spirits, they take with them in their death.

In the process of ‘playing’ life, the wise accumulate strengths. While ‘playing life’, the wise accumulate more capacity to love, more capacity to persevere, more capacity to be alert, more capacity to give, more capacity to focus, more capacity to simply realise more truths of life. And these honed capacities and faculties, they take with them in their deaths. They ‘play’ their own games, they learn while they play, they evolve to higher and higher heights. Learning the art of ‘playing life’ is indeed a great art that supersedes any other art.

Check another wonderful article here:

Enjoy,
Shalini
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Change your language, change your situation

Here’s a simple test of our emotional intelligence. Can you sense and feel…what is common with these thoughts? They all seem to be what we all think, but there is a hidden truth in these statements and a hidden key. What could it be? Make a note of these thoughts in yourself and catch it if they occur.

You hurt me
This is boring
He doesn’t listen to me
It’s so hard for me.
Things always go wrong for me.
This always happens to me.
It’s so hard for me.
My life is such a struggle.
Why me? Why does this happen to me?
I can’t really trust others.
I’m overwhelmed.
You just don’t understand.
It’s so hard for me.
If only he is more patient and understanding.
If only he/she is more faithful.
Its all because of my childhood and my parents.

All these thoughts are ‘victim’ statements, it assumes an inflictor and gives control to the inflicter and assumes that till the inflictor changes, the situation will not change.  And even if it might be true that there is an ‘inflicter’ in truth, most of our emotional health gets upset because of the fact that we focus on the ‘infliction’ and the ‘perpetrator’ and thereby our victimhood and our helplessness. Once we get into a victim state, our unconscious tendency is to believe truly that we are helpless and refuse to do anything powerful even if we could. Keeping a good state of mind and respond to it in a way that empowers the situation becomes difficult in a victim state of mind.

The moment we blame, people become defensive and will resist changing and will make it worse for us. The moment we blame, we  stop acting on it with what you could, to change the situation.   The moment we blame, the situation becomes more prone to worsening than making it better for both parties. The same holds good, even if we blame our ‘genes’ or the system or the government.

Let us now try out some alternate thoughts…they are all statements which are OPEN tending to dig into our inner wisdom to draw out alternate thoughts and responses which might empower us to act within our circle of control and influence. And they have the power to bust our multiplying negative thoughts and help us stay serene. These simple alternate thoughts if chosen with consideration, can prove to be powerful.

These thoughts can let us accept people and situations as they are and focus more on what we can do in a given situation. We can then stop wasting our energy in complaining and holding others responsible for our misery. It enables powerful self-responsibility in all situations come what may, yet its all so simple and easy. Here is how you could change your language. First step is to catch yourself using ‘victim’ or ‘blame’ statements and then to change them in your own mind at the least. As you keep doing this, your language in your communication will begin to be automatically empowered instead of blaming.

1. Acknowledge and accept your feelings.
2. Use ‘I feel hurt’ , instead of ‘I am hurt’ or worse ‘you hurt me’.
3. try not to focus on the assumed cause of your feelings
4. Enable empowering the situation, changing the situation.
5. Assert yourself, express how you feel so others know but do not blame or give responsibility or power to others over you.  When you say you are responsible for your feelings and yet you want to protect your boundaries, there is no greater power that you could assert over the situation.
6. Express your feelings and make sure you give others space to modify their behaviour if they can and if they want to.
7. Ask people questions that opens them up to think and do what they can to change the situation. Avoid making people jump to the defensive.
8. Use ‘I wonder’ or ‘ I am curious’ self-talk to know and acknowledge your feelings to yourself.
9. Ask questions to yourself and others, starting from ‘how’ or ‘what’ instead of ‘why’.
10. Influence others, try not to control others. Accept others, try not to expect from others.

Here are some examples

You are not listening to me
( I wonder how I can communicate effectively)

This is boring to read or do.
( I wonder how can I make this interesting )

You hurt my feelings.
( I wonder  how I can gently assert my boundaries to this person.  I wonder how I can evoke kindness and see this person with love. )

Can you believe what she did to me?
( I am curious to see what are the feelings that are passing through me. How can I straighten this situation for myself. )

If you straightened up your act, we could get along.
( I wonder what I can do to get along. )

I want an apology.
( I am curious to know what is the feeling that passes through me.  I wonder what I can do to express my boundaries to her and feel different ).

I want her to acknowledge that what she did to me was wrong.
( I am curious to know how I feel. I wonder how I can let go of wanting to control her behavior and influence my own.)

I am sick and tired of .…
( I wonder what is there in it that can make me love it or see some joy in it. I wonder what I can do to influence the situation. I wonder if there is an opportunity hidden here? )

I don’t appreciate that.
( I wonder what I am missing to see that I can appreciate.)

I don’t have enough time.
( I wonder how I can manage my time better )

When you do that, it just drives me nuts.
( I wonder what that can tell about ME.  I wonder what about it is actually useful for me in someway ).

