How happy are you?

So this week, I have been thinking a lot about what I want in life and how this will make me happy and I am not saying I am a professional in this but I think after years of thinking- I know what this can be.

The answer comes from what do you think is the real meaning of love and understanding what is really means.

It does sound pretty random but I have a true belief in this is the key to life long happiness. Whether it is with your parents, your siblings, your partner and even your colleagues. 

‘Real Love is caring about the happiness of another person without wanting anything in return.’ – This is the unconditional love that can bring you true happiness in life and so many demand it (ironic) and so few people experience this.

Now you are probably thinking how is that connected to happiness to your life. It is because we crave this unconditional love that we fall into a trap that is not unconditional love but instead it is always conditional love. Whether it is from that bad friend that always uses your kindness, or that employer that abuses your strong work ethic. Some, or even the majority now, can say they are in so many relationships with people that has ties attached to their worth, that they in fact feel worthless.

The analytical part of my brain dissects every word in a sentence and this is what I have understood.

The first part I have analysed is that ‘real love is caring about the happiness of another person’ People often feel they need love in their life in terms of relationships but ignore every other aspect in their life. If you want true happiness, you need bonds and connections where that person cares about your happiness. Friends are crucial to this. You need friends in your life that care for your happiness because this makes them better listeners, better shoulders to cry on and much better comfort when times are hard.

Unconditional love should not just come from your partner but your friends too. I have realised that over the years I know who my true friends are because I feel that unconditional love from them. They want to see me happy as much as they want to see themselves happy. If you have friends in your life that disappear when you get that engagement ring, that perfect promotion or even a mortgage- you need to cut ties because they are impacting on your happiness. If you have friends who are only worried about their own happiness and forgets to ask you ‘how are you doing’ then they are not unconditionally loving you. Why have 100 friends who talk about their problems and leave you no time to talk about your feelings ? It is funny but I have read that Instagram likes come from those who don’t know you rather than that friend you have known for years.

This goes two ways. If you value your friendship or relationship- you must be considering another person’s happiness too. Otherwise how are you making someone else happy? So next time you assess the bad relationships in your life- don’t let someone assess their relationship with you.

It is not just friendship this line affects. For you to be truly happy in life, listen to me in knowing that this has to be found in your work place too. You need to feel that the people above you value your happiness. You can earn the most money in the world but if your managers and directors do not think about your happiness then you are hindering your happiness in life. Notice how  I say ‘You’- It is not their responsibility for you to be happy, yes they should care but if they don’t – it’s on you to leave. Being stuck in rut comes from jobs more than anything in my opinion.

Humans crave real unconditional love so why would that change for choosing that elsewhere?

With relationships it goes without saying that this is important for your self happiness. When I look over the 30-something years my parents have been married, I can honestly say that they have mastered the art of knowing if the other one is happy. My mum wakes up and her first thought is what can my dad eat for breakfast? You think that is sad, my dad’s last thought at night is he needs to take water up to my mum so she doesn’t get thirsty at night. So my mum wakes up thinking about my dad and my dad goes to sleep thinking about my mum.. Now if you can’t say that your partner doesn’t think about your happiness- I ask you this- do you really think you will be happy in life with this? To be happy – find someone who genuinely cares about your happiness. Yet again, I say this to you.. Do you honestly think of your partners’ happiness too? Or is it a monologue of what you want out of the relationship and forget about the person’s happiness. No matter if you are married- this relationship is doomed if your only concern is yourself. People crave unconditional love. Not this heavy burden of responsibilities and limitations from others.

The next crucial part to happiness is having people around you that do not require anything to return when they are caring for your happiness. This is the hardest thing to achieve. My parents love is not based on if you give this, I will give that. It isn’t a power struggle. Have you ever looked at your mum/dad/step parents/brother/sister and think ‘wow you are a nightmare but I still love you no matter what.’ This is because no matter what- you are loving that person without any gains and rewards. It is unconditional. 

True happiness comes from receiving and giving as much unconditional love as possible. When people attach strings to love and care, this is honestly the biggest strain on a person’s happiness and self worth ever. Sometimes I felt I had to act a certain way for my parents to love me or to give my brother X amount of money for him to spend time with me- I was so wrong.

Knowing that someone unconditionally loves you is the true happiness for you and no amount of money can change that.

