Tag Archives: #selflove

Standing Tall As a Brown Boy

Hey M10! 

Please put down that Agatha Christie novel for a minute. You don’t know who I am, so it will come as a huge surprise when I tell you that I’ve walked with you every step you’ve taken. Bear with me – I’m not being mysterious; those are the facts. You’ll get to know me well in a few decades. In the meanwhile, can you take some time now to chat with me? I have something to share.

You are not quite 10 years old. It’s summer, and you’re in Mandya with your parents and sister at your cousin’s wedding. You are happy, enjoying the festivities, and having a great time playing with your other cousins. Suddenly you’re not having fun anymore. I know why!

An adult walking by your little group pauses to poke you in the ribs with a comment that begins to prey on your mind. “Look at that! Even Gita is taller than you are!” It dawns on you for the very first time that other people see you as a short person. Is Gita ‘better’ than you by that measure? Apparently, height matters. Why am I not as tall as Gita? This question rises to the forefront of your consciousness and dampens your enthusiasm and spirits. I see you brooding.  Concerns about your height will continue to nag you.  I want to share some thoughts about this. Before I do, I want to bring two others into this discussion.

Hello M13.

You’ll recognize me someday as that enigmatic voice from the future checking in on you.  Stop hanging from that horizontal bar and drop to the ground. Come join me and M10 on the bench over there. We should talk. You know M10 well, though he doesn’t know you yet. 

Finally, you are a teenager! You’ve spent the last four months fighting and recovering from a serious case of Infectious Hepatitis. You’re even punier now than you were before you fell ill, and you don’t like what you see in the mirror. Shouts of “Arrey Chotu!” from the playground ring in your ears. You are sick of being the first boy on the left every time your class lines up by height in the school ground at the start of PT period. You are determined to grow tall, big, and strong. You’ve heard that gravity compresses our spine and joints, and squeezes cartilage, and contracts muscles. You’ve read in a magazine that hanging from horizontal bars can help fight the effects of gravity. Your lower body is stretched and the spine elongated to promote growth. You are in your ‘spurt years’ and determined to push it along. You want to be six feet tall! 

Your dream will never be realized. All your life, you will have to contend with the unpalatable reality that your sister is taller than you are. Hang in there, M13. There’s more to you than your height. Let’s talk it over as soon as we get one more to complete our quorum.

M42.

Look here! Can I get your attention for a few minutes? You don’t know me, but you know these young men all too well.  Take a break from your busy day to chat with us. I promise to make it worth your while. You do recognize M10 and M13, don’t you?

You recall hanging from the horizontal bars in vain as a teenager, trying desperately to grow taller. Almost 30 years have gone by, and you’ve made do, standing upright and stretching to your full 5’-3½“ frame. You’ve continually struggled with a conviction that people don’t take you seriously at first, because you do not command an imposing presence; that you are too small to make an impression. You feel passed over in social gatherings and mixers, and initially at work as well. There’s a memorable incident during the international-student orientation on Stanford Campus. You’re chatting with local community members there to welcome incoming students and help them settle in a new country. A nice well-meaning lady asks innocently, “are you here to go to Palo Alto High School?” You see her utter astonishment when you say, no, you are enrolled at Stanford; whereupon – and much to your chagrin – she blurts in amazement “wow, you are already an undergraduate.” You don’t have the courage then to tell her you are actually here for the Ph.D. program in Engineering. That incident haunts you for a long time until it gradually becomes a funny story. Over the years, you feel passed over for opportunities at work and play because of your small stature. You feel inferior. You literally feel small. It has been a rough ride at times; then you slowly learn to overcome these feelings, understand your own true worth and use your strengths to flourish.

Good, we are assembled together! Let’s start with introductions.

We are all the same person, guys!

M10, you will become M13, then M42, and eventually, one day in the distant future, you will become me.

I’m M73. I want to chat about our feelings of inferiority and how we’ve come to terms with them over the years. Like most things, it’s been a gradual learning process. It gave us heartache and anguish over the years. We experienced many difficult days; first chasing a dream that was never realized, then struggling with feelings of inadequacy, and confronting unfairness both real and perceived. It took us a long time to understand that physical height was not the only measure of a person’s stature, even if society frequently behaves as though it is, by judging us from first impressions.

We learned that the other qualities and skills we possessed more than made up for any physical shortcoming. We even learned to joke about it; “I’m not short, I’m vertically challenged,” we’d remark to others. We learned that this supposed shortcoming wasn’t really one at all. Our height is determined by a combination of factors not in our control, including genetics, the environment, and the circumstances and conditions in which we grew up. We realized that physical attributes are transient – they can and do change, and what matters most, in the long run, is the heart, the mind, and the attitude that we bring to our lives. We figured out that people’s attitudes changed when they got to know us for who we were, and what we were capable of. In the hearts and minds of those that mattered, we were ten feet tall. Along with our realizations, our stature grew! Guys, look at the bright side; our feelings of inadequacy did not turn into an inferiority complex; we didn’t turn into little Napoleons!

