Many of us are often confused with the concept of consciousness. Sometimes we use it as a mere mental activity and sometimes we think it means merely being awake. In our day-to-day activities, we attend to so many chores, big or small. ][But most of these are done mechanically and unconsciously. Even when it comes to some of our simple habits, we are in a hurry to get to the next one or feel that it is a waste of time to give undue importance to small things which we do out of habit.

If we can grow conscious to what we do, we can make a big difference to our lives and enhance the quality of our lives. And we grow our conscious awareness through the practice of mindfulness. Through mindfulness, we get in touch with our individual awareness of our unique thoughts, memories, and feelings.

Since our conscious experiences are constantly shifting and changing, for instance, one moment you may be focused on reading this, the next moment, your consciousness may shift to a memory of conversation you had earlier with someone. This ever shifting stream of thoughts can change from one moment to another. Altered levels of consciousness may cause states of constant stress, anxiety and lack of focus.

Bringing your attention consciously to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, you can develop complete awareness of your thoughts and emotions. Being aware of your mind, body and feelings creates a feeling of wholeness rather than being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

“Peace of mind arrives the moment you make peace with the content of your mind .”

Rasheed Ogunlaru

Mindfulness changes your state of awareness

At the most basic level, mindfulness is simply being aware of what’s happening as it is happening. When you become aware of the workings of your mind, in the moment, you deliberately direct your awareness back into the now and focus your attitude there.

It alters your state of distractedness, inattention, and confusion to being more aware, present, focused and attentive. This helps you to react less to emotional or situational impulses or when things don’t turn out as you expected.

Instead of automatically falling into the stream of past or future that ignites unhelpful emotions, one can draw their attention to their present moment. The more you are mindful, the more is your ability to improve your patterns of thinking. Purposefully concentrating on what’s happening, reduces negative mindset or the tendency to label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. You reflect more on the mind to make conscious choices in a state of altered awareness.

Cultivating mindfulness habit into your everyday life

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness.

” —Jon Kabat-Zinn

If you are interested in the development and evolution of your own consciousness, the most important thing is to cultivate awareness of your conscious self. By cultivating a habit of mindfulness in our daily activities, you can avoid knee-jerk reactions to your immediate responses and can respond more constructively, and without judgment.

Mindfulness isn’t necessarily limited to certain breathing practices or to focus your attention on certain objects. Neither it isn’t just about knowing that you are hearing, seeing or observing. It’s about doing so in a way that creates space for insight and has more to do with becoming self aware of your thoughts and emotions in the moment, and to take responsibility for your sense of self. By cultivating an objective sense of self you can avoid getting lost in the subjective drama of your ever-changing inner conscious experiences.

Making Mindfulness a way of life

Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

In everyday life we rarely pay full attention to anything. Since our conscious awareness is like a stream, it is constantly changing. The way your thoughts drift from one topic to another can feel effortless even when thoughts you are having are different. And we feel resistance inside of us when we try to be at peace with ourselves. The more we try, the more we become aware of our buzzing thoughts, or emotions. And resistance is born out of our very effort to be peaceful.

Mindfulness on the other is based on the very foundation that we are innately whole, that our emotions and thoughts are messengers, and that awareness is the key. But the most fundamental thing underlying it is that of your ability to accept and respond to your every experience, as opposed to engaging in a reactive or dismissive attitude.

Being open to your experiences in the moment enables you to step back and get a proper perspective on the situation you are in. As a result, you not only stay connected to your experience, but also identify yourself as something more than your experience. This enables you to accept the feel yourself as the spacious openness of conscious awareness.

However, a peaceful mind does not mean a mind devoid of thoughts, sensations and emotions. When we begin to be mindful, we think we must suppress all thoughts and feelings. Concentrating on breath or an object should not done for suppression of whatever is arising in your conscious awareness. Because suppression only leads to avoidance or denial. Instead when you accept, observe and follow what arises in the light of awareness, it leads to enlightenment of your true self.

Mindfulness & State of well-being

Training your mind to be in the present moment is the number one key to making healthier choices.

Susan Albers

Everyday distractions can keep you from experiencing the joy of simply being— a state of body and mind in which you feel whole, grounded and deeply connected to yourself.

State of well-being can be achieved by a regular practice of meditation. And this can be done in different ways. Insight meditation is where you observe thoughts and emotions or sensations that arise in your awareness without judgment or expectation. This increases your focus and helps you maintain your physical as well as mental well-being.

Then there is zen meditation which says you must have a very quiet mind. It involves disciplining oneself, being aware of every moment or developing present moment awareness. Yoga is a form of meditation where you join together the mind, the body and the higher self. But no matter what system you follow, or you go from one to another, freedom is essential as it is the intrinsic nature of the mind. Once you see the truth with your own light of awareness, you will be able to go beyond perception and be available to your moment.

