10 Lessons I Got From Candy Crush

  1. The simplest, smallest, most basic step you take in your journey, matters. Acting on an impulse that feels good can go a long way, even if you don’t realize or see how your contribution affects you in the long run.
  2. It is important to make do with the tools, weapons, guidance and circumstances you have than to bash your head into a wall.
  3. Sometimes, you will experience some form of resistance. Instead of going against the flow, wait for a couple of days, before you return to a circumstance that doesn’t require your immediate attention. The break will help get some perspective on a matter or issue and you can use these lessons to take a different approach.
  4. You will experience blockades, resistance and some form of irritation in life. This only means you haven’t yet clarified or resolved issues, which need to be dealt with, before you can move on.
  5. There are certain challenges that you will experience in life. Those will seem like ‘nightmarishly hard levels’ or ‘hard levels’ and then, there are those levels that aren’t as frustrating or aggravating. The only difference between the difficult levels and the easier ones is how you perceive them. The difficult moments aren’t such because you can’t handle them. They are difficult because you just have to find a more efficient and effective way of tackling them.
  6. Some circumstances and people enter you life to teach you a lesson that you might not have learned, if you hadn’t encountered them. These lessons prepare you for something better and bigger, even if you don’t see it yet.
  7. Work SMART, not hard. Working smart means to utilize the lessons life has taught you to make the best possible use of the resources provided to you. Working hard means putting in more effort than is possible to the point of exhaustion. This is neither healthy nor does it ensure results. In fact, it causes more frustration, resistance and anger.
  8. Enjoy the process rather than focusing on the result. The result seems intimidating and far-fetched, when you don’t pick a starting point. The process seems easier and provides moment, when you go along, because you focus on the things that matter IN THE NOW rather than those that can be dealt with later.
  9. The best way to gain perspective on a difficult matter is to take a step back to consider your options. This way you can weigh out the pros and cons and how your choice of action could contribute to the result that you seek.
  10. Focus on the details but not to the extent that you forget the bigger picture. Focusing on details will get you lost but focusing on the bigger picture will help remember why you embarked on your journey in the first place.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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You Have ONE Job….To Live YOUR Life

What does it really mean to be ALIVE?

Social media adds a reductive angle to it by making us believe everything has to be documented and hashtagged for more likes. Institutions have us believe it’s about formal education. Some parents believe it’s about turning their kids into carbon copies of themselves.

Children believe it’s about getting their parents’ approval and that affects them, as they grow older. The corporate world has us believing it’s about making money and investing that money into our futures or into the lives of those that matter (be it loved ones or charity). The ‘follow your passion’ believers will have you believe it’s about a passion. The opinions of people (who don’t matter) will have you believe it’s about impressing them.

Studies will tell you it’s about bookmarking that study that was carried out by Harvard 3 years ago about how too much green tea can cause testicular cancer. The pharmaceutical industry will have you believe it’s about watching out for that medicine that could save you 10 years from today.

The internet will have you believe it’s about reading all the information in the world, so you can find an article you agree with, in order to use their argument against someone you don’t like or agree with.

SO MUCH NOISE, SO LITTLE TIME!

First things first: no one CHOOSES to be born. It’s not as if we sit up in Heaven or down in Hell and wait for someone to tell us “Yo, bro, it’s, like, your time to be born. You’re going to be brought into the world by Mr and Mrs. Just Want To Have Kids”, when we’re not yet born or brought into the world. If that were the case, we would be familiar with the concept of what it means to be born BY CHOICE but that’s not the case. Mr and Mrs. Just Want To Have Kids don’t go window-shopping for their unborn babies either. The only option they have is to have the kids that they think they want.

At the end of the day, every individual out there, from the beginning of time till the end of the world, is similar to an online product: they are delivered to your doorstep and then, that’s it. You can do whatever you want to with it…..except, we have choices to make, as human beings.

The biggest choice to make is whether you want to live a life coloured by everyone and everything, which does NOT include you or one that is fundamentally yours to live. In the former instance, you get lost because everyone is just as lost as the others out there but they try to seem like they aren’t. Baby Boomers face the same issues that Gen Z does. Gen Z suffers the same issues millennials do. Some people just have more experience living life, because they were born earlier than others, while others are still just getting the hang of things.

Who’s Life Is It Anyway?

Regardless of what category you fall under, the truth is we’re all going to die. It’s not something people confront or they do, but it’s not a reality they incorporate into their lives. I loved both my grandmothers and both of them lived their lives to the fullest but they shared a form of ending no one saw, anticipated or was ready for (because neither of them was ill): they died suddenly. My maternal grandmother passed away early in the morning, in 2008, and my paternal grandmother passed in her sleep, in 2016. Both of them also lived life on their own terms, as far as I know.

That’s the thing about life: it’s fleeting. One day you’re there and the next, you’re not but the only option you have is to do the one job that life offers you: to live it. It’s a challenging job description and no one is qualified but everyone is born to do it. Problems arise when we tie the expectations we have of ourselves and of our lives, with what other people want from us. It’s easy to complain or talk about the economy failing or about how things aren’t what they used to be in the 1960s or 1980s. It’s easy to complain about how parents force everything upon us or about how much money families spend on their kids’ weddings. Ironically, the difficult part is living life on your terms.

Living life on your terms doesn’t mean to react and burn everything or everyone that comes your way. Nor does it mean to become a doormat or that you have to prove yourself to the world. It simply means to use what YOU know about YOUR life to LIVE it to the fullest, without encroaching on anyone else’s life or allowing them to encroach on yours.

Think of it as a job, if you will: you’re less experienced than some but more experienced than others. You have one authority to answer to- LIFE itself- and then, you’ve got peers. No one has chosen to be a part of the organization but everyone comes with his or her own experiences, skillsets and lessons. It has it’s basic terms and conditions: don’t kill, don’t be a hypocrite, don’t betray people, don’t lie, don’t be hurtful, etc.

How anyone chooses to live is something only they can decide but the only form of retirement is death. Also, the only option you have is to live life. You have no one else to blame for how you live it but yourself. You can blame others, all you want, but even the people and circumstances life introduces us to are meant to teach us something. You don’t just “become” friends with someone nor do they happen to just “leave”. There’s no such thing as ‘coincidence’. In fact, even the word, coincidence meant “occupation of the same space”. Therefore, any person or event you encounter, occupies the same space as you do in your life. For the form of connection to form, a cause must exist. A cause ALWAYS exists, even if we don’t see or know it yet.

Life’s the boss and it can’t reprimand you as a human boss would but it WILL tell you whether you’re fulfilling YOUR role by living it truthfully and authentically.

When you’re not living it in alignment with who you are, it’s going to throw curve balls your way. You might not be hanging out with people who are right or healthy for you. What does Life do? It gives you this uncomfortable, heavy feeling when you’re around them. You might be doing a job, which isn’t in line with your nature, only for the money. What does Life do? It will create a set of circumstances that make you reconsider your options. Maybe your boss demotes you or your salary gets slashed or someone else might be brought in to replace you, instead, or you might find yourself sitting at work in the wee hours, neglecting the people that CANNOT and WILL NOT replace you, within 2 seconds, if you die tomorrow because they genuinely care for you. Whether you choose to take these factors into consideration is your decision to make. Life will keep throwing curve balls your way.

Life speaks clearly and most audibly, when you sit or lie down, even for a few seconds, and introspect by running The Reel of Your Inauthentic Life in your head. Life doesn’t mess with you. It will just show you when you’re on a path that is right for YOU and it will make things uncomfortable, when that path isn’t meant for you. You have no excuses to make. You can’t blame Mr and Mrs. Reproduce A Lot for your demise nor can Mr. and Mrs. Reproduce A Lot complain about how you don’t fit their definition of what is right and wrong. Everyone is different and everyone is unique but in some ways, everyone is the same because all that we know is that we are born, not out of choice, because two people happened to bring us into this world.

Your job is to make a choice: to live YOUR life on YOUR terms or to allow others’ opinions and advice to colour what it means to live life. YOUR life is YOUR teacher When Life Says: “You Have ONE Job….To Live YOUR Life”, it will throw as many curve balls your way to bring you to a point where you learn what that means. You can’t really blame other people nor the universe nor your colleagues, friends, parents and job for bringing you to where you are today.

Life will show you who and what is good for you because those will be the only things and people that will stay by your side. It will show you who and what isn’t right for you by taking those things and people away. Your main job is to figure out what it means to live your Life because it is only when you learn to live WITHOUT attachments that you learn what it is to live a life that is in alignment with who YOU are as an individual.

9 Things Smiling Depression Taught Me

  1. It is easy to mistake numbness for happiness. If hollowness is experienced within, you are numb. The cause for this numbness is disconnection from your feelings.
  2. Painting a picture to be seen by others can be appealing. There’s an appeal to making others believe that you are happy, when you are not. This comes from the need to ‘prove’ to others that you are happy.
  3. No one but you are in charge of your happiness. Some relationships and circumstances cause anxiety and smiling depression, too. In such instances, severing ties that make you unhappy, anxious or the need to hide your authentic self, is necessary and healthy. This is because these relationships are formed on false pretenses, where either you or the other individual, or both parties act in a manner that reinforces the façade.
  4. Smiling depression is an illusion. The need to cover up how you truly feel is affected by your environment and who or what is part of those surroundings.
  5. Anger, rage, anxiety and the need to take drastic (not necessarily life-ending) measures is a reaction to the ‘normal’ state of a person with smiling depression. Such emotions come from a place of deep-rooted, unresolved, emotions. The more you stifle such emotions, the more likely you are to suffer psychologically and physically, too.
  6. Individuals with smiling depression do not ask for help. This comes from a place of feeling the need to prove that they are ‘fine’, to reinforce the façade.
  7.  You are likely to shift focus from yourself in an effort to avoid talking about your emotional state and health.  When someone does manage to get past the façade, you are likely to rationalize your emotional health to invalidate ‘negative feelings’ such as anger, anxiety, hurt and depression.
  8. You seek to numb your emotions because you do not think them important enough to address and recognize. Hence, you feel the need to put on and maintain a mask.
  9. Since you have never confronted your negative emotions, you are likely to develop a pattern. This pattern continues to repeat itself due to unresolved issues. The pattern is fueled by the unresolved emotions. Once you confront your emotions- positive and negative- you will be far more in tune with your feelings, health and your authentic self.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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Smiling Depression: When You Smile But Not Because You’re Happy

Smiling depression.

It is a term I came across, recently. The term appealed to me because it combined the product of a positive emotion (smiling) with a deeply misunderstood but real state of mind and being (depression).

I never even realized it was possible to be depressed and smile at the same time. I DID recognize the fact that a smile can be used to mask depression- because I did it all the time- but I didn’t realize I was becoming one with the mask.

The Mask I Created

Creating a mask wasn’t very difficult. In all honesty, it was the easiest task I’d undertaken.

Growing up, I focused on comedy shows, movies, cartoons and on people who seemed happy. The fact that anyone could or was wearing a mask, myself included, never struck me. I was very gullible, at the time, because I believed what I saw.

The process of paying attention to a mask, that seemed happy, enabled me to create my own mask. I didn’t realize that I was smiling on the outside without being happy on the inside. Others believed I was happy ‘all the time’ because of the image I’d created.

Someone asked me how I could be happy on a daily basis. I wasn’t but the fact that people recognized me as a pleasant and (always) happy person made it easier for me to buy into a self-created image.

I became my own creation but something still felt off: I didn’t feel like the person others thought me to be. It was easy to ignore this recurring thought because I had numbed myself completely.

Numbing myself was just as easy. It was easy to laugh, jest and partake in jokes (a lot of which I didn’t find funny, by the way), activities and company that fueled the self-created image. The more material that image was provided, the more real it became.

Additionally, numbing myself from what I actually felt made it easier to convince everyone that I was my mask….that I was happy.

Was I, really, happy?

When The Mask Wasn’t Set Away, The Demons Came Out To Play

When you believe in something or someone, there is no room for doubt. A bond of loyalty and commitment is created between the subject and the belief.

I believed I could achieve the kind of body I wanted (which wasn’t part of the mask). I didn’t know when, how or why I would get in the kind of shape that I wanted to be in. I just knew that getting into that shape was not impossible. In fact, it was completely possible, even if I couldn’t see it at the time. No questions, facts, scientific research or discouragement or opinion would affect that belief. It was just a truth that I’d known and achieved.

When you try to convince yourself of something that does not resonate with you, your consciousness steps in. A very real, almost palatable, hollowness is felt within because consciousness does not allow you to accommodate something that is not true. You feel like a doughnut: your desire to convince yourself is supplemented by sugarcoated lies (that you want to believe to be the truth) but what you actually feel within is emptiness. This emptiness is home to demons, facts and the truth: what you’re saying to yourself is simply NOT TRUE.

I enjoy being by myself. I always have.  However, there’s a difference between who I was pre-mask and who I am, today. Being by my lonesome meant I could focus on making my mask a reality. It meant I could spend more time in denial, trying to convince myself that I was always happy.

However, the more time I spent on constructing a reality that did not resonate with me, the unhappier I became. I felt disconnected from myself because I had disconnected who I was from what I felt. Instead, I felt what I wanted the image to feel. This was clear in the way I behaved.

I was becoming more agitated and irritable but the mask enabled me to justify my emotional state. It made what I felt and put everyone, myself included, through seem like a passing phase. I’d pass snide or passive-aggressive comments and smile. I’d use humor to hide just how angry I was at someone. I’d laugh, instead of revealing how I truly felt about certain jokes and statements, because I wanted people to like me.

Deep down inside, I felt miserable. I was miserably happy. I did all that I could to hide what I was going through. It was when I realized how much effort I put into hiding the truth that I recognized I had, what is called, smiling depression.

The more I smiled, the less people could see it. The less people could see it, the less vulnerable I felt and the emptiness within could be dismissed as a temporary phase…except that it wasn’t.

I Decided To Turn Life Around

I didn’t want to show anyone that I was sad and depressed. I didn’t want to acknowledge it myself because the reality would be far too difficult to bear. Coming to terms with the fact that I was suffering on the inside meant showing the cracks in the image I’d created. It meant letting myself break down and become vulnerable. So, I took small steps.

Fortunately, I had a great support system, which included friends who suggested I give therapy a shot. I was reluctant, at the time, because I wanted to believe I didn’t need help. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t need therapy, even though, deep down, I knew I wanted to give it a shot.

There came a point when I realized I just couldn’t handle the accumulation of unresolved emotions anymore. That was when I took a therapist’s number, from one of the friends I mentioned above, and made an appointment.

I’ve mentioned therapy, in my blog, numerous times, because it truly was a life-changing experience. It was through therapy that I realized I had created a façade to hide the truth: I was unhappy but only seemed happy because I was ignoring what I actually felt.

I spoke to my therapist about myself and confronted everything I felt. I allowed myself to feel everything I had held on to and ignored, for 27 years (I was 27, when I started therapy). I stopped looking at what life did to me and started focusing on how I felt about the illusion I had created.

That was when I realized I had constructed an image that was easily manipulated and could be adjusted so that I looked happy. I didn’t want to look or be sad. I wanted to convince myself that I was happy and that sadness, anger or any other negative emotion, on the spectrum didn’t exist. In a sense, happiness would be immortalized but the truth had a way of making me aware of just how temporary and empty that image was. It did for me, at least, and that was when I realized I had smiling depression.

It all came crashing down on me. A lot of the anxiety-triggering relationships I’d developed were products of my lack of awareness. I smiled, not because I was happy, but because I was depressed and smiles can be used to distract people. A lot of the choices I’d made were products of my desire to maintain a life that seemed happy and unaffected. Everything started to make sense. I wasn’t a fake person but I had created an artificial life that had nothing to do with who I was, as a person.

In other words, I was smiling a smile that didn’t belong to me but to an image of who I wanted to be. I was smiling but I was depressed.

The Image Broke And I Was Finally Happy

Over the next few months, I worked on myself and paid more attention to who I truly am as a person. The friends, who stayed on, gave me space to accommodate the realizations I’d come to terms with, through therapy, in my life.

I started to see how easy it was to let an extended, unreal, un-fake but artificial, version of myself, take control of my life. I realized how empty so many friendships and relationships, that I’d developed to maintain the image, were. I saw how anxious I felt every single second of every single day.

I came to terms with the fact that I wasn’t happy with my life. I recognized that I didn’t need to prove to anyone that I was happy. I realized I didn’t have to be polite to people that mistreated me and that I could stand up for myself. I understood and came to terms with the fact that there were times when I mistreated others, too.

I was finally able to tell the difference between the life that I’d created for the longevity of an image and the one that truly resonates with me. It’s odd to go through a transformation of this sort.

Sometimes, I recall my past but I can’t associate with that version of myself anymore- not because I regret being who I was- but because I can’t go back to feeling the way I did back then. It just isn’t possible for me anymore. I was the person that I wanted others to think I was and that was what fueled the image.

When I came to terms with the fact that there is nothing wrong with accepting my feelings- positive and negative- I learned how to deal with my emotions and mental well-being. I stopped doing things that I thought I HAD TO do to keep the image alive. I stopped ignoring my feelings and emotions and embraced them and the more I did so, the happier and healthier I felt.

A person with smiling depression has a tendency to numb their emotional state with a smile. It’s in the name after all. They tread a very fine line between the reality they want to believe in (that they are happy) and the reality that actually exists and persists (that they are depressed).

Some people believe reality to be an absolute. Smiling depression has a tendency to blur the line between reality and a self-created image, for the sake of an illusion, that seems convincing and real. They smile to make others believe that they are happy to convince themselves that they are not depressed.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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29 Things I Learned About Happiness When I Turned 29

  1. Allow yourself to experience the negative emotions. Experiencing the negative feelings enables you to acknowledge and appreciate the positive ones.
  2. I thought happiness was something I had to work towards. It wasn’t and isn’t. Anything and anyone that didn’t resonate with me caused me distress and unhappiness and anything or anyone that did made me feel happy.
  3. Happiness is more than a smile on a face. It is a lifestyle that seems stressful for others to achieve. A person who experiences happiness merely partakes in company and activities that he or she finds effortless. Those activities are usually linked to talents that are natural to said person.
  4. I used to think anger was the antonym to happiness. It isn’t but indifference is. Indifference is a state in which any and every emotion and feeling is completely numbed so that one feels nothing but complete hopelessness.
  5. Happiness and optimism isn’t the same thing. There were moments when I was happy but not optimistic, when I was younger. Today, there are moments when I am optimistic but that doesn’t always mean I’m happy.
  6. It wasn’t and isn’t my responsibility to make people happy. Likewise, it wasn’t their responsibility to make me happy. The choice to search for happiness in places and company that couldn’t provide it to me (or I to them) was for me to make.
  7. Oftentimes people want others to be happy on their own terms. One person’s state of happiness isn’t the same as another’s.
  8. I assumed happiness was a state to chase and accomplish. I recognized I had things I thought I wanted and yet was unhappy. Ironically, the less I ran after everything and everyone I assumed would make me happy, the calmer I felt.
  9. It really is the small things that matter. Today, I think about the things my grandmothers would say to me- from the jokes to the more serious conversations- and those moments make me happy, to date.
  10. It is possible to be surrounded by people and to feel lonely, just as it is possible to experience happiness in your own company.
  11. Happiness and perspective are correlated. When I was younger, I was furious with the people I surrounded myself with. This state was a product of expectations that I had placed on them. Today, I thank life for introducing me to them because I know what I don’t want in the friends I surround myself with.
  12. Not everyone who seems happy is.
  13. Security doesn’t ensure happiness. I assumed seeking security was the same as seeking happiness. It wasn’t. The search for security was actually a search for a past that no longer exists. Hence, I couldn’t evolve and see how much life had to offer me than what I had known happiness to be in the past.
  14. The more I accepted myself for who I was/am, the happier I felt.
  15. The process matters more than the result.
  16. It is easy to mistake happiness with denial. You can tell which of the two you feel by paying attention to the thought processes that accompanies the emotions. Denial feels restrictive and it tends to make one irascible and easily agitated. Happiness has the opposite impact. It makes you feel light, clear and there’s a sense of knowing that everything has and will turn out the way you want it to.
  17. To be truly happy, it is important to know yourself. Comparing yourself to someone else will never make you happy because everyone has a different journey and experience.
  18. Social media makes happiness a commodity. The further I get from it, the better I feel.
  19. Having a vision for what I wanted my life to become enabled me to get through the tough times. I was aware of how the light, at the end of the tunnel, looked for me. Therefore, no matter what happened, I knew I would get there.
  20. There is nothing wrong with accepting and acknowledging the fact that you’re unhappy. Sometimes that’s the only thing you need to do to change things around. This removes the illusion that you’re happy with a life that doesn’t resonate with you.
  21. It is not possible neither healthy to always be happy.
  22. The company we surround ourselves with does matter. People who aren’t happy with who they are tend to pull others down. People who are will seek to lift you up.
  23. To be happy, it is necessary to be selfish. To give of yourself to others, you must fill your own cup first.
  24.  Life has a way of revealing the people and experiences that makes us unhappy. When maintaining a particular lifestyle or relationship FEELS burdensome, let it go. An experience and lifestyle worth maintaining feels good and healthy, even in difficult times.
  25. Making others unhappy affects your happiness, adversely.
  26. Being kind ensures happiness. Kindness comes from a place of knowing you have enough time/experience/knowledge/material wealth to help others accomplish goals that make them happy.
  27. Revisiting your childhood can provide clarity regarding what makes you happy.
  28. Presence makes a world of difference to our emotional state. Being present means to know who you are, outside of the box that the world puts you into. It means to be at peace with yourself and relieving yourself of expectations and reactions.
  29. The more you care about what others think of you, the less likely you are to be happy. Being happy means to know yourself so fully and completely that you need no one else to validate you or your experiences.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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12 Things I Learned When I Started Feeling My Feelings

  1. Every feeling comes with a message. If I felt uncomfortable around someone or something, the discomfort came with a message: I was not in the midst of someone who could be trusted.
  2. How I felt and what I thought were two different circumstances and experiences. Thought was prompted by judgment and preconceived notions. Feelings were prompted by the way my body felt IN RESPONSE to a person or situation.
  3. The need to ignore my feelings came from a place of fear of what others would think of me. I wanted to live up to an image not realizing that the image only existed for what it was: an image. It wasn’t who or how I truly was as a person.
  4. Anger comes from a place of hurt. It is a state that I would get into because I wasn’t acknowledging the hurt or the pain that I faced in my relationships and career.
  5. The way I felt about myself spoke volumes to the way I felt about life. Anxiety was the product of numbing those feelings out of fear of being who and how I truly am as a person.
  6. Feelings come with a truth that cannot be explained by logic. Just because someone looks happy that doesn’t mean that they are. Just because someone seems sad that doesn’t really mean that they are such.
  7. Thoughts require proof and lives on because it derives proof from the past or from an assumed future. Feelings require one to be present and in the Now.
  8. There is nothing wrong with feeling negative but a lot can go wrong if that emotion goes unfelt and ignored. It is better to recognize the emotion and deal with it than it is to bury it.
  9. Numbing negative feelings caused me to numb positive feelings, too. As a result, not only did I stop feeling upset, hurt or angry but I no longer recognized happiness, joy or love either.
  10. Everyone is addicted to something or the other, when they want to numb their emotions. Overworking, the need to intoxicate one’s self, overthinking and the desire to always stay busy are various versions of addictions. However, since mental health is still not considered to be a serious problem, most people tend not to recognize how addicted they are to NOT feeling their emotions.
  11. The human body picks up on vibes much before the mind does. The mind is only a construct of what it knows itself to be.
  12. We are not our thoughts but we are our feelings. Your mind might make you believe that you aren’t good enough, even when that isn’t the truth. However, if you feel sad, that feeling stems from somewhere: the fact that something or someone has caused you to feel that way.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

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3 Questions That Could Help Reach A Decision On Anything

There is so much white noise and material that can affect one’s decision-making skills. This could come in the form of news, opinions of loved ones, articles and studies, expert opinions and, worst of all, self-doubt.