I can’t help it–it’s just the way I am.
( I wonder what next step I can take NOW, to keep changing the way I am.  )

If only he/she would/wouldn’t
( I wonder what I can do about it to ease the situation )

It’s all his/her fault.
( I wonder now what is the right thing I can do )

If only he is more patient
( I wonder how can I be happy even if he is impatient )

Enjoy and take care,
– Shalini

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Is this a blessing or a curse for me?

how can we judge what’s good and bad? Check out this old Zen story:

A farmer had a horse but one day, the horse ran away and so the farmer and his son had to plow their fields themselves. Their neighbours said, “Oh, what bad luck that your horse ran away!” But the farmer replied, “Bad luck, good luck, who knows?”

The next week, the horse returned to the farm, bringing a herd of wild horses with him. “What wonderful luck!” cried the neighbors, but the farmer responded, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

Then, the farmer’s son was thrown as he tried to ride one of the wild horses, and he broke his leg. “Ah, such bad luck,” sympathized the neighbours. Once again, the farmer responded, “Bad luck, good luck, who knows?”

A short time later, the ruler of the country recruited all young men to join his army for battle. The son, with his broken leg, was left at home. “What good luck that your son was not forced into battle!” celebrated the neighbors. And the farmer remarked, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

——————–

Look deeply and you might find everything in life holds both a blessing and a curse. Whatever the case, we would be wise to refrain from labelling the events of our lives as either good or bad.

“If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgement now.” — Marcus Aurelius

“Do not judge, and you will never be mistaken.” — Jean Jacques Rousseau

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Trapped and Stuck in Routine?

‘Routine’ almost sounds like a dirty word for most of us.  It may often sap out our life in our work day, steal away our motivation to think better and perform better.  But the effects of routines for better or for worse are a choice.

Many people feel stuck or trapped in a routine despite trying different things to come out of it. The truth is, most people fail to break routines because of their unwillingness to place ‘routine work’ in the right place inside their frame of mind. Take stock first whether routine is 20% or 80% of your work.

If routine is a small part of our work, then its possible for it to become a welcome part of our day and increase productivity. It then leaves space for us to consider and do work that creates more meaning and energy for us. There are ways and means to achieve this and its just as easy as creating a shift in perceiving it and making use of it to our advantage.

Constant breaks of uninterrupted focus that does not require taxing too much of our mental faculties, is essential for a stress-free life. Such breaks free much needed mental space for us to be more readier for the real stress-ors in work, maybe a challenging boss or a impending promotion or a risk of a downturn. But often what happens is that, while doing routine work, we tend to INCREASE stress to our mind. Because instead of learning to focus, we tend to clutter our minds with fears, hatred and boredom.

People are recommended to practice concentration techniques like meditating on the breath and so on to reduce stress in work-life.  While that is indeed a great idea, its also smarter to utilize certain parts of your work itself as your stress busting technique. Routine work is a blessing in disguise when you are able to execute such work with not only an aim to get the work done, but also to receive its beneficial ‘side-effects’ for yourself, which is focus and relaxation.

Knowing this, plan your routine work as breaks in your schedule.  Give full focus to while you work on it. Initially, if your mind loiters, catch yourself, remind yourself of the benefits of focus and bring it back patiently to your work. It is easier to focus when you work on something exciting. But you can learn to view routine like a work-out. Concentration techniques use the same formula of training the mind to keep repeatedly bringing back on an object of meditation like a mantra or your breath. Now your routine work is your object, your mantra to achieve the same focus, the same relaxation.

We could train our mind muscles to improve its focusing strength and also get relaxed, while we ensure the routine work gets done quickly and better.    That’s hitting three stones together!

Its only when 80% of your work is routine, that you  must perhaps pro-actively give it serious thought of how to initiate a big change in your job or your perception of the current job. Time to strongly believe in possibilities which will make you feel truly alive and kicking in your life. Its your right to claim that back from life, from yourself.

Whether your small amount of routine work sucks your energy out or you seemed to have settled down in helpless resignation in a largely routine job which you might hate, it’s a choice that you are making with a precious life that is meant to be lived and not just survived. Give it careful thought and take control of your life.  Choose to Change instead of waiting to ‘Be Changed’.

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How coaching helps – 4mt picture video

My Role as a Coach <—-

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About coaching in a 3 mt picture video

Why Coaching <—-

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Negatives of Positive Thinking

In an interesting discussion yesterday with a friend of mine where we discussed the ‘negatives’ of positive thinking. Yes, sounds paradoxical. But it turned out that its quite right that there is indeed a little ‘negative’ to positive thinking. I remember a story, that a teacher told in the Vipassana meditation course, when he related the half glass empty syndrome with a completely new paradigm.

