As we become wise, we step back and see the mystery of it instead of how it is supposed to be.

Jack Kornfield

Change is a constant phenomenon of life. The basic nature of life is impermanence, which is repeated through the nature with all its seasons and changing existence. As human beings, accepting this very fact of life is often hard.

The idea of change can be quite overwhelming because we associate it with either uncertainty or unfamiliarity. Another factor that forces us to resist change is our comfort zone. Just because something is comfortable does not mean it’s what you want, or even good for you for that matter. 

At other times, we tend to resist change because of our assumptions, expectations or fear of unknown or vulnerability. When we remain in past, we cling to anything that makes us feel safe. As a result, we do not open ourselves to change in our present moment. This is even when we are well aware of the fact that we all change as we go through our lives, or having been experienced other life changing things. 

It is our perspective of change that prevents us from moving forward and therefore, never allow ourselves to be flexible in our thinking. This is the reason why many people go through life just complaining about the results and the outcomes that they don’t want, whilst not always willing to making those changes either in their personal life habits, behaviours or externally, their work or relationships.

The way you respond to change depends very much on your change awareness. You can’t have significant changes in your life without bringing significant change in your inner awareness about it. Making changes in our lives on a large scale requires that we start making changes in our inner awareness. And the key is to take control of your thoughts by getting in touch with wiser part of our mind.

The wise mind awareness

To understand wise part of our mind, it is imperative to understand the other states of mind. Our emotional mind uses feelings as a way to guide our actions and choices. Or in other words, emotionally minded people make emotionally led decisions based on poor logic and reasoning. And not all people operate out of this and some of us operate through our rational mind.

Rational mind is based on reasonings, uses facts and figures to understand things, but at the same time, it makes us judgmental as reasoning guides our actions and decisions. Usually many of us face issues when choosing between emotional reasoning and our rational thinking. 

These states of mind are extremes and over-applying them to changing situations can lead to poor emotional regulation. Reactions in emotional state of mind make reasonable, logical thinking difficult.

You may find yourself distorting facts based on your emotional state. Reasonable mind is though cool is objective. You may think logically using facts, but you undermine your values and emotions. 

We often react emotionally to changes in present, but in response to what we focus on from the past. Because of the past events, we end up making presumptions and guesses about what might happen. It makes us reactive to stressful emotions in times of change. But when we access the wise mind, or our inner wisdom, we remain in the zone of “knowing” what’s right. We enter into a place of awareness. 

Wise mind is the centre of our being and it is that part of our mind where we experience truth, or experience a sense of greater presence, openness, peace and clarity. The core of our wise mind is based on our intuitiveness and it strikes a balance between the emotional and rational parts of our minds.

In other words, it is neither ruled purely by emotions nor by rational thinking, but is governed by understanding and awareness. So, we are aware of what we are thinking, but we are also aware of how what we are thinking is influencing how we are feeling so that we can self regulate.

Wise mind gets activated when you pay attention to your present moment or when one is thoughtful and collected. It gives an inner sense and control, as a result, makes you aware of the changes that are happening around. This makes you in charge of your thoughts so you respond more rather than react.

Non-judgmental awareness is the key

Change however, is never easy, whether it is keeping up with sudden changes in your personal or professional circumstances or whether you are consciously trying to change a certain behaviour or a habit. Most of the times, we experience stressful states and become anxious managing change.

What we can’t see or don’t know keeps us trapped in our perceptions, expectations and interpretations of our past experiences. The better way to deal with this is to have the ability to see your situation or circumstances from higher perspective or wise part of your mind, devoid of judgment, and bias or prejudice of egotistical self. 

How you view and perceive the present situation can change the outer aspects of your life. With wise mind, you can gain awareness of the separation between your past habitual self and authentic self. With your present moment awareness, you can draw emotion as well as the reason to deal with the change appropriately.

Nonjudgmental wise-mind makes you more aware as to why a change is required or about the consequences as a result of change. It reduces stress, frustration or fear by restoring your freedom to choose what you want instead of what your past imposes on you.

The power of making wise choices

Our fast-paced life does not allow us to make wise choices in times of change as most of our decisions get based on reacting to circumstances, devoid of emotional balance and adequate wisdom.

Each one of us is born with a clean slate, yet the experiences and our interpretations we carry through shape our life’s choices. And wherever you are in life, your life up to this point is a result of choices you made. Becoming aware of the power of your choices raises your consciousness towards change. This frees you op further from your assumptions or biases.

Your mind is a tool for you to use in any way you wish. The way you now use your mind creates your reality. The thoughts you choose to think create the experiences you have. If you believe that it is hard or difficult to change a habit or a thought, then your choice of this thought will make it true for you. And it can be changed if you consciously choose to connect to your wise mind awareness.

You can use this awareness to shift your attention to what you want to change and create. When we reside in wise mind awareness, we begin to recognise that change is a natural phenomenon and that it is our judgment to it is what’s causing resistance. So, you accordingly choose to respond to changing circumstances.

Awareness points us to wise choices and you view the change for what it is and not associate it with any past labels. Asking yourself, What can’t I see? or What don’t  I know?or Is there any way that my current perspective or outlook on life might not be accurate? can expand your thinking or your understanding so not to be to closed or be opinionated about anything.

Meditation heightens our wise mind awareness. 

We can only fear or be apprehensive or anxious about change when we live in the past. Because of the past events, we end up making presumptions and guesses about what might happen in the future. 

