It’s all about loving yourself.

“It’s all about loving yourself”, she said.

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Too often we forget who we are, until something unfortunate happens in our lives. The point is that we get too busy making other’s life happier and better, we spend hours trying to do something special for them, we devote majority of our time texting them and talking over phone, that if one day you’re unable to make such efforts due to some problem or commitment, everything that you have ever done becomes equivalent to one big fat zero.

We have all lived our school life, made a lot of friends, have gone out for movies and lunch to the mall, shopped together, and our parents always made sure we came back home before it got too dark, we’d have our parents or drivers to pick and drop us around to places, we were only given a few rupees that we could blow up in school canteens, etc. We were always taught by our parents and teachers to stay in a limit, and be careful, because life afterwards is going to be full of challenges, problems, barriers, ups and downs, and failures.

This is Phase 1.

When we were so selfless. When our version of spending time with friends and family was a simple outing or a sleepover. When an ordinary T-shirt and a pair of blue jeans could be worn everywhere, because no one really bothered much about clothes or hairstyles, when having a good time was the main focus. When selfies weren’t trending, we clicked pictures from our not-so-amazing phones, and actually smiled for them, instead of pouting. When status didn’t matter. When auto rides were so much fun, sitting on top of each other, even though it only allowed a seating for max three people.  Such simple things, yet the best.

Basically you had a very free, happy life. You didn’t have to think too much. You spent too much of your time just doing your own thing, taking exams, attending birthday parties, running around from one tuition center to another, playing various games in the park, and lots of sleeping and eating! And of course, you followed all rules and regulations, and thought multiple times before going against them!  Back then, we didn’t have to worry much about our clothes, or what present to buy for a friend. Back then, we were carefree, yet handled ourselves appropriately. Back then, we were punished for making the smallest possible mistake. Back then, we accepted things faster. Back then, we fought for ourselves. Back then, we spent time with our family.

Times have changed now.

My confessions: I never had a phone when I was in school. I did have a phone in grade 11 (without the camera), but it was confiscated by my parents, because studies. I relied on my desktop, which was used by everyone at home, because owning a laptop back then didn’t make sense. Landlines were used to call up friends, mostly to discuss homework, and I had a time limit on my telephonic conversations. Msn and Yahoo messenger were our saviors, because online chatting.

“We are the last generation whose baby photos weren’t taken on phone.” – An Instagram post. And I immediately double tapped!

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But hey, welcome to Phase 2.

Time to go to college. Time to start working. Time to part ways with Phase 1. Time to make new friends. Time to focus on life. Time for a change.

As we grow up, things change. Or maybe we do. Fading away, drifting with the flow, losing ourselves. Forgetting childhood dreams and old promises. Getting lost in the whirlpool of fake priorities and artificial emotions. We do things because we are supposed to do them. Because someone said so. Because everyone does this. We forget who we are and what we want. We are too scared to follow our own dreams. 24 hours are not enough anymore. We have to run somewhere. To fix this, to clear that, to fight, to argue, to prove ourselves right, to learn new stuff, to earn more money, to work more… to smile less. 1440 minutes of constant struggling. 86400 seconds of permanent stress.

Deprived of the privilege to actually enjoy life.

We have a luggage of sad memories, broken promises, lost friendships, missed opportunities. We know what it is like to believe, to hope, to dream. But we also know how it feels when every promise, every feeling, every dream would break into pieces. It is tougher to be happy. We want more from life, we expect more from people. We lose more. We are not the same anymore. It is tougher to believe. Tougher to dream. Tougher to be that kid who wanted to fly high in the sky like an eagle, or just any bird. It is tougher to be.

“We stop throwing coins into the fountains. We don’t cross fingers anymore or make a wish when we blow out birthday candles. We don’t believe in the shooting stars either.”

Maybe because we lost hope that our deepest wishes would finally come true. We laugh less. We enjoy less. We forget to call people we care about. We pretend to be too busy. We don’t have time to tell people what they mean to us. We forget what it means to be real. To be human. To be yourself.

