From the desk of a psychologist!

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People Pleaser aka Master Manipulator

“If you live for people’s acceptance,you will die from their rejection.” Lecrae

You are born a  person who is humble & polite with everyone; a good human being, not hurting anyone. In the process you somehow starts getting uncomfortable with conflicts, you like people being happy with you. Gradually you can’t afford displeasing them, you’ve to make them happy at any cost. It becomes a self inflicting game of keeping everyone content at each given moment of time. The web grows from being at toes for one person to many. You start weaving stories, drowning in lies to cater to the needs of people around you.

My observation & research have shown a strong connection between people pleasing and self esteem. A person going through a low self esteem phase would love when people are nice to them. You make sure that you agree with whatever they say,do or think. You generally are the favourite sidekick, giving yourself an identity too. It sure does bring a short-lived sense of belongingness turning soon into strong feeling of worthlessness.

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The problem sprouts when you are close to two people having contradictory mindsets. You do the same routine, manipulating your words & actions as the need be. The saddest part is, apart from being a manipulator, you lose yourself!

Self bashing becomes our life style. We get stuck in this vicious loop. Our fear of disappointing people stops us to even do rational thinking. We suffer but we oblige.Sometimes, we helplessly see that we are being taken advantage of and do nothing about it.

People pleasing is a dangerous addiction, here are few ways to try sobriety :

  • Identify & stop the cycle of manipulation: You certainly can’t be a ‘Yes Man’ to all. Understand how sometimes you twist facts or information to make everyone happy and avoid conflicts.
  • Work on your self esteem: You don’t need others approval to feel good about yourself. Find a way to uplift your self esteem, sometimes a professional support helps.
  • It is okay to displease/disappoint people: As they say, you can please some people all the time, all the people for sometime, not all the people all the time. You’ll have few who won’t be contented by your actions, but that means you do have a voice of your own. Be proud of your identity and savor it.
  • Get comfortable with conflict situation: With the flourishing of your identity, you’ll face contradictions and conflicts. These are essentials for growth as a person. With conflicts come clarity.
  • Stop mincing words: You have a mind & voice, which means you’ll think and that will be expressed through your words. Please don’t try to hide your opinions in a gift wrap. Say exactly what you mean and sometimes not in so many words. People need to listen to YOU.
  • Self Care:They say;  the way we mistreat ourselves, if somebody did half of it we would kill the person. It is high time to make yourself priority. You need to please someone, let it be you.

It will take time, you don’t change overnight. Be positive, patient & persistent…be you!

Is learning only retaining?

With each passing day, I am getting more & more convinced that what we test is the merely the retention power of our students. Is that what real learning is?
To be honest we don’t know better. Stuck with the teaching skills of the 70s, we blindly follow.We claim that we are preparing students for the 21st century but refuse to equip ourselves for the same.

You would be shocked to know that instead of empowering our students, we are crippling them more. We try our best to make them the best learners but restrict them to become inadequate rote learners .

To understand this, lets first try to understand what is learning?

The most simple explanation is very well depicted through this diagram.

 

We have conveniently stopped ourselves in the first step of procuring. I strongly think the biggest hurdle, in our smooth movement to the next phase, is our own RESISTANCE. We are so comfortable in checking the procuring ability of our students that we refuse to change and move forward. We are failing to make learning meaningful.

I don’t think that our students are failing us, but it is we who aren’t able to make them understand their own potential & worth.Go ahead, challenge yourself…get out of your comfort zone. You have the power to make life long learners, making relevant transformations.

TIME TO CHANGE US!!!

Upgrade your self!

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way                                       199260_1944591455313_1258298182_32372566_4581018_n

I love this song. It sums it all. I am fine the way God has made me and should be proud of it.

Then why the world talks about changing? They say it’s never too late to change your life or your life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by change and so on.

When you think about it in this way it is confusing, you get entangled in your thoughts.

Actually it is quite simple. We all are born in a certain way ( which is beautiful & perfect) but we need up gradation.

Think of it as a software which is inbuilt in your system but needs constant update otherwise it will be obsolete. You need to imbibe change to stay away from spam and run antivirus regularly.

We are born perfect but in our journey of life we catch a lot of viruses. These corrupt the system, that is why the need of CHANGE is there.

As a child we are pure, perfect and that’s our true self. As we grow our values, beliefs & attitudes are altered through our life’s experiences. We keep on putting layers on our true selves to hide our insecurities & challenges.

