Archive for Psychology

Effecting Change: Rebelling Against ‘Indian Woman Syndrome’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2017 by tivaniam

“Smile quietly” was in the contract I signed when I agreed to be born an Indian and specifically a woman. We are raised to smile quietly because of “what the people would say”, and we are raised to smile quietly “for the sake of the children”. Two principles that I ferociously rebel against, and which I refuse to subscribe to, something that has become such a pandemic that I refer to it as the “Indian Woman Syndrome” although it extends deeply to Indian men alike.  Even in progressive times, this seems to be the mind-set that Indian people STILL adopt.  And sadly, as a result, we stay as sick as our secrets – that which we refuse to acknowledge, face or speak about.

As an Indian, specifically a woman, I was supposed to stay in my marriage for the sake of the kids. Because, what would people say if I chose the alternative? So I stayed. For a while, until death became an option. And I realised that my choice to live my life in sacrifice, wasn’t serving anyone, least of all my children – MOST of all myself.

So I left. Twice. Two marriages, several relationships and jobs and people – everything that didn’t serve me or make me happy. I went against the grain of what I was SUPPOSED to be, and chose to be real. And yes, people judged. Harshly. I lost friends and family. The words I was called and the judgment thrown at me stung me terribly. Enough to make me want to shrink back.

But I didn’t. Because there was something inside me that screamed louder than any of the names I was called.

Saying “fuck-it” to the ideals society prescribed for me meant choosing to turn my insides out, and with that meant not only making different choices, but also doing it vocally. I began writing my truth, living my truth and BEING my truth. And as I shared my life through my words, my truth started setting others free to share THEIR truths. Because there are people, Indians specifically, who knew EXACTLY what I was feeling, who shared the same hopelessness and helplessness and despair but stay in bad marriages or relationships for the children and because of what people would say if they chose to be selfish and do what makes them happy.

This limiting belief system perpetuates the cycle that I see continuously with Indian people. The antiquated, indoctrinated beliefs predominantly stemming from religion that promotes patriarchy and teaches us to live in sacrifice. The need to put on facades in an effort to save face has caused so many Indian people to lose themselves and live existentially, miserable and hateful of the world. This in turn gets repeated with their children who emulate what they learn – the boys become misogynists, the girls, doormats – and without any concept of what authenticity, aliveness, freedom and love truly means. Ingrained prejudices are carried forward and we do not progress as a culture or the collective human species.

So why choose to live in that limiting way?

To try and be liked by everyone? What a waste of a life. Because no matter how hard you work or how self-righteous you think you are, you will never EVER make everyone like you. But, if you make yourself heard, if you live a life that’s true, you will find the RIGHT people to love and be loved by. You would encourage your children to be real and teach them, through example, about self-love and true freedom of expression. Can you imagine the possibility of what the world could hold for them or you if you expanded your belief system instead of following old ideologies that had no place back then, certainly not now, that only serve to make people conform?

Be a rebel. Live your truth out loud. And see the ripple effects of what that authenticity, peace and aliveness does for you, your children and then the world at large. When you choose YOU, you give others permission to do the same for themselves. I am a living testament of that, and so are my children who are happy, well-adjusted, emotionally stable, kind and loving kids NOTWITHSTANDING the fact that I left their dads. Or perhaps…because of it.

Rising Strong – My New Take On Getting Older

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2017 by tivaniam

My 36th birthday is looming and with it, the newfound excitement that I have for getting older. Yes, you read right. I am excited to be getting older.

For many years, I dreaded my birthday for different reasons, most important of which was the realisation that my lost youth could never be recaptured, as I inched towards “middle age”. That idea meant I had to finally step up into this whole ‘adulting’ concept, something I’ve waged a war against for many years. I do it grudgingly, and most often, badly. These days, I’ve learnt to embrace being a grown up and with that comes many privileges.