We like to think answers don’t exist to a circumstance, when most of the time the answer is known to us. In moments of uncertainty, it is better to accept circumstances for what they are than to resist but we refuse to do. That makes the decision-making process that much more difficult.

The best way to know whether a decision is in line with how you feel is to ask yourself the following questions:

Do I want to make this decision?

The word ‘maybe’ tends to keep you in the grey area, when it comes to making any decision. There really is no ‘maybe’. You either make a decision to do something or you don’t. This might sound simplistic but that’s because it is.

Do you want to lose or gain weight? If yes, then, you need to take measures to achieve your goal. If not, you can stay as you are while accepting the fact of the matter, which is fat loss or gain is not an important factor for you.

Who am I making this decision for?

There are two possible answers to this: yourself or someone else. When you make a decision for yourself, you will follow through with it.

On the other hand, when you make a decision for someone else, you aren’t as likely to adhere to the processes that will take you to the end goal. That’s when accomplishing the goal is less about accomplishment and more about forceful effort.

A typical example of this is parents, who stay together ‘for the kids’. While their decision to ‘stick together’ is mutual, their actions and the nature of their relationship prove otherwise. “The kids” become collateral damage in an unhappy, doomed, miserable marriage between two individuals, who can’t stand one another.

Of course, there are instances where making a decision for or with someone else can affect you positively. However, under such conditions one usually takes it upon themselves to achieve a goal. For example, you might decide you want to travel to meet your friends or significant other, in another country. Making that happen is upon you. There’s a positive drive and motivation behind that decision.

What is the first step that I can take towards accomplishing my goal?

I’ve found a clear answer to the first two questions helps come up with a solid plan. You hold yourself accountable and take the necessary steps towards accomplishing a goal. The white noise is canceled out and you achieve clarity on how to get to your destination. On the other hand, you might decide not to bother yourself with the decision-making process at all.

Individuals who are unaware of their actions and the implications of their decisions create a world of chaos. This doesn’t affect them individually. Their decision creates a ripple effect and affects everyone else adversely, too. What matters, more than anything else, is whether you are WILLING to make a decision or not.

Decisions are like manufactured products- if one person in the chain of production messes up, the quality of the product will be poorly affected. The market doesn’t care about the ‘maybe’ or ‘could be’ factors. All it cares about is the product that you’ve created and put out there. The universe works in the same way.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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29 Lessons Life Taught Me By The Time I Turned 29.

  1. You lie to others because you’re lying to yourself.
  2. Feelings are the heart’s way of telling you the truth about a person or situation.
  3. Carrying anger never helps as much as confronting the problem or issue.
  4. The mind is limited by it’s own knowledge on a matter which is why it is important to recognize that you are not your thoughts.
  5. Your intentions don’t matter, if your actions aren’t matching up to them.
  6. Arrogance doesn’t help. Instead, it entraps you in a box that drives everything and everyone good away.
  7. People who are brutally truthful and honest to you are worth keeping in your life.
  8. If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t do it because it will and does take a toll on your mental health and it affects the quality of the work you are willing to put into doing said act.
  9. Read, a lot, because it opens up your mind to a universe of possibilities.
  10. Respect isn’t a birthright or something that you owe someone. It is earned.
  11. Never take your health for granted because it can deteriorate within days.
  12. If you feel drained in someone’s presence, trust that feeling. Feelings are your body’s way of communicating with you.
  13. It is not your job to rescue anyone especially if it’s at the risk of your own well-being.
  14. Teach and learn from people and circumstances rather than belittling them.
  15. Exercise restraint on days you feel angry or low rather than losing your temper at others. You never know what they might be going through.
  16. Judgment is the death of the desire to learn. The desire to learn is the death of judgment.
  17. Your internal narrative matters. If you believe you can do something, you will. If you believe you can’t, you won’t.
  18. Never attempt to hurt someone or to seek vengeance. Karma WILL have its way with you and them, too.
  19. The duration of your friendship doesn’t matter as much as the quality of the bond you have with your friends. Sometimes people you’ve just gotten to know can be far more caring and accepting of who you are than those you grew up with.
  20. Always be true to yourself.
  21. Sometimes what you do might not make sense to others. Do it anyway. If it feels right, it is the right decision to make. Intuition never lies.
  22. Always be honest.
  23. Don’t change yourself for approval or validation.
  24. The life you want is a choice away. You have to decide whether to appease people or to live your truth.
  25. Crying doesn’t make you weak and hurting others doesn’t make you tough.
  26. Your happiness is your responsibility. Be picky when it comes to friends.
  27. When people show you who they are the first time, believe them.
  28. Be your own best friend by treating yourself with the same love, respect and love that you would the people closest to you.
  29. If something or someone causes anxiety and a sense of discomfort within, take that as a sign. The right opportunities and people make you feel calm, not anxious.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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Don’t Know What To Do? Just Surrender!

Somehow, the concept of surrender has become synonymous with that of loss. I assume it has something to do with pop culture, cartoons and television shows that make it seem like surrender is a ‘loser’s’ way out.

Yet most of the charismatic and successful people in the world, from prophets and saints to media giants and multi-millionaire television producers, got their best ideas, when they surrendered themselves to a Higher Power or, for those who don’t believe in one, to the universe.

Even fictional characters such as Elsa (my personal favorite), from Frozen, learned to let go. That was when she embraced herself and her powers!

The Real Battle Lies Within

We live in a world where most feel the need to ‘win’ or to prove themselves to others. Not many people entertain the possibility that their choices, and inability to let go, have brought them to where they are today.

They choose to live in denial about their failures because accepting failure means accepting defeat. Accepting defeat means accepting that their way isn’t working for them. Accepting that their way isn’t working for them means not living up to the image they have created of themselves. Most people would rather be seen as success stories than be at peace with themselves. The problem lies, not in accepting defeat or success but in the fact that everyone wants validation, approval and to prove themselves to everyone else.

I used to think that if I continued fighting, I would succeed and get what I wanted out of life. I HAD to get things my way because, if I didn’t, I’d get irritable or angry. Life didn’t change. In fact, the two times I fought and resisted life the most, were the two times I fell extremely ill. I’ve never been as ill or psychologically, emotionally AND physically affected as I was then.

However, life went on and I had two options: to continue fighting a losing battle or to surrender. I chose the latter. I became calmer and learned more about myself. I didn’t know what to do or how to go about living my life but inner peace was/is important to me. I stopped fighting and just gave in to life because nothing I thought, believed, knew was working for me anymore.

I chose to align myself with who I am as a person, on the inside, rather than allowing external circumstances and people to dictate my life. I let go of any and every expectation I had of life, myself and of my relationships and embraced all aspects of my existence, personality and life rather than fighting myself.

I did the things that brought me joy and spent time with people who made me feel better about myself, rather than those who sought to bring me down.

What didn’t work for me just gave way to the things that did. The friendships, relationships and career path that had become toxic faded away and gave way to healthier ones.

Sometimes You Just Do Not Know What To Do In Life

The one thing I’ve learned is this: sometimes you don’t know what to do in life but it’s better to surrender than to make a decision out of fear. Decisions based on fear have a way of catching up to you and the scary part is you will never recognize this fact until it’s too late.

You might get a great pay but at the risk of your well-being. You could enter a relationship that seems amazing, only to discover it was all a façade. From personal experience, I’ve learned that what is felt or seen as security in the short-run could just as easily be a façade for a world of turmoil in the long run.

The best thing to do, when you don’t know what to do, in life is to surrender. You fight life when you’re fighting against yourself. A part of you is still stuck in the past and believes whatever worked then, should, would and could work, today, too. You’re resisting life for principles, beliefs and reactions that do not serve you anymore.

Surrendering enables detachment from the past that no longer serves its purpose and the future that isn’t yet here. It brings you to a place of peace and complete tranquility. When you surrender, you let go of everything that was and everything that could be, so you can focus on what is.

Surrender is an end to the battle. It helps to surrender because you no longer are a slave to what you’ve learned or assume. You let go of the control that you assume over life to focus on this very moment.

The mental noise fades away because you give your attention to what’s in front of you. The past no longer haunts you and the future doesn’t seem daunting. The psychological pain and attachment to the past no longer overwhelms you. Your emotions are no longer being controlled but can be channeled into creative pursuits. Most importantly, the internal void that craves battles and reactions is filled with a sense of awareness and consciousness.

The internal conflict and battle ends for a calmer, peaceful present. You enjoy what and who you already are rather than constantly fighting who you were. Additionally, the image of who you need to be for a perceived future, which doesn’t exist, subsides, too. You break away from what and who you were and make peace with life and who you are today.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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3 Things That Happen Because Of Anxiety

I grew up with anxiety and still am affected by it. I don’t suffer because of it, as much as I used to, seeing as how I decided to take it upon myself to see a therapist, in 2017. However, it still is a part of my psychological structure and therefore, a component of my mental health.

It wasn’t easy to relate to boys, girls and adults, who didn’t seem to worry, as much as I did. I became friends with people, who only contributed to it further. I developed eating habits and ate a ton of junk food, just because I believed it was something that I needed, to deal with the anxiety. I gained a ton of weight because of anxiety, too. The most difficult part about anxiety is that it BECOMES you.

Every decision I made; every friendship I got into (not all); every choice I made and every thought was a product of anxiety. Even the way I spoke and processed my thoughts affected by anxiety.

Anxiety is a condition in which, even the smallest decision feels overwhelming. The worst part is, it isn’t something that you become aware of. It’s something that you live with and become conscious of (if you decide to take steps to cope with it). That makes it easier to handle but it isn’t a condition or state that can be ‘cured’.

Here are 3 things that happen because of anxiety:

Indecision Is A Norm, Not Temporary Nor Circumstantial

The mere thought of having to make a decision- major or minor- tends to mentally and emotionally exhausting. The thought that setting your foot down could affect you or someone you care for, negatively, is a difficult one to deal with.

You are likely to delegate the power of decision to others or you might leave everyone, including yourself, hanging. This is reflected in so many aspects of your life – career, health (mental and physical), and relationships and even in the way you interact socially.

Everything is a ‘maybe’ because that sense of not knowing appears to be safe. It is easier to live with a lack of consequence than one that might not go the way you want it to.

You Doubt Yourself Because You Pay No Attention To Your Feelings

Anxiety clouds your judgment, gut feelings and the way you might deal with any and every situation, at ALL times. I made unfortunate decisions that affected my sense of self-worth and health, in countless ways.

I hung out with awful people because I didn’t listen to my gut and feelings. I didn’t want to offend them or hurt them. At the same time, part of me sought their approval. The lack of approval was connected with my sense of self-worth. The less I got it, the more I wanted to be approved and validated.

What others thought and felt mattered much more than what I thought or felt. In many ways, I became a doormat and comforted people who I knew would never be there for me. I spent time and energy on them, though I knew how temporary those bonds really were.

The problem with anxiety is that it isn’t just a psychological state but one that governs every aspect of your life. It divorces you from your feelings and inner peace. As a result you pay more attention to how others feel, or what they say, because you seek peace and comfort in their validation and approval. The grass seems greener on any side that isn’t your own.

You Are A Natural Self –Saboteur

Lack of stability becomes a state of stability. Instability feels so normal that stability actually starts to feel uncomfortable and unsettling. Any individual or circumstance that could bring about stability or peace is seen as a threat. Chasing your dreams and going after what you want or love isn’t very easy either. This is because you’re so used to putting yourself down that you accept defeat beforehand.

You are attracted to individuals and circumstances that have an air of danger or threat about them. You opt for relationships that are likely to end on a bad note. On a conscious level you will do everything you can to maintain the relationship. On a subconscious level, you are already aware of the fact that these relationships will end.

Your psyche is so entrenched in and cemented by the anxiety that you cling on to hurtful circumstances. You push away everything and everyone who can help you.

This stems from a place of feeling worthy of such circumstances. Since you’ve known instability, pain, discomfort, anxiety and lack of self-worth for so long, the idea of parting with it can feel uncomfortable. Therefore, maintaining instability feels normal because you’ve never known what it is to be stable. That is how a pattern is formed and repeated, over and over again. You live in your own personal hell because the idea of what might be at the end of the tunnel seems scary and unsettling.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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What It Means To Live A Life Worth Living

I have always been a strong supporter of the statement: be true to yourself. There’s just one problem with the way that statement is (mis)used today: not that many people truly know what it is to be themselves.

Being true to yourself means something: it means putting yourself first and putting everything else second. Anything that harms or hinders you is something that you need to let go of. Anything that feels right (not good nor bad) is something that is likely to get you closer to the kind of person that you know you can be.

I Became Curious To Find My “Me”

I grew accustomed to a lifestyle that wasn’t really reflective of who I was. It wasn’t that I was fake or harmful to others but that I was untruthful to myself, which made me see that I was living a life that didn’t resonate with me.

I would smile or laugh at jokes that I didn’t find funny and put up with people who were/are very different from who I was and am, as an individual. They weren’t bad nor good people. I wouldn’t speak my mind, when I felt something or someone was wrong nor would I take credit for the things that I did right. Gaslighting was a common part of my relationships and I didn’t always stand my ground.

I wasn’t an evil person but I just wasn’t the person that I knew myself to be, inside. I knew I wasn’t happy. It was when the day I turned 27 that I recognized just how miserable I was, deep down. I wasn’t sad or upset, on a conscious level, but I realized just how deeply unhappy I was with myself, at the time. I knew I was happy, on surface level, but I didn’t know that it was what was beyond that level that mattered.

It felt as if a part of me was standing inside, looking at the version of myself, on the outside, thinking “is this really who I want to be?”

The answer was ‘no’.

Most of the time, my emotional state was defined by the way others felt about me and, in turn, about themselves. I was happy, if I could make others feel that way. If I didn’t succeed in that endeavor I would feel unhappy. I believed it was my responsibility to help others, even when it actually wasn’t.

I didn’t realize how much I was still affected by a past that no longer existed. I didn’t realize how much of myself I had yet to discover and take responsibility of. I didn’t have a version of myself that wasn’t a reaction to my external circumstances because I didn’t know what it was to be ‘me’ completely. I didn’t know what it was to NOT seek validation and approval.

In other words, I had accepted responsibility of everyone else’s emotional well-being but not my own. It was in recognizing this fact that I found comfort.

I became curious to find my ‘me’ and what it meant to be myself. That meant taking a step back from the life that I’d created and giving myself the time to see what my life had become.

I stopped going to places and hangouts that drained me.

Life Got Better, When I Let Go of My Inauthentic-self

I stopped meeting people who I didn’t find funny or real. I stopped associating with people to whom friendships were just about having a good time and who made me feel inferior about who I was.

I stopped hanging around or with people who weren’t there for me during the difficult times or who contributed to the pain I felt. I stopped hanging out with people who made it a habit to take a jab at one another for entertainment.

What I’d discovered was a lot of my friendships and relationships were built on false pretenses. Those friendships had no depth and were limited to a few jokes and a past that no longer existed. A lot of the relationships I’d formed were the product of insecurities that no longer existed.

These relationships ended as soon as I stopped forcing myself to put effort into them. I did that because I realized how little those relationships meant to the people I had formed them with.

My anxiety levels were lowered and it became easier for me to accept everything and everyone, for who they were. It became easier for me to accept responsibility over the life I had created for myself. No one but I was to blame for the life I had created. I wanted to believe some of those relationships were good for me, though circumstances showed me that wasn’t the case. I believed in giving people a second chance, when they didn’t deserve it.

The fact that I was unsure and unhappy should have been enough to convince me. A part of me knew this to be truth but the inauthentic version of me wished to hold on to relationships, friendships, circumstances and a past that poisoned my mental health and physical well-being.

Instead of accepting things and people for what they were, I put effort into maintaining relationships that were obviously harmful for me. In some ways, perhaps, I was harmful for them, too. The authentic part of me always showed me cues and signs. Whether to follow those signals or not was a choice that I had to make.

Why Finding Yourself Is Important

Everyone has those moments, where they experience their truest selves.

It speaks, when the people and circumstances, you surround yourself with, do not resonate with you. It speaks, when you experience joy, sadness and compassion and are willing to push forward.

It speaks in the only language that it knows: feelings. The discomfort you feel around inauthentic people is its way of providing you a detour. When you lie to yourself about your feelings, it manifests in the form of physical and mental distress.

Life doesn’t become a bed of roses and flowers but it does feel authentic. Your real self provides you with the comfort, internal guidance and knowledge (that surpasses logic) on how to deal with uncomfortable situations.

Finding yourself means committing yourself to a life that is in harmony with who you really are. It means to know and embrace yourself, outside of the box that people place you in. It means to be yourself, no matter what circumstances, challenges and difficulties present themselves to you. It means building a life that is in line with who and how you are, as an individual. It means committing yourself to a life that is worth living.

You won’t waste time putting effort into factors that don’t really matter or those that harm your truth. Even the difficult moments become learning curves, worth going through, because they are in line with what you have envisioned for yourself.

It isn’t easy to get there but it is worth the ride because you learn to live a life that is true to who you are. You learn to live a life that is worth living on your terms, instead of one that is dictated and controlled by external influences.

A life worth living is a life that is in harmony with who you truly are, as an individual.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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Choose The Lifestyle You Want To Live The Life You Like

Every individual, regardless of age or gender, lives a certain lifestyle. The word lifestyle isn’t something we just read on magazines and websites but it is a choice we make, consciously or subconsciously.

The difference between people who are passionate about what they do and those who aren’t is this: the former knows exactly what they want out of life. Therefore, they make decisions, on a conscious level, which are in alignment with their passions.

They view the world through the lens of their passion. An artist will find beauty in everything around him because that is what his soul calls him to do. A writer sees people, circumstances and nature as words. A singer will view the world around him as something that he can sing about.

An individual who cares about his health will choose a lifestyle that revolves around food options and workout plans. An individual who cares to make a difference in the educational structure and system will choose a lifestyle that revolves around education.

Of course, these fields and the interests mentioned above could overlap, too. A singer can use his talents to promote education. A fitness instructor can use her knowledge to inspire other women, in the world, for example.

However, anyone who is consciously aware of what they want out of life will choose the lifestyle they want to live. Everyone has a driving force that gives him or her a purpose to live, on a daily basis.

In other words, everyone who knows what they want has an anchor: their passion. That anchor enables them to venture into new fields while keeping them grounded, at the same time.

The problem arises when what you want is NOT in compliance with the life you choose to live. The lifestyle one opts for, then, becomes a problem because it doesn’t match up to the reality that an individual knows he or she can accomplish.

You Have To Set An Intention And Go After What You Want

Once you know what you want for yourself, the end goal becomes clear. That’s the vision you want to work towards.