When you see a half glass of water,
its negative thinking to say the glass is half empty
its positive thinking to say the glass is half full
The negative thinker will dwell and dwell on the emptiness of the glass, basically on what is lacking rather than what is pleasing in life. A habitual negative thinker will  find what is wrong with anything that he comes across in life, whether that is facebook, or mobile phones or work or friends or spouse or society or religion or just about anything.
The positive thinker will try to see the other side, the fullness of the half glass of water, basically on what is pleasing or fascinating even in the worst of life’s circumstances. Its not that positive thinker’s don’t have negative emotions or thoughts, but they ignore them, shift their thinking and focus on what is good in just about anything that crosses their path in life.
Life is hard for the negative thinker and for all his unfortunate past experiences in life, its not without a reason or evidence that he has developed that outlook. Any negative thinker does not think negative because he wants to make his life hard.  Its a habit that they find it hard to break.
Now if we look deeply at the positive thinker, he also might have a hidden habit, he does not want to acknowledge emptiness. He ignores it consciously. He dwells on joy and wants to feel pleased. Look deeply and you see the same unfortunate past experiences in his life too, and its hard for a positive thinker to break his habit too. It is generally such positive thinkers that when driven by the harsh forces of life, will find it hard to bear or tolerate it and may tend to escape from life..into seemingly positive corners of life, whether that is a pub or a drug or a fling in a relationship or simple over-eating.
We all can identify sometimes and some parts of ourselves with both the negative and positive thinkers, isn’t it? Its just that one might be dominantly negative or dominantly positive. Now, it seems even positive thinking has its negatives, so what’s the middle way?  I would like to call it serenity thinking or value thinking and that’s the interesting paradigm that the teacher put forward, through a simple story, which I have kind of built up in my own way here.
The story goes that, when a poor boy who has done this meditation, saw this half glass of oil needed for his house, he first saw that the glass was half empty and felt sad and hopeless. He felt very scared of using up the oil that was there in the glass. He felt insecure because of the view of emptiness and lack. He thought it was really difficult to buy that oil through his daily wages and yet the oil was essential to light his house. His thoughts were tending to resignation, to accepting that, well, that’s his destiny. He will now not want to keep his house lighted in the nights and he better resign to that fact and live with serenity and acceptance. But that wasn’t easy, the thought of the emptiness kept haunting him and making his life look dull and insipid, angry and depressing.
But he was a ‘meditator’…the story goes, so that was not for long, he now began to see the glass was half full. Felt happy.  He realised its just not worth it to feel sad because the glass was half full and that was good news. When he began to see the fuller part of the glass, there was more positive energy in him, he felt more joy in his life.  He started to now use the oil, because he loved the light that the oil gave to his house and the things that he could do in the night. As he began to feel the positive energy, he began to drown and savour  the feeling of joy, forgetting completely that  the oil was being spent and was becoming lesser and lesser by the day. Because he ignored consciously to see the emptiness, he only focussed on what was present and on ‘enjoying’ it.
But this boy was a ‘meditator’ and he had to be much different..the story goes. He soon came out of savouring the feeling of joy and  gave it come considered thought to both the emptiness and the fullness equally. That did not stop him from feeling contented and grateful about the half-fullness. But that positive energy now helped him give way to the energy of clarity and powerful intention. He now visualized a full glass of oil and decided its possible for him to make his visualization come true. Despite the dire circumstances of his situation in the town, which hardly gave him very meagre daily wages, he evoked determined focus and unwavering persistence. With that energy, he went out, worked his day through, used his resourcefulness, proved his capability and started to earn more and more money.
Gradually, this boy managed to not only make the glass full, but many glasses full. He went even further, he made use of this little life experience of his as a purpose and as a means of contribution to society.  He founded an oil factory which had innovative and inexpensive oil manufacturing techniques and made his name in his contribution to society.
Now, this is a story. But we can relate this to many a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Rajnikanth in real life, cant we? Generally, many of us attribute many of our unfortunate circumstances all to luck or destiny or  And we tend to resign ourselves to think that we are not made for what we are meant to be, even if that’s not as great as Rajnikanth.
Between negative thinking and positive thinking, there is another level of thinking and state of mind, that the wise call it equanimity or serenity. Its the sharp clarity that comes out of a state of mind that is neither down in the dumps of disruptive emotions nor in the high of thrilling energies of joy and pleasure, but one that is in the middle – sharp, clear and calm, that has a penetrative insight, seeing both the lack and the abundance of life clearly as it is, in its true nature.  This state of mind sees deeply into everything with clarity and is thus able to bring focussed action that can produce value and hence I call it ‘value’ thinking.
Whether life is going smooth or rough, there is a ‘value’ in it if you make up the mind to see and extract it. Perceive positively, extract the value of it and transform it into actions, that’s what ‘value’ thinking can produce.
Being aware of the success that positive and value thinking has produced for us, it is imperative that we begin to understand how to shift our thinkings more often to produce more ‘value’ for ourselves and others, out of any kind of a circumstance of life. 

Also to make an effort to stop dwelling or savouring negative and positive states of mind for too long…. Both of them, needs to be acknowledged and experienced too, for its own good….and its even healthy to do so. Only as long as we know how to shift to ‘value’ thinking – with a state of mind tending towards equanimity and the resulting clarity which ‘makes value’ out of circumstances. 
Be Happy, Be Serene
Enjoy,
Shalini
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Kipling’s poem “If”

Kipling’s poem “If”

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

… Then you will be a man my son.

