Believe in Yourself

Validation. We all need it. But how do we get it?

A lot of us tend to seek it out from other people. It’s hard to value ourselves. It’s hard to be able to see our own self-worth. It’s hard to really trust that we are the best versions of who we can be. So we look to others and if they approve of us, we feel good about ourselves.

But what happens if we do something that people don’t approve of? What if we do something that is a good decision for us but isn’t what others think is the “right” thing to do?

How do we validate our decisions then? How do we feel good about ourselves when the rest of the world tells us we aren’t good?

I honestly don’t know the right answer to these questions.

I know that we should be able to validate ourselves. I know that if we are going to trust others, we should trust the people who have been there for us through everything. Why should we listen to people who don’t know us at our core? Why should we listen to those who don’t understand us or our feelings?

I think that sometimes, we just need to trust ourselves. I didn’t trust my emotions and myself throughout my entire 20s. I thought I was wrong in feeling the way I felt. I tried to change my mindset because I thought that I shouldn’t be feeling the way I did. I thought I wasn’t gracious enough and that I wasn’t good enough. I looked at myself through the lenses of the people around me. I didn’t like what I saw at all. I learned by my late 20s that the problem wasn’t me or the way I felt. My feelings were correct. I needed to change my life around.

So I started doing just that. As I entered my 30s, I learned to trust myself and the way I felt. Once I felt centered, I was able to make friends who really were people that I could really reflect off of. I was able to see myself for who I really was. And they saw me for who I really was.

It isn’t easy to always validate yourself. Once you start believing in yourself and who you are, it gets easier.

It’s Not Their Fault Either

I saw a friend’s post on Facebook last night about reverse racism. She said that it’s not right because “as we all know- every race has racists”.

It’s easy as an Indian person to blame white people for the hateful shooting of an Indian man that happened in Kansas recently. It’s easy to blame white people for supporting Trump. It’s easy to blame white people for all of the fear that has arisen amongst people of different nationalities in the US.

We can’t blame all white people. I know when something terrible happens (and lately, it seems like something terrible is happening every day), it’s natural to feel that way. Even I feel that way sometimes. But it’s not right.

I think of all the awesome white people I know every time I do feel that way. I have one friend who literally posts her disgust every time there is something to be outraged about. I have friends who have never even seen the differences between us in a negative way. How many of us have white friends and coworkers who have done more to resist the negative things that have happened in this presidency than any of us Indians have?

How can we, as Indians, judge any race this way? I had a boyfriend a long time ago that had to break up with me because I wasn’t the same caste as him. We talk about Indians from other states in stereotypes all the time. All Gujaratis are cheap and all Punjabis drink a lot. How many of us have heard or said something like this? We all know people who don’t fit these ideas.

And how many times has the entire religion of Islam been blamed for the actions of a few? The Muslim friends I have are the most liberal and calm people I have ever known in my life. Yes, there are extremists but there are more regular, normal people who just want to live their lives like everyone else. They wake up, go to work, spend time with family and friends, and hang out.

As for voting for Trump, I also know a few Indian people who have done so. I no longer can socialize normally with them knowing that they voted for a man who condones hateful actions but that’s as far as it goes. There was a Hindus for Trump group. It makes me embarrassed to be Hindu and I’m hoping no one ever judges me based on this group.

I know it’s been a difficult time for the country and I’m hoping we come out of it soon. But we have to do it together.

 

Encourage, Not Discourage

I have a friend who posted about working out on Facebook. In her comments section, there were a bunch of comments about how it was funny that she started working out or that they were waiting for her to give up.

Seriously???

Someone is trying to do something good for their own life and whether it will work out or not, why are people discouraging her? Why would you tease someone who was trying to make a positive change in their life?

I don’t know about everyone else but within the Indian community, you do see this a lot. Instead of helping people out, we tend to put people down. We don’t always support others in their dreams or goals. Even when we do seem to support someone, it’s not always real. We end up talking negatively about them behind their backs.

Why do we feel the need to put someone else down? Why is it so hard to just believe in them? Does it matter if we end up being right or wrong?

Just say that someone does quit or doesn’t achieve their goals. Does it make a difference to us? My guess is what that person will remember is your belief in them, in your support for them.

