Off late, I’ve been relatively lax with myself. It is quite a change from the usual disciplinarian regime I subject myself to which involves a lot of short, medium and long term planning, setting deadlines and putting things into action. And as much as much as I might sound like a page out of a management textbook, that disciplinarian regime truly does have its benefits. I’m a strategist at heart who believes there’s no problem a good plan can’t solve. In fact, I love planning so much that sometimes, I get so carried away that I land up planning the next 4 years of my life in the process. No exaggeration. Let’s ignore the fact that my multiple interests and complete inability to commit have led to the development of so many succinct 4 year plans that people from nearly every field would find themselves a plan if only they looked into my book of it. Oooh, maybe I should go into Life Planning!
See what I mean?
Too much of anything is lethal. 4 year plans are too much and they’re lethal in far too many ways. I remember having had big dreams for myself. My 4 year plan ending 2015 involved getting published as an author. After a lot of pushing and prodding, all I’ve managed to get started is this blog. Well, I’d like to believe self-publishing is also publishing *sobs internally*. But I didn’t work hard enough at it. I have excuses but I’d rather not. Some factors were within my control. Some weren’t. There were other things I had planned too- things which I actually worked really hard towards. I succeeded at some. And failed miserably at the others like that little job I left and ran away to exile myself halfway across the world. I distinctly remember giving myself a lot of flak over not being able to survive in the corporate world. I knew I’d given it my best but the fact that my best wasn’t enough kept pricking me. BUT, I did manage to tick off the planned solo travelling bit. So, you know, there was balance.
The thing is, humans have is the tendency to ignore the knowledge they possess. We know that all work and no play makes John a dull boy, don’t we? But, no. We will work ourselves to the bone, pushing all our faculties to go a little further, placating ourselves with the idea of a break that will never come. We live for later. We’re well aware of the necessity and benefits of a well-balanced life but to us, it is nothing more than a theoretical concept. We use it no more than the trigonometry we learnt in 12th grade (congratulations if you’ve actually made use of it, though). But, why do we do this to ourselves? Why are we so harsh on ourselves?
So we have goals and dreams. We want to make a mark and leave footprints worth following. We want to be spoken about. We want to be experts. We want to be achievers. And we want to do this in nearly every aspect of our life. We want to be role models to the younger generation. We want garner respect of the elders. We want to prove we’re worth something. And in fulfilling all these desires and wants, we end up crushing a big part of us somewhere. Unfortunately, we don’t realise it before it’s too late. In trying to fulfil our wants, we forget what we need- what our soul needs. We put matter over mind. All those times we needed to relax, to drink a glass of wine and sit back to watch mindless sitcoms- they got dumped to a later which was never seen. They piled up higher than the Empire State- fascinating at first but merging into the background eventually as you delay going to the top to catch the breath-taking view.
And the worst blow hasn’t even been delivered yet. The worst comes when all these sacrifices we make are rendered fruitless. Hard work and sacrifice is an unbeatable formula for success. We know that. But sometimes, just sometimes, for some absolutely inexplicable reason, all those late nights and sacrifices aren’t enough. And then, instead of a house of cards, we have brick and mortar coming crashing right down upon us. We get buried under a pile of debris so large, we cannot fathom how to get out from underneath it. We struggle, we push, we scream. We fight till our last breathe. But do you know what we fail to do all through this? We fail to cut ourselves some slack. Hell, a building just came crashing down on you and you’re beating yourself up about it while you’re being rushed into the Emergency Room? If only I’d put in a little more effort, if only I hadn’t gone out that Saturday night. Why do I make such bad decisions? I’m such a fool. Isn’t it? Well. NO. STOP. It’s okay. You did your best. Now let life do the rest. It is fine. And if it isn’t? It will be, soon enough.
Do you remember the last time your brother or your best friend failed at doing something? They were miserable, weren’t they? And they came to you with swollen eyes and a runny nose, seeking consolation. What did you do then? Did you reprimand them? Did you tell them they’d been foolish and stupid and indecisive? Did you tell them how they didn’t work hard enough or wasted too much time? Well, maybe if it was true and the circumstances warranted it, you might have. But in most cases, what do we do? We provide reassurance. We say that everything is going to be okay. We tell them that everything happens for a reason. Better things will come their way. Right? So if we can be so kind towards the rest of the world, why are we so harsh on ourselves? Don’t we deserve a little kindness too? Before we live with the world, we must live with ourselves. And if we aren’t kind to ourselves in the least, how can we spend our life living with ourselves?
So the next time you don’t meet your expectations- let’s not be rosy, those times are bound to happen- don’t beat yourself up about it. Earnestly believe that there are better things coming your way. Believe in yourself, believe in your capabilities and if you’ve worked your hardest and done your best, there will be bountiful benefits to reap. They’re probably not ready to be harvested just yet.