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Ho’oponopono

Ho’oponopono: This is supposedly a Hawaien healing technique. Its formula is simple: for every unpleasant person that you encounter, and for every thought or aspect of you that comes up and you don’t like it, the most simple way of healing it is by repeating a simple formula in its right spirit: “I am sorry, Please Forgive me, Thank You, I Love You’.

Hmmm…. what is this? Not a big deal…we all know those words? Am I trying to fool you or have I lost my mind? We all learnt that in school, and no big deal…yeah we all know that we have to forgive, we all know that we have to thank, say please etc. It’s such a big trite. What am I trying to do with that by giving a fancy name and attribute a fancy country and naming it as a magical healing technique? Let me try to explain. Thank you for being patient.

First part : ‘Forgive me, I am sorry.’ This is the first step for ‘taking full responsibility’. It says ‘I am not aware how I have participated in creating this situation or attracting this person’s behavior. I am sorry. Forgive me.’  So instead of using Forgive me when you admit to doing a mistake, the paradigm here is, when you perceive somebody else has made a mistake especially against you,  you say Forgive me to say the laws of the universe, or the Dharma or the Divine, or some higher force or simply to yourself if you are a complete atheist.

Well, its admitting that aware or unaware, you have participated definitely in that encounter and actually have contributed to the cause of that encounter, even if that encounter involved a cruel person abusing you, a liar deceiving you, or simply the ‘system’ or the ‘government’ or the selfish boss or family or parental abuse. ‘I am not a saint or a Gandhi or a Jesus, I am an ordinary commoner, tell me something else and you stop preaching’ … I can almost hear that retort.

We all have heard about ‘As we sow, so shall we reap’…It’s not that we don’t believe all that, it might just be that applying it seems like asking too much from us. And more so when somebody abuses us or the govt gives us trouble..then the rule doesn’t seem to apply and how will it help anyways, right? Dont worry, that’s just what I felt too when I first read about this.

When a person, so evidently unfair and cruel, inflicts harm on us, the first thing we want to do is to teach them how not to be cruel and how it’s not easy for them to harm me and to show them what it is doing to the innocent me. ‘Now how the hell are WE responsible for that? And why the hell should I say Forgive me, I am sorry ….. its they that owe me that… ! ‘…..?? And we spend all our mental energy in puffing and ranting.

Or on the other extreme, we feel helpless and feel that we don’t deserve all that unfairness and feel entitled to experience justice and love for whatever has happened. And we ask Why Me! to our Gods.

Its uncomfortable and the first most difficult step to take, because it’s very hard for us to understand or make sense to our highly programmed mind. But if we only take that step, it’s no less than amazing. It clears much-needed space and energy in our minds to look at the whole situation with clarity, love and wisdom and enables us to communicate and act in a way that benefits ourselves and others.

Well whats the rationale  behind it anyways? If you make an effort to try to understand what the masters of mind and spirit have told us about karma, yelled at us in fact in many ways, and you believe it, then well and good. The new age thinkers say its simply a scripted beliefs in our unconscious,  a programming that our mind has picked up while growing up, or some thoughts and energy deep within our mind like fear or scarcity or lack of esteem, which CREATES a vibration in you, an emotion in you, that attracts that particular encounter and the energy that it calls for. Interesting. But today I cannot go to the himalayas, do the hard work and find and confirm the truth about this and turn the clock again? Its talking about first principles of humanity…however preachy that it might sound, so what’s the harm in giving it a try?

Come on, lets give it a trial..its after all what almost all religions have proclaimed and wisdom keeps telling us this. Today I ask you to re-look at this common wisdom, a little deeper and see how it can help you powerfully. Many people today have applied this and found it to be healing and giving them wonderful results in their life. That’s how I found about this technique by the way.

Ok, say I take that leap of faith and I start to believe I am responsible for almost every situation that crosses my path instead of always feeding our habit at finding the fault only at the system, at the government, at the kind of people or environment, the country we live in or the religion that we are born into, oh well…just about anything… and I will keep saying to myself…’I am sorry. Forgive me’. Then the next hindrance that we might get to face is self-blame, resistance and denial. ‘So it means that I should be a horrible person at heart to be having this difficult encounter, to be having this horrible failure, or to be having this horrible boss, or this horrible work or relationship situation?’. Gosh, then am I supposed to sink in depression and how the hell does that help anyway?

Nooooooooo. Just take a second look at the formula, it says, Thank you, I love you.

Thank you, I love you, I love you, I love you. ( 3 times is intentional ).

I love you – first time- is for respecting and loving my own consciousness for having the courage to take full responsibility, for having the faith that whatever it is in me that caused this CAN get healed and I have already taken that step…. I am lovely…. I love you ( to myself ) and I thank myself. This releases depression or self-blame and helps to warmly embrace the situation or that hard emotion of rage, anger that I naturally feel or that thought or that habit without remorse or a negative state of mind which will only hinder us. Without wasting energy on rage for the people or the situation outside, or wasting energy in repenting with self-blame or hurt, you now have energy to respond to it intelligently, assertively and with love and that’s the vibration you create when you say ‘I love you’ to yourself in that spirit. You make way for that other person or situation to feel your higher vibrations and actually react to those vibrations instead of reacting to your weaker vibrations…that’s smart, if its true…. isn’t it?