To develop true objectivity and to develop a heart of wisdom, understanding what we focus on determines how we feel in any given moment is important. And mindfulness  connects us to our present moment. This allows us stop ourselves whenever we focus on something unhelpful, so we can start to discipline ourselves to take a different approach.

With mindful breathing, you become aware how not to allow your thoughts or emotions influence your response to change. Since wise mind is intuitive and operates from balance and harmony, it acts as an inner guidance system. It helps you make wise choices based on truth and respond to your changing circumstances wisely rather than react in stress or anger.

Consciously following your inner wisdom means realising that it’s your choice and responsibility to decide how you are going to respond to change. As you learn to control your mind by the conscious choice, you align yourself with the power to change. 

To-do:

Logic and reasoning can lead to change resistance as it dominates and devalues or distances you from what you already intuitively know to navigate through change. You need to let go of logic sometimes when you believe in an idea. Instead listen to what your inner voice tells you. 

To improve your change awareness, it is important to differentiate between a rational or emotional choice and a wise choice. You can do so by listening to your inner instincts. The better you trust your physical senses, the better equipped you will be in accessing your wise mind awareness. 

Paying attention to your breath frees you up to go beyond your analytic mind to hear your deeper self. It helps you to trust wise part of your mind and will make room for you to make wiser decisions in times of change. 

Avoid constant comparison with others and need to compete with others to validate your self-worth. Develop intrinsic self-worth by questioning your assumptions and by avoiding the need for external validation of your choices. 

Practice gratitude and look on the bright side of things. Even though change can have a negative effect on your life, in most circumstances, there is always something to feel grateful for. Treat it as an opportunity or a way to rediscover what you truly want.

Moving forward….

It is easy to get overwhelmed by change and let it take control of your emotions. But you can always get in touch with your inner wisdom to put these changes into perspective. Wise mind awareness leads you to reflect on why exactly you resist change, what are the consequences and what better choices you can make. 

You have a choice when life presents with events in your present situations. Your intuitive wise mind makes you consciously aware of your present moment. It clears the emotional blockages that cloud your judgment and perspective when it comes to accepting change. When you are aligned with its awareness, you recognise that power lies within you to change and you will be able to better navigate any situation with a sense of clarity.



Identity cannot be found or fabricated but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go”

Doug Cooper

One of the most important aspect of human beings is to have a stable sense of self. Having a well-developed sense of self is what helps us make wise choices in life. However, formation of self-image or identity is what has become an important conflict today. Since people and the environment around us strongly impact our sense of identity, our likes and dislikes are constantly influenced by changing trends, consumer cultures and need to be accepted. In other words, identifying with our true self has become really challenging competitive and ever changing world.

How can we really identify who we truly are when we have a constant desire to fit in with our peers, to earn appreciation or to live by other people’s standards. As a result, we switch between different identities, live confused, instead of holding on to our true sense of identity. We are influenced by what others do or want us to be, like what we ought to eat, how we should feel, what to achieve or even how to dress so we can be fit ins.

In a way, we’ve become attached to a fake sense of self more than ever. Our lives are so comfortably filtered that it is easy to experience a loss of identity from time to time. A lost sense of self can often lead to mistaken beliefs, values and inaccurate measure of one’s worth.

Our identity or true sense of self is not something inherent, but is developed overtime and is determined by number of factors. And is based on perception of the characteristics that define us, our abilities, what we like and dislike, our belief systems and our values. Even the things that motivate us contribute to our identity as a person. It is further shaped by our experiences during the course of our life, particularly during childhood and during our growing up years. 

Understanding your own identity 

The process through which you develop your own identity begins in childhood. As a child, if you grew up in a supportive environment, and you were given freedom for self-expression, you may develop a healthy sense of self. On the other, if you were raised in non-supportive environments or for some reason if you were subjected to neglect or experienced unfriendly or unpleasant circumstances, you may often struggle to develop a healthy sense of self. 

If your self expression in your growing up years only earned you criticism or punishment, you might respond to it by ignoring your true self. You might have reshaped yourself into someone more widely accepted in order to feel more secure. However, as we transition from childhood to adulthood, each one experiences a sense of confusion and may experiment with different roles, attitudes and behaviours.

Our level of social interactions and relationships too affect our sense of identity. Feelings of constant comparisons and insecurity or over identification with ego too play a role in shaping it. Since we consciously live by the rules we have been taught by our care givers, parents or teachers, they unconsciously play a role in shaping our  subjective sense of self. This creates a continuous self that remains more or less constant even as new aspects of life are developed and strengthened overtime.

Factors that lead to Identity crisis

When you are grounded, comfortable and secure in your true identity, you take responsibility of your own opinions and feelings. It helps you make wise choices as you recognise the value of your own worth. On the other, when there is a loss of identity, you end up clutching to whatever identity labels other people throw your way. Be this your family members, friends, co-workers or social groups and social trends. 

Loss of identity also occurs when you don’t really understand your true self or lack self awareness. This might lead to shifting between your different selves and often makes it difficult to know what exactly you want. Adopting an identity without self exploration or self-knowledge and giving into conformity, peer or parental pressure and cultural expectations contributes to loss sense of self.

Sometimes the busyness of daily stresses or routines tend to put pressure on your available time. Such increased demands in your time and responsibilities make it even more challenging to be in touch with your true identity. 

