Effloresce23

Chronicling my thoughts, one post at a time..


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Effort is sexy!

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Picture Source – Google Images

I’ve started to notice a trend lately of acting apathetic and generously using phrases like, I don’t care or whatever mostly used after things that people actually care about. Since when it is cool to be apathetic.

I tend to take notice when people make an effort to show you they care (in their action rather than just words), when their eyes light up when they talk about things that they are passionate about, when they make an effort to dress well, or take care of themselves because they do care!

The simplest example of this trend is when people don’t make an effort to dress up (appropriately), or wear flip flops anywhere outside a beach. Its no secret, I hate flip flops, I don’t own them, everything about them bothers me, like the *chat* *chat* sound they make, the way it makes ones feet look, the fact that it affects the way one walks etc. Of course, this post is not about my dislike for flip flops. So the rant stops here.

How we dress affects how we carry ourselves, our confidence and consequently how other people treat us. People respect you in direct proportion of how much you respect yourself and how much you respect yourself shows in every aspect of your life, your appearance, your effort.

Wear good clothes, and I don’t mean big brand names or expensive stuff. Iron your clothes, keep them clean and stain-free. Take care of your possessions and treat them with respect. I have recently adopted the Parisian mindset and lifestyle when it comes to my wardrobe, a few quality pieces, shoes and bags which are well made, rather than fast fashion, and it has changed my life. It takes me less time getting ready in the morning and I feel confident every day, because every single day I wear items of clothing and accessories that fit me beautifully or tailored for me and things of lush quality.

Life is too short for wearing flip flops and polyester. It is too short for mediocrity and half-assedness. Live life enthusiastically, like you’re excited to be alive. Lets make dressing well, and putting our best foot forward (whether it is in our profession, friendships, or relationships) cool again. Lets make caring trendy again, because Effort is Sexy!

Peace & Love

xo

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Love yourself

For the longest time, I have battled with insecurities, and then I discovered  self-love. Its one of my favorite things to talk about, to read about, to write about – you name it, it all starts and ends with self-love for me.

Which also beings me to one of my biggest pet-peeves, that we are raised to believe that liking yourself (let alone loving yourself) is vain and only shallow and selfish people indulge in it.

Even now, if I think about how many multi-billion dollar industries are thriving on people’s insecurities, it makes me realize that I am not alone – beauty, luxury products, technology, highly curated, edited and mono-tonal media, matrimonial and so many other industries are thriving on people’s insecurities – we are constantly conditioned and nurtured with imagery to believe so many things:

  • If you are not tall, thin, blonde-haired, blue-eyed you are not beautiful; Of course this has changed quite significantly in the last decade! YAY!!
  • India’s obsession with fairness, where beauty means having fair unblemished skin;
  • If one is fat – they get constantly mocked and made to feel undesirable and un-datable – and not because being fat/out of shape may be a health hazard;
  • If one doesn’t have the latest technology- they’re outdated and uncool;
  • If one isn’t married by a certain age, they may as well be lepers.

Okay, maybe I was a bit dramatic on that last one there, but you get my point.. 🙂

We are constantly told that only “a particular way” is right, and if you don’t fit into that mold, you are not good enough…

For example, I recently went to the salon for a haircut, and ended up getting a very expensive facial and hair treatment along with the haircut. Why? because my stylist was very vocal about how damaged my hair and skin was, and I fell for it, simply because they had pressed on an insecurity of mine! Consequently instead of spending 1000 INR, I ended up spending 5000 INR that day. I came back home with a temporary fix and a lighter wallet. (See what I mean about industries thriving on people’s insecurities).

After parting ways with 5 times the amount than I had originally planned on spending that day, I took stock of my habits and decided I will take better care of myself, invest in good quality products and life long habits, and take the best care of myself.

Even now when I go to the salon, stylists try pressing buttons as they are trained to do, but at least now, if I do opt for treatments, it is because I want to, and not because someone is trying their luck at en-cashing on my insecurities.

So let me start at the very beginning of my own story – of how I was raised to feel like I wasn’t enough; and how I got over it (to a large extent…); and what that has resulted in.

Growing up, I was constantly compared with others (mostly by my grandmother, god rest her soul), this eventually lead to a pattern of me comparing myself with others and drive myself insane – thinking if only I was as tall as so and so, or if only I had a figure like so and so, or if only I had a job like so and so…. my life would be perfect. This lead to me feeling insecure and wanting to hide my real self from everyone because I never felt like I was good enough, resulting in me attracting situations and people who treated me likewise, giving me more of the same, reassuring me that how I felt was right and reinforcing the idea that I was not good enough.It became a vicious circle.