I love you – second time…is for the visible and invisible, discovered and undiscovered laws of the universe, or the Dharma or the God or the Allah whatever you wish to call it… it is trying to help me with all its warmth. Thank you for them for bringing this encounter for me, because they are trying to reach something to me with love… a message and an opportunity for healing. Now this is a much better choice than saying ‘Why me’ ? Its much more self-empowered than wallowing in self-pity and being self-sabotaging. It’s a choice which you can make with your head high and chest forward in any kind of dire situation.

I love you – third time , is for the situation itself….for all people and things involved there are also on some higher unconscious level participating in this act of love…of helping me heal. This is the hardest. Its a very natural doubt that we all can get…. ‘oh but that person is so evil and he enjoys so much of wealth and abundance and nice things in life…how is that? Am I worser than that person or how the hell is that anyways? and How the hell can I think he/she actually wants to heal me and how the hell can I say even just in my mind, ‘I love you’ to that person or situation?’

Well, remember that you don’t know whats going on with that person really. There are things that can come to one’s experience, through intensity of focus. A vibration of wealth doesn’t discriminate if you are moral or immoral…it just comes to anybody who has that intensity of intention and who is able to bring that vibration in their mind that is appropriate for wealth….and work towards it….that vibration is neither moral nor immoral. Whether that person is cruel or kind…wealth simply doesn’t have an eye to see, it just goes to those with that vibration of intention. So take away that thought of entitlement of deservedness, and spend more energy on what are your personal values, what is your intention, and how clear your mind is….whether you want wealth by being manipulative and greedy or you want wealth with a mind that is more full of gratitude and joy…is left to your choice.

But definitely, when somebody or something upsets you, you simply want to get your calm and peace right? Does a reactive and blaming train of thought give you that peace or give you sleepless nights? What can you do today which helps you sleep peacefully, yet put the right efforts towards what you deeply feel as appropriate in such situations?

Normally, when somebody or some situation upsets us or irritates us, our state of mind hardens, becomes brittle and rough. In that state, clarity in dealing with the situation with calm and serenity and responding to it in a way that it really brings out the best out of it, is very difficult. For that our state of mind has to first change.

I invite you to try Ho’oponopono for every one of your unpleasant external situation or people and even to those aspects of your own self which you simply don’t like…. and see if it works the same magic for you, as it has for me. It simply opens your mind and spirit to access your own inner wisdom and find a solution to your situation with a high vibrational inner energy or well in simple terms with ’emotional intelligence’.

Even if you are not yet ready to do this for those who abuse you straight.. simply try it with your loved ones….or friends and acquaintances who might irritate you now and then, or your work situation…etc… keep trying it in all these situations and see the release that it will bring to you. You will experience what it means to ‘let go’ and respond to a situation, rather than uncontrollably dwell repeatedly in rage,hurt,sadness, helplessness, or entitlement. Its not bad to feel sad or hurt, but it’s simply not intelligent to dwell and respond from that center.

I discovered this recently and the practice of metta ( a loving kindness practice that I have learnt) deepened with this. Already it brought in a great deal of peace of mind and joy into my mind, when I was facing that friend who is very manipulative and scheming, or that person who irritated me and I simply disliked. It brought an amazing change of perspective for me, which made my mind quite pliable, softened and sharper more quickly. It even helps us be tough, when it needs us to be so…but in a way that is totally different from just retorting with reaction or lashing out at a person who tries to really hurt us unfairly.

Maybe it might sound a little ‘woo woo’…but it works…if you try it in the right spirit, whatever works is scientific because there’s the ’empirical evidence’…;-) Check this out, if you are more curious. http://hooponoponoworks.blogspot.in/2009/01/nothing-works-like-hooponopono.html).

Thought the least I can do is to dare to share these thoughts with you all and wonder if it will work for you too, if you have not already done that in some way or the other.
‘I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank You, I Love You!’ …… :-).

I love Ho’oponopono…;-).
– Enjoy!
Shalini

Posted in Shared Wisdom | 3 Comments

In the heat of the moment!

Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation of Emotions , Exercising Emotional Intelligence

  1. Sometimes, our work , out time, that dinner outing or simply a night’s peaceful sleep gets inflicted with emotions and thoughts, especially so in times of drastic life change events.  We might get consumed by intense fear, depression, anger or a host of other nameable or unnameable disruptive emotions.  If we develop the skill to simply know the nature of these emotions and thoughts, then it might be possible for us to liberate ourselves from the thoughts and its charge( well … that’s emotions ) with more self-awareness.

