Days came and nights passed. Everything was moving but me. I was stuck in my cubicle with heaps of books around, preparing for the UPSC exams. I was in my own bubble – studying for the exams, being with myself or meeting people who I thought were ‘like-minded’. I was quite judgmental, labelling and putting people into boxes and categories.
Did I enjoy being like this? No! All of this was troubling me and I didn’t like this attitude, but I couldn’t help myself. At a certain point, staying with a large group of people became a phobia for me.
When I got a call from ISDM, I was happy and excited. But I was also scared of meeting so many strangers. However, I was tired of what I had been doing and wanted a change in my life. I think that the best part in me is the capability to see myself, analyse my strengths and areas of improvement. I constantly work towards becoming better. The decision to join ISDM was an opportunity for me to be open to people, create new experiences and learn.
While the initial ice-breakers helped me talk to people – which, otherwise would have been difficult – I still found myself uncomfortable in engaging meaningfully.
Of all the concepts that I learnt during the orientation week, ‘socio-emotional intelligence’ got me thinking about my feelings and emotions. I asked myself ‘why I feel what I feel’ and ‘how I can grow into a better person’. As the concept unfolded, I learnt how my emotional tension was pulling me away from connecting with people.
Through context presentations, I connected with the beautiful journeys of ‘ISDM-ites’ and how their life experiences shaped their thoughts and opinions. This helped me connect with people beyond knowledge-pieces, views and opinions. I could see my emotions being reflected in them.
Today, I can proudly say that I have moved ahead from where I started.
Has this been easy? Certainly not. It is very easy to fall back on old habits and be in the ‘comfort zone’.
There are extremely painful days when my perceptions are challenged – when I can no longer be with people or when I see my old self in others. But there are many more beautiful days when I can see a shift in myself and be my most authentic self. I can shed my ego and be more open to other’s opinions. I am moved by love!
Today, all is not perfect. When I see myself falling into that trap, I make a conscious effort not to. I certainly have changed!
“Shedding these old dry leaves of doubt and suspicion,
I have embraced the blossoming spring,
Where every emotion comes floating to me in a cool breeze,
I open my colored petals one after another with each gentle touch.
Let this breeze be there for eternity,
And the season of bloom never end.”
-By Mounica Raavi, student of PGP in Development Leadership at ISDM