So anyway my advice is:-

  • Find a job you feel valued
  • Find a lifelong partner who doesn’t want to change you but thinks of your happiness as much as their own
  • Have only friends that celebrate your accomplishments as well as weather the storm with you with every step of the way
  • Trust that your family love you no matter for who you are as a person

I’m not promising you the world but I can definitely bet on that you will be happier when you aim for this in life rather than anything else.

 

 

Advertisements
How happy are you?

Close your eyes- breathe- who are you thinking about?

Let’s start with a little exercise. It sounds silly I know but why not..

First, close your eyes. Hopefully you are in a quiet room but if not, do this anyway. The person next to you probably already thinks you are odd so this won’t make a difference.

Count to five whilst taking deep breaths. Yes you know how to breathe so do it without reading.

Now think about all the worries in your life. List every single one. Your job? Your partner? Those awful kids of yours?

The reason why I am saying this is because I already know that you are listing every problem in your head and not one is related to yourself and just yourself. You are thinking about that mortgage payment coming up, that deadline you have coming up or all the stresses of  Director. Are you actually thinking about your self-happiness? Your own well-being.. I highly doubt.

Today has been an eye-opening day for me. I have realised that all of my fear and tribulations are related to those around me but yet none will make my life any more fulfilling. I am carrying the burden of feeling anxious, down and somewhat depressed because of someone else’s problems and I guarantee you are too.

So I went to yoga. So cliche. However, it helps. Not because I like the strenuous lunges, the exaggerated breathing or awkward poses, but because it reminds me that I have to look out for my own well-being. I mean it’s great that we can take the burden of others. We are very selfless like that. No matter which country we live in, we always do take the burden of others. The sales target for the company we work for, the trouble a sibling is in, the expectations of family members- We take it all every single day. But why?

It really is okay to say for a couple of hours in your week- no not for 2 hours. As a woman, it is like an inherent gene we have that means take every single problem and carry this for others but as a woman you have to realise that the more you take, the less helpful you will be to that person. Why are you going to sit on a sofa moping about others, why are you going to be slaving away your whole life for someone else’s happiness? You should take care of others, 100%. If you aren’t sharing your life with someone then are you really living? But I mean you need that time to yourself too, because if not, which I see from the women in my life, they burn themselves out where they have no more to give.

When I grew up, I was blessed to be raised by not 1 amazing, independent woman, but 5. Before you get confused, I mean my aunts and my mother. I saw every single one for who they were because I am quite the house-hopper. Remember when I said I like independence? Yeah I meant from such a young age I have been free like that.

Anyway, back to my life.

I had one aunt who could sell ice to an eskimo. She had the charm and passion that you will never ever see in your life. Some say I am quite like her- I hope so because you saw a real woman. She not only was the glue of the family but she was the one that kept fighting for her family to stay connected. She always put her problems aside and helped others around her and although some remained skeptical, I saw her for her determination to help her family.

I had another aunt who raised me like her own too. She was as cheeky as they come. She didn’t hold back for anyone and anything. She could make you love life to the point where I stayed for an entire summer there without even looking at the time once.  When you’re around her, you felt this enjoyment for life and she treated every niece and nephew like her own where even if her house was empty of food, she would make sure all 15 of her nieces and nephews at exactly the same amount. She excited the family with her wit and banter. To be honest, anyone in her present never stopped laughing.

Then there’s my mum- the understanding one. She would listen to your problems day in, day out. If you had a worry, a concern, even a legal matter- you can call my mum. The amount of consultation she gave would make you question how she had time to have a full time job and two spoilt kids. She gave others nothing more than her time and some say that is the most valuable of all.

For my fourth aunt, she was the intellectual one. She reminded you what to think about and what is important. Just like her sisters, she would give you everything she had just to make sure you left her house happy and well-fed. Her heart is as big as her brain. Honestly. She gave others her knowledge and she shared so openly.

Then there’s the baby of the family. The one who is smothered in love and affection and she does not abuse that. She shares the love and she reminds each one of her sisters they are special. She is the first one to be there with the moving van ready if you are moving house and the first one to clear up a mess one of the kids has made. She will never come to your house empty handed and she will never let you have something on your mind without sharing it. She is the secret champion of yours but you will never know it.

As you can imagine, I have listed the warrior, the therapist,  the jester, the library and the maid of the family. Have you noticed that they all share the light of thinking about others..

