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We all create an ‘Ideal’ image, either of our own self or of those around us or of the situations we are living. And when reality doesn’t match up to the ideal image, various emotional problems begin.

A few years back, Rajesh on his birthday, sat gloomily in a corner at his surprise party. While watching his close ones enjoy it, he was daydreaming about the ‘Perfect’ birthday party. Suddenly, the irony of it struck him, he was dreaming of a ‘Perfect’ birthday party at an equally nice party! What did this do to him? He wasn’t enjoying the party, because he had some other expectations, it was unfair to him and to his closed ones.

We tend to set conditions on our emotions and state, “I’ll only be fully happy, if …” which could range from what other people need to do (if my friends were more interesting; my parents were not so restrictive). How the situation should be (if this trip was perfect) or then comparing yourself to your unique qualities (if I looked better/ was more intelligent). These are all stories we tell others, what’s the story you tell to yourself? To know this, look at Self Talk. What message are you giving to yourself? It’s strange that we go an extra mile to be nice to others, but we talk to our own selves in the harshest ways.

Once we start recognising our story to ourselves, we start seeing how our existence was so dependent on everything to be ‘Just Right, but in reality, that’s a rare occurrence. Do you see the gap? I knew I needed a bridge to close up the ‘Ideal’ vs ‘Reality’.

I designed a strategy, which I am glad to share with you. The first step is to catch yourself in the ‘Ideal Dreaming Mode’, then you gently point that out to yourself. Now take a deep breath and bring your attention to the ‘Current’ moment. This takes some practice and is not always easy; sometimes I have to do it multiple times. But I have realised, rather than scolding myself, I use a soft, gentle tone which always helps.

The day I first did it, I felt like a load had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt light, I had this current moment before it passed on and then there would be another moment; I activated my ‘Being Self’. I was compassionate to myself and much more settled. I wasn’t running behind a unique idea but had started to live in the moment with immense awareness.

As Eckhart Tolle says, “Realize that the current moment is all you have”