It is common to experience a loss of identity when you juggle many tasks or responsibilities in order to please others. This further reduces your sense of worth and increases your discontent. When you live your life trying to fit into someone else’s definition of success, you might simply drift through your life , feeling uncertain and indecisive. As a result, you might always try to adjust your sense of self or might find yourself changing in response to other people’s likes and dislikes and seek external validation to reassure yourself.

This urge to model yourself to fit into expectations of others might even extend to your personal or work relationships as a way to gain approval. For instance, faking  a certain persona at work, another one with your family, or an other one with your friends. Shifting between these different selves often can be emotionally and mentally draining.

Spending too much time focused on one thing you feel you have to also leads to you losing sight of what you truly want. Being a parent or prioritising your work over everything else can be some such instances. But the thing is that we each get to decide the right understanding of what we want to be. It comes with self knowledge, self acceptance and how you respond to your experiences, behaviour, thoughts, and feelings.

Your sense of identity depends on recognising your strengths and values 

Our moral code is what makes our lives meaningful and motivates us to make wise decisions. But in today’s busy world, most of us fail to make choices that really reflect our true self identity. Our important life choices often get lost in unnecessary trivialities. Everyone’s personal values and strengths are central to their true being. And everyone’s interpretation of their own life experiences may be one of the major driving factors in determining the values they choose to live by. 

In other words, Our values are inherent to who we are and since they represent our unique and individual essence, being unclear of what’s important in your life can lead to loss of identity. Understanding our personal core values and strengths on the other hand helps us gain clarity on our life’s purpose and so on our authentic sense of self. 

Our identity and social comparisons

As social beings, we are always comparing ourselves to one another and we do so either consciously or unconsciously each time we interact or relate with other people. We rely on our comparisons so as to gauge our own skills, abilities, beliefs and attitudes.

However, comparing can only inspire us to change for better as long as you have a strong sense of self. At other times, it in fact leads to a weak sense of self if one is constantly measuring their success by what someone else does or doesn’t. Fear of missing out and peer pressure makes us compare with others. Also, such frequent social comparisons play out on other areas of our life negatively. We feel burdened by feelings of inadequacy, insecurity or not being good enough.

Rediscovering our identity through self-acceptance and self-compassion. 

We live in a highly competitive world that makes us rely excessively on neediness to being accepted by others. As a result, we tend to be hard on ourselves and live live constantly self-evaluating. This leads to self-criticism in areas like our intelligence, abilities, skill or worthiness. Because the relative significance of these areas changes at different stages of our life, so does our sense of identity. This constant striving to feel good about ourselves in a way, leads to undermining our true self. 

The toxic idea that we have to strive for more at all times can also bring forth our egotistical self that threatens our true identity when faced with failure or rejection. But we can always regain a realistic perception of our true identity through self-compassion.

Being understanding and practising self-kindness, and being self-compassionate to our imperfect self can help us achieve the connectedness with our inner true self. Recognising that personal inadequacy is part of human experience and is something we all go through, rather than something that happens to you alone makes you less judgmental.

Mindful self-awareness helps in reconnecting with your ideal self

At some point in our life, we all experience a lost sense of identity in some situations. When you experience loss of identity at times, choosing to overcome it is not difficult, but needs patience to raise your awareness of patterns of your mind. With a little bit of practice and reflection, you can reconnect to your true identity. Letting go of adopted sense of self however requires careful self-reflection, just like the way you train your concentration or focus. 

Relating your personal experiences to those of others and putting your own situation or experiences into a larger perspective makes you more accepting of both your perfect and imperfect selves. By practicing flexibility and openness, you develop a deeper sense of your identity. Bringing your attention to understanding the conditions that led to lost sense of identity, you begin to see how you are holding yourself back from being your true self. Instead of identifying with the past conditions, you learn to release them and reset yourself in your true nature.

To-do:

Treat yourself with kindness and without judgment. This alleviates fears about social disapproval where you can approach difficult experiences without losing touch with your true identity. Self kindness helps shift your perspective of how you relate to failure, mistakes and difficulty and helps you see it as part of larger human experience.

Notice the presence of judgment by becoming mindful of your inner critical voice and feelings of inadequacy.  This creates space to make wiser choices. Each time you recognise a negative emotion, practice unconditional positive self regard to decondition yourself from the old self-criticising ways. This paves way for self-compassion more naturally. 

Take some time out to destress and reconnect with your passions or people who can help improve your sense of self. Maintain a balanced perspective of self and avoid comparison triggers that don’t really add any value to your life. Do things that not only interest you, but can also help nurture your inner self. 

Practice a daily ritual of mindful self reflection to look inward  and to get in touch with your feelings, thoughts and emotions. When you observe your faults, weaknesses and failures, non judgmentally, you can take responsibility and accept your imperfections. 

Avoid measuring your self-worth and personal values with others socially. Don’t rely on peoples’ opinions of your abilities when it comes to assessing your own self. Instead develop self-awareness of your own strengths and values to gain a precise self assessment of your true self. 

Practicing unconditional acceptance of self, prioritising your values and assuming responsibility creates a strong identity of self. This also lets you overcome moments of lost sense of self and does not allow external circumstances or people to lower your actual sense of self. 


Intuition does not come to an unprepared mind.” Albert Einstein 

We as human beings have a tendency to function from a place of reason or emotion. When we view the world through either lens, we operate out of objective understanding of things or relating to something that can be known and thereby miss out on the big picture. In reality, we are always moving from known to the unknown whether we are conscious to such phenomenon or not. We are always guided by some degree of intuition. And this holds true even for most mundane tasks to making some important decisions. 