Everytime you seem to be consumed by negative thoughts and charged emotions, here are some tips for you to remember right at that heat of the moment, to bust the heat and reach a cooler state of mind:

  1. Don’t act/decide/communicate: Firmly make a strong determination not to act or decide or communicate however much you might feel tempted to do so, when you are in a negative state of mind.  If its very difficult make a conscious action which is very mild and does not in anyway affect you or others in any intense way for long term.  You can distract yourself, if nothing else happens, but determine not to  make decisions/actions when you are consumed by negative emotions is a strict No-no.
  2. Calm through Body Intelligence:  Observe where you are feeling the emotions within your body .  You might feel a burning or tingling sensation, just observe them with curiosity.  Observe your breathing simultaneously: is it long, short, fast, slow?  Do this for as long a  time as you can focus. In fact force your focus more on to breathing than your thoughts or your emotions. Does the breathing change with your state of mind? Does your sensations change? Be curious while you watch, the relationship between your body and mind. This might be more effective than you realise, if you give it a fair trial,  than to dwell in your emotions or act on it
  3. Acknowledge : Take stock of your state of mind. If its filled with fear, anger, jealousy, irritation, etc, accept and acknowledge it fully. It is ok to have them. Do not beat yourself.  Accept and love yourself despite the dark emotions. Believe that they will pass, if you simply be with it.
  4. Refuse to Believe :  In a negative state of mind, its like wearing a colored glass through which you look at the world and its generally distorted. Even if some thoughts seem to be absolutely logical, they will not be empowering and mostly will reside in the victim realm and not a victor realm.  If you know you are in a negative state, simply refuse to believe the thoughts and postpone considering the thoughts carefully to a later time.
  5. Counter thoughts: Try to add counter thoughts. If a thought springs up which says, he/she is really cruel, try to think maybe not. If a thought springs up which says, ‘I am so dumb’, bust it with a counter thought ‘Maybe I am dumb now, but I am smart enough to bounce back’… it can be anything. Just a simple ‘I don’t believe it’ is a counter thought. A sense of humor can work wonders. Practice generating love or check out Ho’oponopono ( at this blogspot here ).

Another very simple tip to remember during a negative emotional state,  as listed by  Ezra Bayda  author of Beyond Happiness: A Zen Way to True Contentment.

  • Awaken aspiration
  • Awaken curiosity
  • Awaken humor
  • Awaken loving kindness
Posted in Emotional Intelligence | Leave a comment

Are you a Victim or Victor of Life Changes?

“Do you feel like a victim of your circumstances? Here are some common characteristics of a victim:

◆ Victims believe they are helpless and that others in their life are villains.
◆ Victims are ignorant of their responsibility in the circumstances that resulted in an undesirable outcome.
◆ Victims do not acknowledge that if they handled things differently, the results would have been better.
◆ Victims believe that they are not responsible for how they feel.
◆ Victims do not see how they are misinterpreting a situation and making it worse.
◆ Victims do not learn from a negative experience, but instead go deeper into fear.
◆ Victims are stuck in the past and do not take action to create a better future.
◆ Victims feel resentment and blame towards others.
◆ Victims are not willing to trust and accept people they are resenting.
◆ Victims feel powerless to create positive change.

Do take 100% responsibility for your life. Blaming others, giving excuses, or coming up with victim stories only keep you from getting what you want. Successful people practice asking “How did I create that situation?“, “What did I do or not do to have this outcome?”. When you blame others for setbacks, you become a powerless victim. Whatever the life situation, you always have the power of choice. While you cannot always control outside situations, you do have the power to change yourself and respond differently.

When you believe that you are a victim, the universe will bring you more undesirable situations that weaken you further and strengthen the belief that you are indeed a victim. Only when you bring the focus towards self and start taking complete responsibility for your life experiences do you start to become the powerful creator of your life. In other words, taking complete responsibility moves you from being a victim towards becoming a victor. “  – Sudhir Krishnan

Be aware through the day, everyday….when you feel like a victim of circumstances or people and transform your belief of the SAME circumstances and/or people to one that empowers you towards positive feelings, positive thoughts and positive forward action. Its possible if you try it and if you really really want true peace in your life. 

Enjoy!

Shalini

Posted in Shared Wisdom | 1 Comment

life as a classroom

Learning from the mirrors of life

We may be able to see the purpose of our lives in the challenges we find ourselves repeatedly facing. What is life trying to teach me? My purpose in life may be to learn a particular lesson, like how to love or act with integrity or claim my own power.

Our lives offer wonderful clues to our inner issues. Basically, when someone or something upsets us, it is because we are not owning that same situation in our own lives. As an example, if someone accuses me of lying, rather than blaming that individual for being nasty or unfair, I can ask, “How am I lying to myself?” If we don’t have issues within ourselves, the actions of others won’t bother us.

Do you see a pattern being repeated? Are you unable to stay in a job or relationship? Do you turn away from new opportunities? Have you suffered from repeated illnesses or injuries? They may shed light on your life’s purpose. Explore your reactions to life.