My greatest worry has been that this light dies which it has and that comes from a lifetime of not taking care of themselves and only others. They carried the burden and now they have let it go completely.

The houses are not as filled with laughter or joy, the holidays are avoided by members of the family and the sisters are not as close.

When you spend a lifetime of looking after someone and carrying another, you forget what is important to you and what makes you happy until the day you give up.

So my only bit of advice today is don’t let your life become cold and disheartened but remind yourself by spending some time on yourself, you will have time for others at a much better quality. I say this again, if you cannot make yourself happy- how will you bring that happiness to someone else? Don’t let that big heart of yours suddenly stop giving.

Tips for Wellbeing

Yoga

Football

Drawing

Blogging

Cooking for one

Gym

Singing in the shower

Going on a holiday alone

Taking a journey by yourself

Taking risks on yourself

Going to the cinema alone

Eating in a restaurant alone

Try any of these and you will learn to love yourself more. Trust me.

 

Close your eyes- breathe- who are you thinking about?

Are you scared of becoming that woman with 27 cats?

Have you ever wondered why it is always the woman with the 27 cats and not the man? Why do people not say the man with the 50 dogs as this lonely, spinster who pines alone for his dogs? It is very odd. If a man is single, in any culture, at the age of 25- he is the bachelor who is living it up. He doesn’t need actually need to even have a relationship to be accepted. Heck, he can even get to 50 and as long as he has a stable job, people won’t even think twice about it.

However, is that really the same for women? In the Asian world, and probably many other worlds, women at 25 and not married is classed as ‘out of date.’ Women fear it and once upon a time I did as well. I used to hear from the age of just 18 that marriage is around the corner. I always said to my mum I would be the woman with the 27 cats. I didn’t even feel any embarrassment saying it- I probably should have though. Not because of my parents, I mean if my dad had it his way, his little girl will be home every day of her life. She doesn’t need anyone as long as she had her dad holding her through life. But, society is different.

Every girl is raised to fear ending up alone. You go to weddings and will hear ‘You’re next.’ I can assure you there have been 50 since I first heard that and for all of you girls thinking about this, you probably heard it too. Why must we fear not getting married more than death itself? Why do we need to think that marriage will solve all of our problems? Is this cultural or is this religious? It’s both by the way.

Anyway, when you grow up as a girl the one thing you think about is the wedding day and not the marriage. Many girls today will be told marriage has to happen because heaven-forbid they do not get married but is that it in life? If you are not married by 30, that’s it isn’t it. You start the catery up. You knit the little jackets for your cats and you begin to rock in the corner. That doesn’t ever happen but that’s what you start to imagine.

Parents with sons do not have to worry about this. They encourage their sons to get a stable job first. There is no sell-by date but there is the worry of course but not like the ones with daughters.

I see it more today in all cultures than I have ever before. It honestly doesn’t matter what race you are I see it. Girls are showing their engagement rings, planning their weddings and excited for their big day. It is beautiful to see it really is because in our eyes, we are doing what we were raised to do.

But.. were you told about how life would be after the wedding day? I am sure you looked amazing in your wedding outfit, your family looked happier than ever, tears were shed but what about the day after? Have you two discussed where you want to be in 10 years, have you discussed your life goals or the most horrific topic of all- money. Have you discussed chores? Have you planned when you want kids? Have you discussed your core belief system. These things do take time and thankfully a lot do. However, a lot believe we need the ring. We are taught to put a ring on it. That’s it. The rest is over- he is trapped now. Wrong. No one is ever trapped and if you think that, you need to think harder. We are in a modern day where things are only getting better. Cheryl Cole or Cheryl Vas something was divorced in less than 14 seconds. If you do not think about the core principles of marriage, that could a possibility.

We start to think the day after our wedding day. You wake up and you really start to think about your life more. Are you going to be a housewife that you promised your husband because I mean it is not unheard of making out you are Nigella in the kitchen and the most family-oriented person in the world. You may have even thrown out the ‘whilst you work, I will look after your parents.’ Or did you go the other way, did you say you will be the breadwinner and earn the millions and will make time for all of the other menial chores.  What expectations did you say before? Thing is, expectations is just that. It is not a tangible good you can keep forever. It is a concept and concepts can change. You both must be ready for it..

