Know your Self-Worth!!

I quit working in mid-November.  So it’s been 4 months that I am not working. It’s a big thing for someone like me…someone restless, competitive (in a good, healthy way), career minded, ambitious and a workaholic person like me. Giving up on my hitherto life, work, family and friends and moving to a different country, miles away, where I don’t know a soul yet is a big change.

BUT surprisingly I am doing well. I am not cribbing, crying, raving or ranting. I am alone all day, until TCG comes back.  I mean this is so unlike me, so un-zinal. Even I am amazed as to how I have changed so much. I think I have made my peace with time. I have surrendered to life and let it take over the reins and change me…for good. Oh my, haven’t I really matured? Wonder if marriage has done that to me? I went over to the neighbour’s the other day with a bowl of dessert that I made and introduced myself. Yes it took courage, but I pulled it off. I mean you never know how people in a foreign country react to an uninvited neighbour. She could have slammed the door right to my face. But she was sweet, and thus I made an acquaintance at least. Very un-me. But I am proud of myself.

If this was me a year ago, I would have been drowned in self doubt and misery …for being idle, not working, not having a job, being dependant, wasting precious time. I have always been very agonizingly disciplined. Someone who will make a big deal in her mind about missing exercise, breaking a routine, indulging in some sinful food, wasting time doing nothing, feeling guilty about feeling pleasure. I have said this before also here.

Somewhere along the way I became very harsh and demanding of my own self and started believing that only having a job gave you an identity. How much money you earn gives you some power. Money gives you power, sure. But a job gives you an identity??!  Not entirely true. I finally understood how shallow it is to measure my own worth on a single metric.  I never measure or judge others though. I am just tough only on my own self.

Now I have realized finally that there is more to a person than his/her job; there are hobbies, interests. A person can be very creative but earn a pittance. Then is it fair to judge that person based on his income?  And on the other hand a person can be a millionaire but someone who sucks at social niceties, comes home and abuses his wife every day, is always self absorbed and selfish. Then is money alone the correct barometer? And then there are mothers, wives…homemakers as they are called. They turn your house into a home, they cook meals, they take care of the children, they keep everyone in the family happy, they run many errands through the day, and they sacrifice their own dreams and aspirations to give the whole family a better life. How on earth can we ever measure their contribution? Just because they don’t work means they have no identity? If they were working, they would sure make some money. But if they were working, your house would not have been quite the same; probably it would have been a mess. You would have had to hire a househelp or a nanny or a cook or all and even pay them. Things that your mom or wife did hitherto for free. Then is it fair to think of people who don’t have a job per se as dependants? What about the rest of their contribution.

For the longest time, I have lived with the feeling that I was born to do great things, something good, something big, something satisfying. I still feel that. But what? I have no clue. I feel I need to have a purpose. But what? I have no clue. This nags me constantly, eats me from inside.

Then I can’t help comparing myself with others. I know it’s not right to compare, everyone fights their own battles, everyone has their own share of hardships. But I am human after all. I can’t help not compare. I look around. Not too far away from home. My own sister –in-law Aarti Bhadra. Sometimes I am just so jealous of her.  She is so clear about everything in her life, her goals, her aspirations, and her career. Heck, at 20, she was clear about whom she wanted to marry also, and she went ahead and married my brother. You must have read here. She is 24, she is an upcoming and very promising Make-Up artist. She is very clear where she wants to be 5 years down the line, what she wants from her life. She is self assured and comfortable in her own skin. She rarely compares herself with anyone. She is sooooo passionate about her profession (and she has just recently started) that it can put many a people to shame. She goes out of her way to network with the Who’s who, to learn more, to upgrade her skills, to be present at the right places at the right time…because she has that fire in her belly. I remember she once told me, “Zinal, if I don’t become a make-up artist, I will happily sit at home and look after family. Just for some misplaced sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, I will not go out and do some stupid job I don’t enjoy …for a few bucks. I would rather invest that time in my family and do things I really like.” WHOA…it takes a lot of courage and clarity in one’s own priorities to say something like that. I wish I could be like Aarti.

