A day without her – Fun
A week without her – Tiring
A month without her – Sad
A year without her – Lonely
A life without her – Curse
A day without her – Fun
A week without her – Tiring
A month without her – Sad
A year without her – Lonely
A life without her – Curse
A few short stories in relation to today’s daily prompt. Somewhere hidden within the text is a sense of something being gone or lost. I find that the word gone itself is very empty with little to offer in terms of emotion.
The Wi-Fi was fine and good
It was I who had no connections left
“You really mean the world to be my darling!”
This was the birthday text that was sent.
Blue ticks. It’s been read. No reply.
The heart sank. I understood, someone else has taken the place.
Somewhere between yesterday’s shadow and
Somewhere between tomorrow’s insecurities
We end up ruining today’a happiness.
Sooner or later,
We all come to realise that being a
Child was the best thing ever.
“Can you live without him?” her friend asked.
“No, but I would rather let him fly than break his wings.”
They both cried endlessly.
One had to forget and move on,
The other regretted letting go.
Somewhere between parents expectations and
Society’s interference, dreams died.
Take me back in time when people and emotions were real.
Take me to my childhood….
Somewhere between “I want to grow up” and
“I want to be a child again”, Life happened.
1. The little things that make us happy, the little things which make us feel loved, cared for, respected and appreciated always seem little at the time, but as the years pass, you will realise that they are what make up the very essence and beauty of your relationship.
2. Love has and will always remain to be a risk and gamble. You may know a person very closely and be very comfortable with them but none of us can ever be 100% sure as none or us can predict the future.
3. It’s more important that everyday you are able to consciously choose your partner to be your partner rather that just blaming it or putting it down merely on fate or simply stating that you were “meant to be.” It would be foolish to think or believe that you just floated passively into the relationship; you, like your partner were equal in choosing to take the steps to develop a relationship with each other so you are equally responsible.
4. Relationships, and by that I mean any relationships are bloody hard work and we all know it. Sometimes, you will become frustrated and you’re going to think that shutting down, bringing up the brick wall and emotionally removing yourself from the problem and quite possibly from the relationship temporarily is the wise and mature thing to do.
5. However, hiding or suppressing your feelings, bringing up that wall and closing yourself off from your partner is just as hurtful to them and harmful to your relationship as it is lashing out or yelling. The behaviour creates unnecessary uncertainty and animosity. Sometimes, it can be more detrimental to withdrawn emotionally from the relationship and your partner and the damage can be irreversible.
6. At times it will feel strange to become so open with another person – not caring when they see you in your most hideous state, being more concerned with having a good sleep than with looking adorable while doing so, having no shame regarding bodily functions, etc.
7. But these sort of things are also what bring you to the next level of intimacy in your relationship – being so close with someone that you feel like they’re the only person in the world who knows the unedited, unfiltered, unperfected version of you. The only person who knows the realest, most simple version of you and loves you because of it.
8. The novelty of a being with a new person is infatuating, but its inability to last long-term is what makes it so addictive in the first place.
9. A lasting, meaningful and long term relationship will not always feel as exciting and thrilling as the beginning of a new fling or affair, but it is much more likely to provide lasting happiness and contentment.
10. Sometimes your significant other is going to absolutely drive you crazy – and not in a passionate, head-over-heels kind of way. Its the kind of crazy where you wish you could make use of a club and a spade, oh and you just have to accept that its totally normal.
11. Physical attraction is critical but you have to remember everybody gets old and wrinkly. Therefore, attraction should be primarily be based on the persons values and their personality from the onset. This way you both are more likely to become more attractive to each other as you grow old together.
12. Love, roses, attraction affection and relationships are not immune to issues, arguments, and disagreements. The relationships which last are simply the ones who work out how to work through it, no matter how long it takes or how unpleasant it may be.
13. You will never be completely in love with every single aspect of your significant other. Of course, most of their quirks will be irresistible, some will drive you up the wall and make you scream. What is important is that you love them as a whole person, without trying to change them into a flawless, ideal and ‘perfect’ partner (who will never exist).
14. It’s easy to be in love when things are simple; it’s harder to be in love and stay in love when it feels as if every part of your life is an effort and a struggle. But as strange as it may sound, in relationships you become much closer when you go through shitty times together, as opposed to the uncomplicated phases of life.
15. It’s normal to love someone very deeply but to sometimes not like them.
16. Harsh as it may sound, you will never be completely fulfilled by another person. They can make you feel whole, loved, and happy. But its is not not at all possible to find the real meaning and purpose of your life within them – they can form a part of your life, but they are not the answer to it entirely. You have to take responsibility for your own happiness first before they can share that happiness with you.