In the end, it’s all about being able to love yourself. Fine, if things don’t work out. Fine, if you are going through major failures. Fine, if you can’t find a reason good enough to smile. I think this is the time, when you should focus more on yourself, than anything else. Because if you lose yourself once, it is very difficult to get back. It’s not impossible, it just takes time. Just be a little selfish, sometimes. Make yourself a better person and feel proud of who you’ve become.

Life is the most precious gift bestowed upon us by God. We must love and appreciate it. We love others but what about loving yourself. Do you love yourself? It is not complicated but upon thinking, you will realize that you’ve never thought about it. Once you start loving yourself, you will have the sense of satisfaction.

Be happy. Be loving.

ENOUGH

-TanyaSinghKochar

Live your life and forget your age!

So how many of you think you’re becoming too old? I definitely used to put myself in this category, but I don’t anymore. I am still in my early 20s and I have a long way to go! And so do you. Yes you do. You’re not dying. Your life isn’t coming to an end. So what if things aren’t in place? So what if life isn’t too nice to you? So what if your plans are a little too messed up? Trust me; it’s alright, because it’s never too late. But that doesn’t mean you take time for granted. It’s never too late if you start working on yourself right now, this very minute maybe (read this, though!). Just stop telling yourself it’s all over. Stop giving up. Stop telling yourself you’re good for nothing. Stop blaming yourself. Stop reminding yourself your age! Majority of us get too involved in our daily routines that we forget to live for ourselves. We are too busy living for others, making them happy, putting in extra efforts, spending lavishly, etc. Did we totally and completely ignore ourselves out there? Don’t be selfish, but devote a few hours to yourself sometimes. Think about yourself; think about your life, where you’re heading, and even if you don’t get your answers, give yourself a reason to smile, even if it involves taking time out and shopping, or trying your hand at cooking something absolutely new, or listening to your favorite songs and applying a new color nail paint, and obviously this might not really apply to the guys, but you can definitely go play soccer, catch up with your old friends, do a research on shooting stars, drive around, play on your ps3/4 or just lie like a dead corpse on your bean bag and not do anything at all. Work on yourself first, and feel proud of the person you are becoming, and that’s only if you find yourself taking time out for nobody else, but you. Ask yourself if you’re happy. If you are, then you’re doing just fine. Nothing else should matter. Especially not your age (again, it’s just a number!) And in case you’re not too sure if you’re happy or not, then get out right now, wherever you are, home, office, school, college, etc and scream your lungs out and get over with your frustration!

I learnt one really beautiful thing from my grandfather: He used to face every problem with a nice big smile. No matter the situation, he would always laugh it off, and next minute come up with a reasonable solution, and end up ordering some snacks, and sometimes furniture to make his surroundings a little different from what it was when the problem knocked at his door. This would bring in some positivity not just in his life, but our lives too, by just looking at him. He was old, but he lived his life happily, he did what gave him happiness, but he always put his family before himself. One beautiful soul, a million lessons learned and infinite smiles spread all around!

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You’re not old.  Since our society equates happiness with youth, we often assume that sorrow, quiet desperation, and hopelessness go hand in hand with getting older. They don’t. Emotional pain or numbness is a symptom of living the wrong life, not a long life.

Yes, you have got to be a little more responsible, you have to take some important decisions about your life, some new things and people to deal with and of course, you have to tackle a couple of questions thrown by the family, but in the end, always remember that age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”

No one has the right to tell you how to live your life. No one can take away your happiness. So, if you lost your love recently, or lost your job, or probably got disowned by your parents (this is rare), or got divorced, or beaten up, or arrested, caught drunken driving, had an accident, didn’t get admission in your dream college, or got rejected after giving several interviews, I know it’s easy to say this and extremely hard to do, yes we need to be practical of course, but how about you still look up and tell yourself “I’m going to try one more time” and put your best face on, and walk faster than before towards what you really want! If everyone in this world was successful, it surely and purely wouldn’t have been because of only hard work. If there was no failure, the ones successful today wouldn’t have been where they are, right now. Things may not work out as planned but often in life something we initially consider a devastation we later look back on as a gift from the universe, a blessing in disguise; because we wouldn’t be where we are today had it played out otherwise. Disappointments and setbacks afford us the opportunity to witness our deepest strengths. They challenge us, and when we rise back up, and we always do, we see that we’re now stronger, wiser, more fearless versions of ourselves.