You could be an overweight teenager who knows the kind of body he wants. I was that teenager and knowing what I wanted paved the path to my end goal. I would speak to people older and younger than me about what I could do to deal with my situation.

I would learn from them and apply what they taught, to myself. That helped me get closer to my end goal, which I accomplished, because it was easier to cut past the information, people and circumstances that weren’t helpful. This brought me closer to my goal.

I knew what and who to spend my time and energy on. I’d set an intention and went after the kind of body I’d envisioned.

You Have To Know What You Want Out Of Life

People often know what they want but are scared of standing up for themselves. Or they pretend they want to accomplish a particular goal, when their actions say otherwise.

The intention and reality just don’t add up.

When I was a trainer, people would often discuss diet and workout plans with me. They still do.

One COMMON complaint I get is “I’m doing EVERYTHING I can to lose weight. WHY am I not losing? Should I just go get a tummy tuck?”

I try to understand what they might be doing wrong, to suggest a solution according to their lifestyle and food choices. I’ll start by asking them the following:

  1. What diet are you following?
  2. What workout do you do?
  3. What does an ordinary day look like for you, where diet is concerned?

Oftentimes the answers I’ll get are unclear. It’s not that they don’t know what they want but that they aren’t willing to go the extra mile to get their. Most people DO want to lose weight and know what actor or actress they want to look like. They just aren’t willing to put the work into accomplishing their end goal.

Fitness IS a lifestyle.

It’s not all about 6-packs, eating healthy, drinking protein shakes and doing crunches on a mat for an hour. It’s not about steroids and performance enhancers either. Individuals that do partake in steroid-use make a choice to take them and wean themselves off the steroids. The 6-packs don’t just come from crunches, diet plans and workout plans. It takes passion, commitment and awareness of the end goal.

The end goal- regardless of what it is- DOES require a change in lifestyle. Getting to the end goal is ALWAYS possible. You are BOUND to get what you want, so long as you are willing to put the work you can to get there.

There’s a reason sayings such as “your vibe determines your tribe” and “like attracts like” exist……because THEY’RE TRUE!

It is virtually, physically, mentally and realistically IMPOSSIBLE to not get what you want, if you aren’t willing to work for it. We live in a world where babies can be born out of test-tubes; an entire reality can be created using VR; airplanes fly on a daily basis; human beings can either inspire or instill fear in one another from one end of the globe to the other and a connection or bond can be formed with others, without ever having meeting them, physically.

The starting point for each of these possibilities was an innate knowing that these dreams could be achieved. Individuals who contributed to each breakthrough knew what they wanted. The only thing they needed to do was to set an intention and commit to getting to their end goal. They made choices and created lifestyles that were in alignment with their vision.

You Will Still Face Problems But They Will Be Worth It

Knowing what you want brings about a sense of clarity. You know where you want to go and what you need to do to get there. Therefore, you WILL act and make decisions based on whatever you have envisioned for yourself.

Any obstacles you face will be seen as learning curves. Every moment that you aren’t prepared for is met with conviction. Every setback is seen as an opportunity to take detours that can get you to the end goal. Hence, every step of the journey is treated as one that is worth the end goal.

I’m often asked what it is that I do to lose fat or gain muscle. Honestly, I follow the same tips and guidance I’ve given clients, over the years. In fact, you could easily get this information from any website online.

The next question I’m asked is “So, like, you eat the same thing, every day? The SAME THING? EVERY DAY? I don’t know HOW you do it. I can’t even wake up without sugar in my tea”. The inquirer has just answered his or her own question: they are not committed to the process. Our end goals differ.

I’m willing to make to my diet to get the kind of physique I want. I can go without carbs, eat salads and go for days, without drinking milk or eating junk. Anything I eat or drink is only a part of my diet because I know my end goal. An individual that does not share the same vision is likely to see these lifestyle choices as difficult.

At the end of the day, this is the lifestyle I have chosen for myself. It did come with hurdles, hiccups and involved a lot of trial and error. What gives me comfort is knowing the effort is worth it. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like effort…it just feels like a process that’s worth the end result.

Being aware of the lifestyle you wish to have and live comes with a sense of empowerment, ownership and responsibility.At the end of the day, knowing what you want and where you want to go, DOES and WILL require a change in your lifestyle. If you don’t know what you want- whatever that may be- you will make choices that aren’t in alignment with any sort of vision or lifestyle.

That is how we dig and create ruts for ourselves. The only way out is to choose the lifestyle you want to live the life you like.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. I hope that it resonates with and benefits you to do so.

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

Instagram: HumzahRaja
Snapchat: hmraja89

The Power Of Letting Go

Letting go doesn’t demand the same circumstances and actions that ‘quitting’ or ‘moving on’ does. There’s a difference between the concept of letting go and the latter. The latter demands a reaction to circumstances that exist in the lives that we create for ourselves. You can quit a job because of an awful boss. You could move on from an ex because he or she wasn’t right for you. These are reactions to existing circumstances that we’ve chosen for ourselves, consciously or subconsciously.

The phrase ‘let go’ has a spiritual connotation. It requires acceptance of the circumstances that you are subjected to because they no longer serve you. Letting go means to allow what is to be as is, in order to become the person you know yourself to be. Everyone has his or her own version of letting go.

Saints and prophets let go of the lives they lived because they knew there was something more out there. Einstein let go of the standards that schools held children to and became one of the greatest physicists who we know of. Oprah let go of the hardships and restrictions of her life to become one of the most influential and powerful women of the 21st century. Gabrielle Bernstein (author of The Universe Has Your Back) let go of her dream of having a child because her husband and she were unable to conceive, at the time, and became pregnant shortly after.

When you truly let go, you no longer are affected by what could have been or what was. You accept what IS, without reacting to it, because you’ve truly done everything that you could and can’t do anything anymore. 

If You’re Not Letting Go, You’re Emotionally Attached

We see all forms of attachments everywhere. People cling on to toxic relationships because that’s all they know. Men and women stay in miserable marriages because they are attached to a lifestyle that is socially acceptable. Some people develop an unhealthy attachment to money and material belongings. Parents could develop an unhealthy attachment to their children, rather than accepting them for who they are.

The problem with emotional attachment is that we mistake it for love. Attachment is an emotional state in which we become so dependent on people, objects and circumstances that we end up hurting them AND ourselves in the process.

Love has no conditions and doesn’t cause pain. Attachment does because it evokes a sense of anxiety, insecurity and toxicity in the relationship that we form with everything and everyone around ourselves. This form of emotional attachment is essentially an inability to let go of a toxic version of ourselves.

If You Don’t Surrender, Life Will Make You Do So

Surrendering, to the faith that everything will work out, is part of letting go. I always assumed life was about the ups and downs and that there was nothing else in between. The problem with that sort of thinking, I learned, was that I felt suffocated by my own emotions.

I had woven a web of unresolved emotions and distress. I was attached to the life I had made for myself. No matter what I earned, what job I did, who I was friends with or where I lived, the past kept coming back to haunt me. I never knew what it was to take a step back and think. I had become an angry and reactive person who jumped from one circumstance to another and somehow, all circumstances evoked one sentiment: pain.

Whenever life gave me signs, I ignored them because I didn’t know what was going on. When I lived in a city that wasn’t good for me- a fact that I was aware of deep down- it showed me how and why that was the case through unfortunate friendships and difficult circumstances. I rejected the warning signs only to suffer from a major nervous breakdown and typhoid. The breakdown, as per doctors, was the result of stress and the only thing I could do, at the time, was to move away and so, I did. Looking back now, I realize that was life’s way of bringing me to a point of surrender because I wasn’t listening to the way I felt.

I was stuck in a labyrinth of pain and suffering, made of my own demons and past. When I didn’t surrender and let go, life brought me to a point where I had no other option but to do so.

When we ask the universe for signs and pray for changes in our circumstances, what we often don’t realize is this: the fact that we are so frustrated, put down, hurt and affected by our present circumstances IS the sign that we’re begging for. The only thing anyone can do is to recognize this fact and work towards building the kind of life that they want.

Had I not shifted from the city I lived in, I wouldn’t have been as comfortable as I am in my skin today. Had I not let go of the friendships I formed, I would not have recognized what it is to be secure and happy with the few close friendships and relationships that I’m part of today. Most importantly, had I not let go of the version of myself that was no longer serving me, I would never have been the person I am happy and content with today.

The power of letting go, I’ve realized, lies in the fact that you are willing to let go of everything and everyone that holds you back, from becoming the person you know you are meant to be.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. I hope that it resonates with and benefits you to do so.

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

Instagram: HumzahRaja
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The Magic Of Feeling Pain

Everyone experiences pain- be it due to the loss of a loved one, a painful relationship with family members or the incurrence of an irreversible loss. There’s a difference between the way we feel and process pain today and the way it was channelized prior to the Industrial Revolution.

Why the Industrial Revolution in particular?

Because that was when mankind transitioned from a lifestyle of lack of structure and lack of cleanliness to one of routine, schedules and technological advancements that made life what it is today. I’m not referring to the one in America (which took place in the 18th century) nor specifically about the British Industrial Revolution. I’m talking about any form of industrial revolution that led to the creation of any form of industry that created the need and innovation for technological advancements and discoveries.

Why Am I Talking About Technology & Industrial Revolutions?

Prior to the creation of schedules, technological devices and the need for currency that could be used to buy anything in the world, really, the one thing everyone practically fought war for, was resources and land.

Food and utensils were bought via a barter system (who knew I remembered this much history?) and no one really knew what currency, wealth and the need to impress one another was.

Or maybe they did but the number of people who did so, it appears, were fewer than the ones who felt comfortable in their own skin.

It was in this time period that people channelized their pain and emotions into the work that they did. Artists, writers, pianists (blind or otherwise) and anyone involved in any field of work found it easier, to use their vulnerabilities, to give life to their work. They didn’t rely on social media to communicate with one another.

Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo weren’t Facebook friends hashtagging the renaissance period (#renaissance #homies #artists #lezDoDisBro #LoveYouForevs) nor were they frenemies, creating passive-aggressive Instagram Stories commenting on one another’s work. They just hated each other.

AL-Khwarizmi (the Muslim founder of algebra-) and Al Kindi (he wrote about numbers) didn’t create social media content saying “Got that equation wrong, K bro. #Lolz #LoveYou #FeelinDumb” nor did they create YouTube channels and television shows to throw shade at each other. Can you imagine Al-Khwarizmi sitting on a show being “Yeah, man, we were best friends but he said he knew algebra and I was like ‘Nah, homie, you can’t even but the letter b in Al Jabr but I love you to the moon and back’ because, let’s face it I AM the founder of Algebra” and then, go on to explain his stance on a social media post.

Everyone felt a certain way about something or someone and were more obvious, even in their pretenses. Kings and Queens got married to one another- not for love- but for monarchical convenience and, then, had affairs with other men and women who they DID love.

Everything and everyone was a lot more real than they were post-Industrial Revolution.

Today, we live in a world where, it seems, pain and emotional health is put on the backbench for economic convenience, pretense, and socialization and for purposes that don’t necessarily have anything to do with one’s moral compass.

Pain is discussed but not felt. Emotions are known but not allowed any form of channelization because  it is believed that could ruin your chances at getting a job or finding someone who’s willing to spend the rest of his or her life with you.

In other words, everything is about everyone but one’s own identity, health and oneself. What is odd is that we know this. EVERYONE does but no one really wishes to acknowledge the fact that feeling emotions is a luxury.

How Feeling Emotions Is A Luxury

Ask anyone what they want to be in life today, they won’t say ‘healthy’ or ‘happy’ or ‘loved’ but they WILL say ‘rich’ or ‘wealthy’ or ‘successful. Rich, wealthy and successful are all subjective terms that imply some form of comparison. All 3 words suggest an outwardly view towards life itself. You can be successful, wealthy and rich and still be unhappy in life.

The words healthy, happy and loved have an inwardly connotation attached to themselves. You can FEEL happiness, love and health within, even in the absence of money, wealth and success. Healthy, happy and loved aren’t states that NEED riches, wealth or success but rich, wealth and success NEED health, happiness and love, if one wishes to live a content life. These are not human states to be in but tools that just add to life. They are a means to an end.

This is a fact that is forgotten. Children are thrown into ‘the best schools and colleges’ to acquire the ‘best degrees and education’ and yet little to no attention is given to the fact that these kids might be bullied or become bullies. Neither the bully nor the bullied are given a platform on which to talk about their emotions and inner workings. In fact, they are encouraged to ignore their feelings and emotions. Thus they do the only thing that they know to do: to take out the anger and rage on one another in school.

Women and men are told how to lead their lives and yet no attention is given to the fact that either or both genders’ psychological and emotional state is given no regard and so, they COULD resort to more destructive measures  (embezzlement, stealing, etc.) to keep things afloat.

Every sentiment has a condition attached to it.

We live in a weirdly pretentious time where even the emotions we feel aren’t always our own. The moments we live aren’t our own.

A lot of people put up birthday, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day posts and it’s GREAT to promote love but oftentimes the parent is OBVIOUSLY uncomfortable and horrified with being on social media. You can tell just by the way they cringe and yet, not much is done on a daily basis to celebrate the love that is felt for said parent.

Several friends and couples will put up social media posts, hashtagging the hell out of one another’s lives, and talking about how much they love one another, when the pretense, behind the picture, is crystal clear.

There’s a need to share everything, with the world and no need to take the time to sit back and appreciate or inspect the smaller, finer, things in life, which, really, are the only ones that matter in the end…..unless you’re exceptionally morbid and are willing to make death a hashtag (#dying #dyingggg #almostthere #dead).

It’s one thing to inspire through love and the pain we feel but another to numb ourselves to a simple fact: most people are not as happy as they seem because most of them choose NOT to feel their emotions and the pain that they have had to endure.

There’s a universal need to create a façade that everything is perfect and that everyone loves everything, when, in reality, there’s so much bottled up negativity that isn’t acknowledged.

We’re living in a world that has access to so many tools, which can contribute to the denial of our emotions, that feeling any true emotion is now a luxury.

What is even sadder is that the premise of this negligence and ignorance of pain is fear of feeling (read SEEMING) anything BUT happy all the time. Most people are in denial of the fact that they are in denial!

Why Feeling Pain Is Important

I’ve always been supportive of any kind of content (articles, books, movies, television shows, documentaries, blogs and social media accounts) that has anything to do with positivity. I have an entire list of Facebook video snippets, saved under a list entitled “Inspiration” and a ton of self-help books that have helped me over the years.

However, there comes a point when all of that content becomes toxic and counterproductive: when you deny the pain you feel. That’s where you create an illusion, where everything is fine, and believe you merely need to ‘be positive about it’.

That’s what makes it easier to escape the pain when, say, a friend walks all over you or you make bad decisions, when it comes to work, or you choose not to acknowledge the fact that your diet is just not producing the results that you need, to get the kind of body you want.

Sometimes, you just can’t be positive about it. In fact, most of the time, you have to know, feel and deal with the negativity to move on to the positive. Otherwise, you’re just using positivity as a way to numb the pain because you’re afraid of taking responsibility. No, denial is not positivity. Using positivity to justify denial is negativity and it won’t help you, at all.

I had a lot of unresolved anger and pain that I didn’t care to explore until I turned 27. Before I was made to recognize how much pain I was truly carrying, I would seek to put a positive spin on everything. Everything was done, experienced and the negatives were ignored, in the name of positivity.

Toxic individuals were excused to maintain a ‘positive’ spin on everything (consciously and otherwise). Anyone and everyone, from the worst to the best people, were allowed to walk in and out of my life. I sought to maintain relationships with people whose beliefs and mannerisms didn’t resonate with me. There were no boundaries.

Anxiety-triggering thoughts were harbored because I just assumed everything would turn out great but it didn’t. I was in denial. The more I denied the pain I was carrying, the worse everything got for me.

The less I entertained the negative feelings, the harder it was for me to acknowledge the fact that everything WOULDN’T just turn around, without any effort. The anxiety just got worse and it became prominent in the way I dealt with friends, family, work and even in the way I thought or dealt with myself!

I became angrier but didn’t realize why or when. I wasn’t able to focus on ONE task because there was so much else that was affecting me at the time. I couldn’t be present because thoughts about the past and the future haunted me AT ALL TIMES.

Staying positive was just not doing it for me, anymore. It became a façade. I needed to feel the pain to find a way through the darkness and to the end of the tunnel, where there was light. And I DID.

It took a while for me to recognize the denial but when I did, I recognized just how easy it can be to do everything and excuse everyone, in the name of positivity, when really, what I was doing was denying my feelings. Denying my feelings numbed me and the numbness prevented me from feeling or accepting any sense of responsibility over my life.

Accepting it, on the other hand, had the opposite impact. It enabled me to deal with my circumstances in a healthy manner – not just for me but also for the people that were (and still are) part of my life. It became easier to make decisions and to accept that sometimes, you just have to deal with painful circumstances, without looking for the positive in a negative circumstance.

Pain, much like any other experience, exists for a reason, regardless of it’s nature (psychological, emotional, physical or otherwise). It NEEDS to be felt. It HAS to be known and recognized. The whole point of pain is to draw our attention to a circumstance, so that it can be rectified. No one can be happy ALL the time. It just doesn’t make sense to be that way. Even rainbows need rain and storms before they can be seen in the sky.

Denial of pain is not just toxic- it is catastrophic and has a horrible spillover effect. The pain governs one’s relationships; approach to life and themselves, too. Acceptance of pain has a long-lasting, positive effect.

Why Feeling Pain Is Magical

Pain, of any sort, has a way of making things better, once it is accepted.

It helps make better choices.

A person who hasn’t dealt with their pain will, subconsciously, create and unwittingly orchestrate their lives in a manner where a pattern is created and repeated, over and over, again. The pain is reflected in the way they deal with everything and everyone around them.

Why do nice people attract bad circumstances? They don’t deal with the very factors that caused them the pain in the first place. Hence, they will always attract bad relationships, make bad decisions and go for options that don’t resonate with them.

On the other hand, feeling the pain and accepting it for what it is, helps make better decisions because you are fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Any decisions you make are, then, imbued with self-awareness and self-love. You become hyper-focused on what helps you grow and are aware of the fact that you have a choice in your life’s affairs.

You become aware of your likes and dislikes and can make decisions, accordingly.

It makes you more present.

Denial creates a vicious cycle, where one is trapped by his or her own thoughts about the past and the future.  It convinces us that our futures will be reflections of our pasts. A person with unresolved issues will, then, do EVERYTHING in his or her power to escape or numb the pain, in the hopes that everything will turn out the way they want it to.

This person becomes a slave to a time that no longer exists and therefore, the present moment is neither enjoyed nor treated as a moment to be enjoyed. The bigger problem is such a person’s relationship with life, as it is now, becomes reflective of the past and a future that doesn’t exist.

This is why a parent, with unresolved childhood traumas of their own, will impose their beliefs and experiences on to their children. These children, then, grow up to be EXACTLY like their parents, because they haven’t dealt with their own pain. This is why formerly overweight people tend to be scared of eating certain foods, even after they have lost weight and look GREAT (speaking from experience). This is why people make poor choices in the way they choose their relationships (any relationship). In other words, denial causes us to impose our fear, pain and traumas on to others.


Dealing with the pain does 2 things:, it draws your attention to the fact that you can make choices, IN THIS VERY MOMENT, to change your past, for a better future.

Second, it is empowering because you are, then, aware of the fact that you really DO have control over your life and can break the vicious cycle of pain.

You waste less time.

As the saying goes: you only have one life. Why waste it on choices that aren’t healthy for you?

As you recognize pain within yourself, you also start to notice what life choices and relationships are good for you and those that are not. Some people are in so much pain and carry so much negativity that they will inflict it on to others via emotional blackmail, backhanded compliments, bullying, etc., effortlessly. They can’t help it because the truth is that they haven’t dealt with the pain they’ve been carrying, all this time.

What does this have to do with you?

It becomes easier for you to recognize the fact that what they say or do is not about YOU but it is about THEM.

This very fact makes it easier for you to decide the kind of company you would like to surround yourself with or be in.

You Learn To Forgive & Love Yourself.

Everyone feels pain, for different reasons, but that very sentiment is personal. It is something that only YOU can feel. The person carrying and ignoring that pain only breeds more of it. It, then, takes over their bodies and affects their physical and mental health.

It stays within and creates patterns that repetitively inflict the same pain that one ignores. The WORST part about pain is that it controls you to the extent that every choice you make or step you take brings you back to the pain you’ve been ignoring. Isn’t that awful? It’s as if you’re stuck in a labyrinth of your own emotions. The only person contributing to the maze is YOU.

The magic of pain lies in the fact that it sets you free from within. Feeling the pain makes you more compassionate, caring, understanding and aware of the fact that it is in being kind to yourself that you can be freed from the hold it has over you. Everything that you do, say and decide is no longer a reaction to what others want or expect of you. Instead YOU lead your life from a place of consciousness and self-love.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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What Life Taught Me About Loneliness

I never knew what it was to be lonely. I enjoyed my company, even when I was 5 years old. I still do. There’s something empowering and enjoyable being alone with the only person who knows me better than anyone else: me. I was my own best friend. If I were sad, I would spend time on my own, figuring out how to deal with that sentiment. If I were angry, I would spend time on my own, figuring out why I felt that way. If I were happy, I would express that sentiment by coloring and/or watching cartoons and movies that resonated with me or I’d play outside.

