Worth the Wait?

What do you feel when you are waiting for something? Results or consequences of an event? I realized I’m not a big fan of these periods in life, maybe, because the waiting period for too many things have coincided. More importantly, I’m proactive and so, waiting without being able to contribute much to how the outcome turns out to be, is all the more frustrating for me.

My board exams stretch from 6th april to 22 May, yes, and in between they called us for practicals, sent us back as the examiners didn’t show up (teachers’strike) and then called us again before a tough paper. But at least I’m glad its over. I’m waiting for a friend to be free so that we may go sightseeing here in Bombay, but even that isn’t conclusive yet.

There are some very weird things going on at home, the verdict of which I’ll know, after my exams. They have to do with my further education, and so of course, I’m tensed and anxious about how things are going to be.

I applied to TISS for my masters. They said the results would be out on the 12th, then delayed it to the 24th. And on the 24th I saw that I’m in the (wait for it) – Waiting list. Sigh. So if someone cancels their admissions, I may get in.

Lastly, I’m stuck in my weight loss regime. Need to lose those last 5 kilos that won’t budge. I’m even waiting for sequels of a book and TV series, but those are minor matter. I know that its only a month more, and that by May, the conclusions of all of this will start to cascade one after the other. Hope I have the strength to face things then.

I’m burned out by all the anxiety and I just want to hibernate for a while, till things, hopefully, take a final turn for the better. Until then, hoping that these events are worth the wait. I try to engage myself but the thoughts creep in.

My only fear is, I do not want to stop living life, while I wait for it.

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Helping isn’t enough.

The other day, dad donated some money, and came home and boasted about it. My mother rebuked him with a ”If you are giving something in the name of God with one hand, you should be so discreet, that even the other hand should not come to know”. (Giving to the poor is equal to giving to God – no doubt a smart belief of major religions to encourage helping the economically backward)

That is all well, I thought to myself. But why do we insist on such pureness of spirit from someone who helps? It’s as if, in the back of our minds, we feel that either the person be a complete angel and be secretive about altruistic behaviour, or if he can’t shut up about it, then he is better of not helping people.

Some people told me that if this is not insisted upon, people will not help in order to help, but to gain fame and to tell everyone how nice they are. So, the spirit of helping is lost. People should only help when they really want to, or let it be.

Now, I had a chapter on Helping behaviour in Social Psy last year, and the reasons we help, according to the author of the book (based on lots of research and studies) are –

1. It feels good to help others.

So basically, its a selfish act. We do it, because we feel good. Like eating or watching porn. Only difference being, it involves other humans.

2. It reduces our negative feelings.

Helping others gives them joy, and gives us a relief from negative emotions.

3. Helping is an accomplishment.

I helped  someone, so i’m the cool dude.

4. Competitive altruism

Oh, you donated 10k? I will donate 15k. Who is the better helper now, huh?

5. Kin selection theory

I will help those who maybe related to me, or those, who will benefit the world if they are helped. E.g, save a young woman first in an emergency situation, because she may bear children which helps continuity of mankind.

Ok, so some of these motives are nice, some are not. My mother, for example, would not agree to helping if it were any of those above, except out of the pure goodness of ther person’s heart.

But I feel, that no matter why you help, you certainly are helping. You gave the beggar food, for whatever reason, but the fact remains that you helped him to have a meal. His stomach, as well he himself, will be thankful to you, regardless of what your motives are.

I think its about time we overcome this “either be a noble helper or no helper at all” psyche and accept people who help as well as boast about it. Why shouldn’t they? Isn’t helping an achievement in this world of cut-throat competition, when no one looks kindly at fellow humans?

If they took out the time, money to be kind, they have all right to be proud of this achievement, just like they would of winning a prestigious award.

Further, I also feel that if such people were accepted, many more people than currently do would act in helping, prosocial manner.

Lastly, the argument that, unless done purely, they might help only to show-off, and so it will be a one-time act and not a continuous act of helping. I feel that precisely the opposite is true.

When only you are to experience the joy of giving in privacy, you may experience it twice, maybe thrice. But since you can’t tell other people, your motivation will keep lowering and secret self-joy won’t be enough to push you.

So go out there, help, and spread the word! Image

Uncluttered.

You know, once in awhile this frenzy seizes me. I know I get seized by frenzies quite a lot, but this particular one, its about clearing things out. Making space. Throwing/recycling what you don’t need. And its not just my cupboard I’m talking about.

With the academic year coming to an end, with only the Final exams left, I realized I could do away with rough documents of a large quantity. I don’t know why this is – because I don’t clean often, or cleaning just makes you feel like that – once I was done, and everything was stacked back neatly, I felt like I had a load off my shoulders.

Whatever stuff I could use to make some craft – bits of colourful papers and all that, I’ve kept in a pouch, to be attacked soon. Yesterday, at a stall at Kalaghoda Arts festival, they had a stall that had the most beautiful recycled products, and that has inspired me to be at my eco-friendly best.

The thought which occurred to me after the cleaning, is that quite often, we do not let go of what’s no longer useful. Be it emotional baggage, or keeping in touch with people who either hurt us, or we just don’t feel connected to any more, we need to let go.

There was a joke-book I bought when I was in school, and over these years, I haven’t thrown it away. The jokes are too childish now, and there are many other things to act as mementos of the old school I was in. I finally decided that it had to go. I gave it to my maid, for her daughter, who will begin school soon.

Venice-Study-Portrait

As much as we don’t let go of what isn’t required any more, we also feel that things may and shall continue as they are. But here’s the thing – things change, people change, and so do you! Only, we don’t see the change in us, or if we do, we rationalize that it’s not a major change.

