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Living for self

Is it possible to live just for yourself? Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting you become selfish and stop caring for others. What I mean is, is it possible to work, cook, write, sing, dance, play just to please the self and no one else, even while doing all of the above for the family, friends or acquaintances, without expecting a word of appreciation, a thank-you, a nod of approval or even acknowledgement? 

Can it happen that you live life only because you 'love' doing it and that's what makes you happy or come alive? That's how it should be, right? And, that's what the Lord advises in the Gita, too. However, in this mortal and materialistic world, it seems incredible to go on without someone to pat your back when you do well, without someone to motivate you when you hit the low, to achieve your targets without expecting a reward, to give without expecting anything in return.

In a society where we learn from childhood to behave well because, otherwise, the guests will call us 'a bad girl/boy' and not because it's the right way to behave, we develop an early fascination and detrimental habit to please the others, before we please ourselves. Even as children as we learned to first walk, talk, make that tower of blocks, we turned around to see if the grownups applauded and approved. So, it must be natural to seek praise and approval.

We learn to adjust with other people's deficiencies because 'good' people don't complain. However, we are never taught to accept our deficiencies. If you complain because something didn't go your way, you are judged and called 'immature' and as someone who 'doesn't understand or accept it as a way of life.' If you don't complain, you might be labelled as being lax and lazy who doesn't wish to evolve or reach higher living standards. Either way, you are doomed, isn't it?

Life itself is a corollary. The more you live with passion, more are the chances of attachment. However, the more detached you become, greater involvement can happen. I feel that freeing ourselves from how others perceive us is the way forward. Seeking joys in little things only because those little things are part of the great life will lead us to experience the bigger joy which is life itself. 

So, ask yourself today, am I working because I'll be liked more or because I like working? Am I giving my 100% to the job because my colleagues and boss will respect me more or because I want the job to be perfect? If you want the job to be perfect and consequently you earn more respect, then you win both ways. If you still don't get your promotion, don't come back to hit me, because I know it sucks big time and I'm still finding my answers to life's paradoxes. 


  1. Hi,
    This is a wonderful post.Lately I have been thinking about the same too..reducing the dependency on others and retaining your core self. I don't want to attach myself with any one because of the expectations I would have on them. I am currently reading a book by JK - Think on these things. The book neatly discusses the manner to liberate oneself or one's mind.

    Visiting your blog after a long time...The new look is great.

    1. Hi Srividhya, expectations are the cause of all disappointments and sadness, isn't it? but if we are not tuned to the fruits of our efforts, wouldn't be just going rudderless? It's complicated for me at this point of time and I often ponder over this.

      Thanks a lot for visiting me. :-)

  2. How true Uma!! Might sound strange, but like Srividhya, I have also been thinking along these lines recently :)
    It would be really liberating if we could do work just for work's sake. How much we can enjoy everyday life!! More importantly, we would be free from having to pose for the world's sake.
    But it is quite tough to practice. For, what you have written about is the path to 'moksham' itself.
    You have elucidated the concept really well Uma. All you have said about why we turn out this way is really true.

    1. Exactly, Aarthy, if I crack this, I'll be on the path to liberation..hence the path is so slippery and full of doubts.
      What's with many of us thinking on these lines?? :-)

  3. maybe this line of thought occurs at a certain point in life... because I have also entertained myself with such thoughts. Especially when kids are dependent, you lead such a mech life that you have no time to stop and analyse what you are doing.
    Detachment is a tricky word. its a multi dimensional word. the more you decide to stay detached, the more you get sucked into the intricacies of attachemnt, be it relations, work wise, kids.
    There is a dreamland I drift to... where I do everything for my pleasure with no boundaries or fear of what people will say. I see myself, short hair, wearing pjs and comfy tees, blogging or writing a book, my kid and husband happy to be. Not cooking and cleaning or obsessing over domestic deadlines not met.

    will that ever happen, i wonder!

    But Uma, every word you said resonates with me.

    1. True, Purnima. Detachment is a strong word and can be misconstrued..what exactly it means to enjoy your time in this world and yet have no attachments or expectations or fear is the key to understanding life, no?

  4. Hi. I really enjoyed my brief visit on your site and I’ll be sure to be back for more.
    Can I contact you through email address?

    Please email me back.


  5. What a post Uma! Lot of food for thought... Lot of points to ponder... Loved the way you have expressed such complex feeling!

    1. Let's brainstorm on this, sometime, Megs..what say?? :-) And, thanks a lot!! :-)

    2. Sure Uma, anytime! Specially about the part about telling kids to do things because they will be judged "good" or "bad" by guests! Definitely need to get together for a brainstorming session along with a cup of tea! What Say you??

  6. There's a very fine line between just living for oneself and being selfish Uma, and that's what we all need to put our finger on.

    1. I know, that is all. I also wish it were simpler to do so :-)

  7. So true Uma! You have captured very well the thoughts that might pass through the mind on many days :). Here's to living for ourselves!

    1. Yay, Aparna, here's to having you here and also living for ourselves :-)))


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