Bring Back the Feel Good Factor!
- Back to Work
- 29 Jun 2016
In the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, some villagers practice a unique form of logging. If a tree is too large to be felled with an ax, the natives cut it down by yelling at it. Woodsmen with special powers creep up on a tree at dawn and suddenly scream at it at the top of their lungs. They continue to do this for thirty days. Ultimately, the tree dies and falls over. (Can you cite the source of this?)
Now, picture this: You’re standing in front of the mirror. What do you see? Of course, your own reflection, but what are the things you’re telling yourself?
You’re standing on a weighing scale. As almost always, the scale isn’t reflecting the numbers you’d ideally like to see, but even though that scale is no measure of what we are, we’ve given it the power to define us… haven’t we?
There could many similar scenarios in our lives, where not the voices outside but our self-talk alone would suffice in weakening us.
And that’s precisely what the anecdote implies.
We’re almost never looking at ourselves with eyes that are kind; eyes that appreciate; eyes that are compassionate. On the exterior, if it’s not our weight, it’s our skin. If it’s not our clothes, it’s the way we work. There’s always something wrong we find about ourselves that we fail to notice all the beauty staring us in the face! And most often, it’s when we’re gauging ourselves in comparison to another.
Have you ever taken notice of the things you do beautifully?
It could be the way you braid your daughter’s hair, or the cleanliness with which you maintain your home, or the monthly budgets you manage, or a curry or dessert that only you can make the way you do! I could go on…
And sometimes, you’d be amazed, amused even, to learn how differently another woman… a friend, relative or colleague pictures you! How your children or other family members or people on the street perceive you. More often than not, it is the absolute polar image of the one you have of yourself! While you’re criticizing your parenting techniques, she’s secretly admiring your work-home balancing skills!
The fact of the matter is that there is no way we’re going to get to the place we want to be, feeling the way we do about ourselves.
Even though the way we feel about ourselves has a lot to do with our conditioning since childhood, we can still reverse that. Yes, appreciation, whether of oneself or of another, is a learned skill!
Having said that, let’s talk about how we can lay seed and nurture it…
The Positive Turn Around: Every time you catch yourself going down the road to comparison, make a 180 degree turn and focus on YOU, and the many aspects that are unique to YOUR personality. It could be creating brilliant presentations, writing a great story, making people laugh, or simply stretching out a helping hand.
Accept Your Weaknesses: In fact, embrace them! WE ALL have them in some measure or the other. By this, I don’t mean we dwell on them, but simply acknowledge them. Everything in its entirety is a combination of the yin and yang – the positive & the negative, and THAT is the beauty of it. Besides, if it wasn’t for our weaknesses, how we would know our strengths?!
Never Say Die: In your quest to get good at something or master it, don’t work with a rigid end result in mind. Setting goals is giving yourself direction, but in the event of a detour, don’t lose heart. Make no space for frustration and criticism because then you’re allowing entry to the whole gamut of emotions that follow. Try having fun at what you’re doing. Make that your primary goal in any experience.
Focus on the Now: When you associate with the past or the future, you’re either taking pleasure or being miserable about something that was or might be. That certainly can’t be fun and also drains you of your precious energy. So make a choice to use those energy levels to enjoy what’s in front of you. After all, this too shall become a thing of the past.
EXPECT, But Only of Yourself: This one is undoubtedly one of the most difficult things to do, but when you begin making a habit of it, you will see how liberating it is! Every time you find yourself disappointed that someone let you down, with careful analysis, you’ll see how it spirals down to some (tiny or large; just or unjust) expectation we had of them. Initially, start small, and be kind to yourself for floundering.
But, stay at it.
The once tiny, inconspicuous seed that fought its way through darkness and solid ground, will soon blossom into a mighty tree. A seed that only decided to stand its ground.
The most wonderful part about this whole ‘feel good’ process is not just the journey, but the destination too! When you begin appreciating yourself, it radiates on your face, translates into your body language, emerges as an attitude and reflects in your resume! And so forth!
And it’s not just how you’ll begin looking at yourself with this new found vision, but at everyone around you too!
As Voltaire most aptly quoted ‘’Appreciation is a wonderful thing; It makes what is excellent in others, belong to us as well.’’