I had friends but carpooling, play dates and sleepovers weren’t very common back then (‘back then’ is something I can finally say, today, because I am that old). Video games, iPads, smartphones and technological devices weren’t yet as common as they are now, either. So, when I was by myself, I knew what it was to be with myself and who I was as a person, too.

Growing up wasn’t something I regretted, then. I enjoyed growing older then and I enjoy each year that passes by, now. To me, age is and was something to be celebrated because it marks another year of experiences that taught me something about life and about myself.

The problem with growing up wasn’t how I looked at it. I always knew myself for who I was. The issue with growing up is and was the fact that you start to MEAN something to people. I know I did.

I’m not saying the positively nor negatively but in a way that is factual: growing up had a way of making people around me think they could attach certain stipulations to my existence. That might have been the case, when I was a child, too, but the expectations became more pronounced and obvious.

Everyone goes through that. I know a lot of people that I was friends with, back then, did. It was strange feeling for me to know emotions that actually had nothing to do with me and yet were superimposed on my existence by people I didn’t know nor care for, at the time.

However, I was a very unassuming and naïve child. So, I allowed myself to give all sorts of people second chances. I wasn’t familiar with the concept of boundaries or with the idea of standing up for myself. I thought everyone wanted the same things from each other as I did them: friendship, fun and a general sense of togetherness. That’s what it means to be friends, at that age, after all.

As I grew even older, I recognized something- a truth that I hadn’t yet acknowledged but only came to embrace in action, not in words- I was still the same kid who enjoyed his company but just in a bigger body.

The body grew bigger and bigger till clothes my family bought me just 2-4 weeks ago, wouldn’t fit me. I was eating more. As my company grew, so, too, did the amount of food I was eating. As I grew older in age, the expectations attached to me (as they did for people around me- good and/or bad) grew, too.

Emotions became confusing, and not because I was going through puberty, but because people become complicated. It was tougher to understand myself because I was in company that seemed happy and cheerful but was actually lonely and void of any sense of empathy or sympathy.

Adulthood Is Weird

Adulthood is a strange time to be in, today. I say ‘today’ because I’ve read about saints, prophets, artists, authors, writers, etc. who just were who they were, back when everyone wasn’t doing what they were doing to impress people. They weren’t being untrue to themselves to fulfill expectations. Everyone just was who they were. If they were liked for it, great and if not, there was nothing wrong with that either.

Today, adulthood comes with strings attached that you aren’t entirely aware of but, as you grow older, you KNOW and can feel the difference between the way people treated you, when you were younger and the way they treat you, when you become an adult. It’s something like being a coloring book that all the other adults can’t wait to color their projections, insecurities, anger, happiness and other emotional states on to.

Of course, there were and still are wonderful people who support me, and one another, in different, loving ways but they’re not the ones who made me feel lonely. For that matter, the people who were malicious didn’t make me feel that way either.

Loneliness Is Self-Abandonment

There’s a quote (that I loathe): misery loves company. That has to be the stupidest quote I’ve come across because it’s just not true. Misery loves misery. Company loves company.

I believed then, what I believe now: whether we know it or not, everyone creates their own lives and reality. The problem with misery is that it is a void that is filled with pain and hurt that we carry with ourselves but aren’t yet aware of. When several miserable people come together, each one of them carries pain and emotional baggage that they inflict on to other people.

I’d created a life where I was surrounded by such people, too, because I, myself, wasn’t happy inside. I didn’t recognize it, then, but I do recall feeling anxious ALL THE TIME. Deep down inside, I knew who meant what and that certain statements or behavior just wasn’t excusable.

Sadly, I had abandoned myself by this stage, which meant I didn’t stand up for myself nor did I care to express to others that they were unkind in their demeanor. I’d find ways to excuse the other person for what they said and/or made me feel by justifying their actions. Something that was said in humor but carried a sense of malice was dismissed as ‘humor’. People who ‘seemed’ sweet were accepted as such, even though later on they showed themselves to be anything but kind. The issue with standing up to such cruelty is

  1. Such behavior was treated as normal or ‘in good fun’, by everyone including me and
  2. You either become the company you hang out with or it has a way of sinking in till you break down.

I had abandoned myself by allowing others to treat me in a way that hurt me and yet acted as if though they were my friends. Then, there were those who didn’t necessarily treat each other or me with malice but their priorities were different. Either way, I did feel lonely. It was strange to have all these friends and yet to feel lonely. What was even weirder was to know there are so many people out there who feel the same way.

It’s Easy To Blame Others

But that doesn’t mean we should do it.

Everyone just is the way that they are and no one can change that about them unless they choose to acknowledge that fact. Some people enjoy being a part of the void and impose their misery on to others, in subtle, insidious ways. These are the people who contribute to the void of misery. These people tend to be larger in number because they find ways to distract themselves from the pain they carry within and flock together.

Then, there are those who enjoy their own company and surround themselves with fewer people. They tend to know themselves better and make choices while being aware of what they like and dislike, without giving weight to anyone else’s opinion. The advantage of knowing yourself is that you learn to make choices that impact you in ways that you are aware of.

What I learned was this: no matter how many friends I had, or what walks of life they came from, the only difference between how I felt, the only person who could handle and know how I felt was me.

Everyone has a different story but we become lonely in our own, when we allow ourselves to lose who we are to their plots.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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I Wore Turquoise for A Month &Here’s How It Affected Me

I am a big believer of energies, vibes and the way people, circumstances, objects and places make me feel.

Feelings, in general, were something that I kept to myself and/or ignored because I believed it was better to be nice and polite and to try to find the positive in everything and everyone.

There’s one major problem with being nice all the time: you become a doormat, even to yourself, and the scary part is you don’t even realize how much you contribute to your own misery.

The Inner Voice of Wisdom

The unfortunate part about denying what I truly felt was that I was living a life that I enjoyed at the surface level. I was spectating my own life. I’d try to stifle that voice that told me the truth: I wasn’t sad but that didn’t mean I was happy.

You know the voice I’m talking about? EVERYONE has heard it. The one that pops up over and over again, when we have to make a decision? The voice that is gentle and truthful, which makes it easy to ignore and deny? The one that enables you to see past the facade that people create (and yet you might have ignored it)? THAT voice.

Ignoring this voice makes life difficult and challenging but we don’t realize nor see that, until the universe brings us to a point, where we are no longer capable of concealing the fact that we are not happy with the lives that we have constructed for ourselves. Admittance of misery is the first step. The second step is upheaval. Upheaval is permanent change. It changes us within, viscerally, and prompts us to acknowledge just how much our lives are out of sorts with who we truly are as individuals.

It isn’t just mental nor physical but psychological and emotional, too. You start to see things that you didn’t before; realize facts that you didn’t before and feel things in a way that you never did nor could before.

Sticks & Stones Don’t Always Break Bones, Some of Them Can Tame You

Logic is the mind’s means to survival. However, there’s one problem with the mind: it is limited by itself. We tend to think first and reject how we actually feel about a certain decision. Everything might seem great at surface level but it’s not until what we feel actually comes true that we realize we should have listened to our hearts all along.

Going through an upheaval, recently, made me anxious because it enabled me to see just how much I had contributed to a life that didn’t actually make me happy. It was a life that made me numb, drained and exhausted and no one but I was to blame for a life that I had created on shaky grounds. The universe had now brought me to a point where I needed to acknowledge the truth: I wasn’t happy because I had created a life that wasn’t even in line with who I actually am, as an individual.

Essentially, it wasn’t my life at all. It was a life I’d created in response to the need for approval and validation that I’d felt for a long while, prior to my 27th birthday. The upheaval I’m experiencing now was bound to happen at some point or the other but an upheaval doesn’t just cause you to uproot your life- it makes you re-evaluate everything and everyone, including yourself.

Experiencing an upheaval after 28 years of my life wasn’t easy. I was questioning EVERY aspect of my life and that made me anxious. It was around this time period that I was advised to wear turquoise to tame my anxiety.

By this time I had tried everything from reading and distracting myself to eating, journaling and posting on my blog to just asking God and the universe for help and a sign. Those things DID help me to an extent but it’s easy to ignore the impact, when the mind is blaring criticism.

So, I wore a light-blue turquoise pendant for a month. The lower part of the stone, I was instructed, must touch the skin, to have an impact. One can wear it in the form of a pendant, ring or bracelet.

How The Stone Helped Me

The thing about anxiety is that it doesn’t go away. It becomes manageable but it doesn’t ‘get cured’, completely. I’d been to therapy for a year and a half and it has impacted me positively and to a great extent.

The anxiety is a whole lot better and more manageable, even during the emotional upheaval, but anxiety-triggering emotions had become frequent. I could manage them much better than I did pre-therapy but it wasn’t easy to stop the thoughts completely.

However, turquoise changed things for the better because:

It has a calming impact on the mind.

I don’t get overwhelmed anxiety-triggering thoughts the way I did before. It’s easier for me to put myself at ease, by observing my thoughts, rather than letting them get the best of me. They no longer affect me emotionally nor mentally.

It’s easier to pay attention to my feelings now than it was ever before.

I’m open to change but the kind of transition I went through was sudden, major and had a big impact on the way I thought and saw things. It is tempting to give in to thoughts of anxiety, anger and resistance than it is to let things flow. I’m a big believer in letting life and energy flow.

Anxiety made the transition confusing, frustrating and I found myself resisting change. How I felt was often confused with what my mind wanted me to believe and that just made the process that much tougher.

I could feel an emotional buildup and that inner voice bubbling up to guide me but it was stifled in the noise that the anxiety enabled my mind to harbor. Now, I am able to hear the inner voice and make better, healthier, decisions that are good for me in the long run, too.

It has a centering affect.

External circumstances have a way of unnerving a person who has to deal with anxiety. What I went through distracted me from what was important, to me, and had a way of affecting me to the extent that I felt imprisoned in my thoughts.

The thought-triggered anxiety, anxiety-triggered thoughts and various experiences that I went through de-centered me. I was no longer paying attention to what was important to me and tried to control what was going on around me. Again, I was resisting change. 

The stone, I felt, centered me and made it easier to focus on myself. I felt it was easier to go through the jargon of anxiety and to find my center. This strengthened my decision-making skills, too.

It filters out thoughts that have no purpose and makes it easier to focus on the things and people that actually do matter.

The stone helped move past the thoughts that didn’t really matter nor had any impact on me, and to focus on people, objects and circumstances that made me FEEL good, instead.

The mental gibberish that contributed to my anxiety subsided and no longer haunted me to the same extent that it did before.

I wasn’t too sure of the impact the stone would have on me but I thought to give it a shot for a month. It certainly has had a positive impact on the way I feel and think and has made it easier for me to pay attention to what I actually know I want over what I THINK I need.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog post. 🙂

Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

Instagram: HumzahRaja
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A Writer’s Block Taught Me Something About Hell

Everyone experiences some sort of block at some stage in their lives but the frustration we experience is rarely ever about the block…..it’s more about the emotional baggage we carry with us.

I stumbled on a ‘writer’s block’ and couldn’t come up with more ideas on what to write about nor how to just let the words flow. It felt like every sentence I wrote required EFFORT.

Something inside me was resisting the urge to write. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from something you enjoy, every now and then, but when it feels forced, taking a break does, usually, help break that blockage. That’s probably why we’re taught to answer all the questions we know, in a test or exam, and then, come back to the ones we find difficult or challenging.

I started pondering over the other blocks that I’ve faced in life. A block, I’ve learned, is any moment, person, event, occasion or inner resistance that prevents us from reaching a destination that we KNOW we can get to.

Blocks are frustrating but the only person who can break a block is the person experiencing it, no matter what aspect of life it has come to exist in.

Have You Ever Thought About Hell?

I mean REALLY thought about it.

Everyone is familiar with the whole afterlife concept of Hell but there’s an important factor about it that most people don’t really take into account: it’s a torturous place where the same things will keep happening over and over and over and over and over again, for ETERNITY.

In essence, it’s a place where every individual will be subjected to some method of pain and torture, on a loop. Punishment will be on auto-pilot while pain will be a never-ending experience. There’s no escaping from it.

You want to know something dark?

Most people are already stuck in their own version of Hell.

What makes it worse is the fact that they don’t realize it. They don’t want to accept nor acknowledge just how much they torment themselves on a daily basis, by holding on to the same principles, beliefs and ego-driven approaches over a period of time that normalizes the pain.

Every morning they wake up and see how their lives aren’t what nor where they want it to be. Every night they sleep and hope ‘tomorrow will be a new day’ and sometimes it is but sometimes it isn’t.

Think about it: a smoker says he wants to quit smoking tomorrow but each tomorrow is met with a justification for the habit- “I’m stressed”, “I just got divorced”, “Life didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to”, “I’m figuring myself out”, “I hate my family”, “I hate my job”, “I work in a very stressful field”.

Someone who isn’t happy with their physical appearance, wants to lose or gain weight, promises she will start from tomorrow but then, that goal is met with excuses such as “I’m stressed”, “My husband is a horrible human being and doesn’t support me”, “The kids drive me INSANE”, “My life is a mess”, “My parents annoy me”, “I’ll start from next week because this week there are SO many weddings”.

An unhappy employee complains about his/her job and promises to leave it tomorrow but then, that tomorrow is met with “My boss just promised me a bonus”, “My life is a mess and the only thing keeping me sane IS my work”, “I hate my boss because he/she calls me at 1 AM about those reports I had to send in”, “I don’t want to start ALL OVER AGAIN”.

It’s not that they enjoy it on a conscious level but that they have normalized the pain for themselves to the extent that they can’t seem to escape it.

Life Doesn’t Stop For You No Matter Who You Are

One can explain their causes and justify themselves to the whole world but the fact remains: they aren’t happy with where they are in their lives and don’t do anything about it.

They find reasons that make sense to assuage themselves of the guilt they feel over not recognizing and accepting responsibility of their own lives and actions.

The solution, generally, tends to be extremely simple: deal with the problem (whatever it may be) or walk away from it. Time doesn’t know how to stop. Life doesn’t know how to halt. The people we include or exclude from our lives don’t know how to be anyone but who or what they are (until they make a conscious decision to change).

The person facing a block has two options: to walk away from those circumstances or to deal with them head-on.

Most people don’t like to accept that because taking responsibility means spending a good amount of time on looking at themselves in the mirror, to recognize how they have created and are living in their own version of Hell.

What does one do?

Surrender By Living In The Moment

If you’ve read through previous blog posts, you’ll know that I’m going through a life transition myself. The ONE thing I’ve learned, in this transition, is to stop resisting the change and to accept and allow it.

I learned and implemented it in certain aspects of my life but what I didn’t realize was that I needed to surrender a version of myself, that reacted to the change, and to allow myself to live in and through the transition that I’m experiencing.

A reaction is still a form of resistance and the more I reacted to something or someone, the more, I realized that that person or circumstance still had a degree of control over me.

At the end of the day, I had a choice to make in every and any aspect of my life: to accept everything for what it is/was and to change things around or to react to the transition and go back to the way my life was earlier.

The problem with option 2 was that the transition had already started. It wasn’t as if I didn’t contemplate over returning to my pre-transition lifestyle. Now, I felt differently about the same experiences that I would enjoy back then. For a moment, I did make an attempt to go back but things just weren’t working out the way I thought they would.

So, I made a conscious decision to do something I’d never done before- I surrendered. The word ‘surrender’ is often considered to be something that a ‘loser’ would do. It actually means to just give in to whatever you’re going through, taking a seat back and accepting the fact that your life is how and where it is, now, because of the decisions YOU have made over the years. It helps thaw the blocks we experience in our lives.

I simply took a breather, after a long and anxiety-triggering moment, and looked at how I’d contributed to MY personal Hell. I stopped thinking about how my life and the people in it ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t be’ a certain way and accepted everything as is.

The ‘shoulds’ and ‘coulds’ of life made me feel like I was hitting my head against a wall that JUST wouldn’t budge. Without these expectations and standards it became that much easier to just let things flow.

Eckhart Tolle, in The Power of Now writes, “(But) as long as negativity is there, use it. Use it as a kind of signal that reminds you to be more present”.

Being present, despite what most people believe, doesn’t mean to sit in a dark room and meditate. It simply means to accept what IS rather than allowing what HAS or COULD HAPPEN to affect where you are, in this very moment in your life.

Problems occur where there’s resistance and resistance is experienced when you believe that life should or needs to be any other way than it is HERE AND NOW.

Everything exists as is and the only way to change ANYTHING is to accept that and internalize this fact and then, take steps that resonate with the person that you truly are, to make the kind of life that you want. In other words, doing the things we don’t really want to do creates resistance. Resistance can be experienced as financial loss, emotional pain, fights, loss of material wealth, poor health, unhealthy relationships and the like. This occurs when you don’t have a good relationship with YOURSELF.

How did a writing block teach me this? Because up until now, I really wanted to write on SOMETHING that resonated with me and I couldn’t figure out what to write. Once I sat back and simply surrendered to the moment, this article and everything I’ve written in it, came to me without any effort or resistance!

At the end of the day, resistance is created because we’re going AGAINST life and who we are as individuals. It is for us to decide whether to continue working against life or to accept everything as it comes and to let things flow.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

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Happiness Is Like A Beach Body

The problem with getting a beach body is this: everyone knows what it looks like; everyone seeks guidance on how to get it; everyone wants it and even if they have ALL the information in the world, THEY JUST DO NOT CARE TO WORK TOWARDS IT.

One can either adopt the approach of a Doberman or that of a German Shepherd.

What The “Woof” Do Doberman and German Shepherds Have To Do With Anything?

A few weeks ago I happened to meet a dog trainer who explained every dog’s intelligence is measured against the intelligence of German Shepherds.

Evidently, German Shepherds are THE MOST intelligent dogs in dog world. They are given 100 points on whatever test helps determine a dog’s IQ level. They will do as they are told and can be trained with ease.

Doberman, on the other hand, are allocated 60 points.

They know EVERYTHING that they are taught and trained to do but they will actually DO nothing with that knowledge. You could tell them to do something but, if they feel lazy, they will do NOTHING with all the information their owner’s bestowed upon them.

This is a common approach that everyone towards something or the other in their lives. They KNOW what to do about a situation but avoid doing it either because of fear and anxiety or because there’s so much white noise (made up on what OTHERS say, think and believe on a topic) that their internal compass’ wisdom is distorted in the process. Or, of course, they’re just plain lazy and enjoy basking in their laziness but won’t admit it.

In other words, they can be German Shepherds, but since we live in an era of such convenience and luxury, they don’t feel the need to put effort into ANYTHING- be it their work, career, relationships or THEMSELVES- and have become doberman.

This is why technology has become sleeker while human beings have gained weight over the years. This is why it’s easier to get gadgets and gizmos than it is to spend a fraction of what they know, on working towards beach bods.

Happiness Is An Illusion If You Believe That….

It can be obtained and is determined by external circumstances. We’ve all heard how and why relying on wealth and external factors can be toxic and even harmful, where happiness is concerned.

Here’s the thing though: everyone knows the truth and yet, most people revolve their lives around the same factors because that’s all we were taught to look at, learn and acknowledge.

Deep down inside, EVERYONE KNOWS that brand new cars, houses, relationships, money, friends and city or country won’t make them happy and yet they seek to acquire this mirage that they will NEVER be able to hold nor know.

Why?

Because…doberman logic: it’s easier to be lazy, give in and to blame others than it is to accept responsibility, take a stand for ourselves and to change our circumstances, using the knowledge that we’ve acquired over the years.

Happiness has BECOME an illusion because people base what we feel on what OTHER’S know about a topic, subject or person and social media and technology fuels that fire.

How?

We are exposed to movies, songs and shows that create this world of illusions and is so easy to fall prey to…and most people choose to believe it. They converse with individuals who seem to possess the success, traits and are happy with themselves…and instead of learning from them, dismiss their wisdom and knowledge by saying “he/she is an exception but that doesn’t apply to everyone”. They dismiss what they know to be truth about themselves, their relationships, the work they do, the career they develop and their relationships with themselves….because, again, Doberman logic.

They do the same things over and over again, expecting different results, not realizing that they are falling into a trap of insanity and emptiness.

I Used To Be A Doberman

I had a very troubled past- something that I’ve spoken about here, on my blog- that lead me to feel and believe that life just was tough and difficult.

There came a time in my life- I believe it was from 2011-2013- where I believed that happiness was unattainable, unachievable and a myth. I’m all about positivity, joy and being true to yourself but for those 2 years I was the COMPLETE opposite of who I used to be before 2011 and who I became after 2013.

It was in this particular period that I blamed EVERYONE for my misery. I held onto the notion that happiness doesn’t actually exist and that life just is this mundane path of misery. I was numb, dumb and young. The most difficult and dangerous part of youth is this: we’re living in a world where the ‘should be’s’, ‘would be’s’, ‘have to be’s’ are given more importance than the need to be yourself. Some people grow up conforming to this system; others rebel against it or learn from it but when you’re young, it’s easy to forsake the world, assume that you have no power and that life will NEVER improve.

Furthermore, if you’re not given the tools to fight against this notion, it can be even more tempting to numb yourself and give in to your misery. Oscar Wilde wasn’t entirely inaccurate when he said “Youth is wasted on the young”.