What’s the message for us? We should continue to learn from the experience and counsel of those who are wiser than us. Continue to reflect and learn from our own experiences.  Understand that life can be unfair, and though we do not control the cards we are dealt, we can teach ourselves to play the best game possible with the cards we have. We should continue to make the best decisions we can at any given moment, with the information that we have. A true sense of self-worth, happiness, and fulfillment, and doing what we love with those we love is what life is all about. We must derive that sense from within us, not from the outside.  We can and must continue to learn about ourselves, and consider how to live our lives in the best way possible as we move forward, by reflecting on our past. 

Each of us can learn to stand tall in our own way; look forward by looking back to understand our past

I wonder what advice M80 will have for all of us!


Mukund Acharya is a regular columnist for India Currents.

Loving Yourself During Challenging Times

Dear Reader,

Self-love is more important now than ever. The pandemic has added a layer of sadness, frustration, and uncertainty, and navigating the new normal is not easy.  This has made it extremely difficult to breathe or feel safe to do our everyday tasks. We are social beings and feeling hopeless, angry, and suffocated.  This continuous challenge of learning how to live life during this time and staying sane is the new normal. It is more important now more than ever to put ourselves first and love ourselves like our life depends on it.  Because it does.

When we love ourselves despite the outer conditions, we give ourselves permission to gain more life force and signal to our body, mind, and heart that we matter. We owe it to ourselves to create small habits that nurture and support us in the near and long term. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to replace a few bad habits with a few good ones and that makes a huge impact on our health and happiness.  Sometimes it means getting really creative like booking a hotel and finding some space to breathe with just our own energy.

Here are some self-care strategies for challenging times.

Take some time for yourself

This might sound difficult as you might be living with a family in the same home for eight months.  Can you walk outside in nature? Can you sit under a tree? Can you dance outside? Can you laugh or watch something funny?  Take proactive action every day to shift your energy to a positive state even if it is a 5-minute walk or calling a good friend.

Feel your emotions 

Many of us have internalized our emotions in the last eight months.  We have seen a series of uncertain events and haven’t had a healthy way to cope.  Take some time to journal your feelings and really tune into what your body is saying.  When we feel uncomfortable emotions, we allow healing to begin and start processing what is ready to go.  When the body opens up the release of these pent-up emotions through feeling, crying, or other ways, you can then welcome new energy to come into your body and psyche.

Start over every day and forgive yourself

It is important we forgive our actions, reactions, and habits of yesterday and start over every day.  With the current situation, we can be normal one day and in despair another. Be kind to yourself and if you made some mistakes in eating too much food or drinking, give yourself permission to start over again.  If you skipped your exercise, start again today.  Write down somewhere on your fridge or car, I forgive myself every day and start over every day.  I acknowledge every little thing I do to take better care of myself.

Find stillness within

Meditation, Yoga, and breathing are an excellent way to alleviate stress. A deep breathing exercise with eyes closed for a minute with one hand on your heart and one on your stomach can relieve anxiety and stress.  Youtube has a huge selection of videos of varying lengths to choose from.

Home remedies 

During these times it is important to keep doing natural remedies to stay on top of your immune health. Ancient Indian roots like ginger, turmeric, and probiotics like yogurt go a long way to support your immune health.

Praying for yourself and loved ones

Give all your challenges to God. Have faith in a higher power and pray for the same thing for a few months and notice the difference. Talk to God like a best friend and sit and listen after.  Miracles are real.  If you want to explore this further, pick up my book on finding hope, faith, and trust during Coronavirus.

Remind yourself of what is going right in your life

Make a list of things that are working in your life and place it where you can see it every day. In a world full of struggles, these simple reminders will surely bring a smile on your face and bring your focus on abundance vs. lack.

Let music and dance heal and uplift you

Have you ever started smiling when you hear fun music playing? Do you notice how it just lifts you up? I find music and dance are life-giving and inspiring. If there is a type of dance you have always wanted to learn, now is the time. All you have to do is Instagram or YouTube the type of dance and live zoom classes and you can have access to teachers Internationally.   

Make effort to connect with friends and family or new people

Most of us are missing engagement and social connection with the world.  Make an effort to call friends and family. If you don’t have any friends, message people whose energy you like and tell them something you like about them and see that turn around in kindness towards you.  

Let nature heal you

With a mask on, go for an easy walk or a challenging hike depending on your fitness level and feel the fresh air, sunlight, and wind. These elements of nature show us that we are a part of a greater universe here to support us. The soothing and healing powers of nature give us a new perspective.   Try to slow down in nature and listen to what it has to say.  Breathe.  Adventure into new trails and new cities.  Ocean, mountains, and forests are natural healers as are the sun and rain.