Life is a series of acts, some go better than expected, and others don’t. But it’s not about playing it so safe that you never fail, it’s about picking yourself up when you do and going into the next act with as much determination and enthusiasm as if it’s the first. If you’re lucky enough to have a dream, something that no matter how hard you try or how many years pass by you can’t shake, you owe it to yourself and the world to go for it. It’s scary. There’s no getting around it. But greatness comes from taking risks.

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You can also try to remember if there was something you wanted to do as a kid, but then turned away from because it was discouraged by someone. Don’t let your age come in the middle. Just do what you have to do. Be happy. Take risks. Do childish things. Go get married (and if that doesn’t help, then live with your best friend for a couple of days). Go on a long vacation. Visit a village. Love unconditionally. You’ll learn, gradually, and you’ll know there’s so much you need to experience, than crib about your age, your life. Because things will fall in place, you just need to bring in some patience, and well, happiness.

Peace.

-TanyaSinghKochar

No regrets, just lessons learned!

Every day, is a new day, a new beginning, a fresh start to something, a reason to bring about a change in oneself, or the world, a reason to celebrate the fact that you’re alive, that you could wake up to see the sun again, the chance to see the faces of the most loved ones in your life, and most importantly, a reason to smile and be thankful; every day is a new day, and every day there’s something for us to learn.

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Throughout the day, you meet people, you go to different places, you eat various cuisines and you have all kinds of conversations, good or bad, with people in your organization, members at home, domestic help, vendors, etc. But each day, there’s something for you to learn, something for you to notice and something that might just change the way you think. Say for e.g. Mr. X had a heated discussion with his immediate colleague Mr. Y in office, and to prove himself right, Mr. X over reacted and blamed everything on Mr. Y, even though he knew he was always wrong; now think about it and tell me, was it okay for Mr. X to overshadow his mistakes just to prove himself right? Don’t you think he should have owned up? Owning up would not only make him a better person, but will also help him realize the importance of honesty and sincerity. The capability of a person to take responsibility of his actions is extremely commendable.

Learning from mistakes requires three things:

-Putting yourself in situations where you can make interesting mistakes.

-Having the self-confidence to accept them.

-Being courageous about making changes.

It’s never easy to admit you’ve made a mistake, but it’s a crucial step in learning, growing, and improving yourself. You can only learn from a mistake after you admit you’ve made it. As soon as you start blaming other people, you distance yourself from any possible lesson. But if you courageously stand up and honestly say “This is my mistake and I am responsible” the possibilities for learning will move towards you, and things will be way better than expected. Admission of a mistake, even if only privately to yourself, makes learning possible by moving the focus away from blame assignment and towards understanding.

 “Forget what hurt you in the past, but never forget what it taught you. However, if it taught you to hold onto grudges, seek revenge, not forgive or show compassion, to categorize people as good or bad, to distrust and be guarded with your feelings then you didn’t learn a thing. God doesn’t bring you lessons to close your heart. He brings you lessons to open it, by developing compassion, learning to listen, seeking to understand instead of speculating, practicing empathy and developing conflict resolution through communication. If he brought you perfect people, how would you ever learn to spiritually evolve?” 

― Shannon L. Alder

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You can never regret anything you do in life. You kind of have to learn the lesson from whatever the experience is and take it with you on your journey forward.

