If You Can Hold A-n-y Belief, Why Hold A Useless One??

“Money is the root of all evil!”

“Men don’t find slender women attractive!”

“True love comes only to a lucky few!”

“Only women with zero ambition choose to stay home!”

“Coaching is for lazy people who can’t figure things out on their own!”

“Who the hell goes to a class to learn how to eat? Or how to breathe?!”

There! I’ve shared half a dozen examples of useless beliefs. And I’ve so many more that are tumbling out from my memory. These are very real examples of limiting and useless beliefs that I’ve seen people carry – like they’re absolutely legit. They felt like it was only a dimwit who’d question it.

When does a belief become useless, you may be wondering. Any unexamined belief especially the ones that stand in the way of what you want for yourself is likely a useless belief. If you’re someone that desires to accumulate some money, with a belief such as ‘money is the root of all evil’ you will not be able to hold on to any money for a long enough time – whether you’ve slogged for it or it was generously given to you. So, the belief is a useless one for you to carry, as it is blocking the very thing you desire to have.

Women do the eye roll and give me duh kinda response, when I say this. I know I’ve done the exact same thing with my mentors! But these beliefs aren’t very visible unless you look for them. You’ll get a hint of their being active if only you tune in to the things you speak, and the words you use. And of course, the results you currently have are a dead giveaway.

Think of it, for instance if you ardently believed that that there’s no point trying to lose weight – as you’re going to be chubby anyway since everybody in the family is plus size too – why would your intelligent brain let you waste your precious time and and energy over learning to shed it?? The towering belief that ‘I am just like others in my family’ will lead you to implicitly be and do everything the way your family has always done – cook a certain way, eat in a particular manner and so on. And sadly, you’d have failed at something without even trying.

I’ll leave you with what Dr.Bruce Lipton has said on this topic –  “human beings have a great capacity for sticking to false beliefs with great passion and tenacity .. people need to realize that their thoughts are more primary than their genes, because the environment, which is influenced by our thoughts* controls the genes”

I have a very tough ask of you … ask yourself what thoughts are you stubbornly holding on to and get curious about them. Just tease yourself and ask ‘what if this isn’t true’ and come up with a contrasting argument for your own original argument. Since you’re doing it in the absolute privacy of your mind (or a journal, utmost) you don’t have to worry about losing face – it’s going to be safe. Oh why, it may even save you a ton of pain, who knows!

* A belief is only a thought that you think often.

Keyboard Shortcut Equivalent For Your Brain – When They’re Great And When They Aren’t!

Today, I’d like to draw your attention to another thing that we all do when it comes to our beliefs. No matter what you believe, you can find evidence to prove that _your_ belief is the right one!

This may feel crazy to you, but your brain has this reflexive mechanism built into it such that it is constantly looking out for evidence to make your existing beliefs feel right.

Now, I don’t want to paint a horrible picture of what is one of the most useful features of human brain. This reflexive mechanism I just discussed or cognitive biases as they’re also called, are like keyboard shortcuts on our computers. They simplify routine learning and perception.

But you must guard against these processes becoming your default mechanisms! As if you’re staying loyal to prior belief systems and thoughts just so your brain doesn’t have to “waste energy” looking for new ones – this is self-destructive. And self-deceptive.

Self-deception by way of unexamined faulty thinking is no different than any other buffer that you may be resorting to – food, work, busyness and what have you – to avoid addressing the real issues in plain sight.

Remember, that’s what we discussed last week – your brain has this exact tendency.
See how Warren Buffet nails it when he says this –

“What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.”

As if this weren’t enough already, your brain has an affinity to any belief that feeds its pleasure seeking and pain avoiding tendencies. And you know what, more often than not you are clueless about any of these tendencies that are always in operation!

By the way, thank you if you’re one of those that wrote in, about your beliefs. I’d like for you to first reflect and then share with me – what steps would you take to avoid default thinking?

Coffee, Movies And More

Hey lovely reader, I want to ask you something.

Raise your hand if you identify yourself as a coffee lover. Like, would it ring true if you said ‘my name is {fill your name}, and I am a lover of all things coffee!’?

