Rebuilding habits

Some habits are unable to stand the test of time. Due to changes in life, it is difficult to sustain good habits. So how do we get back to them? I’m trying to find answers to this question and it seems that there is no magic formula. Since we are back to square one, we have to start rebuilding, step by step. I guess, there is no point in aiming for big things when we have totally given up the habit. We have to start doing small things to get back to the old times. This can be a painful process but if we had cultivated some really good habits, then we will realize that habits (both good and bad ones) don’t die easily. It’s up to us to cultivate them again. We also have to learn to enjoy the process of building habits.

The problem with ‘Baahubali: The Conclusion’

‘Baahubali: The Conclusion’ is a nice movie but there are places where the message of ‘women empowerment’ feels like a joke.

1. Devasena, who epitomizes a strong, independent woman, says things like, “Why are you hiding in the back like women?” In other words, she wants men to stop acting like women (women=weak). This is a classic example of internalized misogyny.
2. The arrows of Devasena have a pink color on them while the arrows of Amarendra Baahubali have blue color. This is a classic example of gender stereotyping.
3. At the end of the day,  Devasena has no identity of her own. Just like Avantika in ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’ (click), Devasena begins her journey as an independent, strong woman but is ultimately defined by her relationship with men (girlfriend, wife, mother). It is all about Baahubali, his kingdom, his child, his strength and his revenge.

What to expect from therapy/counseling

Your counselor/therapist is not your friend.He/She is a professional who is there to help you. He/She is not a magician. He/She cannot ‘transform’ your life overnight. He/She doesn’t have all the answers. His/her word is not the last word. He/She is a human being with flaws and limitations. It takes effort from both parties to build a healthy relationship and like any relationship, it requires time, patience, understanding and adjustments. Be practical and set realistic goals with your therapist/counselor. Not all counselors are empathetic, though. There are some insensitive therapists  who invalidate your feelings.

We are in an abusive relationship with society

Society gaslights us into believing that we are worthless. It tells us that the only way to get love is by changing our mind, body and soul. It swings between rewards and punishment, between love and abuse, and leaves us forever confused. We start believing that there’s something wrong with us, when in reality, it’s the culture which has unrealistic expectations from us. We are forever walking on eggshells, trying not to disappoint the society. No matter how much we achieve, it is never enough.
The only way to get out of this abusive relationship is to realize that the problem doesn’t lie within us. Abusers are never satisfied and nothing that we do can be good enough for them. The day we realize that we don’t have to prove our worth to anybody, we will be free from the abuse.

The problem with using ‘uneducated’ as an insult

I often hear people using the word ‘uneducated’ as an insult during debates.  First of all, not everyone can afford to get quality education, so it’s not someone’s fault if he/she is not educated. Secondly, education cannot really stop anybody from becoming an asshole (Many highly educated men have been accused of rape). Sure, it can impart the right values but I’m skeptical about our education system doing this job. Our education system is mainly designed around obedience, conformity and jobs, so teaching the important things definitely take a back seat. And even if the education system is doing a fabulous job, using the word ‘uneducated’ as an insult is like mocking someone for not knowing English. 

Sexism in IPL

IPL is a wonderful tournament but it is disappointing to see only female cheerleaders on the sidelines. There is nothing wrong with cheerleading…The problem is sexism (why can’t we have male cheerleaders)? By having only female cheerleaders, we are telling a generation of girls that they are only supposed to ‘cheer’ for men. Aren’t women expected to do this in every area of life? While the man reaches milestones in his career, the woman is supposed to sacrifice her dreams and ‘cheer’ for his achievements.

Why society is afraid of solitude

Society is afraid of solitude. A solitary individual might find truth, beauty and happiness and he/she might come to a conclusion that most of the things/activities in the society are not necessary. He/She might start questions like “what is the meaning of life” or “why am I here?”. Society is made up of people who have second-hand answers to these questions and it is afraid of being challenged by individuals who are not satisfied with these answers. So society designs a strategy: it shames loners and thinkers. It fills up people’s time with endless activities so that they have no time to think.

Experiment: People’s reactions to ‘Everyday Sexism’

I carry a book everywhere I go because 

a. It makes me feel safe

b. I want to read as much as I can

I am currently reading a book called ‘Everyday Sexism’. I didn’t want to test or judge anybody..that was not my intention (Okay, okay, I was judging people a little bit). But somehow, the book has gained  popularity amongst my colleagues. It slowly became an experiment…I began to understand others by the way they reacted to the book on my desk. Here are some of their reactions:

Colleague 1: What is this book? OMG..’Everyday Sexism’ (in a mocking tone). It’s pretty deep, huh? 

Colleague 2: Everyday Sexism..what is this about (this person seemed genuinely curious)

Colleague 3: This person just looked at the book, looked at me and went away

Colleague 4: ‘Baap re’ expression

Colleague 5: WTF expression

I guess I will be soon labelled a ‘Feminazi’ 😀 (I am a feminist and I don’t care if it is an uncool thing).

Expecting others to change…

Until the last few months, I believed in changing myself ​instead of trying to change others. It is a nice philosophy but I now realize that it has a lot of limitations. This philosophy makes you responsible but you end up blaming yourself for something you are not responsible for. I now realize that the problem is much more complex and that the philosophy is pretty dangerous. If you were raped or sexually abused, you will end up blaming your clothing or your behavior! If you face sexism at your workplace, you will end up doubting your talent.This attitude will also affect your mental health. Hence, it is important to question others’ behavior when it is necessary. There’s nothing wrong in expecting others to change (at least when it comes to social issues). As long as this expectation doesn’t harm us (and as long as the expectation is not unfair), we should push for change.

Rape jokes are not funny!

 Reducing rape to a joke trivializes the crime and desensitizes the society. We have evolved in many ways but our brain is still pretty primitive. We still make the most simplest of associations: when we hear rape jokes, we tend to associate rape with something ‘light’. So think twice before laughing at rape jokes.

Using rape as a metaphor is equally dangerous. The ones who do this are trying to define someone’s harsh reality through their imagination.