I allowed people into my life who I was neither amused by nor happy surrounding myself with because I thought that being nice and kind was important……but I was wasting MY time on people who just didn’t resonate with me. I followed workout plans and diet plans that I KNEW were affecting my body adversely…..but I was wasting MY health on diets and workout plans that weren’t right for me. I was friends with people who had priorities that were very different to my own….when I COULD have spent time on pursuing MY dreams and priorities. In other words, I wasn’t happy. I knew what I had to do to ‘fix’ my life but I was a Doberman.

In my defense, we aren’t taught to stand up for ourselves nor are we taught to rely on what we know to be the truth, for ourselves, today. Everyone is aware of the importance of kindness but not many people are aware of the fact that sometime’s it’s just plain silly to be generous towards people who will take advantage of them. Everyone knows what they are good at and yet they are taught to work jobs for money, until they realize that money isn’t everything.

Everyone is taught to be what everyone else wants everyone to be but no one is taught to be HIMSELF or HERSELF, today.

This was something I learned later on in life, through therapy. It was only when I went to a therapist that I decided I wanted to be a German Shepherd. I learned what I was doing and how I was contributing to the lifestyle I’d made for myself, all these years. I was provided with valuable insight into how and why I was the person that I used to be. I saw how I was contributing to the relationships that I had formed with people but the most important lesson I learned was about how my relationship with myself led to a life that I wasn’t entirely happy with.

Fight Like A German Shepherd Or Live The Life Of A Doberman

Everyone knows what being happy means to them, just as everyone knows the basics to getting a beach body. No one is BORN happy or sad. Most people are born crying.

German Shepherds are fiercely loyal to their owners and will not hesitate to remove any obstacle that comes their way. It’s no wonder they’re known to be the most employable dogs either. These dogs are HAPPY to do so, too.

It’s easy to be a Doberman but it’s healthier to be a German Shepherd. They know what they want, acquire knowledge through training and will do everything that they can to achieve whatever goal they are commanded to follow.

What does this have to do with happiness?

EVERYTHING.

Happiness is a journey but one that makes you feel like the ride and bumps, that you encountered, was worth it. You can be happy doing nothing while being numb and empty, when you’re doing everything. At the end of the day, what you get is dependent upon one question: how much are you willing to put into a venture, relationship, business or career?

In a world filled with white noise, luxuries and conveniences it is easy to displace anger and responsibility on to other people and circumstances….when deep down inside we KNOW we are responsible for ourselves.

It’s better to learn from experiences, other people’s successes and failures and from our own mistakes than it is to learn from technology, worshippers of social constructs and preachers who rarely ever follow what they teach.

With all of these tools available to us, it is incredibly easy to gain the knowledge we seek and yet, most people utilize them to to distract themselves and that, too, from one BASIC fact which is- they are not happy with the lives that they have built for themselves.

Most people know what they want, how to get it and what it would take to get there. It’s as simple as those inspirational quotes we see on Instagram and Facebook. If there’s a misunderstanding, clear the air by taking the first step. If you want to go after your dream, do so with commitment. If you want to get a dream, consider your passion.

Life is much simpler to live and understand than we make it out to be. Unfortunately, we spend so much time and energy finding ways to complicate it, to justify our unhappiness, that we forget just how much control we have over the ones that we live.

That is why it’s healthier to be a German Shepherd and to just follow what we know and understand about ourselves and our lives than it is to be a lazy, complacent and nonchalant Doberman.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂 Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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What If You’re Not Stuck, In Life?

Every since I made the decision to give fitness the boot, as a career, I wondered WHY I was stuck, in life. You know those “Why me?” moments that one faces, when going through a major transition in life? Those are the ones I’m talking about.

I enjoyed training people and working with the clients and colleagues (most of whom I’m friends with now) that I came into contact with but I wasn’t enjoying fitness itself. It became a mode of control for me which is NEVER good for one’s well-being.

You can read all about it here: Why I Left Fitness As A Career (& Why I Got Into It)

In short, I enjoyed interacting with people and I love to train myself but I didn’t enjoy fitness as career. It just didn’t give that inner peace that one experiences when they are truly happy and content with the work they are involved in.

Fitness started to feel like a struggle and every time I looked in the mirror, I saw someone who didn’t feel like he was in his element. I had the support, knowledge, exposure and the outlook for a person wanting to be a fitness trainer/coach but it just didn’t FEEL right. This was why I left fitness in 2018.

I knew I was going to write and wanted to spend more time working on my blog and yet, I felt stuck. I figured I was going through a transition that I would get out of quickly but after 2 months went by, I started to become impatient

I tried everything to get an answer to the question “WHY AM I SO STUCK IN LIFE? WHATS IS GOING ON WITH ME?”- from tarot cards and astrologers to reading articles, written by people going through transitions similar to my own- and then, 5 months later, a question dawned on me: what if you’re not stuck in life and are just getting to know yourself better?

What Does It Mean To Be Stuck?

The word ‘stuck’ means to feel entrapped in a situation and to an extent, I did feel like I was confined in life. To what?

I didn’t know but I just believed that I was ‘stuck’. It wasn’t as if though I regretted my decision but life just wasn’t progressing the way I thought it would.

I never stopped to think “Do I want to jump into fitness?” and instead devoted my time to a career that was enjoyable but not “the one” for me. I don’t like making diet plans and workout plans for people nor do I enjoy talking about it with anyone except for people who actually are involved in fitness as experts or coaches. I DO enjoy writing, in any and every form.

A realization, then, dawned upon me: it wasn’t that I was stuck….I was just so used to leading a life that others saw me capable of leading that I never thought to stop, take a break and wonder whether I actually wanted to do what I was doing. “Stuck”, then, is/was not a state of mind nor a reality but a belief that belonged to a past that I no longer live in nor lead.

Stuck Is A State Of Mind But Transition Is A Reality

The mind is a tricky thing: it wants us to stick to patterns, habits, thought processes and beliefs that seem comfortable and safe. Does that mean the lives we lead are actually beneficial to/for us?

Not really but we spend so much time on creating a facade that complies with the belief that we HAVE to do what is acceptable that we forego options, opportunities, talents and careers that might prove to be far more suited to our nature.

It is so easy to give in to what others believe to be true to us that we forget we’re devoting less time to ourselves and more time to what others believe ought to be true for us. What seems to be good on paper is given preference over what’s good for US.

It is when you REALIZE and embrace this truth that you’re willing to transition from a life that is a product of social construct to a life that is YOURS to live.

Is making the transition easy? Not really.

Is it necessary? Yes.

Transition allows you to shed the skin of society and grow a thicker one that is relevant to your truth and to who you are as a human being.

You learn from the transition and reject old beliefs that no longer serve you- because they were never true nor applicable to you to begin with. You see what you want from what you thought you want- because you start to know peace. You recognize what is GOOD for you from what you THINK is good for you- because you’re able to recognize how much of a hold material wealth and public opinion has on you.

In other words, you transition from who you think people want you to be, to the person and human you REALLY ARE in your entire.

What If You’re Just Getting To Know Yourself Better?

Everyone goes through change. Life can change because of marriage or divorce, employment or unemployment, life or death, age or health and numerous other factors that affect us mentally and emotionally. You’re the same person you were yesterday but some aspect of life might have enabled you to consider a different approach to the way you look at things on a daily basis.

A transition occurs when you go through an upheaval. You no longer see the world and, most importantly, YOURSELF the way you did before. The fallacies on which relationships were built are brought into light. The notion that money should matter more than health is reconsidered or maybe a job that you believed was perfect for you, no longer makes you happy.

A transition is long-lasting. One phase of your life ends and you go through a period where you might experience a series of epiphanies and moments of uncertainty until you learn that it’s not just that life is changing around you but that YOU are no longer the same person you used to be, either.

A transition is, essentially, a total and complete divorce from the person you WERE to the person you CAN BE. It is spiritual, mental, emotional, psychological, physical and it affects every aspect of your being. You align your life to that inner knowing that there is more to life than who others want or have thought you to be your who life. You stop living a life based on what you’ve always THOUGHT you wanted and lead the life you know you want and deserve.

In other words, you come into your own and the transitional period enables you to recognize who you really are as a person.

Once you internalize this fact, it becomes easier to give in to the flow of life and to stop resisting the process. As the saying goes: life doesn’t happen TO you. It happens FOR you.

All anyone, going through a transition, needs to do is to let it.

How To Allow Yourself To Make It Through The Transition

There really only is ONE way, person and methods to allow yourself to make it through a transition: do the things that you are comfortable and happy with. Do whatever it is that brings you joy.

External factors such as money, the job you have, the friends you once associated with or the house you bought no longer matter. Maybe these were/are the things you lost in the transition.

We like to blame life for taking everything away from us but life is just towing us on to a path that shows us who we really are. This true, real and authentic version of who you are is who you are meant to be WITHOUT the facade. The person you were pre-transition was a reflection of who you thought others wanted you to be. Or maybe that was a version of yourself that enabled you to survive a circumstance or a life that you didn’t realize wasn’t for you. If you’re going through a transition, life’s just telling you that there’s something better out there that will transform you into the person you really are and want to be.

To embrace the transition do whatever it is that you enjoy in life. Go where your curiosity takes you. I used to love reading, writing, journaling and spending time on self-reflection or with people whom I knew were reliable, honest and truly love me for who I am. I took up opportunities I didn’t have to the time to even consider, when I was leading a life that exhausted me.

After all, these were/are factors that made me feel happy, content and did arouse my curiosity. As I partook in such activities and company, I felt less stuck and more in touch with who I always knew I was meant to be.

I got to know who I really am.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog. 🙂 Feel free to comment, share, subscribe and/or you can follow me on the following social media platforms, too:

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3 Life Lessons My Paternal Grandmother Taught Me

The one thing that inspired me, most, about my grandmothers (I’m referring to the both of them, here) was their ability to unapologetically be themselves, in a time and era where people around them often sought to impress one another.

They didn’t TRY to be anything other than who they were. The only thing that they knew to be was THEMSELVES and fiercely so. These ladies inspired others, not by speech nor punishment but by example.

Both grandmothers were formidable and strong women in their own ways.

My paternal grandmother (who I’d refer to as Dadi) taught me SO much over the years but the 3 most important life lessons I learned from her were:

Stand Your Ground

Dadi always believed in herself and did EXACTLY what she wanted to. If she felt people were trying to push her around, she wouldn’t shy away from confronting them. It just wasn’t her style to shy away from speaking up and speaking out, if her boundaries were crossed.

Age, social status, power, rank, wealth and social connections didn’t matter, if she felt wronged, in any way. She made it a point to stand her ground and to make her opinion known in an extremely blunt manner, both, to people she loved and to those she didn’t.

It came as no surprise, that she was asked to join a political party but declined to do so, because she didn’t believe in their agenda!

Always Trust Yourself

Most people are fascinated by an individual’s education, knowledge or the way they carry themselves. Dadi saw past the facade, clothes, affiliations and the superficial traits and trusted her feelings and gut instincts.

I would assume she was being judgmental or that she needed to get to know a person, before dismissing or accepting them. Turns out, she wasn’t being judgmental nor dismissive- she just KNEW what was in a person’s heart!

She was ALWAYS on-point about every, single, person I knew and met. Everything was either black or white for her. If she suspected she was being lied to or deceived, she would say it in the bluntest way possible, and you’d actually wonder how she came to know of your true intentions.

She treated each individual the way they deserved to be treated, without exception. No one was spared!

Get With The Times Or You’ll Be Left Behind

Every new generation comes up with ways to deal with problems that, generally and thematically, are similar to those of previous generations. Older generations tend to stick to their ways and are excused for their desire to stick to and by their approach and ways. You wouldn’t expect an elderly person to reject the ways of the upcoming generation.

Dadi was unexpectedly modern in many ways and didn’t dismiss younger generations for their input nor their observations. She enjoyed and partook in conversations about a range of topics from politics and religion to movies and television shows. Though she might not have agreed with one’s take on certain matters, she did want to understand where the other person was coming from. Age didn’t stop her from learning about new things and she kept an open mind throughout her life.

She would often say “it is important to go with the times”. She was young at heart and learned to download movies and television shows on her own. What I found really cool was she played Candy Crush till the day she passed!

Thank you, for taking the time to read my blog post. Do share, subscribe, comment and feel free to let me know what YOUR grandmother taught you in the comments section below 🙂

What I Learned By Gaining Weight (Intentionally)

As a chubby teenager and then, an adolescent skinny-fat person (until the age of 27), the thought of gaining weight, as fat or muscle, was one that I did not entertain. The words “gain” and “weight” together, in one sentence were unfathomable to me. I had spent a large part of my life being bullied for my weight- either for being too thin or too chubby/fat.

As would be the case with any person, bullied for their weight, I tried a number of approaches to lose the fat (healthy AND unhealthy). I felt wonderful when I lost weight. After months of being lean, I wanted to gain muscle, while being fully aware of the fact that fat gain, in the process, was inevitable.

Unlike before, I was going to gain weight intentionally, while swimming and lifting weights and tracking my macros.

Here are a few things I learned from gaining weight:

Body Positivity Matters

I was scared of gaining weight, in the form of fat, but I’m well-aware of methods, approaches and diets that help lose fat in an effective manner. So, my fear of weight gain was compensated by my knowledge and prior experience in weight loss.

However, this doesn’t change the fact that I was gaining weight as fat AND muscle. Knowing I was doing it with an end goal and by choice helped me see my body in a new light. I felt more positively about/towards it.

My body needed the caloric surplus after 1.5 years of JUST CUTTING (albeit at a gradual pace) and my mind needed a little re-wiring to deal with the fear of putting on weight. I like to deal with my fears head-on.

I was re-establishing my relationship with my body and essentially, myself. Getting to know my body again and gaining weight, voluntarily- a goal it wasn’t familiar with- actually had a positive impact on my body, mind AND soul. It changed the way I viewed weight, weight gain and my body, for the better.

P.S: I WILL, however, admit, I wasn’t too pleased with the weight I’d gained in my face.

Forgiving Myself Made The Process Easier

I’m a Sagittarius/Scorpio cusp which means not only do I overthink but also, I can’t let go with ease. I just CANNOT. My mind can put me in a real funk: upon accomplishing what I’d envisioned for myself, it would encourage me to reminisce and remember how I USED to look and to question whether gaining weight was the right thing to do.

Occasionally, I’d wonder whether I was making a mistake. However, this thought was quickly replaced by how amazing I FELT. I’m a big believer of the notion that feelings matter more than thoughts (which are limited by their own knowledge).

Choosing to gain weight was a decision that came with a sense of freedom and liberation. I’d stopped thinking about what USED to be and started thinking about how gaining weight made me feel, at the time. Deliberately gaining weight enabled me to forgive myself for my past, re-do my present and work towards eliminating the fear of gaining weight.

My mind learned to stop fearing food and weight gain while my metabolism increased (a process that will happen as you gain muscle weight) and the fat I gained was accompanied by muscle. Additionally, I felt a deep sense of contentment and satisfaction because I knew this process was going to benefit me in the long run (which it has/did)!

How You Feel About Your Body Really Is All About YOUR Perspective

In a way, gaining weight intentionally, was a way for me to regain the control I never knew I had over my body and mind, as a kid. Back then, I wasn’t in control of what I ate.

I was merely responding to my circumstances and to the company I surrounded myself with. If I was made to feel badly about my weight, in an effort to gain approval, I would respond to it by overeating or not eating at all. Other people’s opinions mattered to me. How people saw me mattered.

This time none of that mattered because I was going to gain weight on my terms. I had gained more than I’d ever carried (voluntarily or involuntarily) in my life before. I didn’t feel badly about my body at all but there did come a point when I felt the need to lose the weight I’d gained, for myself.

Some clothes that I LOVED didn’t fit me anymore and I’ve gained muscle on my legs, which means I can’t fit into my favorite (and only) pair of ripped jeans (even though I’ve lost most of the fat I had put on). That, in itself, was a big deal to me BUT I saw this as an achievement instead of worrying about the weight I’d gained.

January 2019 (I’d gained more weight over the next 3 months)

Fun fact: how you feel about your body also affects the way it loses and/or gains weight. Our bodies actually respond to the way we feel by producing hormones that can affect weight gain and loss. When I was skinny-fat, other people’s opinions mattered. No matter how little I ate, I was still flabby because I was miserable and so, my body produced cortisol, which affected me adversely.

Today, I eat way more than I did back then, and gaining or losing weight has been a fun experience and not only do I lose/gain weight the way I want to but I feel better about myself, too!

At the end of the day, if your journey is about gaining approval, your body WILL respond to how you feel towards it because that just is how it works.

Thank you, for taking the time to read my post and feel free to comment, subscribe and share this post.

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Kindness Is Not Always A Virtue, Honesty Is

There’s kind and then, there’s stupid. My grandmother used to say “Don’t be so arrogant that people run away from you but don’t be so kind that you make it easy for people to spit all over you (or was it ‘walk all over you’?)”.

I never really understood the statement. I was young and I had seen all these movies and cartoons that propagated the myth that kindness is a virtue. I was told by most people “kindness is a virtue” and therefore, being kind is extremely important- ironically, the advise only applied to the advisee, not to the advisor (who could and often was the worst person in the world).

If you know me, personally, I’m a BIG fan of kindness and positivity. However, Saturn’s in transit (which basically means the planet has orbited back to where it was at the time of my birth and intends on staying there for a bit) since the past year and a half and age (and therapy- a common theme in my blogs) has taught me kindness doesn’t ALWAYS pay.

You know what does? Honesty.

I’d frequently tell white lies, not out of malice, but because I didn’t want to break the other person’s heart. I’d say I was happy, when I obviously was not, again, to avoid confrontation and breaking a person’s heart. I’d go out of my way to help people feel better about themselves- even though I didn’t need to! As the saying goes, you can’t make everyone like you- you’re not pizza.

The truth is, I thought being that way would HELP the other person. I didn’t mind when people were honest to/with me. In fact, I’d always appreciated when they were. Honesty can be heartbreaking but it can also be freeing. I didn’t really mind the heartbreak, at all, and I found myself respecting honest people.

Somehow, subconsciously, I just responded to them because I realized that if they were being honest to me they were being honest to themselves.

Sometimes, you need to be a low-fat brownie. Sure, not everyone’s going to like you nor will they want you but you’re healthier than pizza.

Oftentimes, life doesn’t suck- our approach to life does. What’s even weirder is the people who often say “life sucks” are usually the kind ones!

Why? Because kindness, without honesty, comes with expectations and usually leads to heartbreak. Honesty, on the other hand, is far more helpful and helps lay boundaries, manage our expectations and relationships and our lives in a manner that is beneficial to our mental and physical health.

Sometimes you NEED to tell a person they’ve gained weight, if they ask you, because you could help them in the long run. Sometimes you need to tell people light brown belts don’t go with black shoes because it could help them AND you (from a world of headache pills). Sometimes you need to tell people where and if they are wrong- especially if you care for them- because that might help break a pattern. AND honesty helps establish much needed boundaries, too.

Final Good-Bye To Fitness

I am often asked to give tips, just as anyone else who is in the industry, regarding weight loss, weight gain, fat loss, fat gain, skinny-fat and other topics that fit under the umbrella of fitness. I felt the need to make this final post, on the matter, before I’ve completely moved on from talking about fitness.

It’s not that I don’t love fitness. I do but only for myself. It’s just that I am ‘uncoupling’ from it as a career and some of you were introduced to me through and because of fitness.

So, this is my final post and therefore ‘good bye’ (or think of it as a eulogy) to fitness in that way. 

General Workout Tips

Every trainer will give you different tips on the kind of workout you SHOULD be focusing on or on the workout format you SHOULD follow. Use their tips to get to know your body but please know this: training will NEVER help you get ANYWHERE until and unless you follow a diet. If working out did suffice, everyone could just run or lift weights and get the physique they want but our bodies don’t function that way.

Tip 1: Focus on compound exercises in the gym because these utilize a higher amount of muscle fibers and help gain muscle (https://www.livestrong.com/article/477024-list-of-compound-exercises/).

Tip 2: Weight lifting is amazing in the long run while HIIT is great in the short run.

Tip 3: Check your ego at the door, regardless of what workout you do. Heavy weights won’t help you gain muscle if you’re not executing an exercise properly and no, “bro” lifting 100 kgs with improper form won’t get you those pecs you’re dying for. They WILL, however, injure you.

Tip 4: Change your workout and/or diet. If you’re not losing weight or gaining muscle, it’s because your body is either malnourished, overtrained or because it needs a challenge.

Tip 5: You can do all the crunches in the world and those 6/8 packs that you want won’t come out until and unless you’re in a caloric deficit and that takes time. 

Tip 6: Be patient with your body, trainer, workout and diet plan.

General Nutrition Tips

Step 1- Calculate your BMR here:
http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/#result

Step 2- Be truthful about your activity level to figure out how many calories you burn on a daily basis (by multiplying your BMR with values given as per activity levels) here:

http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/harris-benedict-equation/

This will tell you how many calories you burn on a daily basis. It is suggested that you eat 250-500 calories less if you want to lose fat and 250-500 calories more if you want to gain muscle. However, do note if you eat more calories, you will gain fat.

Lean bulking is better for muscle gain because you gain muscle and minimize fat gain. You can check out this website, or discuss it with a trainer, to figure out how to create your lean bulk diet: https://www.maxinutrition.com/sports/bodybuilding/10-Hacks-for-a-Lean-Bulk-Transformation/.

