What A Peeing Dog And Its Wise Owner Taught Me About Self-Love

Do you feel you’re selfish sometimes? Have you been thought of as selfish anytime?

I was moping around all day, all of previous evening because someone very close to me at work had pointed out to me that I was selfish. It was someone’s birthday and they had offered me a piece (it was more like a slab) of cake with 2 inch-high pink and yellow icing.

First of all, I for one cannot stand even a millimeter of icing, let alone a pink and yellow mile-high icing! And secondly, when somebody brings a HUGE serving of something to eat, it throws me in a panic. Because, I am a terribly slow eater and usually find it very hard to throw away food! It’s comparatively easier for me not ever accept it. And I had just eaten a good lunch – my kind, and did not have room for anything. So, I wished her well and passed the cake.

And with that, three of my “friends” ganged up to say how that was very selfish on my part to refuse the cake, causing the birthday girl to feel “upset”. Whoa!! Well, that was a big blow to me given how in my head I thought of myself as more compassionate and giving and generous. Even more than Mother Teresa!

So, all evening I sat and sulked around until when my neighbor, lady J walked in with her little dog Snoop. The dog was a new addition to her family and I had taken a liking to the pup. J was already a great friend. So, I decided to check with J if I was selfish to say no to birthday cake. “Yes …! ” she said, looking me straight in the eye. Whaaat?? Just then Snoop started scratching at the door. A wet door mat was the last thing I wanted and so I hurriedly got up to let Snoop go out to relieve himself. And J continued ” … so is peeing!!” The way she said it … we both LAUGHED. In one simple sentence everything was put in perspective.

So ladies, always remember – many life sustaining processes are selfish – breathing, peeing, putting the O2 mask on yourself first, going to bed when your loved one wants to watch telly, choosing to eat healthy, saying no to your colleague’s birthday cake or even mom’s greasy plate of pakoras – many more! And that’s no reason to NOT do them.

So if you asked me today, if I’m selfish or if someone has thought of me as selfish – it’s yes and yes in my case. It keeps me alive and sane. When I speak of being selfish, I do not mean it in a petty way that I trample over other people’s rights. I mean it in a way that I honor my needs and my own judgement. I mean it in a way that I find it worthwhile to use my time and life to pursue what matters to me.

If you’re someone who’s looking to eat healthy, get enough sleep on a daily basis and exercise regularly, this is how it begins with this: you must d-e-e-p-l-y believe that learning and behaving in our own interest is desirable. Even if this is sometimes in conflict with what somebody else wants for you, you must believe that you have no obligation to live up to their expectations. Not only is self-interest desirable, it’s the only way to be.

So, if your friend says you’re being selfish about refusing to have a beer with her, remember to say to yourself – “Yes! So is peeing.” I’ll promise, it’ll put everything in perspective.

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kahi pe nigahein kahi pe nishaana

D is one of the most vivacious people I’ve spoken with! She’s fun, quick-witted and was an antyakshari winner at her club. And besides 100 s of things she does, she likes to make wish lists in her head. Literally hundreds of them! She can’t remember or keep track.

D: Hi G, can you write me a diet chart? I have a long wish list and have a bad memory .. bad combo!

G: Really?! Tell me more about your list ..

D: Matlab, list is in my head. I don’t have a list – list .. I want to learn to cook nicely, I’d like to wear nice clothes – matlab, western and ghagra cholis and all that – my cousin is getting married, it is a very big event, okay! It’s like a double dhamaka – valentine’s day destination wedding and we’re all excited. Then, I’ll be taking cooking classes when we go to Kolkata. My s-i-l went to the same classes and she’s an amazing cook now.

G: So, how does the diet chart help you with any of this, D?

D: See, I need to lose weight to look good in western. And then the ghagra choli also, I can’t wear .. am embarrassed! And if you write some simple things I can eat, I’ll be able to manage fine. By the end of March, I’ll be trained to make at least 15-20 varieties of nice dishes indian and western desserts, both I’ll be learning. With all this, I’m in charge of all the songs and dances for the wedding, too!

G: My dear D, you reminded me of that Kajol and Shah Rukh movie ka sangeet scene .. Kahi pe nigahen kahi pe nishana! It’s like going to the airport to catch your Duronto Express.

Pause.

We often have enough wishes for the next three years. And that too, all in our head! Nothing on paper. And because it is all so nebulous, nothing ever gets seen and because there’s nowhere to see how its overflowing – more is continuously piled into the “list”. And often randomly! Just how in the world would you accommodate a goal for eating healthy and a goal for becoming a master halwai, without one cancelling the effect of the other?

