Images with a quote are all the rage these days. Every single person active on social media (guilty as charged) has liked, posted or shared at least one such image.
What started as a beautiful thing earlier, has now, according to me, gone out of control. As with everything else, a mass democratisation (as our media studies professor called it) brings down quality. In English, this means, when something becomes too popular; when you have to cater to the masses, the quality often drops.
Take this image quote for example:
I call this the Walking Irony. Here’s why:
Let’s start with the meaning of the quote. The connotation is quite clearly negative. People are usually thankless and not sensitive about the effort someone puts in for them. It is only when that ‘help’ stops that people stand up and notice.
Agreed. So far, at least.
But the second connotation of this quote is that people ‘never’ notice; people ‘never’ notice. But that isn’t true, is it? Everyone, at some point in time or the other, has appreciated or noticed timely help and effort.
So, the quote essentially ignores all these times.
This means you can apply the rule of the quote to the quote itself. Hello, Irony!
Imagine you are in an enclosed room with no window or door. Only limited supply of air. Slowly, it feels as if the walls are moving in, further choking you. You try desperately to claw your way through the walls. Soon enough, you fall short of enough oxygen and it feels like your lungs are going to burn through the skin. You don’t know whether to tear your chest apart to let some air in or bang on the walls. All the while, it is closing in further and further until it almost becomes another layer of your skin.
No, you don’t die. This is pain, not science. You are cursed to live in suffocation until you drown in your own misery.
Who has never lost a person in their whole life? Show me one such person and I will give you a million dollars (or any other currency, take your pick.)
At some point in time, we all have had to let go of someone, or have been let go by someone. It may have been a friend, partner, relative, sibling, or some other important person. At the end of it, though, we have that person-shaped hole in our life to fill; those memories to avoid—at least until it stops to draw blood, it stops stinging at least a little.
It is said that the process of getting over something or someone has multiple stages – denial, anger, bitterness, sorrow and finally acceptance. But what after that? You still have that hole. It never goes away, does it?
So what do you do? You learn to live with the hole. You try not to go near the edge, lest you fall over, open the wounds raw once again and then have to crawl back bleeding to reality. It is a constant effort, one that takes time to master.
Since these are times of listicles, let me jot down some other activities you can undertake to help yourself.
We all are trying to figure out what is best for us. I too am. These helped me at various times in life, and I hope they work for you. Or if you have a better alternative, you can share it in the comments.
1) Explore the regions… of your heart: Imagine a room, which suddenly developed a huge gaping hole in one corner. You will then look at the other parts of the room right (before calling someone to fix it, of course). Exactly the same way, there are other people in your life and heart—friends, family, co-workers, pets, your favourite Barista, take your pick. It always feels better when you know you have someone. So, concentrate on this part of your life—the good stuff. Meet that friend or person who realises that you are loved. Spend time with your co-workers who make you feel useful at work. Count your blessings today. It may not work right away. But slowly, over time, you will realise your own self-worth. And this, my dear, will be your first step.
2) Work: If you happen to be one of those lucky few who like their work, engross yourself in it. Work so hard that it pays. And this payoff will be sweeter. Not just monetarily, but also in terms of your self-esteem. Because not every boss is mean and not every co-worker is trying to put you down. Some are genuinely appreciative. It helps perk your spirits up further.
3) Go artsy: “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” said Pablo Picasso. I don’t know if he really did say that, but those words sure feel wonderful. And it is true, too! Have you ever gotten so caught up in a book, poetry, writing, painting, music or movie that you forgot time existed? This may sound clichéd, but it is true. I have first-hand experience. Time is not your friend when you are trying to forget someone. And it is this time that we are trying to spend by dipping into art. The best part is that your soul comes out refreshed after those timeless moments.
4) Learn something new: It is sad that we stop learning new things after getting out of school or college. And even then, we were trying to study only to make a career. How many of us really had the light of curiosity in our hearts that trudged even after the exams ended? Who says a Physics or Commerce student can never want to learn about Psychology or Literature, or an Arts student would not want to learn computing? Take up something new today. It may not exactly come handy in your life or career, but you are increasing your knowledge. Most importantly, it helps eat time.
5) Take up a hobby: Yes, it is fairly clichéd, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it does help. There is a reason why you like doing something—it gives you joy! At a time like this, joy is what we need the most! So go spread your wings and take up your hobby again.
6) Travel somewhere far: Life is a journey. You have to put things behind you and start walking. Moving on is the term. It may help to take this literally too. Put some real distance between you and the person. Travel to a new place. Get yourself lost in the wonders of a new place. It is always refreshing to face new experiences.
7) Play some mind-games: Your mind is in your control. ‘Mind over matter’ is my mantra. Here is an exercise for you: Close your eyes. Think of your kitchen. But don’t think about the vegetable cutter, the blender, the grinder. You imagine precisely the kitchen. In life, when we notice someone’s absence from our life, we tend to look at things that we miss. Those essentially make you think of things that probably make you feel whole. Now, how were you before you met the person? You were still happy. Your happiness was not dependent on them. You are the same now. Now, think of abundance. Count on things what you have and what makes you happy. Then, slowly, they will show up.
8) Live a lie until it turns into the truth: Do you know who is the best liar? A person who manages to believe the lie so much that it is the truth for him or her. If you start believing in it, your body will rarely give away your lies. Similarly, start telling yourself you are living a good life, a happy life; you have enough people in your life who care about you; you are happy. Keep chanting this mantra. Wear a wide grin in your face. Try to bring a skip in your step. Make people believe that you are happy and bubbly. Slowly, as time slips away, your lie will become your truth.
At the end of the day, it is easy to wallow in self-pity and live in distress. It is bitter-sweet, the feeling. You want to relive the moments again and again in your head, playing different scenarios. This is the part of you that doesn’t want to let go—of the beautiful thing you shared. But the truth is: you have to let go!
Do you remember that scene from the soap ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, (*cringing*) when the protagonist – Tulsi – found out about her husband’s affair, and then ran into a park wailing and howling? No?
Well, the part I am referring to, and is important for this post, is when a foreign lady finds Tulsi crying and offers sympathy. She enquires as to reason behind Tulsi’s tears.
At that time, I remember feeling embarrassed for Tulsi that a stranger is consoling her. I was a kid back then.
Today, I realise the humanity in that action. Having been through such episodes (no, no cheating husbands here, though) where strangers have offered comfort in whatever way possible to a crying me (not shamed to admit that I cry), it seems like a poignant action.
The first time, I remember being startled and, to be frank, suspicious about the nerdy-looking guy’s intentions. “What if the mp3 player he was offering to me as a balm had a bomb in it?” I wondered back then.
Weird thought, yes. But then, that’s how our city upbringing hones us to frown upon politeness and such sweet actions from strangers.
Yet, I remember feeling guilty about the doubt, and mentally thanked the guy. I wish I’d showed my gratitude better, in a more public or open way. That is another thing we are stopped from doing. Showing open gratitude or emotions.
Even today, many experiences later, it somehow feels like a very special serendipitous situation; like the universe anticipated my grief and sent a saviour.
The religious will call it the Hand of God. Some may call it Karma — a result of some good deed either in this life, or in the previous lives.
If the latter were true, I have undertaken some major good deeds in my many lives!
Either way, it shows that simple actions — no matter how small — may cause great outcomes. It made me understand the power of time and gratitude, of timely actions and reactions.