Cheers 🙂

-TanyaSinghKochar

Acceptance > Expectation + Tolerance

Sometimes in life, you end up doing something that you never planned on doing. You never meant it, you could never even think of it ever; you know your intentions the best, but sometimes, the consequences of your actions can lead to misery. You find yourself in a situation that leaves you with no words, nothing. More than you trying to justify your intent, it’s the person who’s been affected by your words or actions, that needs to be taken care of. Proving yourself right always, can lead to more problems, especially in a situation like this, make sure you accept what you did, even if that wasn’t your intention, instead of being defensive. If the other person was hurt by something you did, you should first make sure he/she is alright (with you) and then go on to talk about it. You’d never hesitate in taking a step back if that person means something to you. If you really love that person, be it your best friend, family member, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, you would leave your ego behind and make up for it. Sometimes, in life, you have to face situations when saying “sorry” first will only prove the kind of person you are, even if you aren’t completely responsible. Relationships need to be taken care of, and not taken for granted. Just because he/she loves you, does not mean you have the power to do and say whatever you want, thinking that either way, they will love you and be there for you. At times, the wound is so deep, that it takes time to heal, and once it’s healed, there is always a possibility that he/she would be even more careful than before, or in some cases, not care at all.

Most of the times, we make a mistake and then regret later. We wish we could just rewind back into time and correct our mistakes, say the right thing, do something a certain way, and mend the whole situation. But that does not really happen in real life. You know, going back in time. It only happens in movies and cartoons, so we’ve just got to step down and handle this as maturely as possible. The best part about acceptance is that you get to learn a lot. You get to know where you stand, and you get an opportunity to become a better person. All you’ve got to do is, change your attitude, be a little more positive and make sure that your intentions are transparent, and not opaque!

The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it. It is okay to make mistakes, but it is very important to learn from them, so that the next time, you are at least aware. You only hurt the ones who love you the most. So stand up for yourself when it is necessary, but also accept things faster.

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them. And once, you gather enough courage to admit what you did, half the problem is solved. Recently, I had read a line somewhere that “a glass once broken cannot be joined back”. But I wouldn’t ever compare this to a heart. Because if two people share a strong bond, and there is genuine love, they will always find a way out and get back to how they were.  Eventually, all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason. It is probably just a phase in your life. Let it pass.

A lot of the time we ask ourselves why certain things have to happen to us, or maybe why things have to happen to other people. Sometimes we sit around wishing things would happen, but we don’t put in enough effort. Sometimes we do everything in our power to make things happen, but they still don’t, and it frustrates us. Everything will fall into place, if you let it. This doesn’t mean we will sit around waiting for every good thing to happen to us. We need to put in at least some effort and stay positive for good outcomes. We need to keep hope and faith alive. We need to believe in ourselves and believe in others. We need to learn how to love ourselves before we can love others. We need to serve others. We need to be true to ourselves and learn how to trust others. We need to have faith in God, that he is there for us every step of the way and know that he is leading us on a path that will help us grow and learn. If there is anything that causes fear or doubt, pray. When you don’t feel like praying is when you need it the most.

Don’t be opaque.

-TanyaSinghKochar

Found your way yet?

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There are a million kinds of people in this world, a billion different ideas, a trillion doubts and questions, and a gazillion plans. Of course it’ll be hard to find a person like yourself – with the same kind of thinking, same approach, same goals, and same plans. But why is it that most of us feel more comfortable with someone similar than someone completely different. Why do we want to be in our comfort zone all the time, why can’t we get out of that zone and do something different with our lives? Why should we do the same thing every day, when there’s so much more we can experiment and experience. Why settle for “A” when there are 25 other letters. Ensuring stability in what one does, is one thing, but being happy with what we choose to do is the main concern. Most of our lives, we are worrying about our future. Whether we will be successful enough, whether we will have a house big enough to sustain our family, whether we will be with the one we love, whether we will get promoted, etc. the truth is, we spend so much time thinking and worrying about what’s going to happen in future, that we completely ignore our present, and make decisions that we end up regretting later. The whole point of not thinking about our future is avoiding looking back later.

I don’t think the human mind can comprehend the past and the future. They are both just illusions that can manipulate you into thinking there’s some kind of change.

All you need is a direction in life.

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Here are 4 lessons that I learned on how to find the right direction in life:

  1. Stop over-thinking.

So much of our stress and anxiety about the future stems from all the analysis and thinking we do as adults. We ask ourselves all sorts of questions. I recall countless nights lying awake, entertaining ideas and wrestling with my soul. I tried so hard to figure out where I would end up that I often felt defeated before I even began.