Once you have figured out your calories, get your macros in order. I eat a higher amount of carbs on days I lift heavy and a lower amount of carbs on days that I don’t.

Protein should be 1gs/body weight in pounds. So, if you weight 75 kgs, multiply this by 2.2 and you get 165 lbs. That’s how much protein you should have, ideally, on any given day. Go lower than this and you risk muscle loss (which means you will become flabby). Fats are towards the lower side of the spectrum.

This is the approach that I use. These values vary from one person to the other and from one diet to the other.

People who advocate keto are likely to eat a higher amount of fat and lower amount of carbs. People who are in favor of high protein diets will suggest a higher amount of protein while keeping carbs and fats towards the lower end of the spectrum, for example.

The purpose of this post is not to educate you on a particular diet or workout but to familiarize you with basic, general, tips that all trainers give you on a daily basis (and yet somehow, no one seems to remember them!).

Final Word Of Advice To Anyone Wanting To Get Fit Or Into Fitness

Over the years, I’ve dealt with a variety of clients, from different backgrounds and the one reason that they all wanted to change their body was this: they wanted to matter. (This is a topic I will address in another blog post without incorporating the fitness angle).

I wanted to get fit because I mattered to myself. I realized no one, no matter how much or how little they loved me, was coming to ‘save’ me from myself. Why? Because they can’t. You can have the BEST trainer in the world but if you don’t have a healthy relationship with YOURSELF, you won’t get where you want.

Getting ‘fit’ isn’t about the weights you hit nor the diet you eat. It really IS a lifestyle. The guys and girls with abs out there aren’t just there because of ‘genetics’ or because they want to look good but it’s because they do recognize that fitness is a lifestyle and that it is one that you DO need to commit to.

Secondly, you don’t need abs to be fit. Your body fat percentage can be towards the higher side, if you prefer, or you could be extremely skinny. I am ALL FOR body positivity. It’s something I’ve posted about, with pictures, on my Instagram BUT if you don’t feel good with where you are and if there are health concerns, you probably do need to change things around. Not everyone with abs is healthy or happy.

I was just as happy, when I gained weight, as I was without it but if I need the drive and push to lose weight, I know that I can push myself to get there because I’m comfortable enough with my body, NOW, to be able to meet my goal/s. I know and admire people who are VERY happy and secure with their weight, regardless of how much they weigh, and they LOOK AMAZING.

Third, get into fitness for yourself. A lot of people want to lose weight for someone else. If the start of your journey to fitness isn’t your own, the ending won’t be either. Putting the hard work, determination, effort and desire to change your body- whatever sort of change you might be looking for (gain or loss)- is a choice you make for yourself. Allowing anyone to dictate that change won’t yield results or if they do, those results won’t last long.

Finally, if you’re willing to take the steps required to change your body, listen to your body. This is important because the way you look at and feel about your body DOES (no matter what anyone says) affect the way you view the world. How you view the world does impact you as a person.

Thank you for reading taking the time to read my final post on fitness. 🙂 I hope you benefit from it and if you’re interested in following me on any social media platform, here are my handles:

Instagram: HumzahRaja
Snapchat: Hmraja89

Why I Left Fitness As A Career (& Why I Got Into It)

Growing up I was a kid who had (more than) his fair share of troubles at an age when puberty and school need to be the only concerns. Fitness, I found at the time, was my escape. I’d get these Men’s Health magazines and books on the “South Beach Diet” and “The Abs Diet” and read them for hours.

I am (and was) a voracious reader AND I wanted to transform myself emotionally, mentally and physically. Plus I’m a cusp of Scorpio and Sagittarius- two of the most passion-driven signs in astrology, in my opinion. So, the need to transform and the drive to change things around took me over. It wasn’t an easy journey for me.

Fitness As An Anchor

Everyone has an anchor that they rely on or turn to. This can be a friend, parent, family member, group of friends, work, studies, art or sports. Fitness was my anchor.

I wasn’t a very expressive child and I kept a lot of my emotions bottled up. When I was bullied, hurt or anxious, I felt the need to get to the gym, lift weights, read books on weight (back then, fat and weight loss was considered to be the same thing) to focus on something other than the emotions and hopelessness that affected me within. When I was happy and joyful, I felt the need to do the same but I was experiencing a lot of trauma and pain, on a subconscious level, and fitness enabled me to use that pain to change myself.

Sure, the results weren’t always evident nor did I get the results that I do now but what I knew and felt back then, was enough for me. Also, it made more sense for me to listen to the sounds of weights and to witness physical changes than it was to know just how deeply affected I was by life.

Fitness had become my anchor. A LOT was going wrong around me, in every way, but knowing I had access to a gym, weights and books on fitness was enough for me. It was all I needed.

The external circumstances DID affect me but knowing that I had this aspect to life that was JUST MINE to experience, made me feel somewhat stable, anchored and the noise and calamity of the background, that was my life at the time, didn’t bother me, on a conscious level, as much as it did initially.

I was externalizing the pain I felt within AND experienced change internally and externally, too. I might not have looked the way I knew I could, yet, but holding an image of how I would look was motivation enough for me. It was cathartic. 

Fitness As A Career

The thought of fitness as a career was one that I’d never thought of nor entertained. It was an avenue that, I thought, could only be explored and ventured, by bodybuilders and fitness coaches. I was dedicated to getting into the shape I wanted to but the fact that fitness could ever be a career choice for me was not one that I had the chance to entertain until 2015.

I did get into great shape because I was surrounded by people who gave me honest feedback and guidance. However, this was guidance I took into account because it mattered to me. These were men and women who had the kind of body that I wanted and learned A LOT from but the information they gave me resonated with me and I was willing to follow their suggestions. It wasn’t the superficial aspect that drove me at all but the fact that I could actually use the information that people, who were recently in the same boat as myself, to get where I wanted that gave me that extra push.

Plus, I had social media, YouTube and all sorts of material that I could play with and rely on. Fitness was, continued to be and will be my anchor because that’s just who I am.

What I didn’t realize was that there’s a line between enjoying an aspect of your life and making that aspect a career. I enjoy talking but that doesn’t mean I enjoy being on a talk show. Likewise, I enjoy social media but that didn’t mean I enjoyed being a social media marketer (something I dabbled with for a bit). I didn’t understand this at the time.

I DID enjoy talking to and hanging out with clients who I am now friends with. I DID enjoy meeting colleagues through fitness who taught me SO MUCH (and continue to do so) about life and its everything it has to offer.

What I DID NOT see was that I had stopped enjoying fitness itself. I was becoming averse to fitness. I stopped reading fitness-related material. I stopped looking at YouTube videos that had anything to do with fitness and everything that I did, outside of work, was a distraction from fitness itself. I’m a huge fan of fitness on a personal level but, for a while, everything that I did outside of work became a way of distracting myself from fitness.

I figure, as I write this, I had unrealistic expectations of the people I trained. When those expectations weren’t met, I would carry the anxiety of the lack of results for days. There’s a big difference between setting and meeting expectations for yourself and imposing your expectations on others.

You KNOW you will meet and reach your goals but it would be unfair to expect others to set and meet the same goals for themselves. It’s unfair to expect the same things that you do, of yourself, from others. When you set expectations for yourself, there’s a driving force within that enables you to get what you want. Imposing the same expectations on others is cruel because everyone IS different.

Everyone has a different anchor and their drive varies but to impose expectations on one another isn’t right. It’s cruel. I saw this as something I wanted to do to ‘help’ people. However, it stopped becoming a means of ‘helping’ people and started becoming a way of controlling them. I dislike being controlled and I dislike controlling people even more.

What I had started as a healing process for myself became detrimental for me and it no longer appealed to me. I felt drained and angry and I no longer had the same level of dedication to the career as I did before.

Fitness was still my anchor but it was also something that I’d stopped enjoying as a career. I just held on to fitness as a career because it was the only thing I knew.

Now, I don’t talk about nor document my fitness routines, workouts, results and diet as much because, the truth is, it matters to me on a personal level but that’s about it. I blog about it infrequently (because I love to write) but it is no longer a career that I wish to take on.

I’m not unhappy about having been a trainer. I was fortunate enough to have met SO MANY people who were driven, passionate and funny. Fitness, as a (former) trainer, will always mean so much to me but the people I met and the lessons I learned will always mean a whole lot more.

At the end of the day, the truth is, I was good at fitness but fitness, as a career, stopped being good to me. This had nothing to do with people or organizations but more to do with fitness (training, more specifically), itself, as a career.

Thank you, so much, for taking the time to read my blog. Please, subscribe, comment and share and if there’s any topic you’d like me to address, do let me know 🙂

4 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Think & Grow Rich By Napolean Hill

Think & Grow Rich was written by Napolean Hill in 1937, during the Great Depression. This particular book resonated with me for two reasons:

A) It addresses the notion that health and wealth has more to do with the way we are and perceive the world and less to do with how much money we have in our bank accounts and

B) The book’s whole premise is based on THE MOST important factor: belief and how what we believe affects our subconscious mind and, in turn, our world.

What You Are Conscious Of Is Conscious Of You

There are 2 types of people out there: those who are “failure conscious” and those who are “success conscious”.

Failure conscious people tend to depend on immediate outcomes and so, will quit when life doesn’t go the way they want it to. They depend on external factors (people, money, fame and success) to validate them and their efforts. This group has a ‘low’ vibration and they harbor thoughts that make them so. They have no internal anchor and live to impress others and so, they are more likely, than not, to fail in their endeavors.

This is because the journey they embark on won’t help them grow. It never was meant to. Their ship will sink because other people’s opinions act as their compass and when they don’t get validation and approval, they lose their spirit and sense of purpose.

While validation, praise, approval and partaking never hurts, living for it will result in failure.

Success conscious people, on the other hand, are willing to go the extra mile to get what they want. External factors are secondary to them. Their primary goal is to help mankind and everything else (that failure conscious people depend on) is a by-product.

They enjoy validation, approval and praise but only because it lights them up. They seek to encourage, not appease, people. They are true to themselves and so, are honest in their speech, motivations, endeavors and what they do actually matters to them.

If you want to know which of the two categories you fall in, see the impact you have on others and on yourself. If you still FEEL GOOD about it and if you envision yourself doing what you do now, in the long run, even when the odds are against you, you are success conscious.

There are 2 types of people out there: those who are “failure conscious” and those who are “success conscious”.

Failure conscious people tend to depend on immediate outcomes and so, will quit when life doesn’t go the way they want it to. They depend on external factors (people, money, fame and success) to validate them and their efforts. This group has a ‘low’ vibration and they harbor thoughts that make them so. They have no internal anchor and live to impress others and so, they are more likely, than not, to fail in their endeavors.

This is because the journey they embark on won’t help them grow. It never was meant to. Their ship will sink because other people’s opinions act as their compass and when they don’t get validation and approval, they lose their spirit and sense of purpose.

While validation, praise, approval and partaking never hurts, living for it will result in failure.

Success conscious people, on the other hand, are willing to go the extra mile to get what they want. External factors are secondary to them. Their primary goal is to help mankind and everything else (that failure conscious people depend on) is a by-product.

They enjoy validation, approval and praise but only because it lights them up. They seek to encourage, not appease, people. They are true to themselves and so, are honest in their speech, motivations, endeavors and what they do actually matters to them.

If you want to know which of the two categories you fall in, see the impact you have on others and on yourself. If you still FEEL GOOD about it and if you envision yourself doing what you do now, in the long run, even when the odds are against you, you are success conscious. W

What You DESIRE Will Come To You

There’s a difference between wishing for and desiring something or someone. Everyone ‘wishes’ for something to happen but a wish is passive. You don’t necessarily need to put any effort into actualizing whatever it is that you wish for. If you get whatever it is that you wish for, the sense of happiness and joy experienced is temporary because little to no amount of effort was put into the wish.

When in a state of DESIRE, you are willing to put the work, effort, investment and make choices that will get you whatever it is that you desire. You have honest-to-God, truthful, no nuisance, conversations with yourself about how to get to your end goal.

You imagine whatever it is that you want and your mind and heart provide you with all the answers and solutions you need to get there because that is TRULY what you want and desire. Every emotion you have; every opportunity that comes your way; everything that you feel and think navigates you towards the object (or person) that you desire.

No obstacle, setback or limitation will defeat you and quitting is not an option. Limitations are seen as temporary issues that can be dealt with and quitting is not an issue.

Whatever you truly desire WILL come to you. That just is how the universe works. It will bring whatever you can conceive and imagine into reality.

If you aren’t getting what you want, it’s because you’re not taking the right steps to attract it or because you don’t really want it. And if you want to know what your heart truly desires, all you’ve got to do is to shut off your brain and listen to your body. The option that makes you feel calm (even though the odds might seem to be against you) is the one that you should go for.

There’s a difference between wishing for and desiring something or someone. Everyone ‘wishes’ for something to happen but a wish is passive. You don’t necessarily need to put any effort into actualizing whatever it is that you wish for. If you get whatever it is that you wish for, the sense of happiness and joy experienced is temporary because little to no amount of effort was put into the wish.

When in a state of DESIRE, you are willing to put the work, effort, investment and make choices that will get you whatever it is that you desire. You have honest-to-God, truthful, no nuisance, conversations with yourself about how to get to your end goal.

You imagine whatever it is that you want and your mind and heart provide you with all the answers and solutions you need to get there because that is TRULY what you want and desire. Every emotion you have; every opportunity that comes your way; everything that you feel and think navigates you towards the object (or person) that you desire.

No obstacle, setback or limitation will defeat you and quitting is not an option. Limitations are seen as temporary issues that can be dealt with and quitting is not an issue.

Whatever you truly desire WILL come to you. That just is how the universe works. It will bring whatever you can conceive and imagine into reality.

If you aren’t getting what you want, it’s because you’re not taking the right steps to attract it or because you don’t really want it. And if you want to know what your heart truly desires, all you’ve got to do is to shut off your brain and listen to your body. The option that makes you feel calm (even though the odds might seem to be against you) is the one that you should go for.

Self-Belief Is An Unstoppable Force

Everyone wants to do something with their lives but there’s a difference between wanting to do something and believing you have the skills, talents and the abilities that require you to get to your end goal. When you believe in your skills, soul and drive you’ve accepted the tools that your journey has provided you with and that really is all you need- self-belief.

The skill and trait you enjoy and possess is an extension of who you are. These form part of you that is so true to you that no one can take it away from you. It helps you rise from the ashes, every time an obstacle comes your way. The same skill or trait acts is one that you rely on, when it comes to humankind. It is your essence.

For example, if you’re an artist, it is natural for you to express yourself through your art. It always has been part of who you are. This mode of expression might evolve but it will always be part of who you are because it is something that your soul craves. You can try to deny it but a part of you will ALWAYS want to pick up a paint brush or sit on your computer to produce something that enables you to express yourself.

It is something that you genuinely enjoy and is natural to your being. It enables you to bridge what you feel, deep inside, with what the world needs. No matter what others say or do, you just know it to be part of you and it helps you change your life’s circumstances and reality.

The skill that you have must be:

  1. Enjoyable to you so you can
  2. Provide it as a product or service to others
  3. Something that comes naturally to you and is part of your being, even when others don’t believe it to be so.

Everyone is skilled in some way or the other but there is always the ONE skill, talent or trait that stands out, in every individual. It is a skill that has enabled you to withstand hardship, pain and the lows of life.

It’s something that is etched in you and is a part of who you are to the extent that it gives you the drive to live the illusion that we all know as ‘life’. It is an inner force that takes you over when everyone and everything outside does not or cannot provide you the strength you need. Nothing in the world can take the patience, strength and resilience that the skill or trait provides you with.

Honoring this aspect of your being by turning it into a service or product adds value to it. It becomes a part of other people’s lives either financially, emotionally, psychologically or spiritually. You might be good at writing and communicating with people in which case your skill could prove to be beneficial to people at an emotional level.

You could be an artist who paints, draws, sketches or makes 3D images, songs and cartoons that RESONATE with people. You could be a doctor who is good at identifying what a patient suffers from or because of. You could be a software engineer who makes stimulating games for people suffering due to Alzheimer’s. You could be a comedian who makes people laugh, when they need it most. You could be an actor/actress who’s success stories and characters resonates with other people. You could be a model who encourages people to develop self-confidence, to prioritize self-care and to work on self-belief to get what and where they want to in life. You could be a businesswoman who motivates other women to take the reigns of their lives and to redefine themselves or their lives.

These are just a few examples of skills that one might possess and helps add value to other people’s lives.

If you don’t enjoy a skill or trait, you are disengaging from an aspect of yourself that you don’t need, believe in or one that no longer serves you. It is not a skill/trait that is true to you nor to your being. As a result, you will lack persistence, self-belief and you would be doing a disservice to others AND to yourself.

Why? Because you will see brick walls where people who truly enjoy having that skill, trait or knowledge see open doors.

Your motivation won’t come from WITHIN which means, no matter how good you might be at doing something, you won’t be in a position to provide a service or product to others.

Surround Yourself With People Who Help You

The kind of people you surround yourself with will either help you or they won’t. Ensure you’re surrounding yourself with the former and NOT the latter.

Most people surround themselves with individuals with temporary, short-lived entertainment value. The problem with empty partnerships is that they lack soul and depth.

You won’t LEARN anything from them because they are on a different journey- one that has nothing to do with yours. These friendships and bonds are perishable. They seem great in the short run but in the long run they become toxic, rotten and they drain you.

The right friendships and relationships TEACH you something about yourself, about life, people and growth. Both, you and the person you form a relationship with (be it romantic, professional or otherwise) one another that each individual contributes to, constructively.

Surround yourself with people that have the same passion, vigor and drive that you do, no matter what field you choose to get into. Napoleon Hill refers to these relationships as “The Master Mind” and explains them as “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose”. This, in my opinion, applies to any and every relationship.

Without clarity, respect, a vision and a ‘burning desire’ to achieve a goal (whatever it may be) the bond is empty, destructive and futile.

Thank you, for taking the time to read. I will be writing more on books I’ve read and found helpful. Do subscribe, share and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

3 Rules All Gym-Goers Need To Follow

You know the one place that really needs to have a guide or rulebook but doesn’t?

Gyms!

I’ve been to all sorts of gyms and the one thing I’ve learned, from experience, is that not everyone seems to follow gym etiquette rules that are pretty basic, straightforward and something that one would think to be common sense!

Let’s dive right into them:

Rule #1: Thou Must Weareth Deodorant.

I know, this one’s something you’d expect everyone to follow, regardless of where they are, right?

Turns out that’s not the case!

Look at it this way: a gym is place where you’ll come across all sorts of unassuming people who are, for the most part, looking to lose, gain or maintain weight. We want nothing more than to workout, pump some iron, listen to some music and then, leave in time for an errand, hangout or protein shake.

When you don’t make the conscious effort to take 2 seconds out of your life to spray or roll on some deo, every time you raise your arms, you are exposing someone to a life-threatening, traumatizing experience that they will never, ever, ever, forget.

Every time you extend your hand to meet someone, you’re meeting a casualty. You are a walking, talking, moving, stretching invitation to a lifetime of bad memories that no one should be subjected to.

Do you REALLY want to be the reason that shoulder presses are banned from the world?

Think about that the next time you avoid deodorant.

Rule #2: Thou Must Maintain Fresh Breath.

Breathing is every individual’s birthright. It is a necessity. How will you live, if you stop breathing, right?

You know what they call people who don’t breathe? Corpses or dead. You are actually REGISTERED as dead, for all purposes, when you stop breathing.

Some gym-goers abuse their right to live and privilege to breathe by ignoring oral hygiene. You know the kind I’m talking about? Every time you say “Hi” to them you’re fearful you might be saying “Bye” to life.

With each breath they take you see the before and after of a Colgate ad. With each sentence they speak, the environment weeps. They commemorate the dead by smelling like them before they actually die. They make zombies seem more civil and clean.

If breathing is a necessity, then, chewing gym is an invention. Breathing is the mother of chewing gum. In a place, such as the gym, where activity levels are high, please, don’t separate the two from one another.

Rule #3: Thou Must Remember Not To Treat The Gym As If Though Thou Brethren Hath Made It.

Weights to a rules-abiding gym-goer are the same as candy to a baby. We want them available to us so we can do whatever exercise we have on our workout plans that day. Some problems can be avoided by simply sharing the weights because sharing really is caring when it comes to weights, supplements and information that we actually ask for.

You know what CAN’T be avoided?

Seeing someone standing in front of the weight racks or squat tracks, laughing and hogging the equipment, while talking about something as irrelevant as their lives! Make an appointment with a therapist or get a coffee or talk to your spouses, mistresses/misters, boyfriends or girlfriends about unimportant topics.

With each breathe you waste talking about your life, you’re taking up a second of a gym-goer’s time who could actually be spending time developing their quads or glutes (or any other muscle, depending on what day it is for them). You know who would ACTUALLY benefit from such interactions at a gym?

NO ONE!

Thank you, for taking the time to read these rules. You are more than welcome to print these out for circulation.

What are some of your gym-related pet peeves?

What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up

The toughest conversations we have are the ones we have with ourselves. No one knows about them. No one can feel the pain behind the words that we use to give shape to our feelings.

No one can understand them and not everyone is willing to hear why anyone would want to give up, when they seem like they have everything.

Not everyone understands that sometimes a smile is just a coverup for the heartbreak that we don’t talk about.

It is in these dark, lonely, moments that we feel like giving up on our goals, ourselves and, in some cases, on life itself.