I spent years (decades) like this – outwardly happy looking, but struggling and hating myself for not being enough. In hindsight this saddens me so much, because your childhood, teens and early 20s should be filled with joy and not insecurities. Alas.

Something changed in my 20s, around the time that I was 23 years old actually – I had just graduated from law school, and having read the book called the secret, I realised a lot of the perpetuating patterns were made by me, by accepting it. I had lived my entire life not knowing that I could say No to something.

I had successfully manifested a 6 year relationship which can be described as toxic and a stressful job – where I gave my all and still felt inadequate. It made me clingy, angry, petty and pretty awful. I really didn’t like myself then.

All I knew was that I never wanted to feel like that, so I had to say No to things that diminished me. Then came the next dilemma, what do I say yes to and what do I say no to?  I hadn’t the slightest. I had never ever asked myself this question…

So I did what I do best – made a list (not pen to paper list), which turned out to be one of the most powerful exercises I’ve ever done for myself and one that I do so constantly, that today it has become almost an involuntary function.

But that was not the case when I started  – so what exactly did I do – well, it wasn’t one thing- it was however, triggered by one Oscar Wilde quote (which continues to be one of my favorites even today) –

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde

 It seems so simple right – except we are usually taught the exact opposite of that, aren’t we??

I stopped dead in my tracks, how could something so essential never be taught. No answer.

So I started on my quest with no answers: I made a conscious effort to dwell on things I like about myself, it started very small like one or two things that I did like, and I’d acknowledge it – it felt good, so I kept adding to it, and adding to it and then adding some more – till I fell in love with myself, and thus began my lifelong romance. Thank you, Mr. Wilde!

Things that I was once insecure about, I now loved and flaunted – Like my height, I stand proud at 5 feet 2 inches.

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It was merely a change of perspective. Not short, but utterly adorable. And just like that, you like something instead of feeling embarrassed. AND I get to wear the tallest heels and still look like an adorable little pixie! Win-Win!

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Of course this is only one example, and like this I found things I didn’t like and changed it, and what could not be changed, I changed my perspective about it, and it worked! I constantly found myself surprised that it was that simple and yet it never occurred to me sooner.

As they say, better late than never, but don’t let it fool you into thinking its all great all the time, sadly romance doesn’t work like that – there are still days of utter confusion, self doubt, and worst of all self defeating thoughts, but like with any relationship, you process it, you figure out a way to fix it, and you make an effort to do so again and again till its not a problem anymore.

Since this realization and my efforts to live this way began, I noticed a LOT of people were uncomfortable and even unhappy with this development, uncomfortable because they could not relate to me (the evolving me) anymore, I was told that I was selfish and that if I kept it up that I would end up all alone, because no one like vain people. I was told that my affection for myself was wrong because it was conceited to think like that. These people practically handed me the scissors and begged me to cut them off (from my life), and I happily obliged.

Some people expressed their unhappiness in their actions and sometimes even with words, they questioned why I deserved to like myself, or how I could dare to not seek their approval anymore. It pissed off a lot of them, again they practically handed me the scissors and begged me to cut them off, and again I happily obliged. This actually made me feel a thousand pounds lighter.

Through it all, I realized how many toxic people I had collected along the way, how many toxic people I had so happily accepted as my friends and family. It brought me to a new mantra –

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I finally realized that it was okay not to be liked by EVERYONE. We are not built for that. Life doesn’t end if a few people don’t like you, either they don’t know you, can’t relate to you, or best yet they don’t matter.

So what difference does it make if someone dislikes you – NONE (I promise you) No difference whatsoever, as long as you like you, as long as you approve of your choices & consequences, it makes NO difference. I remind myself this every time I start to obsess over this.

Of course, as human beings, we all want people to like us, but here’s another secret that I uncovered along the way, when you like you and accept you for the beautiful unique person you are, you set the bar for those around you as well; and the people you attract into your existence will like you. But just like anything, this type of consciously choosing a life that serves to magnify your existence, is not as simple as flipping a switch, it is, but its not a one time thing, every time you are faced with a choice, you have to choose the one that aids your well being more. Its more than a full-time job, its a way of life. 🙂

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Another result of this I have noticed through the years is friends have used it as an innuendo to make light of what I was saying – self love to be more literal rather than the tool to build your self-esteem and self-worth, but hey, they were funny so I rolled with it, laughed at it, and moved on.