There’s always an intuitive understanding of things. It is only that some of us take long to figure the way our intuition is paying out, but it kinds of stands ready to guide our way through, especially in risky situations or when it comes to being safe. 

Intuition is the intelligence of subconscious mind. 

Our intuition is the ability to gain immediate understanding of things without conscious reasoning. It also called the ‘gut feeling’, or ‘sixth sense’. Our five senses and certain spiritual traditions use the concept of the third eye to explain our intuitive ability. It is considered as a window to higher realms of knowledge and consciousness. Like our five senses that point us outward into the world, which are direct experiences,  intuition is also considered as a direct experience.

We toggle back and forth between our conscious and intuitive mode of thinking based on the situation. We all probably would have had such an experience at some point in our lives. Like for instance, whenever we react to a new idea, or to decide under stress, we tap into our intuitive ability to check whether it is good or not. Such abilities are quite evident in situations where one needs to make decisions in a very short time. This is because our learning mind takes longer to process the learned information, analyse it,  or to come up with a logical reasoning to put two and two together in order to come up with an answer or a decision.

On the contrary, our intuitive mind which operates below the surface of our consciousness tends to figure things out much before they play out. We reach conclusions without weighing every single evidence and considers only what could be gathered in a glance. 

Such intuitive abilities are also referred to as adaptive consciousness in cognitive psychology. It is the ability with which we quickly and quietly process a lot of information. Intuition depends on the collection of all your subconscious experiences. Its use isn’t for deriving information from the outer world, but is mainly a tool to develop a deeper understanding of our true nature. The more intuitive you get, the more you can be a direct witness to the happenings all around you and so will be your ability able to navigate any situation with a sense of clarity.

Even though adaptive consciousness is considered as a new field, its applications could be dated back to ancient days. For instance, it was used to make decisions instinctively as part of our survival mechanisms. Inventors or scientists had to tap into their intuitive abilities to come up with some groundbreaking discoveries or predictions without any prior knowledge. They could make very quick judgments based on their intuitive knowledge as there was very little information available to them at that time. All of their work strongly suggests the presence of intuitive mind, which can grasp information not accessible to anyone else.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Albert Einstein

Intuitiveness activates the Wise mind 

It is true that most of our intuitive abilities are taken for granted in today’s world as we are becoming more and more dependent on technology to gain information quickly. Also, most of us are taught to think logically, and our minds are conditioned through habitual thinking patterns to interpret what is already known. Such conditioning only makes us unaware of the intelligence of our subconscious. No matter how deep or extensive our knowledge may be, it cannot direct us to more than what is contained in the knowledge. But to know intuitively is to tap into our wise mind.

As human beings, we operate from three states of mind —the reasonable mind, the emotional and the wise mind. We all possess each of these states, but the majority of us operate in a specific one most of the time. When we grow in knowledge and experience, we often approach things rationally or approach situations intellectually. We use mostly the reasonable mind to weigh in on facts, information and ideas. Relying heavily on reasonable mind however can keep us stuck in opinions and endless debate sometimes. 

We use the emotional part of our mind when feelings control our thoughts and behaviours. Emotional mind doesn’t necessarily work with facts, but it generally works on a perception of truth. It is our emotional mind that makes us react impulsively at times and give little consideration to the consequences. The wise mind is the balance between the reasonable and the emotional mind. With wise mind, one can emotionally regulate themselves, and analyse information rationally to make mature choices or decisions. 

However, just as we must pedal to start a bike rolling, we must be willing make an effort to initiate the wise mind. And our intuition is what steers us towards the wise mind. We can use our intuitive knowledge to develop a sense of inner confidence to calm emotions in the heat of internal conflict or to find clarity of choice when confused. The wisdom comes in a flash or as a sudden revelation when our intuitive abilities are stronger.

Intuition requires a deeper level of receptivity and awareness 

Intuitive mind can help us see any given situation in a manner that our learning mind cannot conceive. It helps us to better understand situations that are exceedingly complex where reasoning falls short. So, if you think that your rational mind and reasoning gets you no where, or keeps you stuck, you can always rely on deeper part of our brain, that is your intuition. It better complements our learning mind and can be at times proves to be more valuable than a mind full of accumulated knowledge and information. But to strengthen it, you need a certain degree of trust and faith to leave the comfort of accumulated knowledge and information. 

When you reach the end of what you should know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense.

Kahlil Gibrain

Intuition is more active when our thoughts are inactive, and the mind space is transparent and more open. In other words, we strengthen our intuitive abilities when our thinking mind is off, and the receiving mind if open and free. It works best when the mind as a whole is at an receiving end.

Since intuition comes instinctively and does not interpret of what only comes through knowledge, it is important to strive towards emotional or self-regulation. When one becomes more emotionally self-regulating, their intuitive self can lead them to right choices, ideas and towards their higher potential. 

It is also equally true that our intuition may not always shines through. Our intuitive abilities sometimes can go wrong as they often have to compete with all kinds of validations, interests and feelings. It is however possible to identify the reasons when our intuition goes wary, or to learn when or when not to listen to our first impressions and snap judgments. And this requires self-awareness and assigning as much value to our intuitive abilities as we do to our learning mind.