What’s even more challenging is the ‘Why?’ that comes with those conversations. Most people do not understand that it’s not about the reasoning but the feelings that cause one to venture down the path of numbness and despair.

The problems we all face are similar, if not the same, but the feelings that they evoke are different for every person.

Why We Feel Like Giving Up

Hopelessness is the reason we feel like giving up on anything and/or anyone.

Most people struggle to ‘understand’ hopelessness and the idea that anyone’s mindset could invite such a guest seems surprising or shocking.

No one wants to be hopeless but hopelessness is not a thought nor a thought process. It is the single, most paralyzing, emotional whirlpool that takes over mind and body to the extent that one is unable to see, feel or muster up the courage to walk towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

Giving up feels like the ONLY solution in the face of hopelessness.

Dealing With Hopelessness

It is heartbreaking to see and know the thoughts and feelings that one is capable of experiencing in a state of hopelessness. No amount of support- be it financial, emotional, psychological, mental, physical- is enough to pull one out of the pit of despair.

Hopelessness comes with a burden that is far too overwhelming to deal with which is why some give in to it while others take self-destructive measures so that they can stop feeling and enter a state of oblivion.

Not everyone has a therapist to go to nor does everyone have a friend that they feel they can speak to. That is what makes hopelessness a lonely and painful road.

Here are a few approaches that, I hope, might work for those of you that do feel hopeless (no matter what the cause):

Revisit Your “Why”

All of us have a “why” that enables us to muster the courage to wake up, get out of bed and get ready for the day.

Your “why” is the foundation on which you build your life. Your why is the basis of your vision for your life. It is the anchor around which you develop your life.

My “why” for getting into fitness was recognizing the strength I had to change my life around, for the kind of future that I knew I developed and could achieve.

No matter what field of work I get into, the essence of my “why” stays the same.

My “why” helps me decide what kind of relationships I want to form; what kind of environment I’d like to be in; what kind of people I want to surround myself with and how to deal with people and circumstances that are not in line with my “why”.

What is YOUR “Why” and is your life in line with it? 

Take The Day Off To Feel Hopeless

Sometimes we ignore the anxiety and negative emotions either because we’re too busy to check into ourselves or because we don’t want to deal with them at all.

Emotions need to be channelized and they need outlets but when we keep them bottled up, they become unmanageable and haunt is in the form of hopelessness.

Take the day off from everything and everyone to fully feel your emotions; to re-evaluate yourself and to find out why you feel hopeless. Sometimes, a broken heart needs to feel broken before it can mend.

Turn Back to The Hard Times That You Experienced In The Past

The toughest moments in our lives have a way of sticking to us. We tend to identify with them and make them part of our narrative or we seek ways to escape the impact that they had on us. Either way, fear, rather than acceptance, is the driving force here.

Every difficult experience that we face comes with:

  1. A sense of hopelessness and/or misery
  2. A lesson
  3. Rebirth

Recall how you felt and ask yourself how you transformed, in response to the difficult moment. This specific approach has a way of showing us how capable we are of dealing with our issues and of turning down the volume of the voice of hopelessness.

The cure to hopelessness comes from the very circumstances that made us feel that way in the first place.

Sometimes, we need to accept the venom of our past experiences to heal ourselves for a better future.

Thank you, for taking the time to read. Do like and share this post. Every day we come across people that we assume to be happy with their lives, when they might be masking the worst form of pain and struggle that they’ve known. I hope that this post helps those that you care and love, deal with the pain of hopelessness.

Why Loss Is The Best Teacher We Will Ever Meet

Have you ever stopped to think about the difficult experiences you might have suffered?

Have you ever thought about the one heartbreak that accompanies everything from success and relationships to finances, career and life itself?

It’s a simple word that we all use but don’t really put much thought into. It’s a word that we all fear but can never fully embrace. It’s a word that we are taught not to think of nor embrace but one that we must work to save ourselves from.

It’s a word that everyone knows to be a reality but no one talks about. It is a word that is a reality that most people avoid speaking of.

The word is LOSS.

Why We Fear Loss

Every single day we fear loss.

We think about the love that we’re scared of losing- be it because of fights, disagreements or death- when, in fact, it might have been love we never had in the first place.

We fear the loss of power that gives us a social standing, when, in fact, these factors prevent us from being true to ourselves.

We fear the loss of our cars and clothes and everything that we have become familiar with because we identify with them, when, in fact, none of those associations or affiliations truly made us happy.

We fear loss because we fear the change that we need to embrace for a brighter and better future that resonates with our soul.

LOSS = Listening To One’s Soul Self

The pain of losing tangible objects and people is too much for most of us to bear. A lot of us do everything we can to hold on to the objects we have invested so much time, money and energy in.

We change ourselves to be accepted by people we believe love us, when deep down, we know that real acceptance and love comes from a place of effortless change and not from a place of fear, anger or resentment.

Loss is not the ‘deprivation’ of something or someone from our lives but a circumstance that enables us to re-assess everything and everyone who truly makes us happy and resonates with who we truly are. It shows us what and who really matters and filters out the people and things that don’t.

Loss shows us the importance of letting go of everything and everyone so that we can embrace who we REALLY are without labels, strings and relationships that no longer serve us.

It is the only way we recognize how the lifestyle that we thought resonated with us, didn’t. It is the only way we recognize what truly makes us feel calm and at ease on a level that is so deep that it resonates with our souls.

Sometimes we have to lose everything and everyone we identified with or else we might lose our souls to them.

Misconceptions About Fitness Addicts

When I was younger, I believed, pretty much the same things that any bystander, with little to no experience in fitness, would believe about a person whose life revolves around the fitness.

Thoughts oscillated between “He/She can eat ANYTHING they want to from halwa and chapattis to barbecue and salad and still look great!” and “The minute I inhale the aroma of food inside a store, I tend to put on weight faster than Usain Bolt crossing the finish line”.

Life was then, kind of enough to introduce me to the world of fitness and to get into shape that I’m pretty proud of, if I say so for myself. However, one thing I DID learn was a lot of what I’d believed as a young kid was based on misconceptions.

Misconception #1: Fitness addicts eat whatever they want.

Thought I’d dive right in and address this myth. As a fitness addict I can tell you we eat the same foods that everyone else does. We’re blessed with the same anatomical gifts as anyone and everyone else out there, who accuses fitness addicts of basically being voluntary dustbins who can eat anything they want.

I might eat more than I did, say, 5 years ago but that’s because I have to in order to maintain the body I like. This is true for any and every fitness trainer/addict/enthusiast out there.

Oftentimes I’m looking down at my phone and dialing my macros into MyFitnessPal and smiling only because I see I can still eat my favorite brownies (within limits) or oatmeal with peanut butter because my caloric intake allows me to do so. And then, I’ll thank God and myself for having the willpower to not eat everything in sight and denying “Just a small bite of the daal”. You’re thinking ‘small bite’ because you haven’t yet been introduced to MyFitnessPal while I’m thinking “50 calories/9gs fat/5gs carbs/2 gs protein is just not worth the taste”.

Misconception #2: Fitness addicts can wear whatever they want….or not.

Okay, I agree with the latter but one thing I CAN vouch for is the fact that I’ve never been able to wear whatever I want. I buy what I want after research (and by research I mean trying on 2 sizes of the same pants in changing rooms) because the standard size won’t fit me. My legs tend to grow faster than the rest of my body and they ARE bigger than my upper body. I see that as a blessing but then, when I have to buy clothes for myself, I’m reminded of how certain clothes can’t or won’t fit me.

I’ll have to get pants that are 1-2 inches bigger than mine so my thighs can fit in them….only to feel like I’m wearing Aladdin’s street rat clothes (which, by the way, is an actual term). And so, the next option is to go for stretchy jeans, sportswear, shorts, tanktops and vests- not that I’m complaining. I fully embrace and love my body no matter how much weight I lose or gain.

Misconception #3: Fitness addicts train so they can eat.

I’m often told (not asked) “So, like, you can eat whatever you want. The main thing is to train. Train and you can eat whatever you want”. Such people are the face-palm of the fitness world. There are so many thing wrong with that sentence.

Fitness addicts EAT to TRAIN. Shocking, I know, but the fact of the matter is the body needs fuel and we eat so we can lift.

Misconception #4: Lifting heavy is always good because no pain, no gain (cuz, you miring, ‘bro’?.)

This particular misconception makes me cringe because it justifies any version of pain a novice might experience. The only time ‘lifting heavy’ is good is when the words are used in reference to a container of protein shakes. Using the word for any other reason or purpose is just wrong.

Fitness addicts don’t lift heavy from the get-go. We take our time to build up to that point and learn about our bodies over the years. We don’t go bench pressing from 10 kgs to 200 kgs overnight. None of us is a green creature that abolishes everything out of anger. This isn’t Marvel or DC. This is real life.

The minute you experience pain, you need to set your weights down rather than screaming like you’re about to give birth in the middle of the gym. Again, shocking, I know BUT TRUE :D.


The One Question That Helps Make Decisions

We’re living in an era where decisions are treated like commodities and opinions hold the same power as money. Decision-making skills- right or wrong- are affected the ‘norm’.

Essentially, everything from the person one chooses to date to the pictures that one chooses to upload, on his or her social media platforms, is affected by multitudes of opinions.

We feel the need to type, retype, edit, think, revise and revisit everything from captions and comments to ensure our content does not offend ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ (lists that are comprised of family members, acquaintances, friends and people who don’t know and will probably never meet but are united in their causes, interests and beliefs).

Every decision made is assisted by a degree of anxiety, panic and self-doubt. This constant fear of how we might hurt or affect others takes over our mental faculties to the extent that we feel paralyzed by our own thoughts.

I came to realize my decisions, too, were affected by what others thought of me. This is not to say that I was a coward or had no mindset of my own. However, the mere fact that I’d hesitate and had to think twice, before making a decision, made me see how tainted and canopied my personal decision-making skills were.

The decisions I made were for myself had less to do with me and more to do with what I thought others would think of me. It was weird to notice how I was a spectator in my own head and decisions. I subtracted myself from the equation!

This applies to a large number of people, irrespective of age and gender, today. What’s even worse is how ‘normal’ self-doubt and fear of opinions has become. It’s considered ‘normal’ to think from the mind instead of the heart. It is considered ‘normal’ to apply rules and logic and terms and conditions to every decision we take and every step we take. It is considered ‘normal’ for people to dismiss their feelings for the opinions and logic of the masses, when the answer to most questions lie in how an individual feels towards the subject.

The One Question I Ask Myself Now

Over the past two years I’ve learned to rely on my own feelings and decision-making skills. The one question that helps me make this decision is:

“If you knew you’d be dead, 24 hours from now, what would you choose to do?”

How Embracing The Possibility of Death Helps Make Decisions

We are constantly fed information that distract or numb us to the imminence of death. No matter how much research goes into studying diseases and circumstances that ’cause’ death or how much we hope to delay it, death IS inevitable. Embracing the possibility of death is liberating and accepting the finality of death comes with a sense of calm and clarity.

You Stop Thinking About Other People

Knowing you can and will die, at any point, removes all the noise in your head that is comprised of what others might think of you, how they might treat you or look at your decisions.

Other people’s opinions stop mattering and you honor your choices, feelings and your nature thus making it easier to make decisions that are in line with your beliefs and value system.

The Permanence of Death Diminishes The Importance We Place On Factors That Don’t Really Matter

We’re all aware of the fact that we come to exist, we live and then, we die. However, somehow this truth lingers but is not accepted. We still take our relationships for granted, spend time and energy on things and people that we know aren’t good for our longevity and health and, worst of all, betray ourselves by not honoring what we feel about decisions that affect our lives. We make decisions that aren’t ours, allow people into our lives that we don’t really want, spend time and energy on people we don’t care for, cheat and lie to convince ourselves that we’re leading independent lives, all the while knowing we’re leading lives that were never ours to begin with.

Recognizing the permanence of death comes with the realization that no matter what we do, who we surround ourselves with, how much wealth we might possess or where we come from, what faith we subscribe to, all that really matters in the end is the life we lived and whether it mattered. The hold of material, relationships built on shaky and fake foundations and opinions of those around us stop mattering.

Everything else seems secondary, small and unnecessary because we start to embrace the fact that all that really matters is what we have done with our lives.

Acceptance Of Circumstances & People Becomes Easier

Accepting people and circumstances can be difficult. Most of us want something MORE for ourselves and we try to change people rather than accept them for who they are. Conversations lose their place as meaningful discussions, from which we can learn, and become heated arguments where two (or more) people are trying to influence one another’s decisions.

Life loses it’s place as a meaningful albeit temporary reality and becomes a series of events that we want to control and allow others to control, too.

Knowing just how real death is makes it easier for one to accept people for who they are; life for the circumstances it introduces us to and ourselves for what and who we are.

You Embrace Yourself For Who And How You Truly Are

We spend our whole lives giving weight to what OTHERS think of us. Validation of and approval by friends, peers, colleagues and family member with is given importance while we dismiss ourselves. What others might think of us and our ‘reputations’ matter more than being truthful to ourselves.

All of that loses it’s grip, when you embrace the inevitability of death. We embrace ourselves fully for who we are and the need to comply with others and to seek their validation loses it’s hold on us. In accepting the reality of death, we free ourselves of the prison that is made of other people’s opinions and cemented by the need for their approval.

The unnatural and inhuman, desire to impress others is replaced by self-respect, love, acceptance, honesty and the desire to live a life where we can fully and truly express ourselves and our truth as a human being.

How Journaling Changed My Life

You know how you talk to friends, family members in hopes of finding a solution to a problem in YOUR life? While that’s helpful, I’ve always believed in the mantra “live and let live” which, in this specific post, translates to letting others share their opinions, even if you don’t agree with it. I WOULD discuss my issues with people, in the past, hoping that they could find a solution to a problem of my making.

What I learned was there are three (or at least one of the 3) issues with entrusting your own problems and issues to another:

  1. Everyone projects themselves on to one another and
  2. Most people believe themselves to be in the right and so, expect the advise-seeker to follow what they say and lastly,
  3. We ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS) have the solution to our problems but by passing the buck, we fail to acknowledge just how much control we have over our lives (which is A LOT).

It wasn’t until I started going to therapy (from the 27th of November in 2016) that I recognized just how much control I actually DO/DID have over myself, my life and over my relationships. I was advised to keep a journal and I’m glad that I followed the advice because it changed my life in profound ways.

1. I Was Able To Organize My Thoughts

Writing in a journal enabled me to pour out my heart, mind and soul and then, to organize these in a way that would benefit me rather than to lose my mind over issues I did have a great degree of control over all along.

What I did and said was no longer a reaction to my surroundings, triggered by anxiety, because I recognized I had a choice- to react in a constructive/destructive manner or to calm myself, ponder over my thought pattern and deal with the problem later.

Thoughts became less overwhelming and intimidating and more manageable. I could separate the negative, harmful, useless thoughts that were influenced by external sources from thoughts that were beneficial to me. Similarly, I could separate helpful voices from ‘white noise’ and projections from thoughts and guidance that actually came from a place of love and compassion.

Most importantly, I could listen to MY inner guidance, feelings and thought process and learn how to use them to my advantage.

2. I Became More Aware of The Quality of My Relationships

Earlier on, I sought the best qualities in others but dismissed more difficult traits because I wouldn’t see people for who THEY TRULY WERE. I’d refuse to acknowledge what people made me feel- good or bad- as a coping mechanism.

Deep down, I knew what they made me feel but I would justify their derogatory behaviors and actions to myself because I was afraid of hurting them.

I didn’t recognize this until I started journaling. Writing about my relationships helped me recognize various patterns and to see I could change the way I looked at people, myself and the way I connected to them.

I was able to develop and maintain boundaries that were healthy within the relationships I’d formed. Likewise, I recognized and respected the boundaries others created, too. Relationships became more harmonious and less imbalanced.

Also, I was able to identify ambivalent relationships. These relationships lack substance and are neither toxic nor healthy. However, they are actually WORSE than toxic relationships because they require one to put in a lot more energy than they should.

I had to SPEND a lot more energy than I would with toxic people. It was easy to identify toxic and I KNEW where I stood with them. I could define boundaries to restrict the relationship (or to sever ties altogether). However, I never knew where I stood in ambivalent relationships.

Why?

Because ambivalent people aren’t clear on their own boundaries and mostly just drained me because I allowed them to. These are the people who will be passive-aggressive one minute and perfectly fine the next. They will only talk to you when it benefits them but won’t stick around when you need moral support. They will sugarcoat the truth because they don’t want to drive you away but then, will also gossip about you to others because they don’t really care for you. In other words, these are empty, hollow, relationships that are formed on weak and pretentious boundaries. These relationships are insidious and draining because you will never know where you stand with an ambivalent person.

While I was in these relationships I would focus on the positive aspects because, as previously mentioned, I only sought the best in people. I felt sleepy, drained, tired, confused and extremely anxious around these people. I never knew where I stood with them and I always felt myself doubting the nature of our bond and connection. I’d always question whether these people actually were my friends and if I should open up to them.

Severing ties with them, consciously, actually made me feel better and I could spend energy and time on forming and maintaining healthy relationships with people who respected and loved me the same way I did them.

I felt like I had a lot more energy to spare, when I cut them out.

3. I Became Self-Aware

Penning down my thoughts, emotions, triggers, feelings and life events enabled me to take ownership of myself. I could accept and acknowledge my strengths AND my weaknesses. I could see and accept the positive AND negative sides to my personality. I recognized how certain events and relationships affected my mood and energy level on a daily (almost) basis.

I was no longer in denial of who I was as a person and could now fully and completely accept myself for who I was. Anything that I didn’t like could be accepted and changed.

Qualities and traits that I was comfortable with empowered me because I, now, knew how to deal with people, myself and with various circumstances that life introduced me to.

I stopped making excuses for myself, was brutally honest to myself (and others) and understood who I was as a person- and why, too. Suddenly, I noticed how my energy levels, moods, feelings, physical and emotional health was affected by various factors and people.

Instead of being ashamed of certain characteristics or hiding behind coping mechanisms, I started to see how I was affecting others, myself and how my general outlook affected my life, in general, too.

Hey readers! Thank you, so much, for taking out the time to read my blog post. Do comment, share on your social media platforms, subscribe and tell me how journaling has benefited you, on your journey. Also, follow me on Instagram on @humzahmraja or/and Snapchat on Hmraja89 and let me know if you’d like to cover a specific topic on my blog. Hope you have an amazing day! 🙂

The Ugly Voice In Our Heads

Everyone has that ugly voice, in their heads, which discourages them from reaching their true potential. It’s that voice that makes us overthink, doubt ourselves and seduces us into believing that it’s alright to be mediocre. It’s that voice that enables us to delude ourselves rather than facing the fact that we actually have much more power over our lives than we know, provided we’re willing to face ourselves rather than blaming other people for hindering us.

It’s that voice that tells us certain goals and tasks are easier to talk about than to do something about them- when the truth is we just aren’t facing the fact that we aren’t willing to take responsibility of our lives. It’s that voice that tells us our parents and friends are to blame for certain outcomes or lack thereof- when the fact is we can deal with those people, accept the issue and responsibility and change things around for ourselves.

It’s that voice that convinces us to listen to other people rather than telling them when and where we feel they might be wrong- because it’s easier to blame someone else than to blame ourselves.

All in all, it’s that ugly, negative, nagging voice in our heads that makes it easier for people to brush their issues under the carpet and then, blame others for stepping on them, intentionally or unintentionally.

My encounter with the Ugly Voice

I encountered the ugly voice, when I was 14 or 15 years old.  Before I hit that age, I was comfortable in my skin. I knew who I was. I knew what life had put me through and how to deal with my issues. I knew how to face those issues head on and how to deal with people I liked and people I didn’t like. I knew how to confront people and I was proud of who I was.

Somehow I became someone who listened to the ‘should bes’ and ‘could bes’ that people- whom I believed loved and cared for me- shoved down my throat. It wasn’t just friends or relatives but it was EVERYONE around me. EVERYONE.

I just didn’t know how to deal with these voices that never followed their own advice (and in fact, did the complete opposite, all the time) but what I did know was that I wanted to be liked. A LOT. What people thought of me, of how I dressed, of how I walked and talked and moved and who I hung out with mattered SO MUCH to me that I would change certain behaviors and mannerisms that came naturally to me.

It’s important to note that people who knew me, for who and how I was, loved and accepted me and I them. I’ve always been a big supporter of the “be true to yourself, no matter what” mantra, before it actually became a mantra.

I was doing everything the ugly voice wanted me to and, to top it off, I started believing that this person- who felt stressed, anxious, worried and broke down, twice- was happy with who he was…..until I went to therapy and realized this wasn’t the case.

The truth was that I was anything but happy and comfortable in my own skin and the ugly voice- which I let take me over- was really just my inability to accept (a) who I was and am and (b) responsibility of myself and my life.

I was making excuses for myself and I blamed other people for my shortcomings and laziness. I pretended to be someone I was not because the voice made me believe it was wrong to be myself and who I really am.

I believed it was important to be liked and therefore, to get permission for doing things that I wanted to do, when I didn’t need it all along.  I laughed at jokes that I didn’t find funny (like, no, ‘are you a liar or lawyer?’ is not funny in the slightest way nor is the show How I Met Your Mother).