There’s no reason to discourage someone (even if you mean it jokingly). It could really hurt their feelings or prevent them from following their dreams. Even though we think that our words would not have that effect, they might.

Support. Believe. Encourage.

 

Yes I’m Vain….But It Keeps Me Healthy

When I was 15, my metabolism quit. Like it got up and said “F*** you” and left. Prior to that, I was a super skinny kid and didn’t really worry about what I ate. After that, it’s like everything I ate just stayed on me. I ended up at around 130 pounds at the time. For a 5’2″ girl, there’s nowhere for that weight to really go that will look attractive. I wasn’t consistently athletic at the time so it wasn’t even muscle weight.

Now take a look around you. Take a look at yourself. Are you in shape? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you being healthy?

If the answer (the honest answer) is no, join the club. There are way too many of us out there that aren’t taking care of ourselves. The American Heart Association recommends walking around 10,000 steps or 5 miles per day. This is hard. I bought myself a Fitbit because I thought I must be easily hitting this number daily chasing my kid around plus working out once a day but nope. I still have to take another walk and really push my activity levels to hit this number. I rarely ever reach 5 miles. It’s frustrating.

After my metabolism quit, it took me another 6 years to come out of denial that I couldn’t just eat what I want and not work out and look like how I wanted. I always wanted to have the perfect body. I’ve always been a perfectionist. And somehow I thought that it would just come to me without me having to work for it.

One day, I looked at a picture of myself and saw how I looked in a shirt I really liked. It felt awful. I realized that I wasn’t just going to magically get into shape. It was, at the moment, I decided that I didn’t want to feel like that again. I joined a gym and started counting calories. I lost a ton of weight and not only was working out regularly but had joined a professional dance team so I was dancing regularly. I felt stronger and healthier.

I’m writing this because when I look around me and see so many people who don’t seem care, it’s frustrating and scary to me. My metabolism quit early and it took me 6 years to figure out what to do about it. But, mine quit earlier than it does for a lot of others. For those of us who are entering our 30s and inching towards our 40s, there are things that won’t work as well as they did before. We are at higher risk for health problems if we don’t start taking care of ourselves as soon as possible.

I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that you like the way you look or you’ve accepted your bodies for what it is. I applaud that. Here’s the thing. We don’t have to have the perfect bodies but we shouldn’t be treating our bodies like trash cans either. We don’t have to not enjoy food but we shouldn’t ignore the consequences of what we are eating as well. The point is that we aren’t eating healthier and exercising to look like supermodels. We are doing it so we feel better about ourselves. We are doing it so we can be there in the future to take care of our children. We are doing it so we don’t miss out on something just because we thought it was too much work when we were younger and couldn’t be bothered.

Unfortunately, I see way more people around me who don’t care than do. I hope they realize that change starts when you take the action to change. I’m hoping that most people understand that those who are physically fit really work hard at it. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even for those people who are naturally thin, they have to watch what they eat and work out so they don’t end up with other health issues. In the end, we should all feel better about ourselves not only physically but emotionally.

Exercising and eating right does wonders for your mind and soul as much as your physical body. For me, it’s a coping mechanism. It helps my stress levels stay down and for me to deal with whatever problems happen in my life. It also boosts my confidence levels regardless of what I look like or how I’m feeling at the moment. There are plenty of times I’ve gone into a dance practice or work out feeling down or mad and 3o minutes later, I will feel really good about everything because I just needed to take a break from my mind and focus on my physical activity instead.

There are plenty of groups and articles to help you learn how to take care of yourself if that is where you are stuck. This is something I really believe in (even if I slip up every so often and eat a bag of jelly beans myself or have more alcohol than I probably should have). I hope you will be inspired to take the step to treat yourself with the respect you deserve.

When Our Past Returns

A few days ago, I heard from someone who I hadn’t talked to in 5 years. The last conversation we had wasn’t a good one and I never expected to hear from her again. Then, all of a sudden, I received a message, wishing me a happy birthday and congratulating me on my new kid. I was in shock and I couldn’t respond for a couple of days because I needed to process. It’s interesting when that does happen. It was a really nice message and I was glad to hear from that person. 

When a relationship of any type ends, there is usually a reason for it. I know, in this case, I had hurt the person pretty badly and I didn’t know if she would ever understand the reason behind it. It took a lot for her to message me just to say as much as she did and I really respect her for it. It makes me think that maybe she finally understood why the relationship ended. 