But all the over-analysis got me nowhere; it just burned more time.

The reality is that no matter how smart we may be, we cannot predict the future. Things are moving so fast and we’re so interconnected that it is impossible to predict where you’ll end up five years from now.

You just don’t know. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because you will not be basing your choice of direction based on a forecast that’s likely to be wrong.

You’ll be making your choice on what’s really important to you, right here and right now, not tomorrow.

By recognizing and ultimately accepting the unpredictable nature of life, we can stop over-thinking and over-analyzing and start living more in the present moment. This helps to open the mind up to the possibilities of today.

  1. Try anything. Do something.

When you take action and start doing things, you begin to feel better almost immediately, because instead of thinking about some far off place in your head full of uncertainty, you will be working on something that is really certain: your actions.

So many times, I used to get caught up in the chaos of life and was consumed by it, until I realized that while I cannot control what will happen tomorrow, I can control the actions I take every single day.

That’s the real beauty of life—knowing that you have absolute control over each of your thoughts, words, and actions. 

And by trying, moving, asking, engaging, experimenting, and walking forward, it puts you one step further than where you were yesterday. And you just never know where that one step will lead you.

  1. Follow your inner voice.  follow-your-heart

I used to feel that if only I knew more, I would be able to make a better decision about the direction I wanted to take in life. But as I dug deeper trying to get more information, the hole got so deep that I found myself buried.

Confused and overwhelmed with so much information, at times conflicting, I just didn’t know what or whom to believe.

Then, I just let go. I let go of all evidence and started following my gut. 

I took chances; I took small steps walking forward in the dark. I stumbled, fell but got back up, and went in a different direction. Then again, and again, and again. As they say, the first step was the hardest but I eventually found my way, not because some data point on a career chart showed me which way to go, but because I started to trust my inner voice.

Sure, it was wrong often, but it got better eventually because I was out there doing and learning—not sitting and waiting.

  1. Believe in yourself.

When I first started exploring new opportunities to find the right direction in my life, I found myself overwhelmed by the competition. There were so many others just like me trying and doing what I was doing.

And turning to my friends didn’t offer any respite, because instead of encouraging me to try new avenues, some of them brought me back to where I began. “Why don’t you be more pragmatic?”

Feeding me with seeds of self-doubt, it took me some time to recover my momentum. And it was in the positive voices of so many others in blogs such as this, videos, and social media that I found encouragement to keep at it. It felt like they were talking about me.

And in that positive lens, I found the light inside of me to bring forward the resiliency that lay dormant.

No longer suppressed by someone else’s ideas of the way things “ought to be,” I continued on my newly discovered path. The more I focused on my own voice and the voices of encouraging friends, the more I grew to believe in myself.

Although for some, finding the right direction might require the journey of a lifetime, I do believe that there is one direction that we are all meant to go: forward.

By taking small steps each and every day, putting aside over-thinking, and realizing that you have everything you need deep within, you can find the right direction in your life. And while it may not be the direction you expected, it will work out just fine.

No matter how far you go in the wrong direction there's always a chance to turn your life around

-TanyaSinghKochar

The worth of a Million Dollar Smile $

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Waking up on a Sunday morning with the best feeling ever – the smell of rain, the sound of a heavy downpour, and alarm clock going crazy. It was time for me to get off my bed, step into my slippers and get ready to leave for French class. That’s exactly how my weekend starts. In a rush. No time to admire nature. No time to thank God enough for such a beautiful morning. But well, I chose this for myself, so not going to complain, because that day, I realized there’s something more beautiful than any of this. And that is – a smile on someone’s face. Someone who probably hasn’t smiled like that in ages, someone who forgot what it felt like to smile, someone who lighted up so many other faces by just smiling, someone whose smile expressed more than words, someone whose smile could make us see the world in a completely different way, someone whose smile could spread so much positivity around – Yes, a smile can actually do that.