It’s time to stop, reflect, get rid of the many layers ( viruses) and accept our true beautiful self.

Trust me nothing is going to be more EMPOWERING!

True Essence of Beauty

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
Steve Maraboli

It’s not the men or society. Our insecurities, our need for approval & our struggle to fit in a certain type/model makes us vulnerable.

We starve ourselves to look exactly like the popular model all the boys talk about. It’s all over your daily newspaper supplement.

We show them we are helpless, to boost their egos, and make them feel superior. We are expected to behave and carry ourselves in a certain way and we oblige. We have forgotten who we really are; we have somehow perfectly fitted ourselves in the moulds we have been provided with.        article-2214227-139F4748000005DC-401_468x286

Let’s be honest, popular among boys are the girls who are dumb & beautiful. And why not so, smart women comfortable in their skin, makes Them uncomfortable… that’s competition right?

Sadly, we women are unable to understand this simple fact. Without using our brains, we jump in the rat race.

Some of you would say that the condition is not that grave and may be you are right too. But I definitely would like to share one of the random Facebook posts which made me think even more about the intensity of the condition.
The piece I am referring to talked about patriarchy.

It talked about how women silently are becoming an integral part of destructing their own stature. Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, gives the interests of boys and men a so called approval over our bodily integrity and dignity.

This epidemic of us pulling down ourselves is subtle, gradual, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.

Let them see what a woman looks like.

They may not have ever seen one before.
You are a woman.
Skin and bones.
Veins and nerves.
Hair and sweat.

And know this:

Know you are the type of woman who is searching for a place to call yours.
Let the statues crumble.
You have always been the place.
You are a woman who can build it yourself.
You were born to build.
– Sarah Kay

“Who to be and Who not to be”

Recently lost a colleague, who was struggling with cancer. A person who was disciplined, focused and always working for the future. He seldom enjoyed the present as that diverted him from his focus. After the feeling of sadness and loss, came the reiteration to my learning of cherishing the present.

Most of us know this very well, we have read & heard about it all the time. Then what makes it so difficult to follow.

I would say one major reason is the people we are with. I am a true believer of “the power lies within us” but at the same time totally appreciate the significance of Influencers.  These are the people who give direction to our thought processes, change our moods & can play with our feelings. These influencers can be easily categorized into the positive, neutral & negative.

Think of the people you stay with and you can see them fitting into one of these categories.  There are the ones who make you feel better, good about yourself as well as the situation you are in, consequently encouraging you to live in the moment. The second category is of those who are there but very rarely cross your path of thoughts and feelings, usually is in sync with almost everything you say or do. Then there are those who make you feel unsure, doubts yourself and everyone and fills you with negativity forcing you to leave the present. 126030489542970752_Ch8EfMZu_c

But the most integral part about these influencers are their dynamic state. It is interesting to observe that a single person is in different categories viz a viz various people. A single person could be the positive influencer for someone while can play the negative one for someone else.

Take our relationships as chemical reactions. Certain types of personality types with distinct personality traits when mixed with other kinds can yield different results. Which can or can’t be pleasant.

As two substances when mixed gives a totally rare output the same is true with us. When we interact with a certain person the whole experience is  typical to that  person only. From here it becomes simple to understand the chemical reaction which we have with some people yielding positive or negative results.

Be aware, start reflecting on your relationships & interactions. Start spending more time with people who help you live in the moment. Bring out the positives in you, love to laugh and can make you see the good part in all the situations.  Stay away from those who drain the energy out of you, make you run away from the present and make you doubt yourself.This means you need to start assessing the people around you.

I am not encouraging you to be selfish but just to start loving yourself!

 

Aside

“End your Bout with all the Doubt”

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
Khalil Gibran

Ever felt the silent crawling of doubt on you?

It is really interesting how it starts with a small, tiny thought and without any warning it starts affecting your whole thought process and consequently engulfs your actions and every walking step of your life. It’s like a web which multiplies manifolds by itself.

We are human beings and doubt is actually a part of who we are. We can’t really be away from it. It helps us seek truth.

But what happens when doubt prevails without  facts. A lot of times, doubt stops us from taking risks, believing in ourselves and our capabilities. We start by sowing a seed of doubt in our thinking process and in no time it grows itself into a tree which starts taking decisions on our behalf. Without seeking the truth, we follow our doubts blindly leading to misery, sorrowfulness and end up limiting our growth.

