The Bottomless Cup

Month: January, 2011

Recipe for Happiness 6: Happiness Tea and Loving Yourself

 

I’ve been depressed. You know the feeling when you give your everything, and are so sure that things will work out but they don’t? make that ten times worse and that’s what I’ve been feeling. I was empty, and the little self esteem I had had been crushed. The past few days have involved me sleeping endlessly, getting up only to feel more depressed and going back to sleep.

I was determined to do something about this, because deep down I knew there was a lot in my life worth celebrating. So, I headed down to Virgin Megastore and looked at some books that would help me deal with the worthlessness I was feeling. Perhaps if I learnt a bit more about destiny, or some “rules on how to lead one’s life”, i could get some closure.

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I then thought about my blog; and all the little advice and observations I was sharing with the world. I felt like a hypocrite. It’s easy to preach positive psychology when you’re at a high point in your life. It’s almost impossible to do so when you need it yourself. I therefore decided not to buy any of those books. Instead, as I lay in bed, I started thinking about what all my friends said. “If you are depressed, there is something wrong with you, not in any other person” and “love yourself”.

One of my friends was helping me get over this phase, but I told her that I still need some more time be sad. What I realized is that I didn’t deserve this sadness, that I had done nothing wrong, and that I don’t deserve to be punished. I realized that if you are depressed, it is probably because you have a low perception of yourself, and once you realize that you deserve better, you’ll get out of it in no time. Don’t say its ok to be depressed, hit yourself and snap out of it.

Maryam got me this  “Happiness Tea” to make me feel better.

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What the tea said was extremely silly, and it didn’t taste special. But it worked; just because while I was drinking the tea, I realized that there are people out there who care about my happiness.

So in a nutshell, if you’re feeling too sad, love yourself. If you have no success to celebrate about, know that you are being hard on yourself. Redefine your success. As one of the speakers at TEDxDoha said, define your success by just being alive.

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Pakistan: A nation that needs to slow down and catch a breath.

Everyone has their own theory about why Pakistan is undergoing such difficulties. Some attribute it to corruption while others say that it is the fundamental beliefs and values of its people that have lead to such turmoil. As I’ve said before, a nation is never built by its leaders, but by its people. And this current age where self determination is valued, there is no reason for us to solely blame our leadership.

The death of the governor of Punjab was an extremely sad setback for the nation. It marked, dreadfully, the beginning of a time where people have realized that speaking up for the rights of others can lead to dire consequences. Pakistan has become a country where the concept of fraternity has been replaced by a philosophy of every man for himself. Aren’t all these signs chaos?

I am not here to give a lecture on what went wrong; I am here to give one aspect of change that the nation seems to be struggling with: rapid freedom of speech. Mr. Musharraf was noble enough to allow freedom of the media, but he never thought how such an overnight change can have devastating results. Neither did he think about whether our new media sources would be responsible enough to guide instead of mislead the people. Suddenly, public debates, where fundamentalist ideologists were allowed to appear to the world appeared in front of a nation where people weren’t fully capable of deciding between good and bad sources of information. They were never given the power to do so.

What I find particularly distasteful is the way the assassin was shown repeatedly on television, with a calm and composed face claiming his martyrdom. As I walked across the streets and in the shops of Lahore, it was common to hear people sympathizing with this so-called martyr and discussing how at peace he was with himself. Hundreds, thousands, and perhaps even millions of people in the country were brainwashed by the footage that was shown by the media stations. It is very unfortunate that this fanatic was seen as a hero for so many.

We might criticize the middle east for its limited freedom of speech laws, but at least they realize that leniency in this area needs to be gradual instead of sudden. This is just one of the many instances where I feel the people of Pakistan are trying to cope with rapid change whilst holding on to their values and traditions.