Thursday, 7 November 2013

Reality Check

Some weeks ago, I was bonding with a colleague of mine at Leopold Café. Our initial conversations steered around the topic of family, travel, career-goals but a couple of drinks down, we were talking about more intimate stuff like crushes, relationships, our fears, and insecurities…Suddenly my colleague turned to me and whispered, “Don’t look immediately but that guy has been checking you out for the past fifteen minutes! See eight o’ clock!”
I secretly glanced in that direction and chuckled, “He’s probably looking at you! No one that cute would be checking me out of all people…Look at me! I look horrible!”
My colleague just rolled her eyes and replied, “Well, you forget that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and if you think you look horrible, then, you probably cannot see what I can!”
We changed the subject but later that night, I wondered about what my colleague had said…

We all judge others – that is an established fact! We look at a person and immediately draw conclusions based on our first impressions. The judgments may change over a period of time but we are never people who do not judge. We can’t even stop judging ourselves; how in the world are we to stop judging others!
“I am so fat and ugly that I will never find true love”, “No matter how good my intentions are, I always goof things up”, “I am a pathetic loser”, “I will never get anywhere in life” – do these statements sound familiar? With all this negative self-talk happening inside our heads, it is no wonder that we feel nothing is perfect. We are all so driven by our need to be perfect that we fail to see the reality of people with their little flaws. It is these flaws that make them even more beautiful. It is so difficult to accept and embrace our own imperfections – I know that sometimes I find it extremely hard to see myself beyond my shortcomings. I am sure it is the same with everyone else.

In psychology, we learn about narcissistic personality disorder, a condition named after a mythological Greek youth, Narcissus, who was so infatuated by his own image that he drowned in it. These days, I feel everyone, including me, is doing the same thing. We are such harsh critics of ourselves that we are just not ready to make room for anything that can help us feel better. How many of us have difficulty accepting compliments? A few days ago, I told my friend that her dress looked fabulous! She gave me an unsure look and asked, “Are you sure I don’t look fat in this?” I laughed. How difficult is it for us to just give a polite smile and say ‘thank you’ when someone pays us a compliment? I know it isn't very easy for me. I find it easy to accept compliments like “You’re so considerate” or “You are a good friend to have” but I just don’t believe it when people compliment me for qualities like intelligence and beauty. When my friends call me smart or pretty, I really wonder what aspect of mine they are mirroring back to me and helping me to reveal to myself. Are they just being nice or do they genuinely mean it?
A lot of my clients and my friends gape at the effortless way in which I can offer them a fresh perspective of looking at things. The funny thing is that when I am in trouble, these same friends help me see the other side to my problem. Why is it that we can see others so perfectly but when it comes to ourselves, no matter how hard we look, we are never able to see ourselves clearly?

It is easy to say what another person is like but do you really know the actual ‘you’? Once upon a time, I believed that no one knows me better than I know myself. Recently, however, I was asked to make a list of “100 Reasons Why I Love Me” – the list had to contain hundred items of things that I was good at or things that I liked about myself and, to my surprise,  I could not go beyond #23. Reaching #23 was also quite a bit of a struggle! In the end I wasn't even sure if I actually believed in some of the things I had written down. Was I just writing some things down to reach the goal that had been set? Were there only twenty-three things (or probably less) that I was good at or that I liked about myself? Surely, I am better than this; or, perhaps, not? Being unable to complete that list was quite a bit of a shocker for me and I do not believe that the reason behind reaching such a short number has anything to do with modesty!
I asked another friend of mine to work on the same list. She too struggled. When I glanced at her list, however, I could easily rattle off fifteen-sixteen things that I felt she should add to her list which she was not so sure about. Similarly, she told me a couple of things to add to my list which I was not sure held true to me.

I wonder why we have one set of standards for judging ourselves and a completely different set for judging others. In fact, why do we judge? If everyone is a constant work-in-progress since perfection is a benchmark that can never be reached, why can’t we get real? Real people are not flawless. Real people fail. But they also get up and keep going. Real people are constantly wrestling and negotiating with their own shadows, fighting the good fight to keep from spilling their perceived darkness on those around them.