Now let’s start by discussing the parents with the sons. Ha they got it easy right, they didn’t worry about daughters and planning their big day before they hit the old age of 25? Incorrect. No their struggles are just beginning. They have inherited a new daughter. A daughter raised to believe the wedding day is the biggest day of their lives. Their new daughter has been raised to the point of their wedding day. You have to treasure this daughter like she was treasured in her own home. Are you ready to open up to her? Because the rest of her life is up to you. I mean you’ve taught your handsome son to focus on getting a good job and staying out of trouble. Have you taught your son how to listen to women or help out in the house? Are you willing to admire your new daughter like she has been admired in her life? Will you stick up for her when she is lower than low because her family isn’t calling her every second in the day anymore.

And for the parents who are raising your daughters, you have taught your daughters to stay home and not become too social. Yeah YOUR home.Not all homes are the same though. So although you have   protected the apple of your eye from the big, bad world, you’ve now released her to it? She is so so used to being in your home, with you paying for her, feeding her and you cleaning her clothes. Now she is expected to do that for someone else. Is she really ready? She’s ready to look beautiful and to tell the world she is Mrs .. but is she ready to become everything you are now? Have you taught her that marriage is hard work or have you encouraged her to have her big wedding day the minute she finishes her university degree.

Can you see the dilemma yet?

Sons are being taught to become independent and earn money and girls have been taught to stay sheltered. When she says she wants to pop out and socialise, you will ask for what time she is back? When he says he will pop out and see some friends, you wave them goodbye- That’s my boy. They are taught very different things and now they are running a home together. These expectations that have been sent from above is causing a lot of hiccups in society today. Can your son be ready for his new wife’s demands. They now have new limits to their freedom. Can they cope? They are different to yours but that’s what a marriage is. It is a partnership. Is he really ready for that? What if the man isn’t earning as much as he would like and the girl is not as homely as she wants to be? Nothing kills a relationship more than over-promising and under-delivering.

I have had a thought and that is 50/60 years ago, marriages lasted for multiple reasons, such as fear of society, social norms and gender roles that are enforced. They were taught how to be a good wife and a good husband. Now, it is a little different. We are raised to have the big wedding day. We want to put the pictures on the wall, we want to upload the pictures onto Instagram, we want to basically tell the world. Parents worry about getting the spouse more than keeping the spouse. Parents are sheltering their kids from any possible scandal so they marry them quickly. However, is a divorce not as scandalous anymore? Not really. I mean it happens in every family. Thing is, why marry at all if you fear there could be a divorce? Marrying for the wrong reasons will never work out in my opinion and I hope people agree with me. I’m not saying drag out a relationship or live together first. I mean communicate clearly why you want to get married and be sure of who you are first because you want the grounds to be as steady as possible first. You need to know your 10 year plans, your idea of perfection and to be willing to open up to another family.

You need to be sure who you are marrying as a woman. Women are quick now to say yes to someone because they are fulfilling their duties. Thing is that is just one. When you are married, you have a million more. If you are not ready for that or if you are not sure you want the person you are marrying, why are you getting married right now? Because we are all too scared to become the woman with the 27 cats, that’s why.

Are you scared of becoming that woman with 27 cats?

Are boys only allowed to become independent?

Let me set the scene for you..

Perfect little asian family, perfect little home, perfect little neighbourhood, perfect everything. But what defines perfect to you? In asian society, perfect is having the whole family spending every minute at home. My mum would probably like to add cooking to that too might I add. But is that really reasonable to ask in this day and age..

This blog is written by someone who clearly likes to challenge the norms. Not because she enjoys it believe it or not, but because what better way to express ones feelings than writing.

Back to writing. Hope you enjoy my thoughts.

