Thank you for the world so sweet!
Thank you for the food we eat!
Thank you for the birds that sing!
Thank you God for everything!
Anonymous (A prayer that we were taught at school)
I TAKE PRIDE IN BEING PERFECT
Growing up in a household where perfection in every task is exhibited by my parents, I seek perfection in everything. Nothing short of perfection in any work is acceptable to me.
At school, my teachers love entrusting me with complicated responsibilities, as they are sure that I would deliver perfectly.
At college, I am indifferent to take up any responsibility as the sheer number of students in my class scare and deter me from taking up any work. Reason is that I cannot deliver perfectly. Anything short of perfection is not acceptable to me.
I marry into a household where I am expected to fulfil the role of a perfect daughter- in- law. Only this time, I am at a loss to comprehend what perfection means. No matter, what my efforts are in completing my daily tasks and duties as a daughter- in -law, I fall terribly short. I begin to lose my confidence, my new family just cannot include me as an inherent part of their family, because, I do not behave perfectly. I falter at every step, with no guidance, no encouragement and keep losing my touch with perfection. I am no longer perfect. Hence, I am a failure.
I am ashamed to face my parents and admit that I am a failure. I grow more and more introverted. I no longer look forward to go back to my parents’ house, nor meet my friends from my pre-marriage days. I have made no new friends after marriage. I hate to be seen as a failure by new acquaintances as I am no longer perfect. I grow more and more lonely. I do not need people around me. I have become self-sufficient for myself. At this point of time, the only other human being who thinks I am perfect, is my two year old daughter. I fulfil all her needs. To her, her mother is perfect.
The need to be perfect can be overwhelming for perfectionists, like me.
When my daughter is two and a half years, I pitch in to support my family by earning some extra income, to ensure a good life for my daughter and myself. I learn new skills and land a job. Although, I never have a job I like; nevertheless, it (over a few decades of working, I have managed to make my career) brings in the extra money to fulfil the needs of my daughter. I want to provide her the best that is possible for a woman from a middle class household, in a teeming metropolis like Bombay (now Mumbai). I am now, quite perfect. Hence, of some value to people around me.
My colleagues (a few dozens of them in 12 companies that I worked in the span of 25 years!) always remember me for the perfection with which I delivered. Rarely a missing comma or timeline! A few small goof ups, nothing unmanageable and they serve as my learning experience. I never stop correcting myself or running my abilities down in front of my colleagues. I hate being IMPERFECT at such times and never let myself forget these instances.
I TAKE A LOT OF PRIDE IN BEING THE PERFECTIONIST MOST OF THE TIME and beat myself mercilessly on occasions when I have not.
Interestingly, my colleagues always praise my intricacy for small details and the perfection with which I execute my work. The expertise with which I bail them out of emergent situations at work, the willingness with which I always lend them a helping hand influence them to have a positive impact, resulting in earning accolades from my bosses. Often after entrusting me with tasks with stringent deadlines, my seniors and bosses have a field day, relieved and relaxed. They know that once the task is assigned to me, I would leave no stone unturned to deliver it with utmost precision and on time. Always eager to learn, I go beyond the call of my duty, role and amassed knowledge that I can apply in that particular industry.
Respect at my workplace rises steadily.
I, finally rest easy as, my perfection at my workplace is ultimately redeemed and compensated from being a failure at home.
Strangely, I realise that none of this really fulfils me, even at work. I have everything going, in my direction and favour, at work, but I am still unfulfilled. In fact, I feel plain miserable. I complain and fret at neither being promoted at work, nor getting a deserving salary increase and resources to develop a team that I ask for. The more I think about it, the more I hate my workplace.
Somehow, I gather that all the respect that I have earned seemed to slip away and I end up as a cynical, resentful and complaining employee. The result of all this is that I am always over burdened with work. I work late hours to deliver and for over a period of many years, have burnt myself out much faster than any of my colleagues or people of my age.
I cANnot accept and embrace my imperfections.
My professional life is slipping rapidly. My life has become torturous. I hate to wake up in the morning and I hate to go to work. I hate to take on new assignments willingly, although I do not refuse those dumped on me. I am filled with negativity at my workplace.
What an unenviable life! Negativity in personal life and negativity in professional life too!
My increased tendency to generalise everything over a single insignificant incident, label people, polarising, blaming myself and many such habits obstruct my happiness. Efforts to keep myself motivated and positive are in vain.