17. Sometimes, loving your partner will not be effortless. It will take work and energy but don’t be under the illusion that this makes your relationship a failure. On the contrary, it makes you both real and human.
Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?
I am a rock, or so I have been told today by a colleague who had a severe panic attack following an altercation with a fellow colleague in the office. We stand outside while she puffs away vigorously at her cigarette hurling obscenities at our colleague. I stand, watch and listen while offering what I believe to be very little in terms of support. kneeling down to her level, I comfort her and direct her attention away from her state of panic. I encourage her to breathe slowly and slow her pressured speech. My perseverance prevails. She began to breathe slower, speech returning to normal. Tears still roll down her eyes but she is calmer. She hold my hand. I feel the panic in her hand, it shakes, its clammy and cold. She looks at me, indicating that she is ready to return. I see her eyes. There is gratitude and there is relief too. So we walk back to the office, my colleague with red puffy eyes and a sombre look on her face. Angry, frustrated and tired. She links her arm in mine, and hold on tight with her head bowed. I walk in, eyes staring at me like I’ve just dragged in an alien. ‘Thank you’, she said again as we sit down, ‘you have been my rock today, I really do not how I could have managed the situation. I’m here if you ever need me’, she said; ‘do not be afraid to ask for support when you need it’. I was grateful for the gratitude and the hand in support offered to me.
I’ve been dwelling on the entire event ever since. The words echo in my head ‘do not be afraid to ask for support when you need it’. The truth is there was a period of time in my life where I relied heavily on most people around me for everything, particularly emotional support. Unfortunately despite relying on the person, there has been a lack of emotional or any other kind of support there. Slowly and eventually I have learnt to rely on myself heavily and make myself more self-sufficient particularly emotionally. It’s difficult to ask for help and support at a low point in your life only to be turned away or be let down. When asking for help, it is highly likely that you may already be struggling which may be making you feel slight vulnerable or outside of your comfort zone, but to then be ridiculed or to be brushed aside, is not really worth it?
Although it’s not hard for me to ask for help when needed, I usually prefer to rely on myself. To me its, taking full responsibility for the situation and an opportunity to learn something. In order to be a rock, I need to be a rock myself and yes its OK to sometimes say I really don’t know what I’m doing and feel almost isolated but its a lot easier than disappointment. When such situations arise, I take the back seat, reflect and try to make sense of it all. It’s important for me to know and accept that some things are out of my control and punishing myself over it or looking for a solution is often not an option. As a ‘rock’ I’m able to empower myself with the experiences of others and learn. It’s important for me not to take things personally or to heart. This is what helps me, this is what sustains me and for me life is full of moments when you must be your own rock your own saviour. Its most definitely worth it and its fulfilling.
I place myself in the periphery of a group and try to help others according to my capabilities. When tired, I can take a break, no one really notices I’m taking it. When I’ve had a rest, I go and be useful again. I don’t ask for anything in return, I just enjoy being a part of the scene. I don’t aim high, I just be helpful. In this way, no one wants from me more than I am capable of giving and also I don’t feel “used”. I find my happiness there.
I am a liar, I am dishonest because I wont tell you everything?
I am stupid, I am ridiculous and naive because sometimes I am wrong?
I am ugly because my face isn’t perfect and I am simple?
I am a pushover I am too immature because I like making people happy?
I am a loser, I am a loner because I am not friend within your group?
I am fake, I am manipulative and materialistic because I am too nice, too kind?
I am weird, I am different, I am strange because I am not like you?
I am greedy because I eat when I’m hungry?
I am clingy, I am needy because I don’t like to be alone?
I am insecure, I am childlike because I care about what people think of me?
I am no fun because I’m not always hyper, I do not understand or tell jokes?
I am stubborn, I am arrogant because I have self-respect?
I am boring, I am dull because I read and study a lot?
Do not tell me who I am, because I am who I am and I already know who I am!
Bullying for me started at a very young age, I was in primary school about the age of six. Even from that age, I stood out, I was different. I don’t know home but somehow my behaviour was different from that of my peers. I hardly made any friends at that stage in school, I never really had the opportunity as most of the time I was in and out of hospital with check ups and tests from my abnormal walking. My condition had started developing at this stage which was becoming much more visible. When I was in school my peers would make fun of me. My walking was different, I was constantly falling over and I couldn’t play sports and when I did, I was clumsy. It started with name calling and believe me kids can be so cruel. Bent, peg leg, spastic just to name a few. At the beginning I didn’t understand what the were referring to so I laughed it off or ignored it. It was only as it started becoming more frequent and more obvious that it started to make sense. To begin with I protested, I attempted to defend myself but it soon stopped as I felt I was fighting a losing battle. I didn’t speak to anyone, I didn’t know what to say. I felt ashamed and lacked the confidence that my complaints would be taken seriously. The teachers were aware of it yet did nothing. I remember after I had surgery for the first time at age 7, I went back to school in plaster and during recesses, I sat with children younger than me all because the teachers wanted to protect me from the rough and tumble of my peers. My bonding period, the time intended for developing friendships was spent with 4 and 5-year-old. I made daisy chains with them during spring and summer.
