A Strong Woman is….

A strong woman is strong because she is unafraid of her vulnerabilities!

A strong woman is strong because she understands and embraces her weaknesses!

A strong woman is strong because she’s unafraid to feel all of her emotions!

A strong woman is strong because she allows herself to cry!

A strong woman is strong because even in her darkest times she will continue being the light for those she loves!

A strong woman is strong because she will show kindness and compassion to everyone, even those who have harmed or wronged her!

A strong woman is strong because she is gentle with the hearts of all who cross her path!

A strong woman is strong because she doesn’t give in to the struggles she is faced with!

A strong woman is strong because she accepts all aspects of herself!

A strong woman is strong because she can be broken to pieces but will still find the courage to put herself back together piece by piece and move forward with her life!

A strong woman is strong because she can fight battles on her own and doesn’t rely on anyone to fight her battles for her.

A strong woman is strong because she knows her journey will be a lonely one and she will spend her life in solitude but still holds the fire of hope within her!

A strong woman is all of these things and so much more but a strong woman can also sometimes feel tired and may need to rest her head on another’s shoulder.

Why crying is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself!

Crying is extremely cathartic, it’s cleansing, it’s freeing, it’s vulnerability at its very best and its very worst.

Today, I have spent most of my day crying intermittently and with varying degrees of intensity – from the very gentle movie like teardrops falling gently through my unlined and unmascara’d lashes, because let’s face it the Alice Cooper look isn’t very flattering! To full on ugly crying being unable to catch my breath kind of sobbing!

Why???

A number of different things, I don’t need to go into them all but let’s just say today my bucket was so full that it had started to overflow. The underlying theme was emotional trauma – being faced with a very real health scare which made me face up to my own mortality, heartbreak, broken dreams and broken promises which brought up hidden pain from my past – all of which I’ve been carrying around for a while now and something had to give – better my tear ducts than my mind to be fair.

Do I feel better?

Well yes and no, yes because I feel a lot lighter – it’s hard carrying all of that emotional crap around, especially when you are ALWAYS the “strong one”, the tower of strength for everyone around you, having a heavy sadness in your heart but smiling because that’s what is expected of you and if you exhibit behaviour that is outside of that you are berated for it. But today I just couldn’t fight any longer, I gave into my emotions and just let the tears flow.

No because, well whilst I feel lighter it hasn’t changed the circumstances that have brought the tears to my eyes, so maybe I’ll have more tears to come – well to be honest I’m writing this with a few tears falling which makes it a tad difficult to see what I’m writing or if I’m making any typos but hey ho, I can always edit later right??

Why do so many people choose to not cry??

We are so often told to “Keep calm and carry on”, “keep that stiff upper lip”, “crying is for sissy’s”, “only weak people cry” – should I go on?? So we very often don’t let our emotions flow out of us in the form of tears, as a result we slowly implode under the strain of holding those tears in.

This holding in of those tears and emotions creates such negative patterns or addictive behaviours in our lives. We start living in fight or flight mode, our cortisol levels can go through the roof and that brings in a whole other level of physical issues with it! But some people may turn to alcohol or drugs or eating copious amounts of junk food to numb themselves, or using work as a distraction so as not to deal with their emotions, running away, burying ones head in the sand….the list goes on. BUT all this does change you on a cellular level and this in turn will start affecting your body and internal organs. It will affect your connectivity with others, most importantly it will have a huge detrimental effect on your own self, it will create low confidence, low self worth, feelings of unworthiness and not being good enough, it’ll also stop or hinder those soul connections that make life so beautiful.

When was the last time you just stopped and had a good cry??? Maybe you could just try to love yourself enough to let those tears fall and allow yourself to start clearing those traumas and emotions that may be stopping you from moving forward. What do you think? Worth a try, right?!

Authentically me….