Self-awareness opens up the mind space by breaking down old habit patterns thereby making us more receptive.

The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become.

Gisele Bundchen

To-Do: 

  • Intuition needs no external props or equipment. Since intuitive understanding manifests in right environment, it is important to declutter your mind by disconnecting with other sensory distractions. New ideas and insights may start to come intuitively once you learn to sustain inner peace and patience. Adopt a more peaceful and relaxed participation in life. The more relaxed you are, the more your usual dominant, logical left brain steps back and your intuitive capacities come forward.
  • Negative emotions prevent you from picking up intuitiveness of your subconscious. Through self-reflection, you can build inner awareness of your self-sabotaging beliefs, thoughts and feelings. By developing a daily contemplative practice, you will be able to reframe negative patterns with helpful thought patterns attuning you to clarity.
  • If you want to build your intuitive abilities, and make better decisions, control what you chose to focus on or disengage from. Practice attention control through your present moment awareness. The attentiveness to the present moment frees you up to go beyond your analytical mind to hear your deeper self in a more intuitive way. Another way to connect to your present moment is through conscious breathing. This is when we are most in alignment with our intuition.
  • Trust your intuitive messages when you feel uncertain or doubtful. One way to do so is to listen to your basic self through your physical senses and emotions. The better you can see, feel, or hear the inner guidance, the better equipped you will be in accessing your intuitiveness. Be receptive and open to notice subtle things that pop up in order not to let your emotions or others’ opinions cloud your judgment. 

Intuition activates our wise mind that is needed for our highest good and learning. It may not however tell you what you want to hear, but it will tell you what you need to do, to be able to navigate any situation with a sense of ease. 


None of us are ever going to get to the place in life where we have no more disappointments. We can’t expect to be sheltered from every little thing. Disappointment is a fact of life–one that must be dealt with.

Joyce Meyer

It is a common phenomenon that when we misjudge a situation, or when our hopes fail to manifest, we experience a sense of bewilderment which is almost too much to bear. We all feel this way from time to time. It is a source of psychological stress and in some situations, it can be detrimental to our physical and mental well-being. 

Unlike the feeling of regret where we focus primarily focus on the personal choices that contribute to poor outcome, disappointment is more to do with focusing on the outcome itself. When we primarily focus on the outcomes rather than our actions and choices, such an emotional state can be quite overwhelming. 

According to researchers, frequent feelings of being let down are linked to a brain chemical called dopamine. It links our actions, experiences, people and environment to pleasure and coaxes us to recreate those circumstances in pursuit of the same feeling. Because of which we raise expectations about the future to predict what’s rewarding and motivates us to seek it. 

Disappointment thus is a subjective response related to anticipated rewards. And in most situations, this is what sets us up for dissatisfaction. We tend to use our past experience to predict whether or not our present situation makes us feel best. And when the present doesn’t match our expectations we feel doubly disappointed. In a way, it is just the action of your brain readjusting itself to reality after discovering things are not the way you thought they were. 

Disappointment and expectations 

“Expectation is the only seed of disappointment.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

When we experience disappointment, our expectations fall out of line with reality. The level to which we feel disappointed is often depends on the nature of our desire. Our desire for something we hope for is what makes disappointment a more complex emotion to deal with. Expectations are more paradoxical when it comes to experiencing disappointment. This is because even when we do get what we want, we may still feel disappointed if the outcome doesn’t bring the expected bliss and happiness. Unhappiness from the failure of something hoped for or expected to happen is the most apt reason. Expectations or preferences when perceived as an ego threat also leads to more guilt and anxiety. 

The way we handle disappointment is related to our past conditioning and our early, formative experiences. Optimism might come to your aid in recovering from certain disappointments, but it may not always prepare you for emotional cushioning in case of unexpected consequences or situations. If you think setting your goals low and avoiding taking risks prevents disappointment, then you are only setting yourself up for more dissatisfied life. And same holds true for overachievers. They too give into their perfectionist attitude and invariably it too often leads to disappointment. The tendency to attribute negative life events to your personal feelings leads to lot of self-blame. Not measuring up to the image of your ideal self can further harm your confidence.

Not having expectations in the first place isn’t however realistically possible. Imagine trying to have no thoughts or ideas about how something should be or might go is obviously not possible. Also, disappointment is not meant to destroy us. If taken in our stride and handled well, it leads us to greater insight and wisdom. But to be able to do this is to follow the path of self-reflection. Only by reflecting on painful associations, you will be able to become free of them.

Validation through self-reflection

Reflecting on your experiences through naming a feeling can help you cope in a healthy way. Validating means accepting that you couldn’t achieve what you hoped for or that you are disappointed. Have you ever created an emotion or tried making an emotion go away. You might be pretty much aware that things won’t happen that way. Once we feel disappointed about something, it is there until it fades or passes. This happens regardless of how upsetting or uncomfortable they are at first. This may vary depending on the intensity of the situation. But however intense they may be they all fade with time. 

So, acknowledge instead of ignoring, minimising or distracting yourself from unpleasant feelings and remind yourself that it’s okay to have those feelings.Accepting disappointing circumstances, despite your emotional reaction can make things less uncomfortable. 

Self-compassion is the antidote of disappointment 

Disappointing situations or outcomes can make us question our choices, ambitions,  self-worth and our abilities. Not able to living up to our true potential invites unpleasant emotions like shame, fear and guilt. In such situations, being overly critical of ourselves can increase anxiety about it. Whereas self-compassion helps you to refocus and become more able. Research shows that people with higher levels of self-compassion tend to handle stress better. They spend less time reactivating stressful events by dwelling on them. 

