We appear all cool and collected on the outside. But our inner selves maybe a little ruffled or sore. Even then, looking for support outside is an exercise in futility
By: Dr Charu Khurana
The kids have finally slept, but I’m still waiting for my husband to land at the airport. He left at 4 am in the morning and has had a long day and should be home by 1 am. It’s 11.15 pm now and this is the time I get to start working on this write up that I need to send by tomorrow.
And no, I haven’t been lazy. After my husband left in the morning, I took a nap for an hour or so before the day started for me with getting the lunch boxes packed, waking the kids up and getting them ready for school, dropping them off at the bus stop and then getting myself ready for work.
A day of surgeries and OPD with some fairly challenging moments thrown in. A 5-year-old with an eye injury with extremely anxious parents who all speak at the same time, and I can barely get myself heard; takes me a few precious minutes to calm them down before I can examine and treat the child, which leads to a back log in the OPD workload. While I grab a 10-minute lunch break around 4 pm, my kids start calling about when I’m returning home, as according to them, it’s evening already and hence, time for me to be with them. While my mother tells me to pick up some tang for the younger ones’ class party and there’s also some note in the elder one’s regarding his astronomy club. I finally reach home by 7 pm to get started on their homework and dinner, before it’s time to make them sleep.
Why forget to nourish ourselves?
And this is a regular day. Days when one of the kids or parents is sick is so much tougher or when one of the surgeries doesn’t go as planned. Then there are works like I have some reviews lined up, a couple more abstracts to be submitted and a few things at home that need to be fixed. No wonder that I find myself cranky and irritable at times. A little insecure at work and home. A little impatient with friends and family. And that’s when I’ve noticed a need to make some time for myself. No, not just for the external bit, the appearance and grooming and the hair and clothes. That’s important too. But more for my inner state.
We often are so busy looking after the external factors that we forget to nourish our inner environment. And that I’ve figured is absolutely essential for surviving in this crazy world. The incessant thoughts, the non-stop mind chatter and the constant train of things to be done often leaves me drained. No time to just calm myself and connect with the inner me and tell myself – all is fine. And this, I’ve figured is crucial for me to go on. And so, with a conscious effort, I make sure to spend some ‘me time’. A time where kids and husband and work and family and home and the thousand responsibilities can be put aside and I can focus on myself.
Whether I do it with a quiet morning walk or read a few pages of something that resonates with my idea of who I am and what life is about. Or maybe just listen to some stuff on YouTube while I rush about doing this or that. Whether it’s meditation and breathing and awareness or just some random, soothing music. It is just extremely important that we spend some time with our inner self, say nice things to ourselves, be our own best friend, remember that everything is transient and that everything will pass. And if we don’t do that, the small little hurts and setbacks, the little criticisms at work and home tend to accumulate and make each day far more difficult than it really needs to be.
Multiple demands & focus on self
In a world where there are multiple demands on each one of us, being a medical professional and a mom is an act, which needs a lot of fine balancing. And often a pat on the back from ourselves, a kind word to our inner soul acts as a balm. No one will pause to appreciate us. And every one yearns for appreciation. So while we extend the generosity to all we meet, it is equally important to be kind and appreciative of our own selves.
Letting go of a little hurt here and there, remembering to be grateful for the million blessings we have each day and remembering –all that we have now is what we used to strive for a few years ago, helps me be a better person each day – a little stronger, a little happier.
Most vital achievement – re-connecting with myself
And this is the story of most women professionals who are expert jugglers, managing home and work, kids and parents and are still making a name for themselves in the corporate world. We appear all cool and collected on the outside. But our inner selves maybe a little ruffled or sore. Looking for support outside is an exercise in futility. I think my most important achievement in the last one year hasn’t been the surgeries I have done or the papers I’ve presented or the chapters I’ve written or even the prizes my kids have won. It has been my ability to re-connect with my inner self and become best friends with the little girl who lives within. It is the learning that no matter what the challenges are outside, both on the professional and personal front, if I am happy with myself and appreciate the goodness in myself and my life, I can be truly happy and those challenges ultimately take care of themselves and pass. My being grounded, my being calm and my being truly loving and kind to myself has helped me carry on, on the toughest of days. And yes, if we can learn to expect nothing from others and still continue to be our best, we’ve truly reached nirvana.
About the author
Dr. Charu Khurana is a Senior Consultant at Centre for Sight Group of Eye Hospitals, New Delhi. She is a Cataract, Glaucoma and Refractive surgeon and also heads the Low Vision Aids wing of CFS. She’s also a speaker & an author. Is on the editorial board of Delhi Journal of Ophthalmology and a reviewer for All India Ophthalmological Society. She’s been awarded the prestigious Gold medal by the Intra-ocular Implant and Refractive Society of India for her outstanding contribution to ophthalmology. She is the mother of 2 kids, an avid gardener, an erstwhile Radio Jockey and a voracious reader. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org