If people were not ready to hear my story, it was okay, I no longer felt the compulsion of explaining myself or convincing them. That was freeing, to know that my way of life and my story is enough for me, irrespective of how acceptable it was to others.

This has resulted in better relationships, better confidence, more compassion, and most importantly a grateful and highly satisfying life, knowing every day that I am enough… Hell, I am an awesome, genuine, one-of-a kind woman!!! That is worth the world.

Now lets get to the big question – why self love – because this is the foundation of everything your life is built on. How, because we come to this world alone, and one day we will leave this world alone, but from the time we arrive to the time we depart – we are surrounded by people, beauty, and endless opportunities offered by this bountiful world, and we would have done ourselves a HUGE disservice if we didn’t make the best of our time here.

To build anything lasting, its foundation should be solid, so to make your life one of substantial significance, it starts with the strong foundation, that is YOU! The you that derives strength from inside yourself, and the ONLY way to do it is when it starts with the most powerful creative force known to mankind – Love!

The ONLY reason for this post is because I had to learn this the hard way, and I’m hoping that you don’t have to.

Its okay to love yourself, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and see how life changes for you!

Go ahead, start with one baby step today. Look at the mirror and focus on your favorite parts for a good 5 minutes, you will come away liking yourself a little bit more!

Go on, try it, and let me know!

Until next time, go love yourself!

Enjoy ❤

xo


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Fitness faux pas

Just finished having lunch while reading a blog post about a 4 week diet that will help you lose weight, and a follow up post which is another diet plan for 4 more weeks to lose more weight, and I have to say, I wasn’t impressed. Don’t get me wrong, it was well written, and it did have meal options or snack options that I will definitely try to incorporate into my diet.

A little background, I have been working out for the last ten years now, having tried zumba, aerobics, going to the gym, insanity, and 7 years ago I settled into the practice of yoga and pilates, since these two give me the best results that I want, which is a sleek and fit body without being too muscular. I prefer this look since I am only 5’2″, and every ounce of extra weight tends to stick out like a sore thumb (exact words of advice that I got when I was 18 years old). As harsh as it may have felt at the time, it has motivated me to always be proactive in terms of my fitness routine. So a big thank you to the person who told me this.

After all these years, I can honestly say I love my time on the mat, I love how energized and fresh I feel after a workout. I feel sad and almost lethargic on days that I don’t workout. And if this was meant to be a post about the goodness of yoga or pilates or any other form of workouts that you enjoy doing, this post would’ve gone on and perhaps be made into a series. But that is not the point of this post. The point is as the title suggests.

The way I used to think about fitness until recently was that it was like a tripod, and the three things, all of which are equally important to be at your fittest best, are exercise, rest and nourishment.

That perhaps was my first mistake.

Fitness, however, is more of a balance between body, mind and spirit. (I know what you’re thinking, it seems hokey, and new age-y. It really is not)

The tripod that I mentioned earlier, which involves exercise, rest and nourishment focus on your body (your physical). Your mind and spirit, now those need a whole other kind of discipline and TCL in order to truly feel fit (a little about that later).

So some of the faux pas that I have noticed in my own fitness journey are:

#1. Fad diets

These are JUST awful. Lets be honest, they don’t work and they screw up your system in the long run. Your body needs quite a lot of nutrients to be healthy, so suddenly cutting out carbs or shocking your body with random “juice cleanse” or detox programs is not going to do you any good in the long run.

My ONLY diktat to myself when I have felt tempted to try a new diet, (which promises you the moon), is: I will only try it if I can consistently keep at it for the rest of my life. If not, Sorry, I’m sure it works as a temporary fix, but it is not for me. And the reason I stick to this rule of mine, is because I have tried these when I was in my teens and early 20s, and my body bounced back, simply because of age. As we grow older, the first thing that takes a hit is your metabolism, and please, for your own sake, don’t mess with it anymore.

#2. Low-fat or Zero-fat ingredients

If you see that something is low-fat or zero-fat, especially things that are supposed to fat in them, I’ve got two words for you to always remember: Chemical Shit-storm.

There was a time when ALL the food that humans consumed was “Organic”, sadly we don’t live in those days.

So if you see the label and it says, non fat, or gimmicky names like which suggest that it tastes exactly like an ingredient, but doesn’t have any of the ingredient in question in its contents, you can be sure that it is probably not good for you.