The first step in becoming self-compassionate is to accept what went wrong. And instead of self-judging, treat yourself as you would treat a friend. Just like the way you’d be supportive and kind and listen to what exactly went wrong, treating yourself exactly same way can help ease the self blame. Give yourself enough time and space to realise where your plans went off the track. 

Respond to your unpleasant emotions and thoughts with understanding, patience, and acceptance rather than with harsh self-criticism. The ability to forgive ourselves for mistakes, large and small is important for psychological well-being. When you view your disappointment as proof of your inadequacy, it just leaves you feeling more isolated and disconnected. Instead, consider misjudgment or mistakes as part of the larger human condition. This way, you can reframe your connection to others and embrace your disappointment as an intrinsic part of simply being human. 

But you know that disappointment is just the action of your brain readjusting itself to reality after discovering things are not the way you thought they were.

Brad Warner

To-do:

Practising mindfulness let’s you observe what you are thinking and feeling rather than trying to avoid difficult emotions or to over-identify with them. Give yourself time to reflect on what went wrong or was the outcome predictable, or that you could have put in more effort or was it outside of your control. Being curious of the reason rather than focusing on the feeling of disappointment equips you to better cope. 

Check whether your expectations are unrealistically high or are you setting your goals too low. If your goals are too high, work constructively to modify your expectations and focus on how you want to feel in the moment, rather than how you believe you’ll feel once you get the thing you want so badly. Instead of pinning your hopes on unrealistic outcomes, break your larger goals into small manageable steps.

Indulging in social media comparisons makes you set unrealistic expectations from yourself and others. If you see others reach their goals quicker, you can become disappointed for not reaching yours. Reevaluate your perception and behaviours. Set your own milestones, be it your career, relationships or academics and stay focused on the process of reaching them no matter how long it takes to get there.

When something doesn’t go according to our plan, we may interpret it to mean that we can’t have what we want. It is important to keep an eye on what you truly want and at the same time stay open to various ways that the outcome can be realised. Particularly when you are going after something new that you really care about. Strive for improvement and not perfection. 

Some instances of disappointment are predictable and preventable. But there are others that are unavoidable and beyond our control. Try and differentiate between situations that fall within our control and factors that are beyond it. Being able to recognise the difference will help you to deal with your frustrations more appropriately. 

The more you dwell on the disappointment, the more it will hurt and disrupt your ability to focus, concentrate or be creative. Give yourself limited time to acknowledge the feelings and move on. There is always a next opportunity regardless of what disappointed you. View your disappointment as an opportunity for growth and to your actions to achieve your goals. 

Avoid for any mind altering things or engaging in impulsive behaviours. Explore the thought processes that led to your feelings of disappointment. Instead of blaming yourself, or circumstances, reframe your disappointments as learning experiences.

The thing about being unpleasant emotions like disappointment is that it reveals what you actually care about, where you are and where you want to be. They might mean you are passionate about something. Even though you feel like shying away from things that aren’t turning out your way, taking time to learn from your unpleasant experiences, you will be more prepared than ever before the next time you face such situations. 


Life in itself has no meaning. Life is an opportunity to create meaning.

Osho

In a culture obsessed with happiness, too many of us live our lives chasing happiness rather than meaning. We are too busy looking for happiness in various aspects of our lives, be it relationships, health, work lives or in our creative pursuits. None of us take time to pause and reflect upon-whether or not our lives make sense in any way or to know what makes our lives worth living. Most people’s goal is to find happiness. Living a meaningful life however is in no way connected to how comfortable or happy one is, whether you have enough money or how good you are at satisfying your wants or needs. It has more to do with discovering your true purpose and leading life in connection to that bigger purpose.

A happy life is not necessarily be a meaningful life

Happy life and meaningful life often go hand in hand. However, happiness is related to our biological needs and desires, whereas meaning has more to do with our overall life satisfaction and contentment. If one wants to pursue meaning in life, they need to stop searching for happiness in whatever they do. Even though happiness makes you feel your life is worthwhile in the moment, it doesn’t guarantee you will find meaning in whatever you do. 

Seeking happiness without meaning is short lived and would probably be stressful. When your expectations of happiness are not met or when you realise you aren’t happy, you again feel empty and experience negative emotions. On the other hand, people who really strive to pursue meaning in their life  acquire better attitudes that cause them to look beyond their current situation and connect with a bigger purpose. Finding a way to seek meaning rather than happiness makes it easier to glide through life’s ups and downs. Seeking meaning in what you do always results in long-term happiness and creates lasting relationships leaving you intrinsically motivated.

Quest for meaning begins with self awareness 

Many of us struggle with finding meaning as our days get controlled by worldly perceptions of what we are and what we have to do to fulfil our responsibilities. We often end up feeling swept along, rather than living in control of ourselves. Searching for meaning can often seem as a daunting task in our busy schedules in wanting to become something which we are not. This can be for social acceptance or for external validation.  Some psychological studies have however made searching for meaning more manageable by narrowing down to three dimensions —coherence, purpose and significance as the elements that we need to gain a healthy sense of meaning in life. 