When women share this about themselves I usually laugh and say how they remind me of Rambo! Remember his line .. ​​​​​​Rambo is my name, killing is my game?! This sounds kinda like that 🙂
Let’s discuss beliefs this month and see what there’s to learn about them. First of all, what’s a belief you may be wondering. It is just a thought we think a lot. Most frequently-thought thoughts become a belief. So, if you keep thinking a thought like – ‘aha ha! this wonderful aromatic coffee! what would I do without it’ – soon it becomes a belief such as ‘I can’t function without coffee’ or ‘life is not worth it if my days don’t start with a steaming hot cup of filter coffee’
So, here’s the first thing I want to share when it comes to beliefs. Our brain is a big believer of conserving energy. Like, it doesn’t believe in thinking some new thought because it sees it as wasting energy. So, what does it do? It keeps recycling thoughts over and over and over again.
I want you to reflect upon this a little bit. And I’d love it if you head over to comments section and share some of your favorite beliefs – could be about coffee, could be about movies! Or even your belief about beliefs.
I’m eager to read your comments 🙂
g

3 steps to make friends with your warring parts

Read this part first: 1. If your name happens to be used in the post below to name a not-so-good character, do not please let that trouble you. I love everyone of these names and I love my friends who are wonderful bearers of these names. This is not specific to any person known or unknown to me. 2. Wherever you see “(fill in your name)” picture yourself in that context and read it as though the part is speaking of you. 

When your internal warring parts are going BAKBAKBAKBAK without allowing for your loving center to wedge in, that’s when you’d hear “a  part of me doesn’t do even the things I know I want to do” – this is where we had paused.

Today, I’ll share 3 most effective steps to take towards getting your parts to become friends with you again.

But first come in and see if you recognize some of your parts –
Well, hey there sweetie! My name PriyaSugar. I’m  (fill your name)’s favorite, most used part. Know why? I say the sweetest things, darling. I love being loved and my expertise is in saying yes, saying sorry no matter what, keeping people happy, and making sure that  (fill your name) is in everybody’s good books. I’ve taught her that life is lovely when she’s smiling 24 x 7. I’m the reason, she eats whatever friends offer her! My fav friend here is PyariSamajhdaari.
Hi, I am LakshmiMoney – I’m (fill your name)’s part who will speak when it feels like she gets way too bindaas about money. My interest and specialty is her financial well-being. I sound kinda nasty – that’s why she often tunes me out – but am very smart and good at heart. When she ignores me, I’ve learned to poke my neighbor to yell on my behalf, lol! I was the one that protected her from buying stupid things and lending money recklessly.
I’m LakshmiMoney’s neighbor, Gussa. She’s the only one besides PyariSamajhdaari, that I get along with – rest are all effing losers! You must know this – I am the most active part around here – ‘cos am always hissing and cussing!! I like systems and I like things going well. And when they don’t, I call her names! I get close to her ear and say mean things all the time – all with a hope that she may ask me why! But (fill your name) has NOT ONCE figured out that, that’s all I ask of her.
Hi, am PayalGhaayal. Thanks to PriyaSugar and few others here, I am the most injured, most hurt, most teary-eyed, sad part here. Gussa protects me, she doesn’t like it when I cry. And when  PyariSamajhdaari is on duty she lovingly cares for me. I dunno why, but (fill your name) has elected PriyaSugar and ShellyBully to boss over us all! PriyaSugar is toxic, Bully is mean.
My dear (fill your name), a big hug to you before we go any further. As you may have realized, your parts want you to listen to them more. They like *you* giving them attention more than them getting attention from each other. They want and like to be led by you. And, there are many more parts, I just interviewed with only a few of them here.
Whenever you sense that one of your parts are not listening, it means that you need to listen to them first. Therefore #1 step for you to take is, to say – “hmm .. tell me more!” So, learn to get curious with yourself and your parts everyday – don’t let them go bonkers at all. And your parts feel very heard when you write down whatever you hear them saying.
The #2 step you’ve got to take is this – make PyariSamajhdaari the boss of all parts. She’s clearly the best representation of you and every part looks up to her and likes her. And after all, she is Pyari and Samajhdaari all at once, isn’t it! She doesn’t make anybody wrong for how they are, she’s accepting of each one of them exactly for how they are. And that is a huge asset.
#3rd step is very big my friend – you must treat PyariSamajhdaari with a great reverence. Like if you think of yourself as the leading lady of your magnum opus – she’s your director. Hers must be the voice that you act upon. Not PriyaSugar’s, not Gussa’s and not PayalGhaayal’s. You must not put any of these parts in the decision making position in your internal office – after all they report to Pyari and it’s insulting if you ignored her!
Now may I say something, (fill your name)? Insights without action are NO good!  Please go and get yourself a notebook and pencil. Switch off every any possible distraction, and speak with your parts. And like a good girl, take down notes as they speak to you.
Love,
g

 

Creating Recipes For Play

The amount of self-judgment I’ve seen with myself in just writing these play-themed posts of this month has been a humbling experience. Initially I observed thoughts like “what nonsense are you wasting your time talking about” and just looked on with amusement about my own resistance to having fun. Since I bring this up with clients, and they’ve often felt bashful about not knowing what to do with themselves by way of play, I wanted to put myself to test. Damn, it _is_ hard!

