I was brought up to believe that if you are strong, you should not cry. Maybe that lesson was first taught to me when at the age of six, I saw my father die. Perhaps the family felt it was the best way to teach me to deal with pain. Ever since, no matter how hard life was, I never allowed myself to cry. My pain stayed within. I remember my dear mother repeatedly saying to all “she is very strong, she never cries”. And the more I heard her say that, the stronger I stayed for her.
It has taken me 46 years to realise what a load of crap this really is. Strong woman must cry. Because tears are a way of washing away our pain and hurt, isn’t it.
We are human. We feel all kinds of emotions. Hurt, pain, anger, jealousy, insecurity, happiness, frustration and regardless of what these emotions are, we are best when we allow them to be felt. Anything in excess is bad and we have to learn to manage it, but curbing them is not truly being.
We spend our life trying to get rid of negative emotions that are harmful to our overall well-being. Jealousy, insecurity, anger these are all emotions that stem out of fear. Our fear of losing. Our fear of failure. When we feel these emotions, we must allow it to to be felt and release it, otherwise they fester inside us. These emotions re-appear when exposed. Have you been there? I have been there many times. I suppress these emotions by “distracting” myself. Food, drinking, other distractions — are my typical way of coping.
Often when one is on an emotional low, we hear our well wishers say “find a distraction’ and “it will pass”. I say it no to this solution. We need to “feel it to heal it”. We need to take our time to feel whatever that negative emotion is, accept it, understand it, understand the reasons for that emotion, why is it getting to us. Feel it fully. And then release it. In releasing it, we allow that pain to go away permanently. What it leaves behind is not pain, or emptiness. What it leaves behind is an understanding of that feeling. Healing only happens then.
I have been emotionally very low the past few months. I allowed myself to make poor decisions and that’s ok, it was a choice I made. In making those choices, I found joy as well. However, that also caused a lot of emotional turmoil. Some very good days, and extremely low days. The low days became so painful that often I would end up finding ‘distractions’. It only occurred to me lately that ’emotional lows’ are actually our hearts way of waking us up and saying ‘hey, please deal with this, it’s causing me pain’. And the more we run away from it, the more it returns because it’s not been dealt with. And it only get’s worse.
This time I decided that enough was enough. Each time I run away from pain, and don’t deal with it, it comes back with a greater force and since the lessons are not learnt, the situations that allow me to make poor choices continue. (and hey, no one else causes us pain, so no ‘karma is not a bitch’. We cause ourselves pain with our choices. It’s another thing that we like to find someone else to blame, but seriously our hurts and pains are caused only by our own choices).
So here is what I intend to do:
- sit quietly and feel the emotion (anger, hurt, pain, whatever that is)
- understand and reflect on why that happened, and what made me feel that emotion
- understand my part in it, and what choices I made
- reflect and allow the pain to be felt
- find ways of dealing with the pain so that it does not re-surface
- let it go. let the fears, the hurt, the anger, the pain of that situation go
- Accept it fully
- Move on
And CRY. It is important to cry. I can count on my fingers the number of times I have cried. I am still not there. Today I wanted to cry and as the tears welled up, I could hear my dear mum’s voice “you are so strong, you never cry” and I stopped myself.
Now I allow myself a few tears every now and again – I am a strong woman and I cry.
Be a strong woman, Cry when you need to.
(Dedicated to my dear mother, on her birthday. I love you and I miss you. We are both strong women and I continue to live through you).
“A Ticking Time Bomb”.
That was the blunt description given the mounting problem of Type 2 Diabetes within the South Asian Diaspora community in the United Kingdom a few years ago.
According to research, immigrants to the UK from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other nations from South Asia are six times more likely than the indigenous white population to develop Type 2 Diabetes.
Whilst current evidence is inconclusive as to why British Asians are more susceptible to the disorder, medical experts have pointed to the twin evils of a diet high in carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids (all those chapattis and rice dishes) as well as alarmingly low levels of physical activity, especially among older South Asian women, as two of the most significant contributory factors to a problem that is certain to put a huge burden on families and the community at large.
Alarmingly, there is widespread ignorance about Type 2 Diabetes within the community, according to medical experts, which threatens the lives of thousands.
Mumbai-born, with ten amazing years in New Zealand, now North London-based marketing and advertising expert , Raga D’silva was among those ignorant masses.
The 46-year-old mother of twins, whose family had a history of Diabetes, was diagnosed with this illness in 2012. The news brought about a radical change in Raga and has inspired her to help others with Diabetes and raise awareness.
Raga is the Asian Ambassador for Diabetes UK.