The situation become worse when I began junior school. In class, my belongings started disappearing. Either they were stolen or hidden. My parents bought me new stationary almost each week purely because it went missing so frequently. My work books went missing too for which I received harsh words from my teachers every time I complained. My work would be scribbled on or damaged. I had no friends to defend me or stand by me, I stood alone. On one occasion, during my maths period my stationary went missing so I couldn’t complete the set task. When the tutor requested to see the amount of work I had done I had one maths equation to show for an entire hour. I will never forget that day. The tutor, Miss Whealan only saw what was on the page, not what was behind it. She felt that I was unable to cope with the level of maths work I was being set, so she put me down a level. It was the first time I cried in class. I knew even at such a young age that it wasn’t my academic ability that was a problem, I knew I wasn’t struggling or finding the tasks difficult. It was everything else. Little did the tutor realise and know at the time that this downgrading would affect my confidence in maths for the rest of my life. No one accepted responsibility for what happened that day. Some of the smaller incidents were always overlooked. A fellow pupil standing on my legs while I screamed for him to get off, being trapped between the tables with a chair being thrown at me, hitting me with a lunch box in the face and across the head and of course the famous flushing my head down the toilet and then throwing me into the bin. Tears were just watering eyes and silence was considered acceptable as well as appropriate. Another incident I remember was when I was in the final year of juniors, a year before secondary/high school. We were given fountain pens to write with by the school. It was to show us we were now growing up, more responsible and it was expected of us to behave in such a manner. I was so very pleased with my new fountain pen, like any 10-year-old, I kept it safe and close. It was a new toy almost. This joy was short-lived as pens started going missing and nibs were being damaged or broken. I wasn’t spared either, in fact the first ever fountain pen my parents purchased for me ended up beyond repair and was eventually disposed of. One afternoon while I was on the receiving end of harsh works from my form tutor, one of my peers kindly informed him that she had seen me damaging the nibs of fountain pens. My heart skipped a beat. I knew this was untrue but I also knew that my protests would fall on deaf ears. Her words, “Also Mr Kelly, I’ve seen her breaking the nibs of ink pens. She has also broken them off pupils personal pens too, I saw her yesterday.” My tutors response, “Oh is that so? So as well as not concentrating in class and causing trouble you’ve been damaging property too. Sit and do your work while I go and find out about these broken pens.” I sat in my seat petrified. I knew what was coming. The form tutor next door informed Mr Kelly that such incidences were occurring. I was called into class stood in front of everyone and yelled at for my misbehaviour. I was labelled irresponsible on the words of an 11-year-old who had clearly lied about what I had done. It was the first time I felt humiliation, but by no means the last. With no fountain pen, my school year ended, juniors was finally over.
High school shaped my teenage years as well as my twenties. I entered high school as a timid, withdrawn and lonesome girl. I was 11 I knew no one and I had no confidence in myself. I never told anyone about my condition, the anxiety surrounding people’s reactions was not something I could contemplate. The school year started better than I expected, my peers would talk to me and actually included me it things which they did. But it was short-lived, an illusion. Soon they all found out about my condition and I became the target of all forms of abuse. The names came first; bent browner, peg leg, spaz, etc. So called friends I had made began to drift away and then join in the ‘fun’. The spat at me, called me disgusting and a loner. My peers tripped me up on purpose just to see me fall and for them to laugh. Everyday, without exaggeration, I went home with at least one bleeding knee or one other form of injury. I would walk into class and people would start calling out names or would pull my chair away so I would fall. I look back now and smile at the smallness of their pranks, the smallness of their minds and it baffles me to think what they actually obtained from it all. Science was probably the second lesson in which my peers had the most amount of fun with physical education being the first. I hated, I mean absolutely hated PE but I was forced to take part as it was a curriculum requirement that all pupils take part. I had no options or choices. They had a field day watching me run, watching me fall and watching my faulty coordination. It was humiliating not being able to run in the same manner as others but worse still was the fact that I participation was a requirement. I became a laughing-stock.