I was seeing an episode of Doctor Who, where he comes across one of his previous companions. They travelled together for some time, but eventually, she was left to leave his life on earth, but the Doctor had to go on. People may change emotionally, mentally even physically. So does that mean its all morose and pointless?

Rather, I think its quite the opposite. When you take things for granted, that’s when it is pointless. When you know that it may end, you enjoy every moment of it. In fact, if you accept this fact, many activities, goals become easier. Weight-loss, for example. If  you lose that weight, you need to keep it off. The pact to remain healthy is life-long, with an indulgence once in a while. If you start crazy eating just after you’ve lost your weight, you will gain it back.

Why then, do we not want to accept the constancy of change? Basically, because we’re lazy. Evolution made us so, or God did. We are forever in energy saving mode, so we aren’t spending any. To accept that things won’t remain the same, is a huge task, even cognitively.Just like I didn’t want to clean earlier, when cleaning would have taken less time, lead to a lesser mess. But once done, it makes a thing lot easier. It makes one’s vision clearer. Like that of a neatly stacked and cleaned cupboard.

keyboard with -win- button

From the heart (read: mind) of a Psychology student.

Yeah, I was asserting in the title, that be it a lament, like the one which you will endure in the text below, or spurts of joy, all originate from the mind, and not the heart. It just pumps blood, and being the Shahrukh Khan of the body, by being at the right place at the right time, has stolen the show. Anyway, so what’s on my mind right now ? Lot’s of stuff apparently  and it falls into categories too – reflection, angst, frustration, and maybe, insight.

Although, please do not think that when I bang my toe against pieces of furniture (which happens rather often) I yell, ‘Oh damn you, Mistaken Visual Perception!’ No. I just say ‘Damn’. Or, ‘Hey Ram‘ if I’m feeling theatrical. So I’m approaching the last year of my Bachelors and will definitely continue studying psychology in my Masters, and so, as usual, I reflect. And then I have the dumb idea that with so much reflection, I might find employment as a mirror if Psychology fails me. But then I realize that I’d make a bad mirror because being stuck on a wall would turn my usual straightforward-ness into acid sarcasm that wouldn’t procure the best reply when asked, ‘Who is the prettiest of them all?’

So I leave the ideas of alternate employment and wonder about the pros and cons of being a Psy student. First of all, I would offer an affectionate smack to the teachers who went all ‘Psychology is about people, and people are everywhere, so imagine how awesome it would be to study it!!’ First of all, even sanitation is about people, and people are everywhere etc. Secondly, they did not tell that understanding people would not automatically be accompanied by acceptance. And so, although I could not blame someone for something (maybe it’s his genes, maybe its his environment – the Psy version of Maybelline), I wanted to blame them so bad, because, well, people do act rather abashedly stupid at times. And now, you can’t even call them stupid! Great! Because now you Know, with a capital K. Or, N, rather.

So now I understand people a little better, which leads to all the more impatience. Thus, when a girl in Aerobics class complains she didn’t stop eating the pastries until it was just too much because she didn’t realize when she got full, I want to say to her, ‘No, I’m sure your hypothalamus told you to stop when you were full, but you have issues when it comes to pleasure seeking sensations and you happen to find it in food!’, but of course, I don’t. I just give a sympathetic nod indicating that an indulgence once in a while is fine, after all, our Aerobics instructor’s income depends on it.

Then there are those people who get all starry eyed when you tell them you’re studying Psychology, and ask you if you could read their mind. You want to tell them that there’s nothing to read if they are asking such dumb questions, but you just say ‘I think, right now you’re curious about psychology and want to use it to get some unresolved questions answered’, and they gape at you like you pulled a rabbit out of your hat. You shake your head as if you’ve lost all hope and just let it go.

Then, there are some really questionable things within Psychology itself. One example is experimentation on animals, surely, unconditional positive regard just went flying out the window?

Secondly, the almost annoying interference that border on fanatic righteousness of what constitutes in being human. I’ll illustrate with this disorder we studied in Abnormal Psy, called schizotypal personality disorder. A person having it is cold and keeps to himself, but, isn’t antisocial, and does not harm others.If he is happy in being away from human contact, and he isn’t killing people, what the fuzzy flipflop is your problem? It looks to me that YOU are the one who has an OCD of diagnozing and simply can’t leave people alone. And what is the justification? That as a human, emotions are a primary, basic deciding factor, and if a person has an absence of those, why, he has a disorder, of course. Interestingly, homosexuality was a disorder once upon a time too, till they all had an AHA moment, where apparently, who you get coital with doesn’t matter as long as it’s human, consensual and adult. Happy realization!

And then,  there’s the frustration where you know what’s wrong but beyond the explanation, you have little. Like, we know that The Bystander Effect occurs, wherein, during an attack situation, everyone feels someone else will help the victim, but no one does. Now that I know this, maybe i will rush to help, but what of other situations where I’m not? Can you publish about the by-stander effect and make sure that people act in a less awestruck and more pro-active manner? It’s a rosy picture, but I don’t think that will happen.

The frustration isn’t just pertaining to others, but to oneself too. When you catch yourself thinking Dark Broody Thoughts, and the Psy Self tells you that worry is useless and so on, you just want to give the Psy Self a hard kick on its behind. Can’t you even brood in peace, you wonder?

But since I’m in a good mood right now, I’ll end this on a positive note, by saying that Psy has made me wiser, maybe acceptance is something I should learn from somewhere else. Over and out, before the Psy Self takes over and tries to convert me into a Willing Learner or some such crap.

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