By Suma Varughese May 2012 How do we go beyond the hurt we feel when rejected or unappreciated, wonders Suma Varughese Sunday dinner was at hand and this time, in celebration of summer, Mom had emerged with a total salad meal – there was paneer with sweet corn and bell pepper; a pasta salad, a potato salad, and of course, a mango salad, along with some garlic bread. Light delicious fare which the family tucked into wholeheartedly, while engaged in animated conversation.Halfway through, Mom noticed that Nisha was withdrawn from the talk and was sitting with a rather wan face.“What’s up?” she asked with concern. Nisha was the most vulnerable of her children. There was a very tender place in her mother’s heart for this daughter of hers. “Nothing much,” Nisha answered, lowering her head. Dad took her chin in his hand and looking into her eyes, he said gently, “Tell.’ Tears spurted from Nisha’s eyes and she hurried to wipe them while struggling for composure.“Why does it happen to me over and over again that someone becomes friends with me and through me befriends another friend of mine. Then they become the best of friends and I find they have edged me out. I feel so rejected each time this happens, Dad!”Alka, whose stout self-esteem shielded her from such situations, became angry on her sister’s behalf. “How mean of them,” she yelled.“What happened?” asked Mom. “You know Shalini, right? Well she was planning a trip to Pondicherry and since Sukhi (one of Nisha’s best friends) had just come from there, I took Shalini along to meet her. Actually, she had always wanted to meet Sukhi, because she is so lively and smart. Sathe family fact file: The Sathe family lives in Mumbai and consists of Ashwin Sathe, a trainer and counsellor and Abha Sathe, a writer of children’s books. Ashwin’s parents, known as Aji and Ajoba, stay with them. Ajoba is a retired college professor turned Vedanta teacher. Ashwin and Abha have three children: Avijit (20) an engineering student, Nisha (19) in her second year in college studying Eng Lit and Alka (16) in her class 10. The family meets every Sunday over dinner, where problems are thrashed out and solutions offered. Before I knew what was what, she was swarming all over Sukhi, and lavishing her with compliments. Now I learnt that they have gone out for the weekend without even telling me about it.” Tears once again flowed from Nisha’s forlorn eyes.Aji trotted across to where Nisha was sitting and engulfed her in a warm, comforting hug. “My poor bacchu,” she crooned.Nisha felt a little comforted. “What’s wrong with me, Dad?,” she asked a little trepidatively. “Why do people seem to reject me so often and ride roughshod over my feelings?’Dad stroked her head comfortingly while he thought about it. “There are no easy answers to this one, Nish,” he said at length. “But if this is a pattern that is repeating in your life, then perhaps you need to look at your belief system. You seem to have bought the belief that you will be rejected in friendships.”“That is possibly true, Dad. It’s happened so often that these days I am actually scared to introduce my friends to each other.”“I guess that is why it is repeating itself. What you believe always comes to be. Your recurring thoughts about something become a belief and that then manifests.”“Thoughts are things,” quoted Avijit sagely from The Secret. “So how do I heal myself of this thought?” ”You need to introduce a new thought into your subconscious, which is that you are worthy of friendships and that you are loved and appreciated by everyone who knows you. You also need to act in accordance with this belief.”“Seems difficult to me,” said Nisha.“It is not easy but no worthwhile goal is. You should spend at least 20 minutes a day seeding this idea into your subconscious. Slowly it will take root.”“By then I will be a doddering old woman with not a friend to call my own,” gloomed Nisha.“It will happen when it will happen,” said Mom serenely. “But let me take you to a hypnotherapist. He will help you seed the thought faster.”Ajoba stepped in. “Beti, everything that happens to us on the outside is a reflection of the way we feel inside about ourselves. If others are rejecting you, then perhaps it is because you are rejecting yourself.”He added, ‘If you can truly love and accept yourself, and forgive yourself for anything you have done, then you will always be centred, no matter what happens to you on the outside.’“I suppose it is my problem of low-esteem once again,” said Nisha, “It never seems to be leaving me, Mom. I have been working on myself for the last one year, and I know I am better but probably I still have some more to go.’‘It’s a long journey, sweetheart,’ said Dad.“Actively love and appreciate yourself. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how much you love yourself,” said Mom. “Remember that you are a spark of the Divine and therefore are worthy of tremendous respect and self-worth,” said Ajoba the Vedantin.“Here is what you can do for just now, dear,” said Mom. “Call up your friend Sukhi and tell her that you felt bad about the fact that she went out for a weekend with Shalini, without even telling you.” “But she will think I am such a sissy,” objected Nisha, sticking out her lower lip obstinately. “Maybe she did not even know that you would have felt bad about it,” urged Mom. “Fine, I will give it a go,” said Nisha, pushing back her chair.In ten minutes time she was back with her eyes shining, visibly elated. “Oh, thank God,” she exclaimed, sinking into her chair with a big sigh. “What happened,” smiled Mom.“Sukhi totally got it and said that she had sent me a text message about it. I just looked and yes, the message is there asking me to come along with them. I don’t know how I missed seeing it. And she said that the weekend wasn’t a bit of fun and that she had missed me right through!” Getting up, her meal thankfully over, she skipped around the room, chanting, “Sukhi loves me, Sukhi loves me!” The family smiled at the delighted girl. “But don’t forget your exercises,” Dad warned.“I promise,” she lilted before she dashed out of the room on her way to meet her beloved Sukhi.
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