This year has been an year of suffering for the world. While I deeply empathize with all the people whose socioeconomic conditions made this pandemic painful beyond imagination, I belong to those fortunate group of people who could see opportunity in the pandemic. The pandemic presented an opportunity to make a difference and to grow as a person.
I am tired of meaningless slogans of past glory that our leaders make. It serves nobody in the present or future.
I am tired of businesses that pretend to serve mankind. Especially businesses that exploit human vulnerability and transform this vulnerability into a business opportunity without any essence being delivered.
I am tired of all the mental health practitioners who have invested more in marketing than in building themselves up.
I am tired of all the parents and educators who refuse to engage the younger generation meaningfully and then blame them for the disintegration of the human spirit.
My generation is too busy building its image for the world to see. They are either making money or making a name. And when I say making a name, I don’t mean making a difference and earning a name. I mean, they are learning to package themselves in order to make a name-
Beneath all that packaging, is an empty carton.
However, it wouldn’t be fair to generalize. There are many who are working very hard to make a difference. Every day, I come across numerous people who may not have external embellishments that can brag of their value, but within all their ordinariness, is this extraordinary human being who refuses to accept that which threatens the equilibrium of our world. Every day, these people work relentlessly, oblivious to their visibility, oblivious to the challenges and hardships they encounter, oblivious to the general apathy that greets them. And yet, these are the people who collectively move mountains. The ones who have invested not in market skills, but in human skills. They have learnt the art of acceptance, resilience, communication directed at understanding, problem-solving, and all the life skills that our education no longer teaches us. I met many such people this year, and I count them as my greatest blessings.
In this post, I wanted to reflect on my milestones this year.
- This is the first year where I found a work-life balance
I gave up a full-time job so as to free up time in order to do things that I really wanted to do. This can be a hard thing to do because we tend to choose security over growth. However, I was so drawn to growth that I was willing to step outside my comfort zone and allow a disruption to the routine of my life. I was willing to find a new equilibrium. The year started out on the note that I wanted it to, but COVID did cause disruptions of my work contracts. However, I decided to choose perseverance, rather than go back to my comfort zone. The year is now coming to a close, and I have new contracts.
2. This is the first year that I defined my social self
I wanted to make a difference outside the realms of my professional space. While teaching and medical writing can be seen as endeavors contributing to a social cause, I felt that I wanted to put myself out in a space where I could bring out my greatest value. I believe that my greatest value is in healing minds. This is not an overnight realization; I base this realization on the evidence from my past. I think I have not failed any mind that has come to me with suffering. In the first place, I do not see suffering people as broken or damaged people who need me to fix them. I see them as people who are taking a journey that I myself have taken. I operate from a place of curiosity and understanding, than from the belief that I am a therapist. I feel this builds a lot of trust in the relationship. This realization has motivated me to take up coaching in order to help students who are in need of a perspective shift. All I do is make them aware of how the person that they are, is far more than the labels they box themselves into. And my reward is to see them step out as young people who are excited about their future.
3. This is the first year where I started to market my value
Coaching was not only about helping people. It was also about putting myself in a place that I am extremely uncomfortable about. And that is marketing my value. Until early this year, I used to be a person who was limited in my understanding of marketing. But this venture enabled me to get into the idea of personal branding and I quite like to think of myself as a brand with value. I now understand that unless you tell people about what you can offer, how will you connect with their need?
4. This is the first year I really put myself out on LinkedIn
The LinkedIn journey has been a journey of growth in itself. I think engaging on LinkedIn has added a lot of value to my life, both in terms of the content and the people that come my way. To put it in brief, LinkedIn represents the culture that I would have liked to see in educational institutions and work places. In addition, the cross-cultural exchange has enriched the experience further.
5. This is the first year where I finally found a means of giving voice to the cause of cinema as a tool for building inroads into the self
I am very excited to have collaborated with this group of volunteers who believe in the psychological value of cinema. I was inspired by the scale of their vision because this is a reflection of what our youth are really capable of. I also met in this workshop some inspiring young people. Particularly memorable was this boy who translated his fascination for Miyazaki movies into the reality of his life. Such people give me hope.
6. I continue to add value to my mother’s life while she does the same for me
Last year, I wanted her to start travelling so that she could be excited about seeing places and feel motivated. This year, I introduced her to Korean dramas and she loves the authentic nature of emotions that unfolds in some of these dramas, the aesthetic experiences that these dramas create, and well, things like architecture, interiors, landscapes, music, and language. She has picked up a few words of the language. We discuss the stories and the personalities.
7. I have some great references in my life
Of the coaches who inspired my journey, I have Winnie Khong and Kain Ramsay. Of the people who help me become a better human being, I have to mention Ajeet Yadav. He sets a reference for what a good human being can be.
I met some of my old school friends and they have added tremendous value to my life. I feel most of us from school evolved into such beautiful human beings. I hope we all meet soon!
8. The other things continue
A bit of writing, a kind word here and there, feeding the dogs and the birds, helping out my cousin, and so on. I have picked up some new, empowering habits such as time management and prayer/meditation (my own version so that I can connect with nature and myself every evening).
I feel grateful about everything this year. I hope you have your gratitude list too. May COVID achieve a greater good, even though it is currently causing much havoc across the globe.