So, in this post I’m going to break it down for you as to what counts as play. Let’s get started –

Playing is a self-directed activity. It must be a voluntary – not repetitive – thing you do. It must be a fun pleasurable activity for it’s own sake, not because you want to out-do someone or want some result for yourself at the end. Which means, two people can be involved in the same activity – say going to the gym or going for a run. The one doing for the sheer fun of it is playing while the other who’s doing it as a weight management step is not. So, your attitude matters more than the activity itself.

But then, what exact activity do you indulge in? This is something you must customize to your own personality and tastes. You’d not enjoy the same kinda activity as everyone and you may even have a preference about playing with self or play activity with others involved. Look back to your childhood for clues and just pick up whatever you’re most drawn to.

The biggest challenge is around making it happen – so, schedule it in your calendar. And when the time comes, just get started. It may seem very forced and artificial initially – it sure felt that way for me. And truth be told, it still feels like that way and it’s okay. I find myself chilling down as I keep at it.

What I’ve seen me help is this – the activity must be planned out. As in, if I have to come up with some fun idea at the spur of the moment, it doesn’t go all that well. Contrary to what you may think, planning ahead doesn’t spoil the surprise element – it only feeds the excitement and anticipation of what is to come.

To give you a glimpse into what my play sessions looked like this month – I’ve had two so far that went very well and am eagerly looking forward to the next one. The first one was a laugh out loud session with myself, seeing some hilarious snippets of sitcoms of yesteryear. Second one was particularly amazing when I went out for a drive and walk around town with my husband to see the cherry blossoms. For this upcoming one, I’ve picked up some lovely colorful origami paper for just a couple of dollars and borrowed an origami book from the library to enjoy some quiet paper folding time with myself, music playing in the background.

What’s going on in your head? I’d love for you to share some possible ideas that you’re likely to explore in the coming days.

Are You Playing Enough?

Sitting down to discus food regimens with women is a definite part of the work I do. By this point, the client and I would have interacted a fair bit and the relationship would be established between us. Because of the trust cultivated, we both bring our very vulnerable selves to the table. And the when reality of food regimen is about to become active in their routine, it almost brings them tears. It is as if the fun, creative, playful lightness that one associated with food and leisure is leaving the shores of one’s life. Forever. Never to come back again! What exactly are we fearing losing in this context? Is it really food? I’d like to talk about this.

One dominion factor comes to mind. Bollywood. Just how ubiquitous this bollywood stuff has become! From the clothes we wear and the songs we sing to the songs we sing to our kids and the dance moves they’re taught, the infinite number of programs that are created to entertain these babies, grannies and everybody in between – including Lord Ganesha himself, at our pandals – everything is something to do with bollywood. If not that, it’s still one of several ‘other-wood’-s!

Like bollywood and ‘other-wood’ related activities that seem take up time-space, food has come to define leisure to us humans. We reach for food to relax us, de-stress us, to uplift us, it is a main component of bonding experiences and more. Oh and, not to mention the dozens of food related programs and entire channels dedicated to everything food. A leading chocolate brand surveyed some years ago and declared with great pride, that a whopping 52% women preferred chocolate over sex. Without a doubt, we’re allowing food to the point of crowding out every other leisure activity we enjoyed as adults one time. So, in the context of discussing food regimen, it is no surprise that it feels so threatening. Why food is not suited for leisure or as play component is an important question you must ask yourself. But first let’s see why play is important to us as humans.

Author Diane Ackerman writes, ” for humans, play is a refuge from ordinary life, a sanctuary of the mind, where one is exempt from life’s customs, methods, and decrees.” Playing is the most instinctive, play for play’s sake kinda activity there is. Playing is beyond just fun, and definitely beyond gender and age. Scholars have not arrived at any one specific definition of play but they’ve agreed upon this – play is any solo or social activity that has elements of anticipation, surprise, pleasure, understanding, strength and poise. Given just how play-deprived that modern societies are becoming, there are Play Health experts nowadays. In a hospital and/or clinical setting, these specialists design appropriate play activities for clients. Like how we’ve come to painfully discover, opposite of play is NOT work. It’s often some manifestation of depression, suicidal tendencies and addictive behavior towards the screen or cyber-loafing as it’s called, food and substance addiction, and so on. And play is believed to be the serious missing factor that could heal these people.

There are many benefits to play and some of them are, developing
– a handle over one’s emotions
– perseverance
– resilience
– problem solving skills
– boost in creativity

At some point, for a variety of reasons ( sometimes related to play pathology like isolation, bullying etc) we take to substituting play with food. Given that food also shares some of the elements of play, such as pleasure and surprise – we resort to using food. This is alarming, to say the least. Food and eating as an activity that is steeped in purpose. But play is entirely for it’s own sake, food doesn’t lend itself to this type of treatment. But given that it is pleasurable is often misleading as a play activity.