One particular incident at school really stands out today. It was a winters if my memory serves me right which is a for me, even today. My school was fair large, build generously over a large piece of land. During lesson change, it was a long walk between rooms so I was often late. On this particular day, I on my own or at least this is what I thought at the time. The route encountered some steps on the way, and as I walked down them a peer from my class came and barged passed me while hurling abuse at me. The abuse in the form of bad language and racial comments didn’t affect me as much as I had become accustomed to it. What did hurt in the form of excruciating pain was my right foot. I lost my balance but remained standing, although just barely but the loss of balance somehow led to my foot being in an extremely unusual position. I heard and felt a crack. The pain shot through me as if it were lightening. I never realised at the time that I had actually suffered a fracture. The classroom felt like it was at the greatest of distances. I walked slowly arriving at least 20 minutes late. All my peers had already arrived and class had commenced. “What time do you call this young lady?” asked my English teacher, Mr Brooks. I apologised and attempted to explain the reason for my lateness. It fell on deaf ears. At this point my foot was throbbing, I felt dizzy and sick, I was also sweating profoundly. I sat at the back of class trying to control the pain, a pain which was very new to me. As I was sat along I had the urge to take off my shoe to see the damage. I usually found that once I had seen the extent of the injury I felt calmer. There was just swelling which I expected but the pain was tremendous. I couldn’t understand it. During lesson my peers felt it necessary to play more pranks on me. One of them walked past and threw my books across the room. The teacher was absent from the class at this point. I was forced to get up to retrieve my books. The laughter of all my peers watching me walk still haunts me today. Worse still, they believed I was faking it, putting on a show to attract attention. So, one of the boys who particularly had an interest in bullying me came and stamped on my foot. The broken one. I screamed and fell to the ground at which point the teacher returned. “What on earth are you doing on the floor?! Get up off there and sit back down on your chair, you’re not in play group anymore!” Staggering heavily, sweating profusely and in indescribable pain I sat on my chair. The remaining half an hour felt like a thousand hours. After class finished, everyone left and I was of them course the last. I was on the top floor of a three floor old house. Climbing up was hard enough but I never knew that going down would almost kill me. It took approximately half an hour. Little was I aware that just before the last set of stairs, I had my peers waiting for me. My heart skipped a beat when I saw them. I walked slowly down the stairs past them without them moving. All the while my heart in my throat, mind wondering what on earth was to come next. I was almost at the bottom when one of them grabbed my arm and pulled me down the stairs. I was on the floor by the time I got to the bottom. I heard laughter around me, cheers and sniggering too. I somehow managed to get back on my feet, and whilst dragging my broken foot and school bag, I went to the school office to call my parents. After this I cried. I have never cried so much. X-rays proved it to be a fractured toe. I ended up in plaster for 6 weeks with nothing but an apology from the teachers for the distress caused. This particular incident reinforced to me the notion of vulnerability and being disabled. It stayed with me for a very long time.
As a child I went through a great deal of abuse and bullying yet it went unnoticed. Those around me were invisible to the anguish I suffered. These and many other incidences occurred in my life, many which I cannot even recall clearly. But its all taught me a great deal too. Today I’m not the vulnerable girl who was dragged down the school stairs with a broken foot. I’ve accepted that at the time I was very weak but such vulnerabilities don’t pursue me anymore. These incidences and many other have made me much stronger to fight and defend myself. I cannot at all deny that it was difficult, it was and some scars still remain. I blame not myself or my perpetrators, but the teachers for failing to notice. It’s from this time onwards that the invisible me was born.
To tell a lie takes guts
The confidence that you’ll never be caught or a time won’t come where you’re forced to tell the truth
The illusion that it’s a small lie, it won’t hurt anyone
The mask of power and control blinding you from reality
You replace truth with silence; this silence is your lie
To own up to lying takes all amounts of energy and strength
It was your silence which told the cruellest lie
Now you must face the audience with the fear of rejection, wrath, hatred and disgust
Fear of anger against your lies, an anger which could last forever
The realisation of the magnitude of implications the lie has caused
The viewing of pain caused by you in others
Observing the person falls apart so easily when all along they had been held together with lies
The broken trust, oh what a tangled web you have woven in your practice to deceive!
Your truth has no concern for the persons comfort, it is raw and uneasy
We have all been at the receiving end of lies during some point in our lives. Some more so than others, some by loved ones, some by strangers. The ones we consider close or special have often been amongst the first to deceive us with their lies and deception.