Mindfulness helps in shifting your perspective

Our thoughts are invisible, yet they have power to influence how we perceive the work around us. We experience negative and positive thoughts. They either make you feel you are capable of great things, or they might make you feel you aren’t good enough or helpless at times. Whether it’s thinking that you are capable or that you are helpless, thoughts get their power from our body’s reaction to them. So, when you bring your thoughts into your conscious awareness, you develop an ability to change them or shift your perspective, so your body responds accordingly. It can change your perspective to more positive and more connected to the world around you.

To-do;

Do not limit your mindfulness practices just to few breathing sessions. Extend them to other areas of your life, like for instance, hobbies and activities that you enjoy can be forms of meditation. When you become engrossed in an activity, you find your flow and in a way, you are doing light meditation. Indulging in your creative pursuits can be a great way to be present and mindful.

Slow down when you are doing your daily chores. For instance, making conscious choices in choosing what to eat, chewing your food or eating mindfully, being present to your surroundings when you are walking, or staying aware of your body sensations while experiencing stress etc., can help you tap into feelings of peace and joy.

Practice deep breathing techniques. Instead of taking short rapid breaths, practice abdominal breathing. Slowing down and becoming conscious of your inhalations and exhalations calms you further and increases your energy.

Welcome emotions and thoughts that are present, without trying to suppress or judge. No matter how uncomfortable your emotions may make you feel, remind yourself that they are temporary. Treat emotions as messengers and welcome your experience just as it is instead of negating or denying.

Nourish your intention to be more in being in your conscious awareness. Be patient with yourself and build your mindfulness practice everyday, a little and often. Experiencing your wholeness enables you to recover a sense of unchanging and ever present peace and well-being.

“Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.”

Thich Nhát Hanh

Many people end up going through life, allowing themselves to be weighed down by feelings of anger, hatred and resentment. Being treated unfairly or whenever we feel wronged or less valued by others, we experience resentment. And most of us get trapped in such experiences.

Resentful thoughts have such power over us that we can become immobilised at times. The fact is that we can’t control how we are treated by others, or their attitudes or behaviours. We are bound to get hurt by acts of injustice, discrimination or when we experience unfair treatment. 

As human beings, we are meaning making machines. We tend to assign meaning onto our experiences. So, the meaning that we assign onto our experiences generally determines the beliefs we develop about what we can, whether we are worthy or whether we are good enough.

Unhealthy interpretation of resentful experiences can make you constantly feel negative, undesirable or unvalued. And in most circumstances, we let such experiences make us powerless to self-regulate.  Since we assign negative meaning to our resentful experiences, they further amplify negative emotional states. It manifests in to numerous ways as desire for revenge, hostility, bitterness, hate, self-loathing and vengefulness.  

“Bitterness and resentment only hurt one person, and it’s not the person we are resenting, it’s us.” — Alan Stewart

Resentment & victimhood 

Resentment can be extremely damaging both emotionally and physically. Resentful thoughts do not just stay confined to our headspace, but often spill into other areas of our life.

Most of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing or hatred because we tend to find some element of  security in familiar pain. It feels safer to embrace what we know than to let go of resentful thoughts or feelings for the fear of unknown. But this not only negatively impact the way we communicate and relate to others, but also get us accustomed to rigid thinking patterns. 

Resentful people blame others for their uncomfortable emotional states. They function out of victim mindset in their personal or work relationships. Self-victimisation further breeds a sense of entitlement. This makes them perceive as world against them.

Victimhood turns them into attention seekers, and constant complainers. You find such people constantly complaining about how bad things are, or how insensitive people are to their needs. They blame others for their life’s ups and downs, and avoid taking responsibility for their own actions.

Carrying negative attitudes like, ‘world is mostly unfair’ or ‘I am not valued’ often results in ‘poor me’ strategy to seek validation or to get sympathy from others. Attributing whatever happens to external factors only or some fated force outside of their control only increases their resentment further. The prolonged feelings of displeasure or indignation can sometimes become habitual and have a lasting effect on your mind and body. 

Self-esteem & Resentment 

Resentful thoughts can come from different means. When someone wrongs us, or when they are not apologetic for their actions. They could even be caused by rejection or when someone does something unjustified.

When you remember past unfairly treatment, it results in viewing other similar situations in negative perspective. Negative self-talk prevents you from living a congruent and valuable life. With resentful thoughts, one cannot step into their future and do something useful or valuable. 

However, people with high self-esteem might be less affected by any instances of unfair treatment. They are not hesitant to confront those who treat them unfairly. And those with low self-esteem on the other, might care too much about how others perceive them.

Since they look for external validation, they often are not able to communicate their needs or let others know when they feel they are hurt. Low self-esteem makes you hold onto resentful experiences for long towards that person or situation. Over-fixation on past experiences keeps you in a disempowered state.

Resentment and emotional brain

Even though we think of emotions as internal states, they are also a combination of thoughts, feelings and actions. They are also because how we process and respond to those feelings. Resentment can be a tough emotion to deal with. Where sadness, joy, fear and anger are considered as primary emotions. The reactions we have to these emotions are what leads us to secondary emotions. 

