The Approval Addiction

A lot of us wish for our talents, our intelligence, or our strengths to be recognised, appreciated, and known by others. But we very soon start to rely on these approvals and try to ‘alter’ our lives to fit in within these expectations. Unfortunately, right from here starts a very vicious cycle.

Ever since I was younger, I had an insane obsession with ‘making sure people knew’ I was this or I was that. My mood, my emotions, and my feelings were a dangerously direct reflection of what others thought of me. It got to the point where I got excessively dependent on ‘approval’. If people praised me, I would feel empowered. If people criticised me, I would feel anxious. And if people insulted me, I would start to look down on myself.

A common example I often look back at are the times wherein I felt the immense pleasure when my teachers would praise me, when my friends would praise me, and how I’d feel so superior when I beat someone’s highest score in class. Conversely, how I would grow wild with angst when others performed better than me. Not only because I didn’t do well, but because others now saw that. But I now think to myself, why did the opinions of others matter to me so greatly? At the end of the day, we live to push our limits, and reach our goals. And none of that should have to change based on the views of the people around us. I was reading the book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns, and it made me realise how I had made it a habit to evaluate myself through the eyes of others. I now see that I can be so much more than that.

It can be enjoyable to have someone approve of us, but I don’t think we need this approval to be able to love and respect ourselves. Likewise, disapproval can be uncomfortable and it can make our life feel sour and rotten. But it doesn’t make us any less of a person. When we give our power over to others, we lose out on who we really are, and the only reality we then see is how we believe others see us.

⁃ SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

Ever lost a friend?

This is a poem I wrote while thinking about some of the friendships I made in my life, which as years went by, simply faded away. Perhaps something went wrong, or we simply grew our own separate ways…

When we were little
We would play
Never felt troubled
About what people had to say
 
When I wasn’t well
You would benevolently stay
And check every hour
To make sure I was okay
 
When I wanted to talk
You’d always be there
Happiness or despair
We would unabashedly share
 
I revere those times
More than you’ll ever know
I continually question
What made you go
 
Our treasured memories
Will forever be in my heart
And I’ll always wonder
Why life tore us apart

 -SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

Life is Fragile

I recently heard about some tragic losses a few of my acquaintances faced lately, and I came to realise how precious and delicate our lives are.

There are no convenient truths. No guarantees. No orders or set amounts of time our loved ones will be there for us. No promises that how we feel now will be how we feel tomorrow. No promise that the health and relative wealth we enjoy today will be with us the next morning. There is a haunting touch of fragility in every single one of our lives, and facing up to it can be terrifying.

Whether the loss of a loved one is personal or public, it serves as an intense reminder for each of us to stop, reflect, and take inventory of our priorities in life. I didn’t know the people who died in a plane crash a couple of months ago. Or the people currently dying from Covid all around the world. But my heart breaks for them. For all of them, and for everyone who knew and loved them.

However, these thoughts have left me with a conviction to make the most of my days. Every time I travel and visit new countries with my family, I take a moment to pause and reflect on how lucky I am to experience this adventure. To be able to enjoy my life that I get to live with my family. To have them by my side. To share my experiences with the three people I love the most in the world.

Facing up to the fact that we all have a temporary place in this world should be a reason good enough to start living our lives. Making time for the people we love. Making time for ourselves. Making time for our dreams and our goals. Never taking anything or anyone for granted.

I shudder to think about loosing someone I love. It reminds me of the immense vulnerability that life is made up of. But bearing in mind how unpredictable and short it is, let’s do everything we can to make it a fulfilling one – by believing in love, forgiveness, and gratitude for the people and things that matter.

-SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

Never Doubt Your Worth

We hold a power
That no body can break
A distinctive talent
That no one can take
 
Let’s stop paying heed
To what people have to say
The path to our dreams
Only we can carve the way
 
We’re valiant and brave
Let’s stand tall and proud
To the person in the mirror
Let’s say it out loud
 
Within our struggles
The battles we fight
Nothing in the world
Can ever dim our light
 
A branch about to break
Isn’t the worry for a bird
For her trust is in her wings
And not on the world
 
Why do we follow people
To the places they go?
Why do we say yes
When we want to say no?
 
The dispiriting words of others
We must learn to ignore
For our mind is the one thing
We solely have and can control
 

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

Failure isn’t Fatal

Nothing good is ever given to us easily. When we are on the verge of something, there is always a chance for failure as there is for success. In fact, most of the times, things never go perfectly as planned!

I often look back at the times I wasn’t doing too well at school. I moved countries and was finding it exceedingly difficult to catch up on all of the work I had missed. This was simply devastating for me because I had never seen myself going through this before, ever. I was always regarded as a great student.

The more I let myself feel the overwhelming anxiety of failure, the worse things seemed to get. But over time, the more I pushed myself to bounce back again, the more I saw how the whole world began to help me. My teachers helped me, my friends helped me, my parents helped and supported me. And it was like magic! I revere the words of Paulo Coelho when he writes in The Alchemist, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it”.

However, I do think it is us who need to think big, trust ourselves, and dedicate our lives into achieving whatever it may be (keeping in mind that the world may not always support our dreams). What happens then is never in our hands, the universe may reward us with attainment or it may burden us with failure. In my riding lessons, I fall over and over before learning how to horse ride. Similarly, getting unexpected low grades was a nightmare for me. But I soon realised that I can get way past it. And in the end, I had been broken down, only to get back up stronger. What I tell myself now is: If I learnt from my defeat, I never really lost.