I hate lies and I can’t stand liars. Probably no one can. Lies make me feel very low, exposed and deeply disrespected. The very act of lying denies not only you of respect for yourself, but also for the liar and for the world in which you live. It’s entirely depressing and painful to believe that the people close to us, our so-called family, friends, colleagues, as well as the endless number of deceitful politicians and public servants you’re forced to choose between at elections are in one way or another less than genuine whose primary concern is their own needs and desires. The number of people who have lied to me is beyond my own comprehension; nevertheless each and every time has left me feeling foolish and vulnerable. In my case, I trust people to a certain extent by default but should this trust be broken without a legitimate reason, I have found it extremely difficult and have been reluctant to trust that individual again. I have no qualms with the truth, no matter how painful or difficult it maybe, at provides me with an avenue to work with, an opportunity to provide a solution and in some cases accept that I am powerless to influence the circumstances to my favour. Surely this is not too much to ask? Unfortunately, it appears to be a rather too much to ask of today’s society where lies are slowly but surely becoming a mainstream occurrence.
What are the consequences for people living in a society where everyone; from those in power to ordinary citizens lying, stealing, cheating and deceiving? The consequences are monstrous, we end up breeding a generation that has been conditioned to lying; a fertile foundation for greed, selfishness, and utter disregard for the fellow human being. Furthermore, lying itself causes inequalities, harms relationships and wastes precious time and energy. On occasions, I have observed individuals sharing only part or ‘half-truths’, yet the part they choose to omit and neglect to share is often the most significant element. This is just as bad as lying. But let us not entirely knock this lying individual as many people (myself included) hide the truth because they’re afraid to reveal the truth, hurt the feelings of another and cause what at the time would be seen as unnecessary trouble. This fear can also be of rejection, or hurt or pain to oneself or to the opposite person resulting in guilt or regret. Nonetheless, I do believe that lying is lying; nothing can change a lie or the consequences of a lie. Sooner or later the truth does come out, it is revealed. I say that if we have to hold our tongues for a short period of time to avoid confrontation then so be it but ensure this period of time is as short as circumstantially viable. Strangely enough however, we reside in a society where lying and lies have become a cultural norm, almost like second nature almost; bringing with it an illusion of pleasure and comfort. And further to this, humans like you and I are very much inclined to be drawn into such lies too. Yet, for individuals who display a love for the truth and commitment to it are seldom appreciated or accepted and have often fallen victim to various forms of unnecessary punishment.
It is common knowledge that lying has a detrimental impact upon our personal and professional relationships. Individuals who have fallen victim to lies very often experience feelings of betrayal, angry, hurt, and utter disappointment. Many feel morally blemished by the perpetrators lies which in many cases can lead to people developing beliefs that any form of closeness to others can or may lead to pain and rejection and must be avoided. There may not be a more destructive manner in which to distance yourself from the possibility of intimacy than to push away the ones that love you. As human beings, because the frequency at we are lied to is high, it commonly results in us becoming somewhat over sensitive to even the smallest white lie and ultimately it’s about one feeling: it hurts.
Equally its fair to argue that we all lie at one point or another during our lives, on occasions for legitimate reasons to protect or prevent adverse circumstances and on other occasions for more selfish desires. Unfortunately, as it has become a mainstream element of our society to lie for selfish desires rather than to protect an individual, it is difficult to distinguish between those who are genuine and those who are not. Many say lying is a necessary evil, I don’t entirely agree. Is it at all possible to reside in a society where total honesty prevails? I believe so yes and although this may appear a rather idealistic concept, I truly do believe it’s one which has the power to make society a better place. Many conversations would flow easier, less time would be wasted, more money would be saved and of course, fewer hearts would be broken.
There is incredible beauty in the truth which is spoken kindly, humbly and compassionately, even if this truth is painful. Those individuals, who lie, cause upheaval in the lives of individuals, their families, friends and loved ones and force individuals to view life in a manner which looks appealing to the lazy one, miraculous to the ignorant, and empowering to the weak one. Contrary to this illusion, lies which we tell and lie which we fall victim to only strengthen our weaknesses. Such lies do not provide us with meaningful knowledge, assist in any way, or fix or cure anything. Neither do such lies develop one’s personality and character, one’s intellectual or emotional mind, one’s heart or one’s own soul. This makes truth to be a very risky proposition and it is the essence of average and mediocre minds to believe that lies are necessary in society with a purpose to serve, where truth itself is revolutionary, that candour is highly hazardous and that life itself is built on and sustained by lies.
For me, being true to myself, with honesty and integrity is a way of life.
Truth alone prevails
Take care & best wishes,
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” – Jane Howard
I’m in the middle of a busy period in my family: Weddings. Each week its somebody’s wedding or engagement and one thing or the other is going on which is leaving me with very little time to upload something that I have written. Most of my blogs I start at least a couple of days in advance in order for them to be ready to go live on dates I have set but wedding season has delayed this schedule slightly. Nevertheless, the fairy tale wedding season has actually forced me to think more about the importance of family in my life.