I am as far from physically perfect as you can get. I have curves and I also have far more fat than I should. I certainly don’t have an amazing figure with a flat washboard stomach, and my downward dog is more of an abandoned stray, mongrel dog roaming the streets than the effortless ethereal gliding demonstrated by the beautiful yogi’s in their super colourful lycra. I love to eat and I most certainly do enjoy my food. I have far too many scars to count but I wear all my scars with pride, they show my history and how far I’ve come on this roller-coaster journey called life. I will not be everyone’s cup of tea, there will be many people who mock me and there will be many people who will dislike or even hate me and that’s ok because we all have free will and can choose the emotions we want to feel. At the same time though there will be many people who will love me. I have done things that I am proud of and things that I am ashamed of! I have done both good and bad and these were my lessons to learn. I am, on many days, happily free of make-up and most days I don’t bother to style my hair – I leave it to be the glorious untameable curly mess that it is. I am spontaneous and very often do and say the most random things, I’m often called crazy and weird and that’s fine with me, I think we’re all sitting somewhere on the spectrum of weird and crazy. I am always authentically me. I am who I am, love me or loathe me, that choice is always yours, but know this one thing if I choose to love you it will come completely from my heart. Who am I? I am always authentically and unapologetically me.

Brown girl in the ring…..

A very interesting discussion today at the diversity and inclusion focus group I was asked to join. The topic of discussion was the lack of women of colour in leadership positions – very apt considering today is International Women’s Day.

There were varied perspectives around the table, as you’d expect given that we perceive things based on our own personal experiences as a result of our gender, ethnicity, sexual preference.

We all agreed that irrespective of anything else, a job position should always only ever be filled by the right person for that job!

However the caveat being, how can any company ever be sure that it is the right person who has been chosen for a particular role, especially when unconscious and/or confirmation bias, prejudice and stereotyping can and very often does play such a large part in determining who is given the opportunity to progress upwards.

Which then took us to the subject area of why so few women of colour progress up the ranks in the corporate world?

A 2017 McKinsey study stated that “One of the most powerful reasons for the lack of progress is a simple one: we have blind spots when it comes to diversity, and we can’t solve problems that we don’t see or understand clearly.”

In an article in the New York Times written by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton School Professor Adam Grant, one commenter aptly described the challenges in corporate jobs as a woman of Indian heritage. Swati B, who self-identified as an Indian woman wrote: “I face huge biases not just due to my gender, but also due to my race, which is commonly associated with people that are good at ‘doing’ work, and not so much at ‘selling’ themselves.”

So the question here would be, why do women of colour find it so hard to ‘sell themselves’? Why do we very often downplay our successes and achievements? A large part of the humility factor can be put down to cultural norms and conditioning but is there a deeper underlying factor involved?

The Centre for Women Policy Studies found 21% of women of color surveyed did not feel they were free to be “themselves at work.” The same study found more than one third of women of color — ranging from 28 percent to 44 percent — believed that they must “play down” their race or ethnicity to succeed.

So the question we are left with is how can we create a fairer platform for women of colour in the corporate world?

Bollocks to being perfect…..

I can’t emphasise this enough, perfection is a farce, a facade and completely inauthentic. #beautycomesinallshapesandsizes #youarebeautiful as you are, short, tall, average, fat, slim, medium, average, brown, white, black, yellow – whatever colour! Blue eyes, brown eyes, green, hazel, grey, mixed. Long hair, short hair, straight hair, curly hair or bald! You are totally unique!! Don’t ever let any numpty tell you that you aren’t enough, don’t ever let any numpty make you feel less than you are. Life is this amazing, crazy, fabulous, shitty, exciting, calm, volatile, sublime, explosive thing! But it is YOUR ONE life in this body! Shouldn’t YOU LIVE IT on your terms?   

Being you….

This came up on my Facebook memories from a few years ago! It is most definitely a philosophy I live by now. For many years I didn’t, I was a people pleaser and moulded myself into what I thought people wanted me to be or would like and each time I did that I felt more lost. In terms of being a kind person, this has and will never change – I don’t know how not to be kind or considerate and if truth be known I don’t want to be any other way when it comes to kindness, that is a huge part of who I am. I guess my ‘shape-shifting’ came in the form of always doing what everyone else wanted and not allowing my voice to come through, just in case I was disapproved of. Well over the years, more so after my breast tumour scare I came to realise that my life was/is far too precious to live it pleasing those, who in the grand scheme of things, really have no significance in or on my life whatsoever! And lessons from my past showed me that, no matter how much I compromised myself some people were never going to like me, some people were never going to be kind to me and some people would outright just hate me, and really in the end, how much did their approval or ‘affection’/lack thereof, really mean to how my life would continue. And the truth was/is – IT DID/DOES NOT! So I made the decision a few years ago to say BOLLOCKS!! I’m not living my life for any randoms ever again! I do not seek your approval because I approve of myself! And you know what I’ve been so much more content, peaceful and happier since. The lesson here for me was/is, that no matter how kind you are, how considerate you are, however funny you are, how clever/intelligent you are, how slim/curvaceous you are, whatever your skin colour is, whatever language(s) you speak, whatever vehicle you drive, where you live, what you do for a living, none of it will matter to some people, because not everyone will like or love you and at the same time you won’t like or love everyone you meet and you know what – THAT IS ABSOLUTELY FINE. Just don’t change who you are to ‘fit in’ because you’ll lose the very thing that makes you, YOU!! 
  