The last three years have been amazing for me from a growth perspective. Some of my toughest life lessons were the catalyst for such a deep awakening, so much so, that I still shock myself with the enormity of what I’ve managed to manifest in my life. This year, reflecting on my 36th year, I realised that I spent over two decades worrying about what people thought about me. And now, finally, I have zero fucks to give. Zero. I am so happy! I don’t care anymore about fitting in. I don’t need to please anyone except myself and I don’t need to conform to society’s idea of who or what I should be because no one knows, except me, the truth of who I am. Therefore why ask permission? Why ask for direction from people, for places they’ve never been! It’s no one’s job to know who I am becoming. That’s my job. So I don’t take on their fear because I choose to be brave about my life.

When I was 18, I entered a beauty pageant because I thought that would make me feel better about myself. Midway, I lost the lines to my speech and had a real life “drop the mic” moment and ran off stage. I don’t think I ever got over the judgment I thought I faced amidst the hordes of people who witnessed that, neither was there a bigger affirmation that I was not good enough. That narrative stayed with me and intensified over the years and needless to say, I created that reality of judgment and the perception of not good enough was revealed to me because that’s the literal way the universe works. And, for two decades that’s how I’ve lived.

Now, at almost 36, I am finally unbecoming. It’s only taken 36 years. I am finding my way back to innocence, purity, childlike joy and wonder and wide-eyed hope. It’s taken 36 years to return to myself instead of being what the world told me to be. With each year, I become more and more of who I’m meant to be. I embrace the fact that I’m a grown up and nobody is the boss of me anymore. I don’t need to audition for life because there are simply no more judges in front of which to freeze.

I am finally allowing life to live through me and I am finally listening to the call of my authentic self. That for me is the greatest gift of getting older.

On Being True

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2016 by tivaniam

Can we be true to ourselves even if that means failing another? That is a question that I have been plagued with. The more I choose to love myself and vote for myself first, the more complex it becomes for everyone else. This act of juggling and choosing to serve me or serve others leaves me exhausted, with a dire need for peace. I don’t have the answers so I am trying to sit with what is, without trying to hide it or fix it.

What has come up for me in the last few weeks is that it’s not even the pain that consumes me, it’s the fucking shame. Shame about the pain. Shame about the choices. Shame about the reality and the perceptions. It takes self-loathing to another level and is completely counter-productive for my growth and development. I have to become unapologetic about my behaviour and choices whilst knowing that this will be too much for some people. That I will be too much for some people.

A part of me knows that those people, aren’t my people. I know for a fact that my too much is exactly enough for the right people. For those who want more. Therefore, I cannot become less.

Yes, I’ve got these life experiences and perceived failures that many cannot and WILL NOT profess to have. It is dealing with a past depression that could have killed me. It is dealing with multiple failed relationships – often in close proximity to each other. It is making very fucked up decisions, the repercussions of which, are felt to this day.

But guess what, these are also my superpowers. I’m the canary in the coal mine. My experiences, my sensitivity, my telling of the truth is what allows me to sense danger that others cannot. So, instead of being silent and trying to extinguish my fire, allow the same fire that almost killed me, to be the same fire that I will use to light up the world.

Closure is an act of sanity for me.  It is something I choose to bring to the table of my own healing. I don’t see this as failure. It becomes an earnest quest for answers that often uncovers life changing truths. These truths will only set me free.

I know for sure that whatever this is, I will get through it, because I already have and continue to do.

 

 

Peace, Orlando and Soul Shifting

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2016 by tivaniam

I am not a fan of propagating negative stories. I don’t subscribe to ‘anti’ this or that and have been fortunate enough to learn the importance of creating my own reality through words that I use. I have learnt that I create more chaos and more trauma when I perpetuate the belief that I need to be ‘anti’ something in order to give it traction – it only serves to create the reality of that which I am against.

However, in honouring my own essence, the recent Orlando shooting has affected me deeply and warrants some mention because of the nefarious act in itself. There are certainly a ton of these unmentionable horrors that happen all over the world that do not receive any publicity. I know that there are instances of these unspeakable acts that happen within our own communities. But the fact that the Orlando shooting has been in the forefront of anything else today, is where the reference comes from, and this post is to that end.