I’ve been through this before. Just like most people, I have had falling outs with different people throughout my life, whether it was a friend or a relationship. And, in my experience, one of the two people involved, if not both, will eventually come back and show that they have put the past behind them. There have been times when we walk away from something that is not good for us personally and hope that one day, the person involved will understand the reasons we move on. 

But, when we do finally hear from whomever we have had the problems with, it still comes as a shock. We don’t expect to hear an apology, let alone good wishes from someone who we have ended on bad terms with. 

I hope that, one day, every relationship of mine that had ended badly does eventually resolve itself. I hope that we can find a way to move past our past and maybe that will lead us to making sure our current and future relationships are good. It takes a big person to be able to walk forward and I still see people who hold onto the bad even though they have a chance to move towards the good. There are people that refuse to accept an apology or find ways to see the other side’s point of view, regardless of who was right or wrong. I don’t want to be one of those people. 

I’m not saying that everyone deserves a second chance but usually, in these types of situations, it doesn’t hurt to at least try.

Sometimes, we just need our past to return to show us where we used to be and where we are now. 

Trust Your Gut

Have you ever been in a situation where your body was telling you to get the hell out? You felt uncomfortable and you knew something just wasn’t right about what was going on. You felt stressed and on some level, unhappy (if you chose to admit it to yourself). How many times have you ignored that feeling and gone on to do whatever you were doing anyways? 

I have. With relationships, with jobs, with situations. And I always ended up making myself completely miserable before I realized that I should have just listened to my gut and walked away from the situation.

Why is it that we trust what everyone else says but we don’t trust ourselves? And later on, in hindsight, we look back and clearly see all of the red flags. 

If you don’t feel comfortable in a situation, it’s probably a sign that it’s not the right situation for you. It might be a good opportunity or a good person to date but something is off somewhere and your gut is telling you to acknowledge that before moving forward. 

This especially goes for those who are being forced into a situation (like marriage, maybe?)

This is your life. Remember that. Just because there are those around you that think that you should do something doesn’t mean you should if it doesn’t feel right. You will be the one who has to live with this day in and day out. So it might mean some fighting to make sure that you are getting what you want but standing up for yourself is the only thing you can do when it comes to your own happiness. It’s not that other people don’t have your best interest at heart. It’s just that they might not have the same feelings you do. 

Know yourself. Know what’s right for you. Trust yourself. 

Marriage is the start…not the end

So you just had the biggest day of your life and now you’ll live happily ever after, right?

Wrong.

It takes some time to get to the marriage point for some people. For some people, it doesn’t. But for everyone, it’s work after marriage. I haven’t met a couple that doesn’t require work to keep their marriage happy and successful.

The hardest part I think is learning to let go of your ego. The end goal is to be happy with the person and really progress together through life. Fights aren’t always worth being right. It’s really about choosing your battles.

We grow up in life learning to protect ourselves from the world. We learn to be tough and invincible so no one can hurt us.  No one warns us that that isn’t what works in marriage though. Part of being married is being vulnerable. It’s letting your guard down and accepting that you may not always be right. It’s accepting that sometimes even if you are right, you may have to let it go to move forward.

It’s hard not to fight and not to let things get under our skin. But what’s more important: being right all of the time or having a marriage that makes us happy?

This doesn’t mean to not address the problems. But believing that your significant other doesn’t have your best interest at heart is a problem. If you start with trust, it’ll be easier to get past the issues that come up. And trust me, a lot of issues always come up. Life happens. Finances, families, life curves. And if you have a strong partnership, it makes it so much easier to get through the tough times.

Marriage is hard work. That’s undeniable.

In the end, you just have to figure out how to work with the person that you have chosen to be your life partner. And that’s the start of a happy marriage.

Marriage Is No Joke…But It Should Still Be Fun

Who says that marriage has to become boring or redundant after some time? As my cousin once said “It’s like having a slumber party every day.”

Now, let’s get something straight. Marriage isn’t easy. Relationships in general aren’t. They take work, compromise, and really learning how to take into consideration someone else’s needs and wants, their happiness. Entering a marriage should take some thought. Obviously, there is no way that we could ever know if something is going to work out one way or another. Knowing if something is right for you, if someone is right for you is a learning process.