“Each of our acts makes a statement as to our purpose.” – Leo Buscaglia

“Everything in the universe has a purpose. Indeed, the invisible intelligence that flows through everything in a purposeful fashion is also flowing through you.” – Wayne Dyer

Here is my favorite poem, which I have kept through many years and referred it again and again despite its simplicity. It always inspires me, what with my monkey mind which is prone to do mistakes again and again and face the same situation again and again!  And as this poem so aptly states, there are no mistakes, only feedback and lessons.  We only need to bow and say ‘Lead kindly Light, one step enough for me’!, to see the light in our situation.

You will receive a body
You may like it or hate it,but
it will be yours for the entire period
of this time around.

 

You will learn lessons.
You are enrolled in a full-time
informal school called Life.
Each day in this school

 

You will have the opportunity
To learn lessons.
You may like
the lessons or think them irrevalant and stupid.

 

There are no mistakes, only lessons.
Growth is a process of trial and error: Experimentation.
The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the proccess
as the experiment that ultimately “works”.

 

A lesson is repeated – until learned.
A lesson will be presented to you
in various forms until you have learned it.
When you have learnt it, you can then
Go on to the next lesson.

 

Learning lessons does not end.
There is no part of life that
does not contain its lessons.
If you are alive, there are lessons to be learnt.

 

Others are merely mirrors of you.
You cannot love or hate
something about another person
Unless it reflects something
You love or hate about yourself.

 

What you make of your life is up to you.
You have all the tools and resources you need.
What you do with them is up to you.
The choice is yours.

 

Your answers lie inside you.
The answers to Life’s questions
Lie inside you.
All you need to do is
Look, listen and trust.

 

– Contributed by Dr. Harsh Mahajan.
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I don’t know vs I know

When I say ‘I don’t know’…. there is two ways of telling that. One is with a background mindset of ‘no hope’ or ‘i cant’ or some fear or insecurity which generally has the effect of closing the mind for possibility of finding a solution.

However, have you noticed yourself saying ‘I don’t know’…with a different mindset?  The mindset of being open to seeing possibilities….. Somebody asks you a direction, you instinctively say ‘hold on I dont know…I think there might be another way to reach there’… just notice the paradoxical structure of the above sentence. Or you simply say ‘I dont know’ because you want to go no further.

Now, when you say ‘I know’…notice what it does to your mindset.  Generally, we imagine these two words are recommended highly in those ‘Positive thinking handbooks’. But shift your thinking a little bit….As you shift and now stand and see it in a different angle, you can easily see that ‘I know’ generally CLOSES your mind…it doesnt open it up. The mind in that case moves backwards on past knowledge and experience, rather than looking forward and see further for more.

Well, its not for nothing that the two words ‘I know’ …finds it’s way into the positivity handbook, dont forget that. When you say ‘I know’… its acknowledging an amount of confidence and clarity in you. Confidence and Clarity are productive qualities.

But the paradigm there, while you continue to acknowledge clarity and confidence, do not forget the dangerously hidden catch in the phrase…. which is an unconsciously made generalization by almost all normal humans… When you say ‘I know’…your unconscious reads it….’I dont need to know any more on this’.  It requires conscious effort and habit to overcome that natural instinct.  Saying ‘I know’ is many times triggered by an instinct to protect a natural discomfort and vulnerability occurring from an instinctive fear of the unknown…hence the unconscious hastens up to convert every ‘I know’ to ‘I know all about it’…. you may or may not be aware of that tendency… I am not speaking of a general ‘I know it all’ mindset…but a hidden tendency that works even in the most trivial ‘I know’ s that come about in our mouths in our daily life.

Does it mean, I should say ‘I dont know’ more often than ‘I know’?  It’s just better to be wiser and keep your guard to notice not only when you say ‘I dont know’…but also when you say ‘I know’… so as to make sure that always the mind is OPEN to an expanded state of possibilities….whatever the dire or difficult situation or state that you might be. When the mind thinks of possibilities…then there’s nothing that can stop it.

‘I know it to this or that extent’, ‘I can know more’…are possible alternate words to just saying or thinking ‘I know it’. There is a general unconscious tendency to generally prefer a more closed realm…to protect its fear of the unknown…rather than a more open, expansive realm… it might prove to be useful to catch that in ourselves.

enjoy,

Shalini

Posted in Transforming Negativity, Transforming sabotaging self-talk | 1 Comment

Emotional Intelligence

For every communication and for every behavior there is an emotional consequence within ourself and in the person we direct your communication and behavior towards. Understanding and being aware of that consequence in a fine way is emotional intelligence. Adjusting our behavior to influence a certain emotional consequence within ourself and in the person/people towards whom our behavior and communication is directed towards, is called emotional intelligence. Remembering that ‘if we keep doing what we do, we keep getting what we are getting’ even in the emotional realm is intelligent.

 Evoking empowering emotions and states of mind, within oneself and behaving/communicating in such a way that it evokes empowering emotions in others is what is important…more important than jumping to correct others or expecting others to be in a certain way that is convenient or seems right to you. Maintain boundaries that ensures emotional health in oneself and others.