In other words, meaningful life is one where one leads a significant life, with right purpose and a coherent plan to pursue that purpose. All this however is possible only with the knowledge of self. Since everyone has their own idea of what meaningful work is, what’s meaningful to you might not be the same for someone else. Only when you know who you really are that you can truly envision the right purpose and true meaning in life. Without the proper understanding of your own self, you remain restricted to the way others perceive you or the way world sees you. 

This is the reason many of us have gotten used to defining ourselves in terms of possessions that feel like extensions of our own self. They are all things that are external to us. And identifying yourself with your worldly self, or the way others perceive you, you can never be able to find what really it is to live meaningfully means for you. Any search of finding meaning or what makes our lives more meaningful has to start with an inward quest. With awareness of our real self, we find our purpose. With enlightened self, we find the true meaning. So therefore allowing your true self to seek meaning begins with controlling your perception of life. 

Meaning, purpose and goals 

There are so many demands on our time and focus that if we don’t become clear on what our primary goals are we’ll end up trapped, going around in cycles doing work that makes us feel unfulfilled. 

When aspiring for a fulfilled life, it might make more sense to look for things you find more meaningful. Having meaningful goals imparts emotional significance. Since meaning doesn’t exist on its own and it is something we create, it is important to live with intention and prioritise your highest values above everything else. 

An intention to live a meaningful life can be a motivation to having a right purpose. This can further motivate you to create goals that take you in the right direction. An inward urge to find meaning fuels right purpose that connects you to the bigger perspective. When you become overly focused only on your daily tasks or goals, you can lose sight of your bigger purpose. It is only when your purpose, meaning and actions align, whatever you do becomes significant.

choices based on values make your life more meaningful 

Our values are however central to who we are. They are the foundation of how we think, act and feel. They bring meaning into our lives and are the basis for the choices we make in life. They are more like direction we take in life towards a meaningful life. Inspite of experiencing disappointments, regrets, conflicts, or losses in your life, having values doesn’t take away your life’s purpose or meaning. 

Identifying values that drive you most create more meaning. Some people value social cohesion, some knowledge and creative endeavours while others value service to others or helping/giving. No matter what yours are, having goals that reflect your values allows you to connect to your unique self and help you make wise choices in any situation. Not syncing them on the other hand leads to dissatisfaction, resentment and frustration. Whereas being guided by values.

To-Do

  • Discern what is important to you. Make a list of your priority values. Write down your top five things that you believe are the essence of how you want to live your life. Reflect on your deeply held values that you want to base your most important life choices on. And then go onto Invest your time and energy into activities and people that help you fulfil those.
  • Regularly take time to self-reflect to raise your level of awareness. When you focus your attention on yourself, you can relate to  your true self rather than your worldly or perceived self. Start small and take ten minutes everyday to reflect on your choices, values and attitudes. Remain mindful of what you do and your actions to connect to what makes meaningful. 
  • Identify what you are passionate about to create a list of goals that you find fulfilling and meaningful. Gain clarity as to what type of work inspires you the most and what jobs or activities allow you to pursue your interests. Setting goals you are passionate to achieve provide you with a sense of direction that will help you find more meaning. 
  • Discover your purpose to articulate meaning in life. Connect what you are doing to a meaningful or bigger purpose. These tasks can range from creative pursuits to inventing or building meaningful relationships. You can invest your time in lending a helping hand to people in need or in growing and learning new things. 
  • Simplify your life. Most often, we focus on many things or seek more in order to feel valued, accepted or more successful. In the process, we lose touch with our authentic self. But when you focus on being aware of yourself and your purpose, you can create more time and space for activities or tasks that give you a sense of meaning.

Moving ahead……

One can try and discover a meaning in life by doing things in alignment with their deeply held values. Instead of aspiring for a well-lived life, pursue goals that you find more meaningful or purposeful. Look beyond your limited beliefs to draw meaning from goals in larger context and that with bigger perspectives. Once you are aware of your true self, your motivations, preferences and priorities, it becomes more challenging to justify misusing your time doing anything other than meaningful pursuits. 

The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her own life.”

Victor Frankl

There is no advantage to hurrying through life.

Shikamaru Nara

Patience is an essential virtue to practice in our daily life, and many of us view it as the ‘right’ thing to do or as a ‘should’. It is the most virtuous in the face of adversity or frustration. There can be some real value in remaining patient and optimistic about hard situations in life. And yet, the ability to accept and tolerate trouble, delay or suffering without getting angry or upset is hard to develop.

Inspite of being able to ‘wait’ is a desirable quality, we become impulsive and our patience wears thin within no time. Since it is something that goes against our natural instinct, most of us fail to maintain a good attitude while waiting. We begin looking for things to instantly gratify ourselves in our daily instances where it is most important.

It is through practising patience in the present moment that the spiritual dimension of our life opens up. And is one of the most important spiritual quality that we can develop to build a life of more meaning and fulfilment. We get many opportunities to practice it in our day to day life experiences like at home with our kids, at work with our subordinates, in traffic, at a store and with strangers. But in many life situations, we lose our control and venture into things without considering all the options or waiting for the right moment for action. Often our emotions, the fear of future, ego or the desire to be in control of every moment become the major hindrances in practising it in all situations.

We generally grow impatient in response to some sort of situation that is not going according to our expectations or when something interferes with our plans. Our own expectations keep us from accepting the present moment on the grounds that it has to be replaced by some more ideal future. We tend to fight against things that are undesirable and try to change them. In a way, we refuse to adjust our expectations and reject how things are in reality in wanting to control something that we are powerless over.