So stay away from such chemically enhanced products if you can help it.

#3. Fad workouts

The reason I avoid fad workouts is the same reason as above, my fitness goal is not to lose weight, but to be healthy and fit! As should be anyone else’s who wants to change their bodies for the better. Don’t go hurting yourself because you pushed yourself to do a workout which weakens you in the long run.

#4. Obsessing over results of friends (or worse, heavily photo-shopped celebrities)

This is a BIG one, and unfortunately I have been guilty of this. But here is the thing, every one of us has a different body, every single person has different issues, different problem areas, different environments, different resources (time, trainer, food etc.) so it is actually the most unfair expectation to keep from your body that you expect it to behave the same way as the billions of other people in the world that you see around you or see pictures of on social media.

Embrace the fact that you are unique, and different from the rest of the world, and love what you’ve got, and make your fitness goal about enhancing your body to be its fittest best.

#5. ONLY focusing on the body/ the physical fitness

This is something that I said earlier, and at the risk of sounding hokey, I’m going to say it again, fitness is not ONLY about the body. Sure, your body being fit is what the rest of the world sees to determine whether you are fit or not.

And the day I write posts which advocate seeking approvals or validation from the outside, it’ll probably be the day after never.. 🙂

(I digress) Yes, physical fitness is Very important, but equally important is your mental and spiritual health. Focus on having a happy and joyous disposition, and feeling balanced, take a walk, clear out the clutter, unfriend those toxic people, say no to things that do nothing other than cause you stress, meditate (if that’s your thing), go for a swim (the noiseless calm when you’re under water, can be the most relaxing feeling ever). Develop a good attitude and build your own self-esteem, and believe me, you will start to feel so good (no matter what dress size you wear), and if that isn’t enough, the people around you will take notice as well (don’t think its possible? well, try it for yourself).

The Energy you will exude when you love yourself is something fantastic! ❤

#6. Internet things

I know its the 21st century, I know that the internet is accessible by anyone and everyone at all time, and yes it makes life easier, and what not.

But perhaps it is exactly this that crowds us with a LOT of unwanted noise. (the irony is definitely not lost on me, considering you will find this post on the internet). And I am not talking about opinions and advice that get around, I am talking about the miracle pills, or corsets that shrink your waistline, or the tea which will melt away the fat, as if by magic. Trust me, the ONLY thing losing weight because of these miracles potions and pills is your wallet!

So try to think about what you choose to spend your hard earned money on, and more importantly what you’re willing to put into your body (if you mess this up, you can’t buy another one, so treat it accordingly, with the care it deserves).

Well, those are the 6 biggies in my book. And if you can, please avoid them.

And hopefully this post will inspire you to start something today which you can keep up for the rest of your lives (baby steps, people).

Until my next post.

Stay healthy, and be awesome!

xo


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How to make a good first impression ?

First impressions are everything. People start forming opinions about you and your professional capabilities the moment they see you. Even before the formal introductions and handshakes, they size you up and some even decide whether or not they want to work with you.

Is it fair ? No.

Does it happen ? You bet it does.

Those first few moments are crucial, So here are a few tips that are easy to incorporate into your daily lives so you make the best first impression every single time.

#3 : Always wear clean and well pressed clothes that fit you well.

Make sure your clothes aren’t too tight or too loose, it shouldn’t look like you’re wearing someone else’s clothes. Its not about the brands or the monograms on your lapel, its about how well it fits you and how comfortable you are..

Always remember, tugging on your clothes or constantly fussing over them makes you appear nervous and fidgety, and not very professional.

Keep your clothes clean, stain free and neatly ironed, there’s nothing worse than looking sloppy.

#2 : Always be well groomed.

This can’t be overlooked… No way !!

Keep your nails clipped and clean. Ladies, if it HAS to be long, at least make sure they’re neatly polished and shaped into neat square-ish ovals. keep some mints or mouthwash handy, cause you never know when you need it. Same goes for a good antiperspirant or deodorants to avoid any potentially embarrassing situations. As the old saying goes, cleanliness is next to godliness.

A little bit of an effort goes a long way.

And lastly and most importantly:

#1 : Wear your invisible tiara/crown, chin up and straighten up Smile and dazzle the world.

A happy disposition and a positive outlook goes a long long way, and in my book that’s always appreciated.

Now go out there and Impress away ! 🙂

Until next time..

xo