“What if…” becomes the starting point of every thought which emerges within us. We create our own stories with the results already decided. This makes our actions and reactions towards people and situations more negative. We dread being in positive environment because doubt has conveniently put blinders on us.

May be when you’ll read this, you would be able to recognize some patterns in yourself. The only solution in such situation is, TAKING THE LEAP OF FAITH. ability.cultivation

Faith in the almighty. Faith in a Power that is beyond you and faith in whatever happens, happens for the best. This step of yours will stop feeding your doubts and ceases its growth and power on you. You start taking things objectively leading to sending positive vibes and restating faith in yourself.

Let go of your doubt with step towards faith!

 

 

 

“We apathise they abuse”

I read a book today. It is called “The Kid Trapper” by Julia Cook. I need to share the jist of it and the situation of this boy ( being a counselor even I know someone like him).

This boy who was trapped in a sexually abusive situation.

How did he get into it?

Simple easy steps which works every time

A friendly stranger makes you feel special

Invite you for a fun time in his place ( or a secluded one)

Let you do something, you always wanted to, but your parents never allowed you to do so

And once you are done, his game begins

Because you did something, you don’t want your parents to know you have to fulfill his wish

The wishes will grow & grow

This is the moment you know, you are TRAPPED

He will make sure you never talk to anyone about it and feel dirty and responsible for the situation. Trust me, that is his power and his biggest weapon. Your fear and shame. picture-to-represent-child-poverty-581748424

You feel your parents/loved ones will hate you if they would come to even know about it but that is your biggest mistake. They love you and they would never be able to forgive themselves if you won’t reach out to them. The moment you’ll talk, the web will disappear.

Parents/ Adults/loved ones:

Do you know?

There is no specific description of an abuser. He could be anyone and anywhere and most of the time he is a very close one.

Be there for your child. Give him the strength to reach you. Be a friend, who doesn’t even need words to feel the pain of his loved one.

Sometimes, because of our own fears, we convey this message to our children that talking about sex ( or sexual abuse) is unacceptable. We believe in the ostrich syndrome…lets dig our heads in the sand rather than looking at the problem.

Though it sounds rare but this is the most common type of abuse which exists anywhere & everywhere!

Please, lets accept this as a fact that sexual predators do exist among us, rather than feeling ashamed and going in a cocoon about it because without this acceptance we will never be able to feel comfortable in talking to them about it and consequently will not be able to equip our kids with the necessary skills to identify and deal with them.

 

 

Rogue Relationship

Sometimes you know that some relationships are more toxic than being a support. You understand that it’s a mistake making your life heavy and exhausting . You spend all your energy & happiness meeting the expectations but nothing suffices. In this vicious cycle you lose your personality, identity & the want of living.

Deep down you also know the only solution but refuse to accept it to yourself let alone the world. There could be several reasons for you being in the dysfunctional situation:

  • You are scared of hurting yourself as well as your loved ones.
  • Have become addicted to this relationship and like a substance abuser know the repercussion but doesn’t have the power to come out of it.
  • You even refuse to accept the truth to yourself & live with the hope of a miracle going to happen someday.
  •  Don’t want people to feel sorry for you.
  • The fear of unknown.

If any of these rings a bell, break the chains and start living your life from today. Let go of it because this relationship is like a virus, which will eat you and make you forget to live the only life you’ve got.

I know saying it is really easy while even thinking of implementing makes you shiver. Take the step to liberate the real you. In the beginning, go through the process of  healing which may involve grieving for your dead relationship but all of this will actually empower you. You would love to find your confidence again and letting go of the shame & guilt developed during the relationship.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Dr. Seuss

Warning: Before taking the step be sure that you are in a dysfunctional relationship. Don’t take a low phase as the whole relationship. Be objective and if you can’t seek external help to decide. This post is strictly for those you are a part of an emotionally abusive relationship.

 

 

When Sincerity Stings

 

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal. – Oscar Wilde

I was forced to actually be empathetic towards a sincere close one today. This empathy was forced because it actually overlapped with sympathy. If you are confused by the way I am using this great attribute of sincerity, let me tell you how difficult it is for a sincere person to lead a happy and contended life.

You must have heard about what is inside affects the outside. In other words, your inner self reflects on the outer world. You take the whole world the same way you are. So, it is not a shocker when a sincere person expects the same kind of treatment from the whole world.  Though their experiences have tried to wake them up a lot of times and they have even tried and made ample resolutions, still once comfortable they go back in their usual comfort belief system ( of the world being almost as sincere as they are).