But I understand I am a different person. Someday I will find my calling, hopefully. May be I won’t.  I don’t know how my life is going to pan out. But coming to New Zealand, spending a lot of ‘me’ time, reflecting, thinking, musing has made me realize that I will stop constantly assessing myself and my worth in terms of a job. THAT IS JUST TOO SHALLOW.  I will get one when I have to, but why be miserable now? Why not make most of it and enjoy every moment of it? When I had a job, I cribbed about not getting enough time to do other things. Grass is always greener on the other side.

So I am taking this break as a blessing in disguise and doing things I have been aching to do for sometime now. Monday, I baked a loaf of bread from scratch and yesterday I baked a chocolate cake, first time ever. That satisfaction of doing that can’t be expressed in words.

Here, take a look.

My first loaf of bread

My first loaf of bread

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

If you liked this post, you may also like to read here what Pepper has to say here.

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Acute Guilt Syndrome

It happens to me very often me. It happens to me almost every time, unfailingly. It grips me tightly and its tentacles suffocate me sometimes. I wonder if it happens to me and only me or if it is a constant companion of others like me also. I seem to be having this acute guilt syndrome.  I feel guilty for things normal people don’t care two hoots about. I feel guilty about feeling pleasure and being happy. I don’t know how this whole thing started. But little moments of pleasure always come with accompanying bouts of guilt.

I feel guilty about enjoying a piece of cake. I feel like I am cheating somehow on my self-imposed diet vow.

I feel guilty about missing my workout.

I feel guilty about eating rice
P.S. I love rice, but I feel it will make me fat almost immediately.

I feel guilty about being vain, about spending some insane amount on a cosmetic product. My mind immediately goes into a calculation mode and calculates how that much money could easily have been some poor family’s food budget for a week. Last week, I felt like pampering myself and thought that I deserved a hair spa. Now, I work hard and I am sincere and I earn my own money. So if I decide to spend some not-so-small amount on pampering myself once in a long while, its rational right? It doesn’t harm right? After all, I am not that vain. I spend judiciously. I think wisely. I prioritize. The hair spa should have given me a high. And high, it did. But almost next moment, I felt a pang of guilt. I immediately thought that I could have bought a dozen poor kids a nice meal with that money. Wouldn’t that have been a better thing to do with money? Such thoughts leave me high and dry. Is it really bad to spend money on vain things? Why does this always happen with me?

Then I also feel guilty sometimes about doing hardly anything for a social cause, thinking beyond self and family. Sometimes I wonder am I really shallow? Am I really indifferent to pains and poverty around me? Isn’t it everyone’s moral obligation to do something for the society? To give back to the society in someway? To have a higher cause? But, then immediately on the other hand, i realize that unless it comes from within its useless. If I don’t enjoy what I am doing, it wont take me too long.

Okay moving on, another example.

I feel guilty about not reading newspapers daily. Ya, I am silly that way. Now this may be due to the mental conditioning. Our teachers in school imbibed this habit of reading papers every day. So this guilt finds its roots in that school time habit.

I feel guilty about not finding enough time to read. Read enough. As much as I would like to.

I feel guilty about having that occasional scoop of ice cream on a whim. Ya, ya that same calorie-calculation mode in my brain gets activated. And I am not even fat really. Sigh

I feel guilty about not spending enough time with parents, due to work, and gym and many other commitments. I feel i am failing my responsibilities as a daughter.

I feel guilty about sleeping in the afternoon on weekends. I think how many pending things I could have ticked off my never ending to-do list if I wouldn’t have slept.  Now tell me, is this abnormal? Who doesn’t enjoy lazying? Who doesn’t enjoy a good afternoon siesta?

So you get a drift of what I am trying to say right? I feel guilty about almost everything that brings pleasure. Be it those two pieces of chocolate that give me a high; be it an occasional expensive thing I buy myself, be it things like lazying and sleeping. Not wholly, but this feeling is somewhat similar to survivor’s guilt. I feel guilty about enjoying too much, because I quickly think that some other less fortunate people are living in misery.

And now to add to my guilt list, there is one more. I feel guilty about not finding enough time to write my blogs. Sigh!

Everything that I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening 😛

Do I need to see a shrink? What you think? Such things happen with you? Do you suppose this is an unusual case?

I feel like I want to take care of everyone and I also feel this terrible guilt if I am unable to. And I have felt this way ever since all this success started.
– Jim Carrey