My last post was pretty dismal and some of my friends were genuinely concerned about me. I assure you that there is nothing to be worried about and I am now out of that dark mood. My blog is not really about promoting my business or establishing myself as an ‘ expert’ in any given area – it is simply a means of catharsis. Sometimes I need to just simply put down in writing the connections I make on various subjects such as mythology and history because unless I do they keep swirling in my head and keep me preoccupied. Sometimes I write because I am frustrated at what’s happening in the social and political arena and as an ordinary citizen I put my concerns on my blog simply as a way of registering my protest. And sometimes I write because I need to rid myself of all the negative emotions that are welling up inside me so that I can be functional again.
My strategy of coping with negative feelings is a bit radical. Rather than just try and divert myself when I feel sad and depressed I take that darkness to the extreme. If I am unhappy then I take my unhappiness to the point of sheer misery and once I have worked it out of my system I can then move on to healing myself. As they say once you hit rock bottom there is no way else to go but up. All emotions, good or bad, should be experienced to their maximum otherwise they never truly go away. For good emotions that is not such a bad thing to happen but negative emotions remain with you like that lingering residual cough one gets after a particularly nasty bronchial infection – just when you think you are OK the cough attack comes on to remind you that you aren’t. So my last post was my attempt to hit rock bottom and I’m happy to report that I did and now I’m on my way up again.
After I read my post I realized that I was indulging in self-pity. Who was this whining person? Me? I wasn’t like that and if I was becoming this way then it was time to take corrective measures. So I went on a little journey of introspection and knocked on doors within me which had been so far kept firmly shut. Most of these doors had bits of benign junk that I found easy to clean up but every time I did the junk kept coming back again, it just refused to go away for good. In the end I figured that the door with the biggest padlock and which I was avoiding for so long held the broom which could clean up all that was behind the other doors. I knew that once I opened that door I would have to pass a test to get that magic broom and that test would be daunting to say the least.
When I finally opened that door I found fragments of myself and the test was to put myself back together again like Humpty Dumpty. I tried for a long time but even though each piece was my own all of them were distorted so that they didn’t seem to quite come together in a neat fit. But what had distorted them so much? Why wasn’t I myself anymore? And then I remembered an old CD I had once left on my car’s dashboard out in the sun and which had become warped just like my own self was now warped. The culprit was an external force in both cases but the blame was mine because I was careless and did not take care of them. The CD was damaged by the sun’s heat and I was damaged by all the negative input I was allowing people to send my way. Slowly over a period of time these minor inputs had managed to chip away at a substantial part of my self-esteem. For someone who teaches other people about self-esteem this was not just shocking it was also shameful. I felt like a fraud – what right did I have to stand up in front of a group and talk to them about a subject in which I had myself failed? But then I realized that this was not really a failure it was a big lesson. I learnt that even if your strength is left untended for some time it will start to weaken. Atrophy is never far behind.
Once I realized this I could use my secret chants and potions to restore all my pieces and assemble myself once again. Having passed this test I was then handed the magic broom with which I proceeded to clean all the mess behind the other doors.
Moral of the story? It doesn’t matter how hard you try to improve yourself and it doesn’t matter how many self-development books you read, if you don’t work on improving your self-esteem nothing will work. Also, while working on your areas of improvement do not neglect your strengths otherwise they too will become weak. And on more thing that I learnt from this experience was that the root of all our problems lies within us. Circumstances and people are neutral, how we respond to them gives them negative or positive labels. I am happy to report that since I started working on myself, even my mom’s situation seems to have improved. Her dementia is not better but now I keep her preoccupied with jokes and light conversations so that she doesn’t keep going around in circles and asking the same things again and again.