They wait for people to do their part they carry out theirs, which most of the time doesn’t happen. It only frustrates them, disturbs their strong principles and sometimes even make them sorry for being sincere.

They need to understand the world is not going to go by their script. The only thing flexible or one can change is your attitude towards life. I am not asking you to be insincere but urging you to start the process of understanding the coexistence of good and bad. If you are sincere, great for you but that doesn’t mean the world is going to be the same. You are going to get a mix. Be prepared for different degrees of sincerity and accept it.

One more thing which we need to understand is sincerity is also subjective. Your meaning of it could be totally different from how someone else defines it. There is also your sincerity priority; something for you could be of high priority in your sincerity barometer while the same thing could be of medium or low priority for a friend. For eg., for some ppl being sincere in a relationship is top most priority while some feel professional sincerity is a must. If both will be together they are going to doubt each other’s personality finding each other being insincere in life. Try to start looking at the whole picture and not blinded by few situations!

A  sincere friend  of mine ( who goes through this situation on a regular basis) suggests that take your experience as a learning process and build your predictor chart of a situation or a person. He does that combined with his intuition and it really helps him deal with various new challenges of life.  If you assess a person as a threat to your sincere world, maintain a logical distance. It makes sense because as we know, we can never change a person and if his behavior is a threat to our peace, change yourself ( by changing the situation as much as possible).

After saying all of this, I would like to end this post by addressing all my sincere close ones; build strategies, make resolutions do whatever you want but the next time you are put on test, you’ll be  hardcore sincere again as it runs in your blood and that is why you remain so dear to us 🙂

 

 

Addiction in India: The War Goes On!

I am so thankful to Aamir Khan for giving voice to an  important & relevant major cause, which exists in our country but no one is willing to listen. I am an addiction counselor, who came back to my country with huge dreams of  changing the world of addiction treatment here. But am not ashamed today to accept  that I left my struggle because it was full of hurdles.  I am so grateful that today after watching Mr. Khan’s episode of Satyamev Jayate, my candle of hope has started burning again.

I have worked in various addiction treatment setups in India and it is sad but a fact, that most of them are only there to mint money. No one has a clue of what works. Because people are needy they trust them which is then misused. I was a part of this system. It made me question my integrity and disturbed me. I wanted to help but didn’t know how. I realized how much it means to me to find the answers. I traveled to the hub of addiction study, United States of America, and completed my chemical dependency certification and worked there for some time. It helped me understand this dubious disease in a better way.

I came back with huge dreams and hit the reality pretty soon. It was a WAR against the age-old mindset. I gave up but with time I had learnt one important lesson that I am not here to change the nation but to give something back to the society. Even if one person learns something from this blog, I would think that my goal is achieved. I have this powerful tool of my blog today and this post goes for the passion of my life… Addiction. Though in the show the talk was only about alcohol but here we are going to talk about addiction, whether alcohol or any other chemical ( marijuana, cigarette, cocaine etc.). The disease remains the same.

We have a very sorry state of addiction in our country. There are so many prevalent misconceptions & myths that there is no help for it.  I would like to put some light on this topic through an Indian perspective:   

  • Addiction is a disease not a bad habit or moral issue: Why in a party some people can be decent drinkers while a few make a fool of themselves. People actually wait for them to bring entertainment in a lifeless party.

I will give an example to make you understand it in a better way. Two friends decide to go for a drink. Let’s say Mr. X & Mr. Y.

Mr. X suffers from addiction while Mr. Y has no such disease. When they have the drink, Mr. Y may enjoy it but for Mr. X it is a new never  felt  before state. Mr. X is never going to forget about it.

  • Chasing the dragon: Then the chase starts. An addict, every time when goes under influence, it is with the wish of reaching the same state it felt the first time. This never happens only the substance keeps on increasing.
  • Tolerance is not good: How many times have you heard someone boasting that I can hold my drink . The biggest indicator of chemical dependency is increased tolerance of the substance.
  • The different stages of the disease: It’s an ongoing treadmill which ranges from experimentation, use, abuse to dependency on the substance. If you have the disease and you introduce your drug of choice to your body, this is how the disease will progress.
  • Hit the rock bottom:

Tony Robbins once said there are two things that motivate people to make dramatic changes in their lives: inspiration and desperation. In the journey of addiction recovery, there needs to be a kick which can stop us from the journey of  self-destruction.

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