Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Love My Past!

Afghanistan is near and dear to my heart. It is the place where i grew up, where i spent my childhood and some of my teen years. I still remember playing outside till late, walking to school, taking public transportation to relatives house, celebrating Eid and Nawrooz and many family gatherings. Our house with its big yard planted with lots of vegetables and flowers was like the main attraction for close relatives and cousins. Life was pretty simple those days and very much enjoyable although we didn't have a lot of facilities that we have in the States. I vividly remember my sweet grandmother teaching me house chores and my parents helping me with my studies in the evenings. 
I also remember the war times, running from place to place to hide, schools closing, the panic look on my parents' faces, the desperation in their voices and their reassurance that we will be fine. I remember how they used to hug us in an effort to shield us from pieces of bombs and rockets that just blew up around our house. I remember how we would wake up in the middle of the night to walk few blocks down our house to hide in someone's basement because a fight was to break out in the next hour or so. I remember the fear of possibly getting robbed, raped, tortured and killed viciously any minute. I remember a whole lot more but don't feel like sharing at the moment. 
I don't blame my country or my culture for all the horror and trauma that I, my family and everyone like us went through. I blame the ignorance, the greed, and the manipulative bastards who used our people for their personal and political agenda. My heart aches when I see Afghans struggle in ignorance. The formal education system broke down in 1990 or so. I believe the main reason of the country's breakdown was the lack of education. Anyways, I try to stay away from political discussion on the matter. 
My intention here is remembering old old days and the surge of emotions that come with them. Often we get so wrapped up in our present chaos and future planning that we forget appreciating where we were. Good or bad, our past can teach us a lot if we look with the curious eye. We can see patterns, connections, explanations and even possible predictions when looking into our past. We should never discard our past as useless or something that can only be archived. It is too precious to be disregarded. Looking into my past gives me so  much hope for the future and the much needed appreciation for my present. 
I look into my past to compare present self with my past self. I only compete with my past self not anyone else in the world. I see how I have overcome troublesome experiences. I see how I could have gone down a different path and ended with less happiness and satisfaction as I have now. But I didn't. I survived the worst and thrived through life to get here, with college education, a professional career, a stable character, an alive conscious, a strong mental stance and much more. My hardships made me who I am and I am aware of it. I love my past. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Explore yourself

I am the kind of person who constantly reflect and want to improve an aspect of my life. I reflect selectively and choose my desired improvements purposefully. This allows me to explore my own opinions, values and limitations. I don't reach the optimum results at first and I don't expect that either. It is through consistent and meaningful exploration of my thoughts and behavior that I expand my knowledge of myself. Psychologically, we have four spheres
Window Panes of Self Knowledge
My attempt is always to expand my known self and definitely shrink the unknown self and get more insight on my blind self. It takes conscious and persistent effort to accomplish that. My first strategy is to listen to myself when I talk, in private and public. I want to hear my voice and my opinions, from the tone and pitch of my voice to the choice of words and the quality of my thoughts. It works wonders. So listen to yourself as you talk to others. How are you talking? What are you saying? After a few observations, you know more about your communication style. Listen to others about yourself. What do they praise in you? What do they talk to you about? Do they seek your opinion or do you offer them freely? You can even ask a few trusted friends for feedback.I am yet to complete the last suggestion myself. I am honestly scared to find out. I would prefer honest comments and not just positive praise. I want to explore my blind self. This helps misconceptions that you might have about yourself. You might think you are very sociable while others think you are nosy and annoying or vice versa. Remember the purpose of this exploration is to know yourself better and see if you want to make some adjustments to your wonderful self. 
If you really have time and want more scientific explanation on the self exploration topic, you can use the following link:
Of all the time spent online on google, pinterest, twitter and facebook, not much in learned about self. This is the most important yet the least invested concept of our lives. 
Moving on, the unknown self seems harmless at first. But looking closer, this is our greatest potentials lying dormant under the piles of daily chaos. Most people age without knowing their full potentials. I admit that we can't have it all. We possibly can't explore our fullest potentials due to the complexity of life itself. It doesn't mean we should try to scrape the surface. We all owe it to ourselves to see what we are capable of to some extent. I try to do by educating myself and renewing my long term goals in life. Three years ago, I wanted to be an RN working at a hospital setting. I am an RN and haven't even worked at a hospital yet and I already have updated my dreams. I want to be working overseas with the less fortunate. I am learning about such organizations and trying to improve my abilities so I can offer something valuable when I earn the chance. I used to shy away from facts of life like violence against women and children. I thought it was too stressful. I changed my mindset and started educating myself more on such subjects. This helped me know more of my unknown self. I know I will not be happy living a luxuries and empty life. It is as if I am getting closer to finding out my purpose of life. At first, I thought I had to choose between one extreme or the other. My own perception of loyalty to a value wasn't clear to me. Upon reflection on such matters, I realized I can adopt a middle path. I don't shy away from evaluating my choices and preferences and amending them as necessary. I am proud of it and I strongly recommend to the brave and confident ones out there. Start digging. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Are you a prisoner???

