Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Photoshop your Life

Last week a friend visited Hong Kong and like any tourist he had his camera ready to click.  He took hundreds of photographs, I had not seen Hong Kong like that before. Living in a place makes one immune to the intricacies that weave such a wonderful tapestry. His camera seemed to tell a very beautiful story.

Amongst those beautiful pictures there were many pictures that were not that beautiful, some were over exposed, some were underexposed, some were hazy, some had red eyes and some were completely out of focus. As I was going through the album I started saving the pictures that I liked and ignoring the ones that I did not want to see. Sadly I could not delete the ones that I did not like because it was not my album, I just had access to it.

Half way through the album I realized that I was being too self critical, I did not like any pictures that featured me and I was being extremely judgmental. I wanted to delete those that had me looking cross eyed or where I was showing my teeth like jaws, but sadly I could not delete anything. The best I could do was just ignore them and focus on the ones that were nice.

Isn’t life similar to a picture album? Not all pictures are beautiful but we have a choice of keeping the beautiful ones and ignoring the not so beautiful or as some of my friends would say ‘ see the beauty even in the apparent ugliness’.

I went through the whole album again and to my surprise actually started liking what I had initially disliked.  I had detached myself from me and saw the pictures just as they were and not as a reflection of me the body.

Even though I saw the pictures just as they were I still did not save the ones that I did not like on my computer. I only saved the ones I liked.

We can edit our lives the same way. Our lives are full of beautiful and not so beautiful pictures. Just as we keep only the pretty pictures in a photo album, why not keep only the pretty memories in our life album. Why should anyone revisit the dark moments over and over again? Acknowledge the dark moments for what they are and choose to skim over them just as you would the bad or out of focus pictures.

I remember attending a friend’s wedding a few years ago and when I saw the wedding album I was blown over by the beauty in that album, but I clearly remember that all was not so beautiful at the wedding. Many things had gone wrong, and there was a lot of anger, frustration and unmet expectations; but nothing even close to that shows in the album. The photographer chose the best pictures and every time any one sees that album all we see are beautiful smiling faces and not the angry or sad faces that too were a part of the three-day event.

Become an editor of your own life. Edit or photoshop the events that you don’t like. Just as you would not keep the bad pictures why would you hang on to unpleasant memories?

Memories and albums are made up pictures that we choose to keep. Ideally we should not hold on to anything whether good or bad for everything is transient. Nothing stays forever so even getting attached to the good is a waste of the present moment. But if we do need to revisit the past, it better be the edited colorful version and not the dark out of focus version.

Just as the bad pictures don’t automatically get deleted, the bad memories will not automatically disappear. We need to consciously focus on the good and ignore the bad. The bad pictures may not necessarily be taken by you, but you feature in those. Similarly the cause of your bad memories may lie outside of you but the ability to choose the memories of your life lies with you.

Choose the good ones …..


Slander and Gossip.

A friend asked me this question a few days ago and I could not answer her right away.

The question was : What should one do if you find out that someone is slandering your name?

I thought about it and put myself in her shoes. What would I do if I heard my name being maligned or misrepresented?

In the past I would have confronted that person and asked for an explanation or I would have gotten extremely upset, cried and tried to offer my own view point. Today I would do no such thing.


Because I understand that by focusing on something that does not feel good I am fanning that very fire which needs to simmer down. Confrontation or reaction will fan that fire more. But suppressing that emotion will also add fuel to that fire.

So what am I to do?

I need to step away from the situation and try and see the whole picture.  Sometimes a good photograph appears only when taken from a distance.  I need to understand that everyone wants to feel good. Sometimes for a person to feel good about herself or himself, she/he makes the other person look bad.

Our world is full of contrasts, good-bad, up-down, pretty-ugly, black-white and the various polarities are always present. In order for someone to feel good they may need to make someone feel bad. This is extremely flawed way of being but it is one of the ways a person can feel good herself/himself.

If I have clear understanding of who I really am, another person’s opinion will not affect me.  If someone was to say that I am a male, or that I am a one eyed monster, or a three legged alien I doubt I would react for I know for a fact I am not of the male species, I could be an alien but I don’t have three legs so that is ruled out, my husband thinks I am a monster but that is his opinion J

Because I am sure about who or what I am other peoples opinion about me will not affect me, but if I doubt my own integrity or lack faith in myself, another person’s opinion will matter to me.

The problem arises when we feel betrayed by our own inner selves. We feel bad when we feel that we were wrong in our judgment of another. We feel let down not so much by another but by our own inner being.

By allowing another person’s opinion of us to matter so much we are giving away our own power and it is this feeling of helplessness that bothers us more than the other persons opinion.

So what should be the solution?

Quantum physics is the branch of physics that tells us that our universe is created by our conscious thoughts.  If our thoughts are dominated by thoughts of sadness, anger, confrontation, revenge that is exactly what will keep showing up in our lives.  In order for us to move away from these toxic thoughts we need to shift our focus mindfully towards uplifting thoughts.

Instead of focusing on that one or two or three people who are bad mouthing you start focusing on the people who love you, who are there for you and will go the extra mile for you. If for any reason you feel alone always remember that you really are never alone, you have your inner being with you and that inner being is always in a state of bliss.

Another thing we need to keep in mind is that any negative emotion is an indication of inner misalignment and not necessarily a reflection of what is being said. Think of a time when you were feeling great about yourself, at that time even if someone said something horrible it did not leave a lasting impression, but if at anytime you were feeling horrible or low about yourself even the slightest nag was enough to get you really upset. So was it the other person’s words or your own inner state that determined your reaction?

99.9 percent of the time it is not the situation that upsets us but our interpretation of the situation based on our inner state of being. So next time you hear someone bad mouthing you, look within your own self and see where your  self esteem level is, if you are feeling confident and happy the situation will not disturb you as much as it would if you were feeling low and unfulfilled.

The power to feel is always with us. By allowing another persons opinion of us to affect us we are giving away our power and no wonder we feel miserable.

Next time you hear someone bad mouthing you, just remember that they have no other way of feeling good about themselves so they have to indulge in slander and gossip just to feel good.

End of the day, all anyone wants is to feel good. So allow them to have their moment of joy and you rejoice in the fact that you are important enough for them to spend time talking about you. J

Mark Twain said  “ the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about!”