The world is a wonderful place; the world is a lousy place. Yes, these two statements encapsulate the vicissitudes and extremes of ‘womanhood’ in our day-to-day lives.
Yet it’s our perspective on the static reality of our own everyday lives that matter most in deciding our day-to-day opinions of the world—and of yourself.
Reality may not be able to change so fast, but your ‘perspective’ can change in a day. We absorb our daily dose of reality, process it, and then ‘feel’ about it.
If you can change your process, you’ll alter your feelings.
But isn’t it difficult to switch perspectives seamlessly unless you’ve acquired an ‘identity’? What if we feel that our personality is but one puzzle-piece fitting into a pre-existing culture? Such feelings usually come from the worst adult mindf##k around: “The grass is always greener on the other side.”
Rest assured, this is rarely the case. You can affect a better tomorrow (and today) if you simply stop focusing on the fence; stop focusing on whether this-or-that is greener or not – and make a commitment to being the greenest pastures around, right under your feet, wherever you are.
The grass is greener where you water it. Nurture your own garden so that it brings forth so much life and richness that you will stop noticing other pastures altogether.
When forming your own sense-of-life, when sowing your own garden, attempt to take seeds from the best of what you’ve tasted and learned from, wherever you’ve been…and bring it home.
In gardens, ugly weeds and other matters creep in…so feeling lousy is still ok! Healthy gardens always overcome the weeds anyway.
Your ‘identity’ is your own unique emotional responses to the assimilation of your day-to-day reality based on your unique set of values…values which may or may not be shared among peers. Sometimes what you value may not be understood by others so easily; they simply may not be common values.
But what if your own heart is telling you that your values feel better than common values? To have questions answered, try putting yourself in empowering situations whenever you have the window of opportunity to do so. Such experiences will help you to gain ‘perspective’ over your ‘perceptions’.
Perceptions are easy; perspective requires maturity.
Our experiences from empowering situation can be further incorporated into our own system of values. This sharpens our perspective by constantly asking us to decide what we value and don’t. The output of this entire process is ‘identity’.
(Saira Mohan has appeared on the covers of global news, fashion magazines and has been appeared in high-profile Bollywood films and is a speaker at various events such as the World Economic Forum and India Today Conclaves. She wrote this piece for the anniversary issue of Changing Tomorrow.)