While the starting line of any race is inundated with people, there’s almost never a crowd in the last mile. Success is akin to crossing the finish line, and if you’re anything like Sakshi Malik was during the Olympics, you win by a few seconds and lots of determination. Aggressively following your goals, in the face of setbacks or “failure” is a key predictor of success. The ability to hear “no” is yet another.Read More
If humans were books and chapters represented the various phases of life, our New York Times bestsellers with stellar critic reviews would be those special editions that represented our accomplishments. Truth be told, our lives are not dissimilar to those published manuscripts anyway, for we govern ourselves by the opinions of critics, some of which are external and most of which are internal. Seemingly, we only write about our failures long after we accumulate enough success to overshadow them. Why is it that we have to “learn” how to embrace ourselves; are we that innately flawed and entirely unworthy of our own attention or merely that consumed by the idea of perfection?
From the outside, our lives resemble the standard normal curve, where 95 percent of the time we exist between 2 standard deviations of self-confidence, oscillating in the residual 5 percent between self-appraisal and self-loathing. Yet in those deepest crevices of our being, we’re not as indifferent to criticism or as confident as we appear to be. In keeping up with appearances, we morph into our best salesmen and PR agents, silently broadcasting our filtered selves. While photography apps soften the more angular portions of our pictures, we consciously harden the softer sides of ourselves, making our outer shell impenetrable and invincible. We’re often told that it’s silly to wear our hearts on our sleeves and we foolishly agree, seldom realizing that it’s a blessing to experience the full spectrum of human emotions.
It’s seemingly acceptable to laugh when someone else is the butt of jokes but when we become the subject matter, it’s suddenly personal. In the pursuit for perfection, we turn to self-help books to look for ways in which we can fix ourselves but maybe we were never broken to begin with. In becoming the best version of ourselves, we sometimes become the most inauthentic version of ourselves, masking our flaws behind the façade of indifference or overconfidence.
Perhaps we took Shakespeare too seriously when he said “all the world’s a stage”. Somewhere between mastering our craft, we began to master our emotions. We see vulnerability as a flaw and perfection as the ideal. We hear things like “be yourself because everybody else is already taken”, implying that we’re runner ups, the placeholder for the next best in the race of life.
Surprisingly, it’s not sensitivity or failure that causes pain, it’s indifference and insignificance that we fear the most. Our need for perfection transcends our work, manifesting itself in our desire for the “perfect partner” or the “perfect house”. In striving to be flawless in every facet of our lives, we begin to develop a proclivity for categories: successful or not; graduate or not; married or not, etc.
We question, not to understand, but to reinforce what we want to hear. We write prose, not to express, but so that it may be read. Moreover, we speak to be heard and not to communicate. Upon asking someone “how are you” majority of us, if not all of us, refuse to be burdened with an actual answer to the question; “I’m well, thanks” usually suffices as the norm. In an age where small talk replaces conversations and networking replaces genuine connections, we enter a mentality where more is always better and the best is always under construction. When we hold ourselves to a standard that violates the very nature of balance, we set ourselves up for imminent disappointment.
Seek to be wholesome and balanced versus flawless and perfect. Be as mindful of what you think, as you are of what you say. Although life plays out reel by reel, you don’t get a rehearsal this time around.
Enter the realm of cliched phrases with the crowning glory residing with the phrase "listen to your heart". If my heart had the ability to grow wings, extricate itself from the chest cavity and allow itself to become fluent in English, that might have been a possibility. Despite our ability to rationalize every facet of our lives, why is it that we give and receive the advice "follow to your heart" with utmost conviction?Read More
The past, neatly folded into the pages of our memory books, is often held onto ever so dearly. We re-read the dried ink of the past, memorizing its lines in the present. We defy time and will it to live on, flooding the present moment with the burdens of the past. In filling our hands with these pages coupled with the uncertainty of the pages still unwritten (the future), we fatigue our muscles long before we can exhale into the present moment. We live somewhere between the past and the future yet never quite in the now.Read More
If you have ever watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding then you’re well aware of the grandfather who proudly proclaimed that spraying Windex on a wound is the answer to most medical maladies. Replace the grandfather with my grandmother and Windex with turmeric and it’s pretty much a given that when it comes to Indian families, you’re buying a one way ticket to Crazyville.Read More
As we grow older, we replace “homework” with “work from home” and “self worth” with “net worth”. Our ability to stay connected has not only brought the world to our fingertips, but also our office emails and files into our bedrooms, blurring the line between work and life. This phenomenon is perhaps inevitable for we define ourselves by the work that we do.Read More
Not all nerds are one size fits all. You see, we’re tailor made, for not all of us are four eyed and spend hours upon hours poring over books and notes, although I was guilty of both. We’re far from being Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory and we most certainly do not nonchalantly list statistics on world hunger during family meals.Read More
If your childhood was anything like mine, chances are that one or both parents had to coax you into hitting the sack with a bedtime story or a lullaby. As we continue to grow, we perceive the concept of a “bedtime” as a punitive curfew devised for little children. Why, pray tell, would any adult subject oneself to a designated bedtime?Read More
Ever wondered how the father-daughter dance is the most emotional moment during any wedding? It’s perhaps because it’s he who teaches you how a princess is treated so someday you may be a queen to the deserving king.Read More