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No religion teaches people to act in ways that harm others.

No religion on this earth serves as an indoctrination so entrenched that acts of murder, intolerance for others and a lack of humanity on a basic level, are principles upon which that religion gets displayed.

I do not believe that certain classes of people are predisposed to murder.

I do not believe that God in His wisdom would EVER encourage anyone to take the lives of others in an effort to promote His teachings. The shooting in Colorado is the act of one individual who lived in a state of absolute ignorance and darkness and his act was a demonstration of the illness that he suffered.

That being said, collectively, as humans, we are ALL responsible for the shootings in Colorado. All of us. In a spiritual sense, we are all connected. We are all Spiritual Beings trying to navigate in this human world. We possess the entire spectrum of human conditions within us – from the purity to the evil. Some of us are fortunate enough to be in tune with our spirit and choose not to act in deplorable ways. There are other people who choose to demonstrate their internal chaos, externally, and as a result kill people.

Notwithstanding the sadness and the senselessness of it all, all of these tragedies create an even greater awareness to those of us who are already aware and we have an obligation to now step up and be the change we want to see in the world. My personal belief is that God resides within me, as me. And in that belief comes the responsibility to demonstrate my Godliness in ways that serve this world.

Many years ago, I was in a perpetual state of anger. My anger consumed me. I never became violent – but I could have if I hadn’t reached a state of awareness and healing. My victim mentality and hatred of my past and all its experiences was something I had to learn how to make peace with. I didn’t ‘turn around’ my story – I ‘turned towards’ it and honoured my own shadow, inviting it to consciousness. To the extent that I chose to work through them, accept them and forgive myself for everything, I was able to use this for my soul’s expansion.

Those who don’t deal with their traumas and bypass them or apportion the blame onto others, remain stuck and confused. And end up killing people.

To all those who have lost loved ones through acts of violence, my heart cries with you. The time has come to expand our hearts and stop living in the shadows of prejudice, racism, intolerance, hatred, bigotry (it’s all the same thing really).

It is time to live in the light of our own souls. And that is where ONLY Love resides.

Being Present

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 31, 2014 by tivaniam

Most of us, if we’re really lucky, get to experience a profound revelation after a traumatic or otherwise difficult life experience. We do the hard work to help us recover and own our mistakes and move forward. Equipped with useful information and with the best intentions of participating fully, passionately and harmoniously with the world, we enter into a new realm of spiritual existence.

We all know that there is no meritocracy in this world and bad things do happen to good people. So when shit happens, as it inevitably does, all of the good intentions and useful knowledge do little to circumvent the spiral into chaos within our mind.

It may be difficult to remain positive when life kicks you in the ass and your plans get derailed, but, remaining positive is a choice – something I personally have to condition my mind and heart into believing, every moment of every day.

These are the tools that work for me, which I share with you.

Always believe that the view from the factory is exactly the same as the view from the ivory tower.

In other words, believe that you already possess every single thing you need. And you will want for nothing.

Support comes in many forms. Wake up and pay attention.

I had my heart broken by a person that I thought was my best friend. So believe me, trusting people is not easy. But if you pay attention, you do see that people actually do reveal themselves to you from the beginning, but as fallible humans, we see what we want to see. I have learnt though, that there are genuinely kind and supportive people in this world who are selfless. But, you get what you give. Treat people with contempt and anger, and that is what you will get in return. Demonstrate love in every way – irrespective of how it is received – and you always get back love in return. I have learnt this lesson several times over, and I am a believer of it completely. I have received support in different ways, giving me exactly what I needed to help me cope with whatever situation I found myself in.

Breathe.

Sounds simplistic, but it’s actually harder than it sounds. Too often our minds are consumed with worry, pressure, stress and ‘doing’ that we forget how to be still. I have discovered the therapeutic benefits of removing myself from life for a few moments each day and finding a secluded spot to shut my eyes and breathe. One minute is all you need. The oxygen that reaches your brain has the most profound effect on your frame of mind.