I come from an Asian Indian background, and for me, family is the core element of my roots and foundation; it really does mean everything to me. If it wasn’t for my immediate and some extended family, I would most certainly be lost and I sincerely believe that I would not be the person I am today. As I look back in time, it is clear to me how significant my family has been in all aspects of my life. My upbringing, the values, principles and faith instilled in me and the moral’s I was taught define me; my family environment has become an integral part of my identity.
An individual’s immediate family lays down the foundation for their personality and the majority of our behaviour is heavily influenced by their family life. Psychologists have strongly argued that children and young adults acquire the greatest amount of knowledge and life skills from their family life which has a direct and lifelong effect on the individual’s personality. Throughout their development, children are usually closest to their parents/primary caregivers and siblings than anyone else in the world. As children and young adults grow and develop, they form friendships, work with colleagues, get married and also have their own children with whom they begin to share their lives with. It is through time that these changes come about; however, the importance of family remains the same. Furthermore, studies indicate that children reared with strong family connections paired with a foundation of good education, values and ideals have been reported to lead much healthier and happier lives. Therefore, the importance of a family unit cannot be denied.
Luckily for me, I have been brought up with best of both worlds where I have been able to combine my own Asian Indian heritage with the Western culture. As a multi-cultured person, I have often been forced to waver on the edge of both Western and Eastern cultures, where on occasions I have been on either side of the often very fine demarcation line. Yet, through my development as a somewhat independent individual, I have come to realise that my family relationships and family values have contributed considerably towards the nature of who I am today. The strength, perseverance, courage and security have come directly from my family unit necessary for future development. Psychological research has demonstrated that adults who have experienced a smooth and well established family bond are generally more successful and display higher levels of confidence in all aspects of their life. In this respect, the family unit remains of utmost importance to initiate, nurture, conserve, and base other relationships on which an individual develops throughout their life.
My upbringing has been in a Western culture where I have very often witnessed family values and relationships not being given the deserving respect and commitment, and furthermore, they are not held as strictly as they are in the East. However, for me it remains in my own heritage to take forward this tradition of family values.
My family provides me with my identity because I am a direct descendant of my parents; my parents are my blood and the primary reason for my existence. However, I am more than a mere biological product of my parents; I am a messenger of my family’s values, principles, beliefs, understandings, fears, thoughts, failures and triumphs. My childhood was spent growing up in their home from where I acquired a great deal in terms of life skills which I’ve implemented throughout my life as I have grown and developed. Some traditions I have modified or ceased using in line with the society and generation to which I belong and have grown up with. My earliest memories of my childhood and my family life, regardless of whether they are pleasant or not are extremely precious to me, they are memories which simply cannot be replaced or erased. They are treasured beyond all other memories and many of them shape and define me today. I have recollections of moments where concepts such as love, acceptance, and understanding have become clear to my naive self and as I look back now I am grateful for these moments as it was these which provided me with comfort, security, and opportunity to grown.
I found a great deal of comfort with my parents, particularly when I experienced trouble at school but it wasn’t until I was a naive teenager that I really began to understand the importance of the many teachings of my family and parents in particular. It was the mere act of stepping away that shaped my identity, personality, nature and solidified my principles and values, while remaining flexible and open to suggestions and change. It not only allowed me to demonstrate my independence but it empowered me with the opportunity to challenge myself based up on my parents and family’s teachings. As a young adult who was very much independent I most certainly appreciated my parents and family considerably more. One finds themselves loving their parents mannerisms so much more and with a sincere feeling of gratitude I thank them for the practical as well as emotional support they provided me with as a child and as I have developed into an adult. I thank them further for educating me to be a strong independent woman with strong family values, compassion, understanding and faith. Furthermore, I thank them for the endless support I know they will continue to provide me throughout my life. As I look forward to the future, I realise that one day I shall also be the same source of strength for them in their old age as they were to me as I grew and developed. It is being this pillar of strength, this reliable point of support and connection with my roots that echoes the essence of my parents and family’s teachings. Family is very important to me.
Now, the last impression I want to give you is that I have had a rosy, almost fairy tale like family life as not only is this simply not true, it does not demonstrate true learning and development. Growing up in a Western culture, with an Asian Indian and Hindu heritage, my family and I very often clashed in our ideas and views. I could never understand why our lifestyles were so different to that of my peers, why we lived a certain and why we did things the way we did. When I wanted to go out with my friends, I found myself asking why could I never be like them? Why did I have to do things so differently too? We had debates about clothes, alcohol, smoking, diet, festivals and celebrations; you name it and there had been a debate or some form of heated argument about it in my family. There have been tears too, from hurtful words and pain to joy and triumph. There have also been moments of complete silence where we have all required the time and space to reflect on the present circumstances to move forward, to rebuild the relationship, to regain the broken trust and overcome disappointments.