Seriously, are you a prisoner? Often we don't realize that we are a prisoner of our own expectations. You have heard million times about "positive attitude". Let me tell you one thing, positive attitude is nothing but a scam. What positive attitude tells you is to be delusional, to be hopeful and keep telling yourself that "everything will be fine". It is deceiving. The reason that positive thinking or positive attitude doesn't work is because it is in conflict with the logic of an intelligent person. Thus "positive attitude or positive thinking" will not work for a person of intelligence and reason.
Ditch the positive attitude. Evaluate your expectations and your self reliance. Your expectations play major role in your life. Think about it! When you drive to work during rush hour, do you get pissed off when you are stuck in traffic? When you skip your meal, and get cranky couple hours after that, do you get angry for not being able to focus? When karma gets you for lying or deceiving someone, do you accuse someone else for ruining your life? If you answered "Yes" to any of the questions, you are a prisoner of your expectations. Having blind expectations in life is the debilitating, we might as well live in a laboratory where we can control everything. I lived in the prison of my expectations and man I was miserable. Every obstacle felt like a failure, every failure looked like end of the world. Life was harsh, people were mean, every effort was a scam, good deeds were useless, happiness was short lived, past was safe, future was dark, present was unknown and pain was faithful companion. Every once in a while, I was able to grab a vine of  "positive attitude" but couldn't hang on for long. I would swing and fall farther in puddle of despair and agony. I don't remember what inspired me, what changed the direction of my thoughts; but I started thinking about my expectations. Boy was I off in my expectations or what? I expected life to flow smoothly, relationships to work to my benefit, motivations to last without persistence, dreams to come true with minimum effort, people to be reasonable and kind, plans to work as "planned" etc. I was kind of living in a Bollywood commercial movie. You hit one rough patch in life and then climax and happily ever after. BOOM!!!
I dag deeper. Why was I so unrealistic in my expectations? I am not 100% sure but maybe because I didn't trust myself enough to be able to deal with realistic expectations. I started researching "self reliance". One of the articles that I reviewed can be found here: http://www.emersoncentral.com/selfreliance.htm
You can do your own research. Going back to my previous entry about "knowing yourself", it was a great step to know myself deeper. I was introduced to myself, my weaknesses, my strengths and my hidden fears. There was a major shift in my expectations. I didn't give up hope, but certainly gave up wishful thinking and positive attitude. Instead, I started facing the reality as it is not as I want it to be. I accepted life the way it is knowing that I can handle it. Again, it wasn't a wishful thinking. I had solid reasons to believe that I can handle life with all its chaos. Evidence of my abilities and my flaws gave me strength. I saw where I was, where I came from, how far I came and how I made it this far. I saw my failures and started counting my achievements as well. I also saw a pattern, the pattern of unexpected events. How life doesn't work out exactly as planned. It was a relief. I was not in control of life still I survived and/or thrived through unplanned turns and twists of life. My self reliance meter started rolling. Self confidence was reborn. I don't need positive attitude/thinking to keep me going. I have realistic expectations now. I don't expect my ex to be understanding, or my career to take off running, or parenting to be easy. I don't expect myself to be a superhero, super mom, the most charming and most intelligent lady ( not when still so young and inexperienced in life anyway). I don't see obstacles as failures or failures as the end.
Bear in mind that I am not delusional. I don't see rainbows and roses everywhere. I am realistic now. I know I am not in control of life but I know I can handle a lot of it. I am no longer a prisoner. By sharing my experience, I am taking a shot at spreading the awareness and reinforcing the importance of our own expectations and how we create our own limitations. A lot of hurt and disappointments are self inflicted. We set ourselves for failure often and positive thinking can't change it. So stop wishful thinking, stop living in a self made prison. Stop the madness. Adjust your expectations. Be realistic and honest. Free yourself and live your life!!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Do you know the most important person in the world?