I am a proud Raggy Doll…..

I loved the children’s tv show from the 80’s – The Raggy Dolls, I think it did a great job in helping kids of that generation accept and embrace their imperfections. Today we live in a world where kids and adults – well, basically everybody – is made to feel crap/shitty/bollocks about themselves if they don’t have the flat washboard stomach, if they don’t have silky hair, if they don’t have ‘perfectly’ formed bodies! If they don’t live this exotic lifestyle where they frolic in the sand, swim in the sea and live like Tarzan and Jane in nature. This is just complete and utter bollocks, let’s be honest not everyone likes the sea, maybe they’d prefer to live like Heidi in the Austrian Alps! Or like The Little House on the Prairie, or maybe they’re happy living in a two-up, two-down house and working 9-5! I’ve met many ‘perfect’ looking people over the years through many of the retreats I’ve done and the truth is I think trying to maintain a facade of perfection is far more damaging, not just for the ‘plastic fantastic barbie/Ken’ but for those who literally will harm themselves trying to achieve a body that is realistically not always achievable, though I add here, never say never and I’m sure there are some who may work really really hard to achieve what they think is the perfect body – but to what detriment? Most of the ‘plastic fantastics’ that I’ve met are really not very nice or kind, they are so obsessed with their external appearance and maintaining this ‘ethereal’ facade and image that they forget how to treat people nicely, and the only ones that they do treat nicely are the ones paying them to treat them nicely!  
Me personally, I’d rather be around imperfect people who are kind and compassionate than be around the ‘plastics’….this is just my opinion and I’m not advocating being obese or unhealthy by any means, just that I advocate living in balance, because unhealthy doesn’t always mean fat, you can be a ‘plastic fantastic’ and still be unhealthy in your mind……balance is key, embracing your imperfections is important, self-acceptance is important! Being KIND is important!!! Being a Raggy Doll is important!

  

Attachment and illusion….

 

It’s not about caring less about ‘something’ in order for one to attain happiness, it’s about the level of attachment you have to that ‘something’. Loving and caring are positive, they show you feel, they show the colour of your heart, they show the love you have to give. So why do we keep reading that the root to happiness is to care less, maybe we should change that to – the road to happiness is in releasing the attachment and illusion. You see, we, as humans get truly burnt because of our need for attachment to whatever it is we care about, be that our homes, our jobs, our cars, our friends, our families, our pets, the list goes on.  
In Sanskrit and Hinduism we talk about ‘Moh’ (attachment to people or things) and ‘Maya’ (illusion) and it is these 2 things that we need to learn to release. So don’t stop loving, don’t stop caring, just learn to release the attachment and illusion. How? By understanding that nothing is forever, things will come and go. Learning to live completely in the moment, the right here, the right now. Valuing what you have in this very present moment but detaching from the ‘need’ to have it. 

  
Learning to value everything without conditions will help us to move closer to releasing ‘Moh’ and ‘Maya’. It is not an overnight process, but over time with focus we can move towards seeing everything with love, if we love everything unconditionally and with equality, this need for possession can start dissipating. 

  

I am enough…..

We’re living in a world where we’re constantly being told to do more, to be more, to want more, to have more. This constant striving for more is creating a universal vibration of everybody actually having less, or rather their perception of having less, as a result of this ‘more’ energy is that they don’t have enough, that they are not enough. This then creates a whole new energy of mass competition, where a ‘fuck you, as long as I’m ok’ attitude is becoming the norm. 
Well let’s choose to turn this around and instead of asking for more, why not give more. Give more unconditional love, give more light to those in darkness, give more space in your heart, give all you meet more compassion, most of all be the type of person who gives so much more kindness. 
Change your thoughts of wanting more to those of giving more and watch how the vibrations and energy around you changes to that of abundance. Go on, give it a try.

💗Nidhi Rupa Joshi💗