I read or tell my 3-year-old a story every night before he goes to sleep. Tonight, was no different. We finished the story and tried to tell him that we shouldn’t waste food because there are poor kids who don’t have parents, nor food to eat. So he wanted to see the pictures of poor kids. And my husband played Michael Jackson’s video “Heal the World” — probably a compilation song which showed kids who are dying of poverty and hunger. The music was so soothing; my 3-year-old wanted to hear it again and again.
The lyrics were resounding in my mind — make the world a better place for you and me!!! I said ‘so true, we need to make this earth a better place for everyone’. And how true are his words — make it a better place for you and me?! There is so much misery, poverty, hatred in this world… shouldn’t we all strive to make it a better place?
Everything needs to start somewhere — big or small. And what else can be a better place to start than yourself?
This reminded me of the story of a father and son. The father was reading the newspaper and his son was pestering him to play with him. Super annoyed, the father took the part of the newspaper which had a world map on it, tore it to pieces, gave it to his son, and said: “fix the world map and then I will come to play with you”. The father was content thinking that his son wouldn’t disturb him at least for a few hours. To his dismay, his son returned in a few minutes with the world map. Surprised, the father asked how he did it so quickly. The child replied that behind the world map was a picture of a man. He put the pieces of the man together and the world map got fixed by itself.
So how do we fix ourselves? How do we fix our lives?
1. Love yourself - I say that the first step is to love yourself.
Problem: We spend our lives waiting for approval from our parents, love from our partners, acceptance from our children. But just as you are waiting for them, they are waiting too. They are waiting for their parents to tell them that they are proud of them, they are waiting for you to tell them that they were wonderful parents. And we spend our lives waiting for each other and die without doing it. And we are born again and get back into the same cycle. Now is the time we change it.
Solution: Stop waiting for approval. Stop expecting your spouse to shower you with love. Instead, love yourself. Tell yourself ‘I am lovable’. When you keep looking for someone to fill your empty cup, you will just end up searching. Instead, start filling your empty cup yourself. How do you do that? Take some time off your busy schedules and introspect your life!
2. Don’t get abused
Problem: Are you staying in an unhealthy dissatisfying relationship for reasons best known to you? Are you putting up with abuse just because you don’t see a way out?
Don’t fear the societal stigma!!
Solution: Waste no time on something that doesn’t allow you to grow.
Stop spending your life with someone who doesn’t bring the best out of you in every situation. That is the first step to loving yourself. Don’t fear the societal stigma. You are living your life for yourself, not for others. Do you feel that you need to stay in a bad relationship with your spouse because of the kids? Stop lying to yourself. If I have learned something about kids, it is that they are very intuitive and understand things better than you think they do. An unhealthy relationship will not do your kids any good. It will either make them abusive or abused. You don’t want the vicious cycle to continue with your kids. Get out of relationships which take you nowhere. You don’t deserve them! You deserve better, you deserve love, you deserve respect.
3. Stop abusing
Problem: Are you abusing the people around you? Are you a bully?
Solution: If you abuse your spouses or people around you, you can undo the injustice done to you.
No one is born abuser, nor to hate.
Forgive those who put you through injustice and are responsible for you being where you are. Forgive them as they dint know better, they were victims like you. Forgive them because you deserve love, just love, not hatred. You deserve to be loved and you deserve a better life. It’s not easy, you need a lot of courage to change something like this. But trust me, it will be worth it. Your children will be ever grateful to you for this change. This universe will be ever grateful to you for your sacrifice and send you a lot of love. If we have been adding poison for generations, even stopping adding poison is a great milestone. The place where changes begin to happen is the beginning of change!
4. Value yourself
Problem: Are you in a job where your efforts are not appreciated? Are you surrounded by people who make you feel inferior?
Solution: Move out of that place. Don’t let someone undervalue you, don’t let someone who hasn’t been in your shoes belittle you. No one was created small or big, we were all created equal. We are nothing but energies, so how is it possible that someone is great and someone is not? Don’t let yourself believe the taunts/sarcasm in others’ voice. Your every effort deserves to be appreciated. You are qualified and deserve the job. You deserve all the good things this universe holds.
5. Find your mantra
People can do you wrong, situations won’t always be in your favor!! Doesn’t matter. Find your mantra. There is a saying that "expecting people to be nice to you is like expecting that a lion won’t eat you just because you did not eat the lion".
Don’t depend on others to do the right thing. I have faced situations in which I asked ‘why is this happening to me?, What did I do for someone to treat me like this?’. But that didn’t stop me from being who I am. I continued to do the right thing. Whenever I felt on the verge of breaking down and trying to correct the wrong with a wrong I asked ‘when I die and my time comes to see God, will I be able to look him in the eye and justify myself and every action that I did?’. And that has always helped me to stay and be myself. And every time I have stuck to being right the universe has applauded and showered me with blessings.
Doesn’t mean you need to let people abuse you. You need to overcome it the right way. Move away from the people and situations if that’s all that can be done. Helping yourself is a sign of self-love, not selfish love.
Only he whose cup is filled can quench the thirst of the world. You are not responsible for others’ actions — people give what they have. If someone has a basket full of roses, it doesn’t matter what they receive, they will always give roses because that’s all they have to give. These are the people whose cups are full of Amruta/nectar/honey — our saints, our enlightened masters. Some people have accumulated rocks their whole lives and if you expect them to give you a bouquet of flowers just because you welcomed them with a garland, you will be up for disappointment. So stop expecting goodness from people, and if you get better, be grateful for it. If you don’t, donate a few flowers that you have, and if that leads to your bucket filling with rocks, move on.
Only he whose cup is filled can quench the thirst of the world.
If someone gave you filth, would you happily bring and keep it in your house? Then why do you let it be in your mind?
Any situation, any person, any thought which makes you think you deserve less frankly doesn’t deserve you. Remove yourself from that environment. Remove the thought from your mind. Remove yourself from the vicinity of that person. Make your life a better place to live in. Make it worthy!
Love and appreciate the life you have! Love and appreciate yourself! That’s the biggest payback to this universe which created you.
The Guiding Voice