Get help 

If you are struggling with gaining weight or another life challenge, seeking help is a sign of courage and strength. It signals to the Universe that you are ready for something beyond your current struggle. Hire a therapist to talk about your problems or work with someone to get into healthy eating habits. People are working online and here to help you. A little support, accountability, and even google research goes a long way in making changes while finding health and happiness.

Acknowledge yourself

Make a list of 5 things you can acknowledge yourself even if it is eating 1 less piece of bread, walking 5 minutes, breathing more, or not shouting at your housemate.  A little self-encouragement goes a long way in building healthy and rewarding habits.

With these tips, I acknowledge you for putting yourself first and reading an article on how to love yourself better.  That is a sign of self-care too.  Remember it is the baby steps in a healthy direction that matter and forgiveness for any mistakes that keep you from moving forward.   It is a journey, not a destination.  A year from now you might be thanking yourself for how strong you have become during a very challenging time and that can enable you to support others during difficult times in the future. 

Be gentle, kind, and compassionate towards yourself and write to me at manpreetbreakthroughcoach@gmail.com about which one of these tips you ended up using and how it worked out for you.  I look forward to hearing from you. Keep dancing, smiling, and rocking. You got this.

Much love,

Manpreet Komal 


Manpreet Komal has a 150,000 social media following and is a Clairvoyant Healer, Life Coach, and an author of the book – The Universe Sends Helpprayers to find hope, faith, trust during the time of Coronavirus. She also uplifts, motivates, and inspires others through dance at Rang De Bollywood Dance Company.

You Are the Cake and More

“I start my day choosing happiness and being in the moment, as the mystery of the moment opens up to me” writes Geetanjali Arunkumar in her book, ‘You are the cake’. Such revelations that she arrived at through travails of illness and loneliness are what she shares in this debut work.

This is a book written from the heart and is a timely and gentle reminder to tap into our essence, even as many influences sap our energy and erode our confidence. A joyous, tasty metaphor for everyone alike, young, old and in-between, the title leaves open the door to accepting and enjoying who we are as individuals and build on that.

Accepting such a notion and not just thriving, but flourishing is the author’s message, one that she’s obviously been mastering even as she’s overcome inordinate challenges.

Right from the get-go the reader can realize that this author’s journey is one that many of us can relate to, even if the challenges may be varied in intensity. Reading on, one also realizes that this is not from a self-help guru, though we need guidance at times from one such, but from lived experiences and lessons learned through struggles.

As she aptly says, trusting the inner voice clarifies the action and path empowering one to make the right choices, be it of friends or partners, and other life’s decisions, big or small.

For many of us life rambles on, at times desultory and as Michelle Obama writes in, Becoming, of her good friends, ‘ Most of us lived in a state of constant calibration, tweaking one area of life in hopes of bringing more steadiness to another’, and ‘’You’re the cake’ offers a recipe for that.

I’m one for mnemonics and  “FACT-RE” as depicted by multiple layers of the cake – self- forgiveness, acceptance, compassion and trust, leading to respect and empowerment – is one I’ve begun remembering when I feel unsettled.

Original Artwork of Sravya Attaluri

Geetanjali then expounds thru’ the Recipe and Utensils used for cooking up happiness, emphasizes what seems obvious, such as hobbies, but often ignored, limited by our daily lives. 

The author quotes Muhammad Ali, “It’s the affirmations that lead to beliefs, and moreover once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”  Affirmations convert desires into reality, but she points out it’s good to be realistic about desires to begin with, and with time it will lead to greater things. 

Geetanjali provides tools like journaling, keeping a gratitude diary, or even tasks as simple as, when falling asleep ‘being grateful for the smallest things that happened during the day’ and, ‘ wak[ing] up in the morning using Abraham/Esther Hicks method of seventeen seconds of positivity and beauty.’ These soften the dissonance or even chime a song in our hearts!

Showing appreciation and acknowledging another person and being non-judgmental, as we’d like to be treated ourselves, strengthens the other and certainly builds lasting relationships.

I wish I’d had this book when I’d had an accident some long years back and was quite dispirited , but needing to pick myself back up, raise our toddler son and get back to work, with great support from my husband and loved ones.

There’s a Tamil proverb my grandma used to tell my mom, which roughly translates to, ‘only if you have a wall, can you paint a mural’. Only when we are kind to and take care of ourselves, can we be of support to others 

Geetanjali’s talents show not only in her writing style – such as, “…. Ways to unfold your soul, which whispers to you the truth of your gifts…” and inspiring thoughts, which are well-researched and informed, but also she accompanies them with lively and spot-on illustrations. This Bay Area author serves up the cake with swirls of decadence and pearls of wisdom on an inviting platter! 

Madhu Raghavan is a pediatrician who enjoys writing, exploring our great outdoors, gardening and art as pastime.