Secondary emotions can be further broken down into tertiary emotions. Resentment is considered as tertiary emotion. For instance, it can result as one reacts in rage, which is secondary emotion, to an experience that causes anger. It can also be the result of other secondary emotions like disappointment, envy, disgust or irritability. Such harsh negative emotions hamper your present moment awareness, unless one makes a conscious effort to choose to release resentful thoughts. 

Living without resentment 

It is difficult to let go of resentment, especially, when the person who wronged you has not apologised. Sometimes you resent others because of your own doing. You think you let your guard down or blame yourself for trusting someone and not being able to see the situation coming. There are some things that can’t be forgiven. While it is normal for such instances to arise from time to time, however, holding on to it would only keep you stuck in many areas of your life.

Carrying your unresolved issues weighs you down. Forgiving on the other hand, reduces resentment as well as helps prevent future negative feelings which are important for your well-being as well as to maintain healthy relationships. Unless you let go or forgive yourself, or the other person, you cannot really be available to your present moment. 

Letting go comes from a place of forgiveness and leads to self-empowerment rather than self-victimisation. This helps to repair and renew relationships. Creating a space of acceptance and letting go of past experiences and forgiving people or situations will set you free from pent up anger or resentment. Some experiences are easy to let go and for some you need time. But with conscious effort to let go of your negative emotions, you can free up your mental space to harness self-compassion. 

To-do

  • When an other person is responsible for your feelings of resentment, try to understand the motive behind their actions. If it was unintentional, or their actions were never meant to hurt you in any way, forgiving them reduces the way you feel about such experiences.  If you think it is intentional, or that their behaviour is unjust, let them know their behaviour was unacceptable. This provides an opportunity the others in your life to not to make the mistakes again in future.
  • If you are holding onto bitterness for long time, understanding how it is keeping you stuck in other areas of your life helps you move on. Practicing compassion towards self and others allows you to accept yourself as you are, including your hurtful emotions. It allows you better tolerate negative feelings. Considering your own resentful experiences in bigger perspective of life as a whole, you can let go of your long held resentment.
  • Nonjudgmental awareness of present moment, or mindfulness provides an opportunity to acknowledge and accept negative thoughts and feelings. Acceptance in a nonjudgmental manner reduces secondary emotional reactions which are a primary sources of resentful thoughts and feelings. 
  • View everyone’s experience as unique and be empathetic. Empathy reduces harsh feelings or hostility we have towards other people. Listening to understand rather than judge others for whatever they say or do alleviates feelings of anger. 
  • Practice gratitude for all the things you have and your achievements. Cultivating thankfulness leads to accepting the situation as it is. This way, you are allowing yourself to be happy and can get fully involved in the process of moving forward without being obsessed with long pent up emotions. 

Here are few famous quotes and sayings that may inspire you to change and let go of resentment 

“The suffering itself is not bad; it’s the resentment against suffering that is the real pain.”— Allen Ginsberg 

Never hold resentments for the person who tells you what you need to hear; count them among your truest, most caring, and valuable friends.” — Mike Norton

I eventually came to understand that in harbouring the anger, the bitterness and resentment towards those that had hurt me, I was giving the reins of control over to them. Forgiving was not about accepting their words and deeds. Forgiving was about letting go and moving on with my life. In doing so, I had finally set myself free.” — Isabel Lopez

Never dwell in resentment, but never forget to learn from the reflection.” — Debashish Mridula

If you have high expectations you’re going to get resentments and all kinds of tension.” — Anthony Hopkins

“Forgiveness is the way we break the grip that long-held resentments have on our hearts.” — Sharon Salzburg

“When you carry resentment towards another, you are effectively strengthening your relationship with that person. Let go of the resentment and you break the ties that blind you.” — Steven Aitchison

Instead of wasting my energy on hate and resentment, I’d rather invest my energy in love and contentment. “ — Karen Salmansohn

 “Letting go helps us to to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.”
– Melody Beattie



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. 


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

Finding meaning in simple way of life

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” Socrates Many things influence the complexity of our life because of which we get used to the concept of more in everything we do. Some of this complexity is created by us as we accept… Continue reading Finding meaning in simple way of life

Living beyond the judging mind

“The highest freedom of mind comes from becoming non-judgmental.” Debashish Mridha As much we try not to, we are constantly judging as human beings. Our mind is constantly involved in judging, in evaluating, in thinking. Mind’s nature is to judge so that we can differentiate between good or bad and right or wrong. By judging,… Continue reading Living beyond the judging mind

Ego: An obstruction in self-realisation

“The ego seeks to divide and separate. Spirit seeks to unify and heal.” Pema Chodron Self-awareness is very important for self-realisation and is the key to spiritual growth and enlightenment. Knowingness of self can be our greatest resource in the path to enlightenment, but most of the times, ego becomes a major obstacle to self-realisation.… Continue reading Ego: An obstruction in self-realisation

Power of our subconscious mind

Most people are living in an illusion based on someone else’s beliefs. Jen Sincero Our personal power lies in the way we perceive ourselves. We are all born into this world with no preconceived thoughts, beliefs, or worries accompanying us. But as we grow, our minds get accustomed to beliefs and ideas from external world,… Continue reading Power of our subconscious mind