Is your “list” in the head in screaming conflict with the activities you choose to do?  Like these – all examples of kahi pe nigahen kahi pe nishana?

no unnecessary spending and you would have gone visiting the Grand Shopping Festival
not eating sweets for 3 months and you sit watch Desserts Show on Netflix every evening
gotta wear my own wedding sarees to functions and you pick up a designer ghagra at a “deal price”

Let me make it easy for you!

Please write down what goals you have for yourself. At the time of taking action, get in the habit of checking if your all your actions are in alignment with your goals.

If your goal is to eat vegetables for breakfast, don’t go and stock up on breakfast cereal.

If you want to eat no sugar, stop trying out the dessert recipe videos your friend puts on her youtube channel.

If your intention is to order a soup and salad only, don’t read through that damn menu card at the restaurant.

Some of my clients are quick to intervene and say, no G I was only seeing the cake video that’s all!

Arre yaar, every unwanted saree purchase also started with seeing the pictures and asking a harmless “pp” only, no!

Stay on the alert to see if you’re sticking out temptation traps for your own self and undoing your own efforts mindlessly.

And for those of you wanting to take it to the next level, here’s a little homework for you: grab a notebook and pencil and set the timer for 30 minutes, turn off every distraction. Now answer the question – how do you identify yourself. What are your top 5 values? If you need any guidance to go deeper, I have a pdf here that you may download.  Many of us start off the answer with our roles – I am a mother, I am a daughter, sister, CEO and so on. These ones I just mentioned, they sit well with each other overall, though there may be transient periods of conflict.

But, if you identify yourself like so,

baker of cakes
maker of sweets
drinker of drinks
eater of desserts
try-er of every new restaurant in town
an everyday cook of exotic recipes out of vast library of cookbooks and cooking courses

… then, without a doubt working on your identity is the best starting point of getting past the kahi pe nigahen kahi pe nishana muddle. So, get curious … what tags do you have, to how you identify yourself?

What are your values?

If you need any guidance to go any deeper, I have a pdf here that you may download.

 

“All was well .. until I went to that function and saw others eating sweets!”

“Hey G, I was eating so nicely according to plan. Until that function happened! It could not be missed and I went. People were eating such delicious sweets anywhere I saw. I lost it and how! Since then it’s all been downhill. Now tell me, how not to eat sweets?!”

This was R’s question couple of months ago. I know this is a very very common one too! I coached R and since then she hasn’t touched anything sugar – it’s about 8 weeks and counting! Read on if you too wanna kick your sugar habit for good.

Some background info: R is a big B fan and she loves cooking and baking. Sugary things were her only weakness.

And here’s the highlight of our coaching session.

G: I know just the mantra for you – ‘zafrani pulao mein cheeni nahi dalte!’

Each time you reach out to eat anything sugary, you must say this mantra aloud. And you will stop eating sugary things after this 🙂

R: Whaaat???

G: Have you watched cheeni kam? Remember big B firing that chef in the kitchen – that fellow who had his wife’s pic stuck over his utensil rack and he’d dip into identical jars of sugar and salt for the cooking and he had sugared Tabu’s order of zafrani pulao .. story line yaad hai?

R: Connection kya hai .. am still puzzled 🙂

G: When you’re baking or cooking something sweet – let’s say while you’re baking a cake – and you’ll see some luscious kashmiri mirch you picked up. Would you toss it in your recipe? It’s luscious! Soooo colorful too – why not??

Of course you will not! You will maintain the integrity of your ingredients to the recipe until the dish is created. Actually even after it is created! You wouldn’t serve that damn cake with some avakkai on the side .. hai ki nahi!

R: smilingly agreeing ..

G: Now imagine you are making a dish – savory dish – and it’s called Slimmer-me. There is NO sugar related ingredient in this dish – EVER!! Anytime you lose track of what you’re making, and start putting sugary things into Slimmer-me, you ARE ruining your dish!

All those other people you saw at the wedding, they’re busy making some other dish. It’s a dish called EatNowCryLater! Did you want that for yourself? Then you must start doing exactly what they’re doing. Your only focus must be on making Slimmer-me! Don’t wreck the process carelessly.

R: Oh my God!! Okay, here after am gonna say to myself ‘zafrani pulao mein cheeni nahi dalte’ each time I feel like planting my face in a sweet.

Some 10 -15 days ago R messaged – “damn it G! I am unable to eat a sweet after I say that mantra. I was at Ry’s parents house (Ry is her American husband) and when I reached for something sweet, Ry hissed at me – you don’t sugar your pilaf, do you! Bhaag gayi sab udhar hi chod ke!!”

You’ll feel angry sometimes and sad at other times as to how unfailingly this damn mantra works! The bottom line is, it works 🙂

Try pushing yourself past it, your sweet will not feel so pleasurable anymore!