Speaking of The Alchemist, one of my dear readers Navya, who lives in India, made a magazine over the summer that explores and unravels the science behind many such books, and delves into how the world of literature has heaps to teach us. I found it exceptionally interesting, and am therefore honoured to share it here on WordPress. Let me know what you think, and I’ll pass on the thoughts!

https://linktr.ee/worldentwined : click on ‘Science and Literature’

-SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

The Power of Positive People

Our happiness is not just a personal experience, it is often passed on to the people around us. It’s almost like when a pebble falls into the water causing ripples around it. In a similar way, our words, our actions, and our behaviours affect the ones around us, who in turn affect the ones who come into contact with them, and so on.

I can think about how my own mood is influenced by the lady at the Starbucks drive through who smiles, is happy, and is kind versus the one who is bitter, miserable, or rude. In both situations, a complete stranger’s attitude has the power to impact my own! And I now may pass it on to my friends, my parents, and the people around me.

While our emotions shouldn’t be at mercy of other people, our mind is something we do and can have control over. It’s important to note how our irked behaviours, moods, and attitudes aren’t something people like to keep up with. I can think about the times I have influenced my mood to my family, people like my parents and my sister. When I am in a bad mood, it doesn’t take a while for them to feel the same way. And when I am happy and buoyant, so are they!

With every new day that arrives, and with each new day we wake up, we have the power to touch on lives. We all want to have a good time. We all want to hear good news. None of us want to spend our life in doom and gloom. Let’s be the change we wish to see in the world.

-SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

The Language of Friendships

In times of crisis and struggles, we all want someone to turn to. Relationships are important, and therefore friends are important. The word ‘Friendship’ doesn’t quite fit into a single definition, it’s a relationship that cannot be described using words.

Even though I am not a social butterfly, quality counts more for me than quantity does. While it’s good to cultivate a diverse network of friends and acquaintances, I have nurtured a few true friendships over the years.

When I find myself going through a hard time, my friends help me get through it. When I find myself not feeling good about myself, my friends are the ones who lift me up. When I find myself in between sobs, my friends are the ones who make me laugh. When the world turns its back at me, my friends are right there by my side. True friends are the ones who are there for you when you need them the most, and the importance of friendship in our life is beyond any explanation.

During our childhood, friendships help us grow and develop. We play and learn together with friends. As teenagers, friends become all the more important as we go through numerous emotional, physical and mental changes. As adults, friends help us go through the emotional upheavals or the “mid-life crisis” as we endure an entirely new set of problems. I suppose friends are equally important during old-age too, I see my grand dad’s face beaming with laughter and smiles when he is around his friends!

When we cultivate a close circle of friends, living life becomes just a teeny tiny bit easier. On that note, a very Happy Friendship Day to everyone who reads my posts here on WordPress, young or old. I am truly grateful for this WordPress community!

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

Life’s Little Indulgences

On my visit to Denmark and other Scandinavian countries like Finland and Norway, I wondered how these countries have been at the top of the happiness index charts for five consecutive years. Upon chatting with some Finnish, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish people, and doing a bit of a research, I found several reasons for why this was so. I happened to stumble across an interesting Danish concept of Hygges (pronounced hyoo-ga). It loosely translates to “Cosyness of the soul”, or a feeling of wellness and contentment attained from life’s little indulgences – things like leaving our evenings free to relax, having a family dinner, or staying indoors with a hot cup of cocoa.

Walking down the streets of Copenhagen, I saw every little café with blankets on the tables and fireplaces on the sides to keep us warm – a cosy city indeed! My family and I spend every weekend together either playing a board game, cooking something together, watching a movie on Netflix, or doing a fun activity. And we definitely feel the ‘Hygges’ during times like these. It is quite evident to me that we can retrieve happiness if we learn to appreciate the little things in life.

I also think that every day comes bearing its own gifts, we just need to untie the ribbons. One of my favourite restaurants to eat out in is T.G.I Friday’s. It is quite interesting to note how this restaurant is open not only on Fridays, but all week long. This is quite an accurate example of how most of us don’t live our lives. We wait for perfect conditions with the anticipation of good times, relaxation, and celebrations. We long, maybe for the last day of school, our birthday around the corner, or for the summer to begin. But during the wait, we waste much of our lives not living the present moment. Why can’t we feel that ‘Friday-Feeling’ every day? Why can’t we learn to find wellness in every day? Why can’t every day be special?

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

A Sweet Story

Happy Friday! Here’s a poem I wrote for my relatives for their 50th marriage anniversary. Being together (and happy) for fifty years is truly incredible, and their love story immensely amazes me! I hope you enjoy it, let me know in the comments below.

We fall in love
Hoping to share a life together
With someone special
Who will be there forever
 
An emotional bond
Where the hearts get paired
Where the bliss is shared
As well as each despair
 
Enduring life
The thicks and thins
The joys and sorrows
The losses and wins
 
To stick together
Through uphill climbs
And sharing laughter
In happy times
 
Love brings you sunshine
When all you see is rain
Love makes you smile
When all you feel is pain
 
Fifty years of togetherness
Bring out a meaning today
You both have truly shown us
That love can find a way

⁃ SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️