Social Commentary

What makes you itch? by Kiran Umapathy

We need this kick in the ass sometimes. Will you shrug it off or listen?

"If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You'll be doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living that is to do things you don't like doing. WHICH IS STUPID. Better to live a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way."

- Alan Watts

Be careful with humility by Kiran Umapathy

Humility is often met with high praise. It's an attractive quality, but I find that it can also be harmful if we don't practice balance. I'll go as far to say that I think it's held me back in the past.

The way humility has stunted me (and certainly others) is that it makes me too agreeable. My desire to be liked and not cause commotion wins out. I wait around, expecting to eventually get the recognition I've earned, only to receive it long after the gesture held any meaning to me at all.

In all honesty, I hadn't given it much thought until I saw this inscription in the restroom at Royal Cuckoo.

It’s good to be humble, but you should know your value.
— Royal Cuckoo bathroom scrawling

All of a sudden, the phrase claimed a space in my brain, the mental equivalent of earmarking a page in a paperback for future review. I told myself not to forget this.

To know and recognize your value is essential. It means you don't attribute all your success to happenchance. You don't just settle and think you're lucky to have a job or significant other. You have the confidence to know when you're worth more than what you're getting out of something.That's the main thing, really. Confidence. It's not that the most successful individuals (define that as you wish) are any more talented or hardworking than lots of other folks, but they do understand their value and believe they belong with the best.

They don't put up with bullshit for very long because they know they deserve better. They'll ask for a raise when it's time, because like lots of other things in life, no one else is going to do it for them. And they're not afraid to walk away from a situation when it's not serving them because they have the confidence that something even better is just around the bend. This isn't easy to do. Leaving a relationship that you know is toxic could be scary because you don't want to be alone. Same goes for a job and the prospects of being unemployed. But when you respect your value, you don't let fear guide your decisions.

Sometimes that yearning to humble can hold you back because it seems so conflicting with other behaviors that serve you best. Only it shouldn't because you can stay humble and still understand your value. Believing that you are too good or life is too short to put up with something doesn't mean you are an asshole or have an unhealthy sense of entitlement. It doesn't mean you can't be a kind person. You can still really go for things in life, yet remain humble and gracious by remembering that you might be privileged or the reason you are where you are is because you have some amazing people in your life. Don't feel bad about that, but do take every opportunity to let those people know what they mean to you. That's important.

Life is not a simple as working hard, being humble and hoping for the best. That'd be nice and you'll probably do alright, but it's not going to get you to that next level. I wish I had more people in my life that reminded me to know my value and not settle. So I'm telling you dear reader: take a look at your life, all aspects of it. Respect yourself. Where you want to be may is not always elusive because you lack some skill or haven't paid your dues. It can as simple as shifting your mindset.

Unwelcome Company by Kiran Umapathy

Even if you don’t always heed the advice, you are probably wise enough to know that the company you keep is critical to your dreams, aspirations and general mental health. You can’t have too much negativity in your life if you expect to thrive or be happy. 

Recently, I’ve been thinking about this from a slightly different angle. I realized I cannot tolerate long bouts of negativity because I already have a fierce and menacing foe to battle - MYSELF. 

Many of us are our own worst enemies. It’s the reason we don’t go after the things we say we dream about. That inner critic is a wily opponent. It will persuade us into thinking we aren’t good enough, that it isn’t worth the hassle or that failure will be the end of life as we know it. We can develop ways to manage the critic, even a plan to recover from moments of weakness, but it will always be there. It’s just part of the human condition and the reason we need people in our lives that remind us of who we really are.

What I do know is that this is enough to contend with. We certainly don’t need people that don’t support our ambitions or inspire us to become better people. Don't fear cutting the ties that you suspect may be holding you back because you don't want to come off as rude. If you're not sure, you can always experiment and reassess.