I’m not certain if the title of this piece is appropriate, but I’m going to stick to it for want of a better one. Yesterday 21st May 2017 was just another Sunday, slow, filled with endless chores and a lot of free time. I hadn’t been feeling all too well, and so I decided to go to Union Square Park, which is like an oasis of peace in the midst of the bustling 14th street area. On days when I have my head full, the park welcomes me with its overarching trees, cobbled stone walk ways, squirrels abound, happily chirping birds and not to mention the abundance of love exuded by plentiful couples that dot the area. It gives me a sense of completion, that there’s still hope left, and that the world is a wonderful place.
Every time I go to the park I’ve noticed, I return with a revelation, like a light bulb that most unexpectedly goes on in my head. The very first time I went there, I was lonely and home sick, I missed my parents, my big fat Punjabi family and most of all I missed my spiritual guru- my babaji who I lovingly call papa. Sitting in the park, going over my thoughts I recalled that moving away from my family was a conscious decision. All this while, I had convinced myself to believe that I came to New York for my family, so that they would be proud of me, so that I could in some way repay them for all that they had done for me since childhood. I have been a huge cost center for my parents growing up, draining them both monetarily and emotionally. I’ve not been an easy kid to raise and they gladly accepted the challenge and kept caring for me without expecting anything in return, but for me to remain a good human and be kind. Which despite the odds, and against my occasional instinct to get back at people, I’ve been trying to practice. But you know what? I was wrong, Realization No.1- I am Selfish. I came to New York for myself, I wanted to escape my life in Mumbai, I was tired of living the same things over and over and needed to jolt myself out of my comfort zone. I wanted to be treated like an adult and wanted my parents to stop making decisions for me. I didn’t want the bothering phone calls every time I was working late or when I was out for drinks with my friends. So, in effect, I did all of this for ‘ME’, to improve my quality of life. My parents though like all good parents supported me in this. Now that I knew that I was selfish, I needed to work on myself.
My boss once told me that the more you give, the more you get, so I started practicing selflessness-sharing my ideas with my friends, keeping no secrets from people I love and being honest and open. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, I’m after all a good person at heart, at least that’s what I believe of myself. And did it help, most definitely it did. My patience levels soared, I’m calmer, don’t snap as much as I did before and am largely at peace with myself. Nothing to hide, no secrets. I thank New York for offering me time to introspect. Its something the pace of my life in Mumbai never allowed. I don’t let emotional baggage build up anymore, I try to rationally address issues that are disturbing me and derive logical conclusions for things that don’t happen my way. The park taught me the importance of talking to myself. It sounds crazy doesn’t it? But yes, we must talk to ourselves. Ask yourself if you’re OK; how your day was; ask if something is bothering you. Seek answers, don’t let yourself go, hold on to yourself, protect and nurture it, heal it, be there and tell yourself that its Ok to let go, and that you don’t have to carry the burden of the world on your shoulders. Most of all Accept Yourself.
Realization No.2- ACCEPT YOURSELF. As humans, we weren’t designed to be perfect. We were wired to make mistakes and learn from them. So, we must learn to forgive ourselves and others. Every person on the face of earth is unique, not good or bad, but unique, different. What’s wrong for me could just be the way of life for another person. It could be his/ her normal, no matter how badly you want others to see your perspective or believe your beliefs or experience what you experience, it’ll never happen, because feelings, perceptions, opinions and values are subjective. So why try to scratch an itch that you have no control over, rather focus your energies on healing yourself.
Another important thing I learned, is the value of having people in your life, people you can discuss your deepest darkest secrets with. It could be friends, a lover, parents, siblings, your spouse or even a therapist. If you have no one to talk to, which is more common than we may care to think, just speak to yourself. No one listens more patiently to you than you. The fact of the matter is that sometimes, its imperetive to just talk about things you feel, it clears your perspective, helps make decisions and saves you from self-sabotage. Realization No. 3: VALUE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS. It is people and not places that make our lives better. People give us memories, create experiences and add meaning to our lives. People empower, encourage and elevate us. They influence us to dream bigger and struggle harder to achieve them. They sacrifice and provide for us. Now, wouldn’t you want to be grateful for people like that in your life? wouldn’t you give the world for them? I certainly would.
This brings me back to the title of this piece. Now I know why I decided to call this article ‘why do people love?’ Let me explain. We love because we want to be loved in return, we care because we want to be cared for, we sacrifice because we expect that if need be, someone will sacrifice for us. As you sow, so shall you reap, the undeniable, universal law of nature. Give love, and love is what you shall receive. As they say, all we do, we do for love.