Dance

I used to be the eternal wallflower. Too stiff to move freely, always consumed with what people would think or say about me to be free enough to dance. I have recently been reminded that life is not an episode of “SA’s Got Talent”. I don’t need to be good at it to be able to know intrinsically, how to move. If you want to test this theory, listen to “Can you feel it” by the Jackson Five and see what happens to your body instinctively. Be free to move as you did when you were a child. The benefits of this can’t even be verbalised. It’s a feeling where words do no justice.

Whatever you focus on, you create more of. Live a life of gratitude and abundance would surely follow.

 

 

 

Ray Rice and the ‘Shock’ Video

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by tivaniam

Video footage of NFL star, Ray Rice, pounding his fiancée in an elevator has gone viral in recent weeks and caused an outcry within NFL and the American public in general. The incident which happened in February and was dismissed then as a ‘mild physical altercation’ has since proven to be severe as footage revealed Rice dragging the limp body of his unconscious fiancée (whom he has since married) out of an elevator. Viewers described this as ‘shocking’.

What is shocking to me is the uproar this has created simply because the victim in question happened to be engaged to and then married a professional footballer. What about the countless number of women who are beaten to a pulp daily by their less than famous partners? Everyday women with everyday monsters parading as men? A few months ago, a random South African woman made headlines for being stabbed 50 times by her estranged husband and left for dead in an office park. The story, encapsulated in less than ten paragraphs was visible for a day and then faded into obscurity. This was someone’s mother, daughter, sister and friend. A few weeks later, a woman was set alight by her drunken husband in a domestic dispute. She encountered 90 degree burns to her entire body and is now left in a vegetative state. This newspaper article made the third page of a publication and again, lasted for just a day.

The prevalence of abuse against women, despite the activism that we as a society promote, is still on the increase. One punch to one woman is too many. The question I find myself asking is what sort of men are we raising? The paradox of being successful in a career but wanting to be dominant within a relationship is something I don’t understand. It is reported that about 70% of women will experience violence in their lifetime, yet this incident with Rice proved to be ‘shocking’ to audiences – simply because people witnessed it personally, having seen the leaked video. Does this make violence more real? Do we need to physically see a woman being beaten to appreciate the full horror of it?

 

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As a mother to a little boy, I have a role to play in ensuring that he is raised to respect women in every way and form. The way a child lives will ultimately determine their moral compass – children learn what they live. Stop the cycle of abuse by ensuring that we raise men that are secure within themselves to not feel emasculated by strong women or who feel the need to resort to violence to intimidate women. More than that, women who are trapped within these abusive relationships need to know that there are ways to get out. You are worth more and deserve more than being dragged like a piece of luggage on a dirty elevator floor, followed by a half-arsed apology.

The Dreaded ‘F’ Word

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 2, 2014 by tivaniam

Fear.

Not the kind that is inspired by the likes of Freddie Kruger. It is the type that is debilitating, paralysing and stunting growth and development. We are raised in a society that propagates an almost nefarious message throughout our formative years of why we should not do certain things, why it is dangerous to take a risk. Fear in the context of self-preservation, has its place. Fear that prevents you from acting in order to live your best life is one where your freedom is forfeited.

Two weeks ago I made a decision to resign from a stable job that provided me with a decent salary. I have no back-up plan. Whether this is stupid or brave is a debatable thing based on an individual perception, however my decision was based exclusively on the fact that I have a higher calling and a purpose that needs to be fulfilled. My purpose is to be happy and nothing is going to derail me from that ultimate goal.

A wise person told me today that people tend to die at the age of 21 and get buried at 70. Do I want to live an existential life with regrets later on? No. Do you?

Fear has become a safety net for people to stay in bad relationships, jobs, cities or even from BEING. To live a life without risk means that you become nothing. You avoid pain perhaps but neither can you grow or evolve. For years I climbed the imaginary walls in my mind, trying to escape. I can say with conviction that, now, I am finally free. I am versed in a new lingo. I pride myself on my F words but FEAR has no place in there.

 

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