So I have been thinking.. I am one of the lucky ones believe it or not. Extremely lucky. Went to a top Grammar school, allowed to live at university and even buy not one car but two in the first year of driving. I was allowed to skip the boring chores and relax at home. All day, every day. Maybe so relaxed I forgot that I am basically horizontal as my mum would say. I am living on cloud 9. This isn’t unusual for the bengali culture before you start judging me. I have seen countless people in my life where the kids live in a bubble. Not because we are all spoilt brats, which I agree we are. But because it is safe for all of our parents to believe that by staying at home and having very little social life with the outside world, we will be protected. Protected from the bad western influences, the gossip from the community-led local whatsapp group and protected from making a mistake.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of pros in this deal. Free food, free from responsibility routine, free everything. But is it really free? It did cost one thing. This one thing could mean absolutely nothing to some and absolutely everything to another person and that is independence. Could the easy life be the most fulfilling life? In my opinion, I have personally never liked rules. I have always liked to challenge them. In school teachers would say stop talking and I would say okay I will write notes instead. In university, I would frequently voice my opposition opinions in Politics. I mean do we  really need a free NHS? I studied for 4 years on challenging opinions, expressing arguments and voicing my own opinion. Therefore, it is not surprising at all that this cost to me would be a tough pill to swallow. I didn’t just study to be different, I was raised to be different. That can be expressed in a blog so big it might as well be a novel so I will write that another time. So I want to share my feelings and see if any of you agree.

Anyway, back to my question, some children, and I use that term lightly because lets face it, they are probably 24/25/26 years old, are just perfect in the eyes of the culture. They go to a great job and go straight home and start making samosas. They know their independence comes with marriage and nothing sooner. So I ask, can one lifestyle be applicable to all? I sadly disagree.

So I could have passed my 11+, gained 12 GSCS, 4 A-levels, 2 Degrees and I sadly am not still not classed as perfect in this lifestyle. Independence is not something girls, in my opinion, are entitled to. We are entitled to be educated (Now!) but not quite the independence and freedom others can have. This is all down to the idea of perfection. We don’t ever talk about girls in the idea of educated, hard working, independent and thick skinned. We think of girls as someone’s daughter or wife. We do not celebrate girls degrees in society but instead their marriages.  If you go on social media, speak to your mum, turn on the TV, marriage is what parents aspire for their daughters and being an independent man for their sons.

This is the key difference. Completely different perceptions of perfect. Boys can travel across the world and settle there if they wish and say it is to keep sending money home but really they are experiencing independence. Yes, I can send money home too. I would love to but it is still not a valid reason for girls. Would they even accept the money? I think not. Even though I was encouraged to study, I never need to put it into practice.

So I ask another question, if you never experience being happy by yourself with real life experiences, can you ever run a home?

I have started to notice differences in my mum and dad. My dad is wise. Too wise some would say. This is a trait from my home town- yes you guessed it Beanibazaar. If you aren’t familiar with this, are you really even bengali?

Anyway, back to the story, he never has implied religion is the end all which is quite strange for an Asian dad. He never really put those social norms onto me at all. I would cut my hair a cm and he would say why not cut it short. I would write with a paper and pen and he would say why not use a laptop. He gave me the true start to being different and advanced.

As my analytical mind got to work, I started thinking. How can my Essex born mum from Southend have a less understanding of independence and freedom than my Bangladeshi born dad with 8 other siblings. How is that possible? That defeats everything. Being in Essex has got to make you loosen up right? WRONG. My dad travelled independently, he made friendships all over the world, he connected to people different to himself. He learnt from others, he listened to others and he knew what kind of person he wanted to be. He was quite the rebel in my eyes. But still yet, I looked up to that my whole life. Why would you not want to be like that? That was a dream I am not quite allowed unfortunately. My mum was slightly different. She went from the perfect daughter at home straight to being married. She stayed with people with the similar thoughts as her parents and her own. She learnt from people in her social norm. My dad had a little gap in between. He gained at least 8 years of independence. Yes yes you can say he had to earn money to run a house but that does not go against the idea he lived in Dubai, America, UK and probably so many more places he hides. He found himself before getting married and my mum found herself in marriage. It begs the question, are boys only allowed independence? My answer is.. yes. You cannot say independence is in marriage because as my mum rightly says ‘Your guardian becomes your husband’ you have to ask for someone else’s permission. If my mum married someone different to my dad, she wouldn’t necessarily even gain the little independence she did receive. That is all luck. Boys have the luxury of becoming better people through experience however girls do not have that, they have to just become better whilst being secluded. Is that really possible? Is it really that surprising that women leave marriages quickly now? Do they know how to act to something out of the home? These are all questions I think we should think about.

Independence, self awareness and feeling comfortable in your own skin is crucial for building relationships in my eyes. If you cannot make yourself happy, how can you bring that happiness to someone else’s life?

I will stop for today. Don’t worry. I will be back.

 

 

 

 

Are boys only allowed to become independent?