However, despite the disagreements and clashes of cultures, I am privileged to have a close relationship with my family. We aren’t all this lucky. People often say that no matter how hard you try, you can never disconnect yourself from your family. A family unit is viewed as an integral part of an individual and the harder and individual attempts to distance themselves, the closer they become. I disagree. If this statement were accurate then why do we have so many elderly nursing and residential homes across the world? Did these parents love their children any less? or was it that the children were unable to care for their frail parents? Why are the numbers of children being abandoned or taken into care increasing each year? Why is the divorce rate growing year by year? For those of us who do maintain a close connection with our families should consider ourselves privileged purely because if we observe those around us, we may find others less fortunate than us whether it be elderly parents or it be lonesome children. I have witness my father live for almost 28 years separated from his family. The neglect and rejection my father has experienced over the years has had a detrimental effect on his own sense of self-worth and identity. It is on this basis that I am grateful and certainly do not take for granted my family relationships. Family provides the link to our beginning and a guide to our future and I say we must embrace every opportunity we have to remain close to our family’s instead of minimise it.
Family and Self Esteem
“What God is to the world, parents are to their children.” – Philo
At every significant point in our lives, we all require the feeling of ‘belonging’ and to feel accepted by those nearest and dearest to us. This sense of belonging and acceptance is derived from a secure family bond. Family is where our roots take hold and from there we grow and develop; we are shaped within this unit, which prepares us for the world as well as the many experiences to come. Values are taught in childhood are carried forward with us throughout our life. Close family bonds represent a safety net which catch us when we falter and pushes us back up when necessary. It is within these bonds that we find refuge, whether it be a listening far or the practical support when we experience difficulties in life. These family bonds allow us to develop and instil trust and hope for the world around us as well as belief in ourselves and our abilities. We all had small, fun rituals when we were younger, such as bedtime stories, sweet treats, hugs, weekends at theme parks, holidays and meals shared together which provided a sense of warmth, structure and safety that many of us still carry with us today. For me, these small but significant rituals and traditions have created memories, leaving behind a family legacy to cherish for years to come as well as laying the first path in my life – a path which is positive and realistic.
Our spirit, soul and the essence which defines us can either flourish or perish within this family unit, particularly when we do not receive the essential elements of security and the influence of strong family bonds early in life. This can often result in the very foundation being built on emptiness, which one may seek to fill through destructive means instead. If one does not receive love and affection as a child, it is highly likely that they may later seek it through more detrimental ways. Such individuals are likely to display a deep yearning and a hollowness which they experience and which they are looking to fill. This hollowness residing in the heart and soul is often as a direct result of never knowing what it’s like to be loved, accepted and appreciated for ‘being’ apart of a family unit.
This lack of a bond or living in a detached or dysfunctional family or environment have been known to have a detrimental and long-term effects on an individual’s physical as well as their mental health. For example, a destructive cycle can emerge and be repeated when a child has grown up in such an environment. As an adult, this individual is likely to view dysfunctional family bonds as the norm, where unfortunately drugs and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and crime is what they are accustomed to and in turn will seek such situations and people. They are unlikely to easily recognise any healthy relationships and family bonds as this is a foreign concept to them.
The long term effects of living in a dysfunctional environment are not often very obvious. Both children and adults will display a diverse range of behaviours, yet the similarities between them may still be visible. Children and adults may have poor self-image or self-esteem often displayed by them isolating themselves from peers at school, college, work or home. Adults hold negative beliefs regarding themselves and that as an individual they are somewhat inadequate for the society in which they reside. They generally lose confidence in their own abilities, their future and their relationships. Children on the other hand display more subtle behaviours such as shyness, low levels of interaction with peers and adults as well as referring to themselves in a negative manner through demeaning expressions such as ‘I’m stupid, I’ll never learn this’ or ‘what’s the point’. Children and adults may also display signs of holding anger and pain inside.
This level of poor self-esteem affects the individual’s entire life which adversely influences an individual’s ability to make positive choices as well as be close to others. Their own inner tension and feeling of shame can very often lead them behaving adversely, ranging from emotional and physical withdrawal to aggressive and combative outward behaviour. The family is widely seen as an important influence on self-esteem as this is where the initial sense of oneself first begins to form.