I hung out with people I didn’t feel comfortable around- AT ALL. I thought others wanted the best for me- when they didn’t. All in all, I was someone who had what it took to be where I wanted to be but I preferred being comfortable, well-liked, impressionable and to not look at what I was doing to myself and my life.

I was open to the idea because I think that it’s important to look into your darkness but I didn’t do it because I didn’t realize how broken this ugly voice made me feel.

No one was to blame for my shortcomings, fear, lack of willingness to go forth with my decisions and to be true to myself- but ME.

Understand The Ugly Voice

The only way to deal with the ugly voice is to know and accept that NO ONE in the world can help you but yourself. Why? Because no one in the world knows who you are like you do. Everyone has their own struggle and everyone (from your parents and friends to your acquaintances and haters) has their own opinion- whether you like it or not- and if you’re putting YOUR fate in THEIR hands, that’s on you and not them.

The ugly voice’s methods aren’t always helpful nor uplifting but it certainly challenges you. It is ugly because this voice triggers the part of us that knows we can do better and/or deserve more out of life and ourselves. This is where you have a choice: you either accept the challenge and fix things for yourself or you let the ugly voice take control by turning you into someone that you’re not.

I ‘tamed’ the ugly voice by accepting the challenge it put forth to me. I would try to get to the bottom of the circumstances or person that triggered the voice in me by asking myself these questions (in this sequence):

What has triggered the ugly voice?

What thoughts am I thinking because of it?

What do I feel because of the ugly voice?

What evidence do I have to refute it’s case?

What can I DO to refute it’s case?

Pondering over these questions helped but what helped even more was to jot these answers down in a journal. What I love about journaling is that it’s a useful outlet that enables me to self-reflect and, oftentimes, come up with answers that I would never have known or had, if I had merely thought over these questions. Journaling gave me a sense of control over myself and over my thoughts.

Look At Your Life Through The Eyes of Your Inner Child

There’s a reason gurus, successful entrepreneurs, actors, businessmen, artists, etc. talk about how they felt about life when they were children. There’s a reason why therapists ask questions about who or how we were as kids: who you were as a kid, how you were treated back then and everything you’re going through right now, in your life, is a response to who you were as a kid. No matter your age, gender, creed, religion color, nationality, sexuality or job title, you will always carry your childhood with you.

Look at your life through the eyes of your inner child. Children do not judge. They do not try to ‘make sense’ of their emotions and curiosities nor do they place terms and conditions on people around them.

They just know what it is to feel good, bad, happy, upset, scared, comfortable, etc. and kids tend to be highly intuitive, imaginative and they will explore things just because they want to, without any logic or reason. The world is FULL of possibilities for them and if you try to reason with a child, he or she won’t buy what you’re saying because NOTHING is impossible to them.

When I was a child I loved playing outside, talking to people, coloring books, physical activity and I was extremely imaginative and read and wrote, A LOT. The world was (and still is) full of possibilities and every time the ugly voice awakens inside of me, I go back to the questions in the previous section and then, turn up the volume of my inner child by responding to my feelings.

I’ll either play my favorite music or write in my journal and enlist all the things that I THOUGHT were impossible and yet accomplished because I believed in myself. And you know what? I’ve accomplished more by listening to my inner child than I have by listening to the ugly voice.

The ugly voice, I’ve learned, is constituted of thoughts. The problem with thinking is that thoughts are limited. You can only think so far on a problem but how you feel is far more important and has a greater impact than thinking does.

If one were to follow logic, flying in the air and reaching your intended destination in a few days should have been impossible. Traveling ON SEA should have been impossible. Going from one city to another would have taken weeks,  at least, if not months. It was the people who felt, in their hearts, and followed the fascination of their inner children who made the impossible possible.

Exhaust The Ugly Voice With Facts

The ugly voice focuses on failures, ‘could bes’, ‘should bes’ and on all factors and aspects of your life that could make you feel horribly low about yourself. This can be anything from your relationships and life choices to your past and future to the person you are today.  In other words, it can make you feel horribly about anything you haven’t dealt with or have not accepted as YOUR responsibility.

Separate yourself from the ugly voice by imagining it to be another individual- a highly negative, unimpressed, unhappy individual whose presence makes no sense. No one WANTS to feel miserable about themselves but the ugly voice is insidious and will berate you.

Exhaust it with facts. The ugly voice was very loud and made me think I could NEVER learn to swim. I was so fearful of water, no matter the depth or how many people I had around me, that the mere task of setting foot in water seemed like a HUGE accomplishment to me.

Before I made a conscious decision to get into the pool and learn to swim, the ugly voice made itself known to me and made me think I was going to hit a roadblock. It brought forth to me all the times I could have learned to swim but didn’t- because I LET it defeat me.

This time I refuted it by enlisting all of my past achievements against it- including the mere fact that I had accepted and defeated my fear of just setting foot in water. Now, I swim on daily basis and am aware of various methods and techniques of swimming!

Challenge The Ugly Voice By Accepting Responsibility

Most people try to avoid themselves and their fears by indulging in activities that numb their pain. They will intoxicate themselves with food, drugs, television, shopping, alcohol or hangout with toxic people- anything and anyone that will take them away from their pain. Avoidance empowers the ugly voice and merely contributes to its presence and power.

The ugly voice only becomes louder, more prominent and powerful when you fight or avoid it’s presence. Accept the voice for what it is- ugly- and then, focus on disarming it by asserting yourself. Then, take steps to challenge it. The ugly voice will target every area of your existence and life that has not yet been accepted and dealt with- from the smallest possible task to the larger ones that seem ‘impossible’.

Take small steps of acceptance to challenge it and change things for yourself. Accepting the ugly voice’s challenge means accepting the fact that YOU have the power required to change things for yourself. Once you recognize this fact, you can do practically anything and everything in the world-including defeating the ugly voice.

Thank you, for taking out the time to check out my blog. Hit subscribe, feel free to comment, and do share and “like” or/and “tweet” about it, too. Also, if there’s anything you’d like for me to cover, feel free to comment in the comments section. 

An Overthinker’s Guide to Stop Overthinking

Have you ever had one of those moments, where you’re sitting, minding your own business and then, a thought hits you, out of nowhere, and takes you down this rabbit-hole of thoughts?

That’s known as a thought spiral and it’s something every single one of us is or has been affected by.

It’s like compound interest except worse: if you don’t pay interest, you go to jail but if you continue down that rabbit-hole of thoughts, matters just go from bad to worse and you become a prisoner to your thoughts.

The worst part about a thought spiral is it can start at any point.

Being somewhat of an over-thinker myself, I thought to make a step-by-step guide to help deal with thought spirals:


Step 1: Let Your Thoughts Flow

Thoughts are similar to water in a dam. If there’s a specific person, circumstance or event that you haven’t addressed, the thought will keep coming to you, even if there’s no visible, tangible stimulus. That’s just how the human mind works. The longer you go without addressing the issue, the more you think about the issue itself!

This doesn’t just happen in response to a negative situation. A thought spiral can also be triggered by something or someone positive. I, for example, thought about what it would be like to write a blog, on my own, for a while, before I actually did it. There was no reason for me not to do it and the thought of starting a blog kept visiting my mind. It was for me to decide whether or not to do something about the thought itself.

Letting your thoughts flow is actually way more beneficial than resisting them or telling yourself you won’t think about the issue anymore. The more you resist your thoughts, the louder they get which is why it’s important to just let them flow without acting on them.

Step 2 : Identify The Stimulus

Ask yourself:

  1. What was the first thought you had, before you spiraled and
  2. When did the thought spiral start?

Identifying the stimulus helps make the thought more approachable and when you make a thought approachable, you’re also able to address it.

Before I voluntarily bulked up, I was pretty lean but I’d often think about gaining weight. The first thought that came to me was “consider gaining weight” when I didn’t feel as energetic as I usually do, at the gym.

My mind spiraled and it went from “consider gaining weight” to “but is it a good idea to gain weight right now?” to “how do I go about gaining weight without gaining too much fat” to “but the clothes that I love won’t fit me anymore” to “yeah, but you can always lose the fat and then, wear them again”.

I was in a thought spiral and I knew that to be the case. However, I let these thoughts flow for the next 2 weeks and did my research on bulking up, with no intention of gaining weight, as such. Researching would, at least, provide me with the information and knowledge I required to make a well-informed choice.

Step 3: Move To Disengage From Your Thoughts

The best way to discontinue the thought spiral is by getting involved in activity that brings you to the present. Being idle doesn’t help because the thoughts overwhelm you. Disengaging from the thoughts, by moving your mind and body, will divert your attention from what’s going on in your mind to what’s going on around you.

I like to swim or go out to disengage from my thoughts, all the while making no effort to stop or entertain the thought spiral. The advantage of doing this is that instead of latching on to various thoughts in the thought spiral, my mind latches on to the activity I’m doing at the time.

It has no option but to focus on what I’m physically, actively, doing at the time. The thoughts lose their control on my mind and thought processes and my mind can, then, feed on something useful, constructive and concurrent.

Step 4: Write Down Your Thoughts

The problem with NOT confronting a thought spiral is that the situation goes from bad to worse. If you don’t nip it in the bud, the spiral will get bigger and worse and with each passing day, it becomes uncontrollable. The spiral becomes a hurricane that drains you of your emotions and energy.

Once you’ve partaken in activity that requires movement, get a journal or a piece of paper and write down your thoughts on the matter, in a quiet room, EXACTLY as they are.

Stop trying to make sense of them and don’t judge them. The more you try to make sense of or judge them, the more you’re challenging your thoughts. Just pen down every thought, in that spiral, to give them shape. Giving them shape and form makes them less daunting and more manageable.

Step 5: Turn To Your Past

Revisit a time or event, in your past, that was similar to the current issue at hand and recall how you dealt with the issue then. If the matter was resolved then, what steps did you take to deal with it. If not, what would you have done differently, to deal with the matter?

The right approach often FEELS right.

There’s no two ways to that particular or method or resolution. You don’t need validation or approval to go ahead with it. In your heart and mind you know the right approach to be the one that needs/needed to be taken to resolve a similar issue or matter.

Step 6: Recognize There Is A Choice

If you’re overthinking about something, it’s because of an unresolved issue. Whether or not you deal with the issue itself is your prerogative but knowing that a choice DOES exist, makes matters easier.

Once you recognize that a choice exists, you can take the necessary steps to resolve the issue at hand or choose to just let it be.

Either way, recognizing the choice also helps dissipate the thoughts by making them easier to deal with. You feel more in charge of the way your mind works and can make decisions and navigate your thoughts in a manner that suits you.

Food For Thought On Overthinking

Overthinking is often the product of limitations, restrictions and doubts that we were instilled in us, when we were kids. This can be because of unsolicited advice, given by a loved one, or teacher who cared for us, or because of people who projected their fears of breaking norms on to us by going against the status quo.

Subconsciously, we become prisoners to our thoughts because we’re not taught to think of the positives nor of scenarios and situations that can or do actually benefit us (because we’re told or taught that that is selfish).

These limitations cause us to overthink till they overwhelm us. Dealing with them, head on, truthfully and courageously helps break the hold of the thought pattern and to resolve the matter.

The choice on whether or not to deal with the cause for concern is ours.

Thank you, for taking out the time to check out my blog. Hit subscribe, feel free to comment, and do share and “like” or/and “tweet” about it, too. Also, if there’s anything you’d like for me to cover, feel free to comment in the comments section. 

What Procrastination Taught Me

Hey readers.

I had taken time off from posting regular content because I wanted to give myself some time to reorganize my thoughts and to spend time with friends and family I hadn’t had the chance to meet with, for a while.

I’ve never really taken ‘time off’. I’ve always been active and working and when I’d take time off from work, I’d still be thinking about work. This, therefore, was the first time I was ACTIVELY procrastinating EVER. I had left work to take matters into my own hands and so, I was in a position to decide how I wanted to spend time and energy. I deliberately chose to take time off and procrastinate in December and here’s what procrastination taught me:

There’s A Lot I Had Done But Very Little I Was Giving Myself Credit For

I’m the kind of person who likes to accomplish and achieve something or the other, constantly. The accomplishment can be something as small as finishing a book or getting a shirt that fits my body the way I want it to or something as big as figuring out what I wanted to do in life.

The desire to achieve something had one problem: I wanted to do a lot but couldn’t see what I had already done. The desire to do a lot feels GREAT and it’s something I always give weight to. I’m a huge advocate of making the impossible possible and to pushing limits. However, I lost sight of what I had already done.

Why was this a problem?

Now that I had embarked on my own journey, I didn’t know where to go next. I had done a lot in the past that I didn’t give myself credit for and so, I couldn’t see what I was good at anymore.

I could only see and acknowledge things I HADN’T yet done. It was only when I learned to take pride in and be happy with my past accomplishments that I could chalk out a plan and establish the tools I needed to head in a defined direction. 

Active Procrastination Is Important

There’s a difference between active procrastination and just being plain lazy (passive procrastination). Lazy people are just that: lazy. They are unwilling to do anything about their current state and make no effort to get out of it either.

People who actively procrastinate are like Newton: they like to chill out, sit under a tree and just wonder about the world, life in general and they self-reflect until that apple falls off the tree. They will either create an opportunity or they will seize an opportunity.

I’m big on self-development, self-expression, working out, diet, nutrition and on making my dreams come true. On days (and weeks) that I’m just relaxing, I’ll log on to my social media accounts to read about workouts or see fitness models or go through YouTube video channels made by media giants and gurus (like Ellen and Oprah). I’m not necessarily doing so with a specific intent or purpose but these avenues make me feel good and that’s when I know I’m not being lazy. I’m actively procrastinating.

Active procrastination allows me to prioritize and to learn what (and who) truly benefit me. I could distinguish between circumstances, people and events that have benefited me from those that have harmed or drained me.

Also, I found opportunities where they existed and created opportunities where they did not seem to exist. By way of example, I learned how to swim, play around with my diet and how to take my workout up a few notches while bulking up, while procrastinating. I familiarized myself with the way my mind works and how it responds to various people and circumstances.

It’s amazing how much you learn about yourself, when you actively procrastinate.

I Did Things I Enjoyed

Earlier on, I was too busy to partake in activities I genuinely enjoy/enjoyed. I was overwhelmed by work, deadlines and I found it challenging to give any time to myself.

Now that I had all this time the one person I DID give it to was ME.

I did things I wanted to do- not things that I HAD to do. If there was a hobby that I’d abandoned- like writing- I returned to it and wrote in my journal and here, on my blog (and I continue to do so). I even provided my writing services to clients online.

I bought a ton of self-development books, read them and made notes in and on them and I was finally able to devote time and energy to understanding the content provided by the authors of these books.

I was in a position to pick and choose hobbies and circumstances that actually fueled and energized me, as opposed to walking through life and doing things I didn’t want to do.

Thank you, for taking out the time to read my blog. Hit subscribe, feel free to comment, and do share and “like” or/and “tweet” about it, too. Also, if there’s anything you’d like for me to cover, feel free to comment in the comments section.

Quotes On Self-Acceptance

“No one will accept you for who you are the way you can”

“Self-acceptance is a battle that you can only win by knowing, accepting, acknowledge and loving yourself for who you are”

“The prison that stops you from being exactly who you are exists in your mind. The key to that prison lies in your heart. Accept how you feel about yourself with your flaws, gifts and all the rest that comes with it and you will know freedom”

“Never take advice from someone who cannot accept themselves for who they are. If they are not accepting of themselves, they are not accepting of their decisions. If they are not accepting of their decisions, they are not capable of building a future. If they are not capable of building a future, they lack vision. If they lack vision, they lack the authority to give advice”

“The caterpillar accepted itself and grew into a butterfly”

“How can someone, who cannot accept himself or herself, accept others?”

“Do not accept, blindly, the advice of people who tell you how you ‘should’ or ‘need to’ be. They’re too scared of society, people and the collective and so, will bend over backwards to impress people who will never truly be impressed or happy”

“Life is too short not know yourself. You truly live when you know and accept yourself. THAT is when you learn what it is to LIVE”

Thank you, for taking out the time to check out my blog. Hit subscribe, feel free to comment, and do share and “like” or/and “tweet” about it, too. Also, if there’s anything you’d like for me to cover, feel free to comment in the comments section. 

How To Make Weight Loss Fun

Do you know the ONE problem people have with diet and workout plans?

Boredom. This isn’t just an issue with clients (potential or existing) but also with trainers. The only difference between the two groups is that the latter is used to the routine and pattern and so, can resist the urge.

Research was conducted by the University of Central Lancashire to study the correlation between boredom and weight loss. The study revealed dopamine levels play an important role in the way we eat. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (which is defined as a chemical substance released by the end of a nerve fibre in response to the arrival of a nerve impulse) which plays an important role in our pleasure and reward systems.

When dopamine levels drop our brains are no longer as stimulated by the same activities and foods as before.

How does this affect weight loss?

We deviate from what we are told one is SUPPOSED to be doing to lose fat and instead, give in to our urges.

That’s when we start to think “Oh, you know what? Never mind. I’ve cheated. Might as well cheat the whole day. I’ll just start again tomorrow”. You’re already so bored with what you’ve been doing this whole time that tomorrow never comes OR if it does, you still ‘indulge’ and the guilt compiles and your fat loss goals go unaccomplished. This is how the whole ‘binge eating’ cycle starts. You are no longer eating to cut fat….you’re now eating to get rid of the boredom and it’s impact on your system.

Sound familiar?

Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone but if you’re not the kind of person who can stick to a diet plan and a workout plan that requires you to eat the same foods and do the same exercises over and over again, here are a few tips for you:

Mix Up Your Workout Routines

When I was younger, I loved to workout and I didn’t mind repeating the routines either. However, as time went on I found myself wanting to switch things up. I wasn’t bored but I did want to learn more about my body. What I did (and this worked well for me) was to customize my routines to my body type and goals.

Repeating the same routine can be boring and makes you HATE the idea of working out.

Switching things up by increasing weights or decreasing the number of sets, for example, could help. If you’re doing 3 sets of incline bench presses and 3 of flat bench presses, you could go for for 2 sets of barbell bench presses, 2 barbell flat bench presses, 1 of flies and the last set could be of dumbbell bench presses.

Also, include some HIIT in your workouts. I started doing this recently because I wanted to reduce my body fat percentage and guess what? Not only did I have FUN making my own workout routines but I lost the fat too!

Flexible Dieting

I loved eating ”clean” foods to lose fat but I hit a roadblock on my journey. I wasn’t seeing results and I felt tired, lethargic, exhausted and hungry, all the time. I wanted to see how I could go from what I was, at this point, to what I had envisioned for myself.

I was advised to give flexible dieting a shot. This isn’t a particular kind of diet but an approach to the general concept of dieting. You can allocate a few calories and macros to the kinds of foods you enjoy eating. This could be anything from a chocolate bar to a scoop of ice cream or a burger.

Honestly, I was dubious about this particular approach to dieting. I mean, you ‘eat clean’, you lose fat. You don’t ‘eat clean’ and you’ll gain weight, right? That’s what I was told and taught growing up.

However, I’d plateau-ed and was willing to challenge my body. So, I took a leap of faith and embarked on a more ‘liberal’ fat loss journey. Flexible dieting made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable and tolerable. I didn’t want to kill people the way I did before and sleep (which is affected by carb intake) no longer seemed like an impossibility. Not only did I enjoy the process but I actually DID lower my body fat percentage further.

I was eating Nutella with toast for breakfast and 2 Cadbury bars (20 gs) every evening. Of course, I ensured that these fit my macros and that my caloric intake wasn’t compromised.

I saw phenomenal results!

Note: However, note that this method of dieting might not be suitable for everyone. A person suffering from diabetes or other conditions that could be triggered or worsened by foods consisting of sugar might not benefit from flexible dieting.

Buy New Clothes

Admittedly, I do like keeping my shirt off, even when I’m bulking but I love clothes! Shopping for new clothes, when I intentionally lost weight, motivated me. Sure, the clothes looked great and fit better now. However, new clothes helped me acknowledge and appreciate how far along I’d come on my fat loss journey.

Also, since I liked wearing clothes, I was adamant to buy more and this enabled me to make fitness a lifestyle.

Now I could wear the clothes I’d wanted to and feel good about them. clothes that didn’t fit motivated me to lose more fat. If I’d come so far on my fat loss journey, I could certainly go further. If I didn’t fit into something I liked, I’d figure out what I needed to do till I could. This had to be done in a healthy way.

Change Your Environment

Our bodies become accustomed to a particular workout routine and diet, when we do it for too long. The best way to undo the stagnancy is to ‘shock’ your system and this needs to be done the right way.

You might be told to increase the number of reps or to increase the weights on your barbells. These can be counterproductive especially if you’re eating at a deficit.

Lift too heavy, when you’re on a caloric deficit, if you’ve been cutting for a while and you could risk an injury. Do too many reps with light weights and your muscles will turn towards their glycogen reserves to keep you going.

The best thing to do is to incorporate a different type of workout. Consider changing the environment too. Doing the same thing over and over DOES help, if you know how to go about it, but this post is about making workouts FUN.

By way of example, swimming works really well for me. Not only does my body enjoy an environment that it isn’t used to but it has to WORK differently to help me lose fat.

Thank you, for taking out the time to read my blog. Hit subscribe, feel free to comment, and do share and “like” or/and “tweet” about it, too. Also, if there’s anything you’d like for me to cover, feel free to comment in the comments section.