Then I read an article which affects me tremendously. One particular line haunts me and I begin my journey of Self Transformation.
“True happiness is the consequence to feelings of gratitude for all the little and big things in our life! “
It dawns on me that this is the key to reverse the quality of my life and my attitude around!
I begin to journalise my blessings and my disappointments each day. Simultaneously, also revisit my past and count my blessings and my disappointments, at each stage.
I read my list again and again. Every time I read it, I re-write and enlist one or two of my disappointment as a blessing! What appears as a disappointment at one point of time in life actually turns into a blessing to me at a later stage. I express my gratefulness to the situation and people involved in those instances. I begin to mend broken fences and burnt bridges. It is not an easy task. It is filled with failure in my efforts. Unyielding, I keep at it, never letting go of the attitude to Gratitude that is the key to fulfilment and satisfaction in my life.
It is, at this point when I realise how I have hardly ever been grateful for the innumerable blessings in my life.
We, human beings, tend to knot ourselves in solving the various problems / issues of our day to day lives. We forget to express our gratefulness for the things around us.
Good and bad things are happening to us all the time. Why then, are we always busy solving the problems, or worse re-living our past problems and wasting our time and energy? How many times do we, pause, re-wind and express gratitude for the good things happening in our life, wholeheartedly, and without any disclaimer? How often do we appreciate the efforts of people around us to make our lives successful? How often do we acknowledge their presence and appreciate them?
When I say appreciate and acknowledge, I do not mean the superfluous, lip service that we very often indulge in, but appreciation and acknowledgment and gratitude from every cell in our body, every fibre of our being.
How often do we think and spare a thought to what our life would have been without those blessings. Do we really let the feeling of gratitude envelop and sweep us off all negativity?
I have taken the education my parents provided as my entitlement, as their offspring. So many times, even complained that I was not allowed to pursue the stream, nor the career that I wanted. When I PAUSE, RE-WIND, APPRECIATE, ACKNOWLEDGE AND THANK them for whatever education they have provided to me, from the very fibre of my being, I realise the magnitude of their sacrifice, the generosity of their beings. What my life would have been without that basic education they provided to me, is not something that anyone would ever want for themselves! How difficult it would have been to face the vagaries of life for me without that tool of empowerment, called basic education.
It is good to practice the exercise of PAUSE, RE-WIND, APPRECIATE, ACKNOWLEDGE AND THANK everyone and every incident at the end of every day. It enables me to compete with myself, others and various circumstances around me everyday. Lets me forgive myself and others around me everyday. This stack of gratitude accumulated over a period of time in my thoughts fills me with positive energy, extreme happiness and contentment. This building of positive energy in my thoughts, day by day, weeds out all negativity from my thoughts, past and present.
Consciously choosing to fill myself with gratitude, consistently practicing to do so, patiently picking myself up when I fall, developing a kind and compassionate attitude towards myself and others is well worth the journey of my life and worth all that I achieve during that journey!
I end this blog with a whole lot of gratitude to the people who will read this, appreciate this, acknowledge this, assist me build on content and context of life and be a part of my journey.
Nandini Rao is a self-employed professional coach with in-depth exposure to the several business functions. A trained and internationally certified Coach she is committed to coaching people to achieve their goals and raise the quality of their own lives. With over 20 years of experience in the Corporate world she brings with her a wealth of experience.
During the tenure of her career she has been responsible for establishing and executing major goals; forming and implementing policies; providing leadership, direction and guidance to organization development; motivating and empowering people to maintain a work life balance has also been a crucial area of work life.
Her excellent organizational skills enabled build a charitable organization from idea to ongoing operations and working towards sustainability within a span of three years. Today, even after 8 years the organization is well oiled in its operations and has reached greater levels of sustenance, because of the strategies that have been implemented.
Her deep understanding of human psychology and ability to relate to people from diverse fields make her an excellent coach, mentor, and builds strong & lasting relationships. Writing, which has always been a passion for her got relegated to the background during her working career. She has now got back to it and is fully expressive in her writings, be it her poems in Hindi and English, fiction in English or her articles in English. All of it reflect her depth of understanding of life and people.
Her focus, coupled with strong management and leadership skills have motivated professionals to maximize levels of productivity. She is committed to high quality, adhering to timelines and building productive relationships for herself, her clients and all the people around her.