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While driving to class, it was still raining quite heavily, and I’d stopped at the red light, even though no one else seemed to care, because apparently rain means traffic, hence people tend to break rules. Well, trying not to go off-track here, so while I was at the signal, usually I see a lot of beggars there, old, young, all age groups, literally. But that day? I saw only one. A 3 or 4 yr old boy, walking from car to car with a huge black tattered umbrella in his hand, begging for money and crying. For some, those might not be tears; they’d probably mistake them for rain drops. He was pointing to his family, sitting about a 100 meters from the signal; an old man sneezing and trying to squeeze out water from his clothes, a lady drying the tattered cushion (I’m guessing the only one) on which she wanted to make her baby sleep, and a young girl fixing her little notebook which got completely wet in the rain. This kind of a sight is very normal in a country where poverty is a multi-dimensional social problem. I tend to get emotional when I see something like this, but more than emotional, I also feel the urge to do something for them, do my bit. And well, giving them money isn’t really going to help. Instead it’ll just encourage them to beg more. They don’t need money. They just need a little bit of love. I know it won’t put an end to this social problem, but it’ll help them psychologically. And a person like me? I believe in doing things for others, in exchange for a smile! The kind of environment these people stay in just makes them negative each passing day, they curse their lives almost every time they breathe, they don’t see the point of living a life with nothing at all, no place to stay in, no food to fill their stomach, no good clothes to wear, etc, they think ill of all those who have more than them, they have that fire in them to fight for themselves, but at the end of the day, they are still helpless, poor, starving and unhappy.

smiling-puppy_5-jpg I hope he makes you smile 🙂

One thing that really touches my heart is that they understand the worth of things, and people. They value all those things that people like us would discard within a second, without any second thoughts. They value relations much better than we do. They fight for each other, and at the end of the day, even if 5 out of 6 fall, there’d always be that one person standing tall for them. They are so hopeful, that nothing can pull them away from doing what they have to do.  Even if there’s a hailstorm, or it’s extremely hot, or be it any extreme weather condition, they’d never give up. And that’s one thing that really inspires me. The fact that their determination and will power is so strong, it really teaches us one thing – Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

So, in that 120 seconds red light, I learnt a lot, and I achieved a lot. When that little kid walked up to my car, he knocked on the window, and while pointing at his family, he only talked to me in actions. He brought his fingers close to his mouth, and then placed the same hand on his stomach. He did this 2-3 times, that seeing him do those actions slowed down my reaction to it, since I got so lost, and well, emotional too. I looked at his family and looked back at the little boy, and asked him to wait, while I opened the glove box of my car, and pulled out 4 packets of energy biscuits and nut chocolates, and handed them over to him one by one. As soon as he held one packet in his hand, he was so overwhelmed with one only, that he didn’t believe his eyes when he saw the next packet coming his way. The tears in his eyes due to starvation immediately turned into tears of happiness. And even though, he was too young to realize what those tears really meant, those tears of happiness reached his lips, and there it was – the world’s most magical and beautiful curve ever possible. A SMILE. That spoke a thousand words for him; that conveyed his emotions to me within a second. I melted there and then, and just stared at him. His smile was so contagious, that I found myself smiling too, and seeing this, a few other people in their cars and bikes around were smiling too. It was a moment worth capturing, not in our phones or cameras, but in our mind and heart. The little boy ran with joy towards his family and handed all the packets to the old man, and they all sat there and enjoyed their morning meal – a few biscuits and chocolates.

And that was the 120th second.

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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Do one thing every day that would give someone a reason to smile, and you’ll see yourself making some kind of a difference in their life at that moment.

“If I can see pain in your eyes then share with me your tears. If I can see joy in your eyes then share with me your smile.”

Now go make someone smile, your time starts now!

-TanyaSinghKochar

Leader of Santana!

Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana is leader of Santana, a band whose music uniquely blends Latin-infused rock, jazz, blues, salsa and African rhythms. Singer and guitarist Carlos Augusto Alves Santana was born on July 20, 1947, in Autlán de Navarro, Mexico. His father, Jose, was an accomplished professional violinist, and Carlos learned to play the guitar at age 8. In 1955, the family moved from Autlán de Navarro to Tijuana, the border city between Mexico and California.

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Forever, your biggest fan. So, i’d love to share a sketch of you, made by me.

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