Someone once asked me about my relationship and what I think is the most important thing about it. I told that person that in my opinion, in my life, the answer would be friendship. I think that being friends is the most important thing that holds my relationship together.

If you think about it, your friends are the people that know you best, that you know will understand you beyond anything, and that you can be silly with and not worry about what they think after. So why wouldn’t you want that in a relationship?

All my life, I’ve been operating under the labels of geek, nerd, dork. I’ve been known to have a very corny sense of humor that if you’re way too cool for me, you won’t understand. But, for once, I have found someone who matches those personality aspects on every level. And we laugh a lot while being ourselves.

Being able to experience life with someone who really can enjoy the same things beyond a basic interest level is an amazing feeling. Having common interests is great but it’s really the little underlying things that make it fun to be in the relationship.

Yes, relationships take work. They require time and effort. But, if you can enjoy it, then hopefully, it doesn’t seem like it takes as much work as you would imagine. If you find yourself complaining about the relationship more than just having fun, then my guess is there is something that needs to be examined. And I know I have spoken about this before but the idea of your significant other being a drag just doesn’t make sense to me. We aren’t in an era when we are with someone out of duty. Most of us are in it out of love. So then, why wouldn’t being with someone you love be fun?

So, before you get married, figure out if you’re having a good time. Because, as long as you’re laughing together, marriage will be okay.

The Need to be Needed

It must be a human thing. To feel needed or wanted. When we stop feeling like that and stop feeling appreciated, we lose our motivation to really achieve something. We lose our motivation to love and to care and to really put ourselves out there. 

What is it about being needed to makes us feel worthy? Ideally, we ourselves should feel worthy because of what we accomplished, not because someone praises us or shows us how much they need us. That idea of “you can’t function without me” is something that really is detrimental to our self-worth. We want to feel wanted and needed. Which ends up being that we need or want someone to want or need us. Vicious cycle, right?

I don’t know if it’s possible to be so self-sufficient that you don’t ever need someone to validate you and your effort. It would be an ideal place to be. I definitely wish I could assess my own actions and not depend on anyone else to let me know that I’m doing a good job or or if I’m a good person. I would expend so much less energy if I didn’t question my value. 

The other angle is that I know what I’m worth and I need others to know that well and when they don’t treat me how I would like to be treated, then that’s not a good place to be as well. 

Where does this need come from? So there are 2 aspects. One is that we need this validation to know we are worth something and the other is that we need this validation to know that we are being treated right. 

One day, I hope that I don’t have the insecurities to need validation to know my self-worth. I will always use it as a standard of measure to know that I’m being treated as I should be. 

The Need to Be Right

Why is it that we have to be so sure that we know what we are doing all the time? Why is it that we have to always have the final word in a discussion or have to prove that we have all of the correct information? Why do we have this need to be right?

When I was younger, I definitely was like this all of the time. I don’t know if I was trying to prove something about myself or what the deal was. I would argue and fight and make sure everyone knew that I had the best opinion on whatever the situation was. I did learn and grow out of it even though there are times when this part of my personality still comes out. 

I’ve watched other people do this over and over again. There are those who manage to involve themselves in other people’s lives or who will walk away from a good thing just because they believe they are right. I honestly think it’s fine to fight for what you believe in. But why do we have to fight when it’s not something that definitely needs change? I used to fight over which movie actors were the best or what songs were good. I don’t think this is a discussion that needs to be rehashed 100 times to prove that I’m right. 

So what’s the deal then? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we fight uselessly when it’d be just as easy to let things go? Is it our ego? Is it that we have to prove that we are smarter or more knowledgeable to others? Why can’t we accept that we are all human and there is a chance that we might not know everything? 

I think it’s important to accept that there might be value in what someone else thinks and says. It’s important to keep an open mind and realize that we might not know everything. I think there are some fights not worth fighting. Sometimes, letting things go helps us protect ourselves from getting hurt when someone else forces their opinion onto us. Separating yourself takes the emotion out of a situation that might not be worth it. Giving someone else the time to express themselves might teach us something new. 

There are some fights worth fighting and some that are not. Sometimes, our own peace of mind is better than any fight.