As important as family life is, it is rapidly becoming a rare appearance in the world today where the families are breaking down and higher rates of divorce are contributing to an unnecessarily high number of children suffering needlessly. In today’s world, one of the biggest problems we are facing is the growth of independence resulting in the family bond losing its significance and the younger generations missing out on developing vital relationships. Furthermore, in segments of the world, the length of time people are now choosing to spend with their families is decreasing rapidly, all because we are too busy chasing after our careers, money or even to simply make ends meet.Yes, as humans we are social animals and we require company and although we may enjoy solitude on occasions, we cannot prosperor live happily in isolation forever. It is at this point that our family provides us with reasons to laugh, cry, think, express, create and provides reasons to live life.
Our family members are the only network of people who genuinely demonstrate and express true feelings for us and I can most certainly say they remain the only network of people who really care for us. It is our family which keeps us afloat, provide for us without any form of expectation. In today’s society, even our friends have expectations from us, we must call, text, email and even socialise regularly enough to be considered a ‘good’ or ‘real’ friend, but with family, and particularly our parents they don’t ordinarily have these expectations. No doubt they will feel bad and they may even be given good reasons to complaint due to our lack of consideration, yet their love and affection will remain.Always remember that the goodness in you, your nature, your personality and they essence of who you are today is due to your family. It is primarily because of this group of people who you are here today and they will remain the only people in society that you can turn to, even in your darkest hour. You are a part of this unit known as family, be happy that are lucky enough to have a family!
Each year in the month of June a large majority of people are blessed with the opportunity to celebrate the most
significant men in our lives: our fathers. As many of us celebrate Father’s Day we recall and cherish the relationships we have with our fathers, thankful for the number of ways our fathers have supported and guided us at all stages of our lives.
Most people during their childhood have heard the words, “Just wait until your father gets home,” indicated you were in trouble, fearing the moment your father came home. Fathers are commonly viewed as the disciplinarian, the play time partner, and the problem solver contrary to mothers who are regarded as the parent for nurturing, sympathy and comfort from stressful circumstances. However, due to radical changes socially, economically and technically, the structure and function of the family was altered, primarily affecting the role of the father. The role of a father was increasingly seen as trivial, even negligible, and his prominence was limited to the manner in which he provided for the family.
Contributing further to this change was the decreased inclusion of the father within the psychological field. A large majority of studies did not place sufficient emphasis of the role of the father and his contribution towards the development and growth of his child or children was more often than not reported as insignificant or inconsequential. The numbers of studies investigating the role of the father were small and were often based on reports by the mother.
So what is the reality these days? A father’s position in the family has never lost its importance and has never faltered regardless of society’s trends. It goes without saying that fathers do play a very significant role in their children’s lives; fortunately, these days, neither the general public nor psychological researchers view the father as insignificant and acclaimed journals as well as the internet is awash with research demonstrating and highlighting the importance of the father. A large proportion of studies demonstrate that an involved father plays a major role, specifically in the cognitive, behavioural and general health and well-being areas of a child’s life and the recognition and validation of their importance within parenting literature has contributed to fathers being more aware of their value, leading to their increased and renewed desire to be involved in their child’s life. A great number of studies have indicated that fathers who are positively involved in their children’s life provide a valuable foundation for their developmental needs, complementing what a mother provides. Furthermore, research has endlessly revealed that children with involved fathers, on average, demonstrate higher educational outcomes, are highly motivated to succeed, have higher self-esteem and confidence and are less like to be delinquent. These studies cannot be generalised yet fathers remain important where children are better off with a loving and committed father than those without.
Fathers are important for their daughters and while mothers are the nurturing caretakers and role models for young girls, it is the fathers who shape their daughters sense of femininity. A father relationship with in daughter shapes and provides a foundation for what her other male relationships will be like, including with her husband. This unique relationship a daughter has with her father provides examples on how to relate to the opposite gender. Fathers demonstrate to their daughters the importance of equality with their fellow males and they give their daughters respect and praise in order to develop their confidence. The importance of this relationship is immeasurable.
All male children require their fathers because no matter how wonderful a mother may be, it is the father who is the role model which will shape how the child will develop into an adult male. A father shapes his sons development by building common interests, providing their approval and setting good and positive examples. It is these positive examples which contribute towards the healthy development of the son’s gender identity. A father-son relationship is truly a unique bond in which the son will never love another man like they love their father.
A father’s love goes a long way in raising a child to be a well-adjusted adult. As you celebrate your father on Father’s Day this year, don’t forget to remind him how his love and presence shaped you to be the person you are today, how you value the importance your father and how you hope he knows just how appreciative you are of him. Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad. This wonderful day which celebrates our fathers is a day to signify the importance of fathers and how your own father has helped shape you into the person you are today. So take this opportunity to reflect on all the good your father has done for you on this Father’s Day. Show your father how appreciative you are of him, because you probably don’t make it a point to show him your gratitude every day.
Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there.