Who is the most important person in the world? The person who influences your life the most? It is YOU. Your happiness, honor and achievements depend on you, yourself. It starts and ends with you. So how well do you know yourself?
Self discovery is a long process. You have to go through certain experiences in life in order to know your true wishes and potentials. However, I warn you that it is not a spontaneous process. You have to make conscious effort to discover yourself. It requires reflecting on your choices and behaviors and holding your impulses back from dictating your actions. It doesn't stop at knowing yourself. You need to make adjustments in your expectations and judgement. You must change to grow, accomplish and live.
One way to knowing yourself is getting out of your comfort zone and always pushing your own boundaries. If you are a quiet person, speak up, and if you are a loud person, hold your tongue. Do something out of your norm and see how it feels. Be honest with yourself!!! You don't need to share it with anyone else. Remember, it's self discovery. So be brutally honest with yourself and find out your motives, fears and reasons behind your choices and preferences. Once you realize your strengths and weaknesses, your perception of yourself changes. For me it was empowering and exhilarating. I started to realize why I did what I did and how I can make it better now. I was no longer a mystery to myself and my future wasn't so scary. I know I can handle the struggles coming my way because I know myself better. After knowing myself, I have been clear on what flaws I can eliminate and what weaknesses I should accept about myself. I am a work in progress, just like everyone else. And I am aware of it. Self awareness is the beginning of self improvement.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

You will know

Yes you will know because your heart will tell you how it feels about your relationship. You just have to listen to your heart. In many matters, mind is over heart, but in matters of heart, heart is over the head. Learn to listen to your heart, learn not to ignore your heart.
Regardless, you will know when your heart is not in the right place. Usually the politics of the situation will confuse you and whether openly or blindly you may follow the wrong path. But deep down in your heart, you will know something is wrong. When your thoughts wander mid day to dark places, or you are up in the middle of night wondering about something or nothing in particular, that is your heart telling you it's not happy. Unhappy heart won't let you rest. There is no peace of mind with restless heart. So listen to your heart mainly when it comes to your relationships.
Don't stay in an unhappy relationship for too long or your heart will break and your soul will be wounded. Don't be someone else's hero by sacrificing yourself and your heart. If someone is worth your efforts, he/she won't claim your soul or hurt your heart. Right relationships feels right, naturally. Don't get me wrong. True and mature relationships will have ups and downs and struggles and compromises. Those relationships will grow over time with you and closer to your heart. But after the first few quarrels and compromises, you will know if that relationship is a fair and long lasting one or not. In a fair relationship, you won't have to give all the time, you won't feel trapped and abused. Don't fool yourself under the name of ego, love, pride etc. If it's not the right relationship now, it never will be the right relationship, ever. So get out! Get out as soon as you figure it out. Claim your dignity, your inner peace and your content heart back by walking away from poisonous relationships. Listen carefully and your will know. Once you know, take action!!!!!

It feels good to declutter :-)

I am in the middle of selling the current house and moving to an apartment ordeal. The task of simplifying and downsizing is physically and ...