I wish to complete that list soon – hopefully, with a little help from friends (if they are reading this *wink*). I feel it is time for me to get real and get in touch with my core which is beautiful. Are you ready to meet the real ‘you’?

18 comments:

  1. True. We really set different standards to measure ourselves. Now,one shouldn't be obsessed, but we should learn to love us the way we are.

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  2. From whatever I know about you through your writing, you are a person with a free spirit. You reflect and retrospect a lot about life and the world around you.
    Please add these positive aspects to your list :)

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    1. Thanks so much Aarthy - I will definitely add that to my list :D I wasn't sure if reflecting and retrospecting so much was really a positive thing :P

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  3. Very well said Divya, and sigh, it does happen like that - a different set of standards for us and the others, though it may differ for which side we set the bar higher:) I believe you are a sensitive person, open to new experiences, seems like you approach things with a free mind, expressive in your words and writing, a feeling person...philosophical bent of mind....hope that can add to your list! I really enjoy reading your blog.

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    1. True - the bar is usually higher on one side and that side could either be for one self or for the others....Thank you for helping me add to my list :) It means a lot :D

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  4. I hope you now realize that I pay you real compliments when I say you are beautiful. I have often told you, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and first impressions can only take you so far with someone, particularly if that person is not so beautiful on the inside.

    Btw, as far as looks go, I love your bright, beautiful, blissful, Bong eyes.

    My favourite quality about you is your ability to simplify things, which probably stems from your child-likeness. I have tried explaining this to you before: Child-likeness is not a bad thing, in fact, in a world of so-called mature advice-giving adults, it is nice to have someone who gives you that "don't over-think" kinda advice. Thank you for being in my life. <3

    Love,
    Sanika

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    1. I know you mean it when you give compliments but sometimes I am not sure if those things you see are really there - like they say "love is blind" :-P Once a person is a friend, the parameters for judging them changes completely, don't you feel?

      But yes, I will add some points you mentioned to the list :D Thank you for being!

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  5. Ahemmm!!!
    Your list of hundred....? I got it!
    Lovelovelove!

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    1. You have? :-O Enlighten me please!

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  6. Brilliant!! As you say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Sometimes we see a couple- one of them very good looking and another as we say "not so good". We wonder "what does he see in her"? I have often heard people observe that about Shashi Kapoor and the late Jennifer Kendell. They had such a lovely marriage despite being from different cultures. I think unless we respect ourselves the world will not.. We unconsciously transmit signals outside about what we think of ourselves and people pick that up and treat us similarly ( I am sure this is not something you have studied in psychology but I believe it). The Narscisstic transmit that look of arrogance that puts people off while the not so confident transmit vulnerability that someone can exploit or try to "protect". In the later case the person becomes attractive to someone who is intrinsically dominating or themselves lacking in confidence. I guess being comfortable with the way we look is one of the most challenging tasks in this world !

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    1. I know what you are saying...I can see a couple and when I feel they are an "odd pair", I may never verbalize it but yes, the thought does cross my mind - it's like an automatic thing I don't have control over. I do believe in 'The Secret' and the belief that with our thoughts, we are unconsciously transmitting signals outside and people pick up these frequencies and treat us that way :) For every person who dominates, there is another person who allows him/her to because they feel they, on their own, are not good enough...It is very important how we treat ourselves :) The way you treat yourself is the same way the world will treat you - I guess that is a very important lesson to master :)

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  7. I completely agree Divya and I realised this very recently and since then its like magic unfolding at every opportune moment and I basking in it's glory :)

    All the best... and am waiting to meet the REAL YOU!!

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    1. :) We really need to meet someday in real life :) Hope that day comes soon :)

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  8. I feel that each person is like an ocean. One needs to spend a lot of time with them to even trying to know them. Each personality has it's shades and layers. To think of a person as ugly or bad at the first glance is a mistake we make everyday. Spend some time with this very person. Who knows he/she might become your best friend or even your spouse. I am not kidding.

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    1. Believe me...I know exactly what you mean ;)

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  9. A lovely piece. All so true. Thank you for sharing your insights and wisdom. It's so appreciated.

    God bless you and your loved ones.

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    1. You are welcome, Ellen :) God Bless You and Your Family!

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