We’ll continue this discussion in the coming posts. But for now, here’s what I’d like you to do – share below some of the leisure activities you’ve enjoyed so far in this month. If by any chance, were these activities involving food, say that too.

If Love Is A Verb … How Do You Express It To Yourself?

Many many great people have echoed the sentiment of how every relationship is a mirror of one relationship, the one we have with ourselves. In extension of this standpoint, our responsibility is towards learning to clearly express love in this all important relationship. This is of great importance, not just because of upcoming Valentine’s Day, it is owing to the fact that matters relating to wellness and self-care are a function of this.

In my one on one coaching sessions with women, I ask them how they’d express love or appreciation for themselves. They’ll say how they’ll buy themselves a gift – anything ranging from a book to saree to experience of some kind – like a spa treatment, eating out, travel etc. This is all okay, I’m not going to find fault with any of these choices. That said, it doesn’t convey love deeply enough to the person inside you.  These are more like toppings on an ice cream! What good are the toppings _without_ the ice cream?

What does self-love look and feel like?

It involves being in your own company showing a deep interest for all things about your inner person – her feelings, her needs, her fears, her shortcomings. Hand-holding her through her challenges patiently and lovingly. Not criticizing her or feeling exasperated for her errors and fall-downs. Learning about what she likes and dislikes and allowing for them by way of learning to speak up for her. Seeing her as deserving of good things in life. Joining hands with her to bring her dreams to fruition. This will very likely mean that you’ll have to let go of your leanings for comfort. You’ll have to develop an ease for doing newer and more complex tasks. And herein lies self-love – seeing your inner person and her desires as worthy of being pursued.

If you did not carve out time and space for this type of engagement with yourself, no amount of shopping for handbags, eating chocolates, drinking beer or buying sarees will satisfy your inner muse. This fact feels very awkward to deal with, for a lot of women – they say, they’re better giving/expressing love to others but with themselves, this is the only way they know to do it they say. Or they kinda feel lost.

So, here is a very personal post in that sense – am sharing notes from how I express love to my own inner muse. The promises I’ve made to myself, likes and dislikes that I’ve come to accept as important to me, rules that she’d like me to live by are all part of this. The only reason I share is, to motivate you to compile and curate your own list. And keep in mind, love is a verb. It is a promise of what you’ll do as an expression of self-love. So, write it like you mean it  – using action words, as if it is a to-do list.

with self:

  1. say it exactly like it is – ‘say the truth to yourself’ can sometimes feel heavy and hard. It can even make you defensive. where as ‘say it like it is’ is simple and easy to follow.
  2. comfort myself when I feel down – I’ve collected some of my fav songs, speeches, discourses and activity prompts so that I don’t have to think at that time.
  3. find myself opportunities to do what I do well.
  4. feel your feelings – pretending like they aren’t there, or like they don’t matter, or suppressing them is going to make them show up at odd times – better to just feel them as they come.
  5. own your power – it comes with immense responsibility and you can learn to be responsible. But girl, own your power! There’s no greatness in being a doormat.
  6. evaluate criticism wisely, Girija – don’t do things so as to stay in somebody’s good books – somebody else’s good books is not a good reference point.
  7. do the right thing – don’t overthink this – all day long, you live with you, so do what’s right by your standards.
  8. see clearly – see things for what they are, not what you’d like them to be.

with others:

  1. meet friends in person whenever you can – but don’t let this bother you when it’s not possible. Virtual meeting and connecting over phone is not all that bad either.
  2. share a hearty laugh whenever you can – I’ve learnt to honor my goofy side.
  3. learn to ask for and receive help gracefully.
  4. state your position on things – this will effectively sieve out those that may not vibe well with you.
  5. release the need to like and go along with everyone and for everyone to like you and go along with you.
  6. get-together with people can be over a walk or painting or a shared activity of some other kind.
  7. gift books – you don’t have to loan your books. As a younger person I’d love for a friend to read the books I read and it would pain me when they would lick their finger o turn pages, ugh!
  8. stop – do not compare your inner story with somebody else’s outer story

food related:

  1.  remember – if hunger is not my problem, then food is not my solution.
  2.  eat just enough.
  3. cook with love.
  4. stop – never ever force me to finish the food on the plate.
  5. don’t accept food if am not up for it.
  6. don’t accept enjlu or joota – I had an aversion for this even as a child and I’d sneak out at the time of cake cutting and birthday parties given how adults indiscriminately offered ten people a bite out from a same damn piece of cake.
  7. eat with joy, always.
  8. eat only plants! Period.