 The worst mistake that people do is to say that people SHOULD be this way or that, not realising that other’s behavior and response is directly influenced by the way we behave towards them. Understanding how emotions, values and motivations arise, the complexity with which it exists in each one of them, makes us to humble our expectations from others in terms of justice, fairness,love etc. And that humongous complexity of conditions that influence people’s values, ethics and the behavior and habits that emanate due to them, really means that the only thing that is surely under one’s own control is simply oneself and NOT others, NOT the way others SHOULD behave. The better you understand the complexity of your own conditions within you, the better you understand others and the better you understand how effectively to influence other’s behavior and the better you understand what to expect and what not to expect from others.

 Any relationship gets spoilt due to imposed expectations and unintelligent self-righteousness. When you have values, you follow it because it does good to you. You don’t have values because you feel ‘good’ and ‘right’ about it and it’s not because you have to impose your values on others. There is a difference between influencing and imposing, persuading and pressurizing, manipulating and strategizing. Choose you behaviors intelligently, understand your emotions intelligently, manage them intelligently. Intelligence comes into play in realising what behaviors generate the best result in oneself and in others and the focus is always on our behavior and not others.

This fact is most unfortunately missed in many especially in relationships, whether that be between spouses, between employee and boss, between in-laws, between siblings, between parents and children etc. In many there is not even an effort to recognise that there is a certain intelligence in being aware of and managing behavior and emotions in oneself and others.

Sometimes people are crafty,  people are wise,  people are kind, people are angry, people are dishonest, some are cruel and abusive. The first fact to recognise is that the same people are good at different times and with different people. Depending on what is meant for us, we encounter cruelty, abuse, beauty, love, respect, disrespect.  When we come across difficult people our emotional intelligence is tested to its heights, and difficult people are not our tormentors but our teachers, they are our opportunities to hone our qualities and emotional intelligence to finer and finer levels and enhance our inner beauty.

Difficult behavior in others are the ones who challenge, stretch and sculpt us. It’s for us to decide how we would like to turn out. It’s hard yes, but as long as we are learning, we are sculpting our inner beauty. In fact there are no ‘difficult people’. .. there is no definition or judgement of people…only reflections of ourselves in what we encounter. What we encounter is simply a reflection of what needs to be done within our own selves.People’s behavior will not seem difficult to us, if there is some finer tuning needed with ourselves in perceiving and responding to that behavior. It’s a fact that the difficulty is not out there, but right within us.

This is not to deny that people are not cruel or abusive or deceiving. It’s just that the focus in how difficult that behavior seems to us. Easing that difficulty within our own selves, will ease out the way we respond to such behavior as well as influencing other people’s behavior.  Maintaining a healthy distance enough to see the whole difficulty with an attitude of love and learning and deciding to do or NOT do things, is what turns out to be most intelligent indeed.

There are no victims in this world….  when seen deeply. The abused attracts abusers, abusers attract the ones who unconsciously want to be abused. Teachers attract the one who is willing to learn, learners attract the ones who are willing to teach.

Enjoy!

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The Color Brain Theory – Seeing the world through Colored Glasses

Young girls tend to look at the world through rose colored glasses goes the popular adage. But how about I say that you were born with a brain which genetically wears colored glasses everyday while it perceives the world and takes action on it? Research indicates that different people are born with different brain traits, which would make one process the world in a sequential, structured and systematic manner, while the other processes the world in an information based, detailed operational manner relating different pieces of data.  Yet another understands the world by making connections to all associated concepts present in the brain and another processes the world in random chunks without making any prior connections, but relating and connecting it later.

The brain is genetically seeing through red, purple, blue and green glasses respectively. A boss today who is red brained and processing the world in a structured manner, will know why he  needs to allow a green brained reportee to just give him a big picture objective and allow him to try around things and get some results and then come up with a structure, rather than waiting for him to come up with a solid detailed plan before a project can begin. Similarly a blue brained wife might be able to understand her red brained husband well, if he only seems not to express his feelings to her and only does things to show he loves her.

The Circle of Tolerance widens by understanding the color through which one operates and also the way others operate and makes the world a much more easier place to navigate through. It might give you insights at why one of your reportee comes alive and works with vigor in one situation but seems to be quite dumb in another. You might find the key to unlock the best potential in each of your team members and reportees. You might no longer feel irked or puzzled at why some just dont ‘get it’ and instead just know how to ‘get them at it’.

What is your Color brain and how could you use the understanding of color of other people’s brains that you interact with? How could that help you in bringing about better team effectiveness and team selection for the best outcome for your new project? Check out the following links:

Colored Brain Assessment  

Directive Communication Psychology by Arthur Carmazzi

Posted in Wisdom from Psychological Science | Leave a comment

Welcome to Awesome Personal Leadership Blog

A Warm Welcome to Awesome Personal Leadership. Lead the way to success both in the personal and professional lives of others as well as yours. Know thyself well, Know others well through several frameworks of self-awareness. Introducing you to concepts … Continue reading

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