Impatience is most times the result of not surrendering to the situation that we really cannot fight. We tend to accept things we like or surrender to certain realities of life that we can’t change. For instance, seasons, day and night. This is because we are sure that we cannot change them, so we choose not to fight it, rather we accept. But when it comes to unexpected changes, delays, difficulties, or undesirable things, we refuse to accept or tolerate the situation without getting angry or frustrated. It is important to remind ourselves that there are more things in life that we are powerless over and what we are really in control of are our own self, thoughts and actions.

To be impatient means to give into our ego.

Impatience is a natural human instinct and does not make you less human. It is simply the result of identifying more with your ‘ego’ part of self. When egoistic self gets in the way, it makes you think you need to be in control and forces you to act impulsively without considering the consequences or the other options. There are many situations where we let our egoic self take over and end up taking decisions or actions without waiting for the right moment.

Ego tends to make you think like “my time is more valuable than yours”, “my opinion matters more than yours”, or “I want to be in control of every situation.” Because of which we blow things out of proportion, lose perspective over a situation and make impulsive decisions. This often leads to many negative emotions and creates stress. And when you feel all this negativity, you pass it onto others. Being more mindful and self-compassionate in your moments of impatience is what paves way to practice more patience.

Patience is a compassionate act

Impatience often involves other people getting in our way in some shape or form. And sometimes it is our indifference, harshness or selfishness which gets in the way of being patient. We choose to react or behave impulsively when we feel something negative. Then we grow more impatient and reactive to the way we ourselves reacted—unkind and unmindful. Living life at fast pace, busyness and time constraints make us intolerant of our present moment. This results in frequent frustrations, anger and annoyance.

Actions arising from such annoyances can have consequences that are detrimental to one’s well-being. When anger intensifies, it limits our ability to use sound judgment and envision the consequences of our actions. As a result, we tend to consider others just as objects in our subjective life which makes us inconsiderate towards their concerns or feelings.

To be fully present with other requires a conscious choice to give the other your undivided attention. When you choose to empathise over reacting, you can really take time to listen actively, attend to yours or others’ concerns or emotions. Taking a pause between your immediate reactions to annoyances and your response to the feelings that arise within those instances, you can slow down, prevent yourself from saying hurtful things or avoid anger.

Impatience makes you inward focused, on you, on what you are not receiving, whereas, with patience, you are more focused outward. This can make you think, and choose care and compassion for not only the other person but also towards your own self. You can release your negative feelings and see ways to forgive unskillful actions of yours or others.

To be patient is to develop unconditional positive regard

The skill of patience helps you develop unconditional positive regard towards others where you grow more accepting and forgiving. Making an attempt to understand that every person is a product of so many conditions, their experiences and things that they have no control over opens you up to others’ weaknesses or flaws. Taking the necessary time to actively listen and understand what the other person is conveying to you makes you more tolerant even if you disagree or are offended. With compassion and willingness to forgive, we grow more accepting what the other is in a relationship.

Our emotions are natural and there is no quick fix to control the unbalanced emotions which are driven by unpleasant circumstances or thinks that we have no control on. However, we can make a conscious effort to manage how we think, choose to respond and be patient in any given circumstance. Patience will help you be more focused on being present with life as it is occurring and more grateful you become for what is good. It make you grow more resilient through difficult situations and persistent towards achieving your purpose.

To-do:

  • Grow mindful of the causes of your impatience. When you are aware of your triggers, you can learn to minimise them. Reframe the situation by being aware of what expectations you had of it before you became impatient. Is it your ego in play or your expectations of a situation or of a person or of a relationship. When you are conscious about the condition you are in and what’s at play, you can reframe it to understand without frustration.
  • Manage your thoughts in the event of stressful situations. If a situation is intensifying your negative emotions, think in response to that particular feeling. This will allow you to choose your response or behaviour. Focus on the big picture rather than as good or bad out right or wrong. Life is often a combination of positives and negatives.
  • Be aware of the signs of impatience. Explore and know how it plays up for you in the moment – on your physical, emotional and mental aspects. Tune into and notice the bodily signs that alert you to your impatience. Such times, pay attention to your breathing, take few and deep breaths to slow down. This improves your awareness of the impulse to which you typically react and behave so you can step out of such unhelpful patterns.
  • When you notice self-critical thoughts and self-judgments that make you impulsive, take a self compassion break. Acknowledge that this particular situation is making you self-critical and instead of getting wound up in it, change your self-talk. Say to yourself, “I will adjust my expectations and try to be patient.”Be compassionate towards your own imperfections and vulnerabilities.
  • When disagreements make you feel impatient or angry, don’t suppress. Instead respond to others without becoming unkind and abusive. Maintain a positive perspective, instead of dwelling on things that are making you impulsive. Accept things and people as they are instead of wanting others to conform to your expectations.

Patience is a silent virtue to practice. When you are impatient, others have your control, but when you have patience, then you have control of yourself even in most frustrating situations. As the saying goes, “There are no honours too distant to the person who prepares himself for them with patience.” It doesn’t matter how difficult the situation may be, you can endure it if you are willing to have the patience to go through the things and spend your time working towards your purpose.

When we practice patience, we gradually create more peaceful world within, where we grow more hopeful, trusting, less complaining, and more tolerant and accepting of difficulties and mistakes.

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience and compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”

Lao Tzu

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