After a spell of extreme cold, when I resumed my evening walk in mid-January to the neighborhood park, I noticed a pair of gleaming steel dustbins, one for the dry waste and another for wet waste, hanging majestically to a steel frame fixed near the park entrance. Not just one, there were four pairs of new bins in the garden set around its circular walking track.
- Remember the famous dialogue in block-buster movie of 70s ‘Deewar’ between Amitabh rBachchan and Shashi Kapoor, “Mere paas gari hai, bangla hai, tere paas kya hai?” “Mere paas maan hai.” Based on the conversation between the two actors, there is a meme with a twist. “Mere paas Mercedes hai, BMW hai. Tere paas kya hai?” Pat comes the reply, “Mere paas parking space hai.” Fantastic!
I distinctly remember the principals’ office housed in a tiny room with low ceiling. The office was small and modest, but the person occupying it was a woman of stature with an impressive persona. Mrs. Shakuntala Roy was the head of the institution when I joined MCM DAV College, Chandigarh as a faculty member a little over four decades ago. I can never forget her awe- inspiring personality. ‘Mrs. Roy’, the way everyone would address her, was a strict disciplinarian. Every morning before the start of the classes, she, in her crisp cotton saris in summers and rustling silk in winters, would be standing in the college corridor. No close circuit television (CCTV) can ensure the kind of punctuality and discipline that her presence did.
“When you look good, you feel good. Confidence with what you’re wearing is very important. If you feel good, you will always perform your best without worrying about anything.” These are the famous lines attributed to the former world number one Tennis player Maria Sharapova, winner of 5 Grand slams and Olympic medalist. Sharapova is not just a tennis star, but a fashion icon too. She is known for her fashion style, both on and off the tennis courts.
However, the phrase ‘When you look good, you feel good’ was originally coined by the celebrated American football and baseball player Deion Sanders, who further added ‘if you feel good, you play good.”
Importance of looking good
What these legends saydoes carry a lot of weight. Confidence in your looks and dress raises your morale which is crucial for success in every field, be it in sports or at work. While a positive perception about your appearance boosts your self-confidence,dissatisfaction with your looks may lead to depression and anxiety. For giving the best shot you ought to be confident about your looks.
Looks matter, but not essentially have to be as per the standard beauty criteria. You may not have perfect features, flawless skin, ideal weight and height; in fact, no one is perfect, but what actually matters is being confident in your skin, comfortable with your looks and happy with the way you are. It is how you feel about yourself and how you carry yourself that is important.
Various studies suggest that looking good adds to ‘feel good factor’. When you look good, you feel even better. No matter how old you are, what your gender is, whether single or married, looking pleasing and feeling good about your looks and confident about your own appearanceis likely to make you happy. Haven’t you had those moments when your appearance changed the way you felt? A friend of mine always wears a bright dress and goes all out to look beautiful on the day she feels low. Some days are easy- breezy, but on the days you are in a sullen mood, it is worth putting some extra effort to look good. This is sure to uplift your mood and spirits.
It is a fact that appearance affects the way you feel. The better you look, the happier you are likely to feel. The entire beauty and fashion industry en cashes on this relationship between ‘looking good’, and ‘feeling good’. Remember the punch line, ‘Look Good, Feel Good’ of the cosmetic brand Max Fashion. Why just this famous brand, taglines of many of the cosmetic and apparel brands capitalize on this connection.
Grooming, definitely, hasan important role to play in boosting your self esteem. It is good to take care of your looks: weight, skin care, make up, dresses, and accessories. For that matter money spent on self care is not a waste of money, but rather an investment in raising your confidence.
Numerous studies have shown that a person’s attire can influence others’ perceptions of them, may reinforce or diminish impression. The one who is impeccably dressed, well turned out exudes confidence. Dress is important, but you ought to be dressed appropriately for the occasion. You will be ill at ease wearing a party dress to your office and for that matter, feel embarrassed in casuals on a formal occasion. Your wardrobe may not be big and expensive, but has to be a reasonable collection of casual, formal and party wear.
Well! It is good to take care of your looks but the obsession with looks is damaging, nothing short of a dis (ease), absence of ease. It’s a feeling that robs you of your peace of mind. If you remain preoccupied with your appearance, not only is your emotional wellbeing negatively impacted but your performance also suffers. I remember a colleague in crisp cotton in summers and rustling silk in winters, immaculately dressed in saris, but all the time being bothered about the crease of her sari, she could never give her best to the students in the class. Your dress is supposed to give you confidence, to let you focus and not distract from your work.
The two- way relationship between Looking Good and Feeling Good
Actor Jason Statham says, “Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. If you have a healthy lifestyle, your diet and nutrition are set, and you’re working out, you’re going to feel good.”
The fact is look-good feel-good connection is a two-way relationship that always goes hand in hand in a cycle. You feel good because you look good, and you look good when you feel good.
Looking good inevitably comes when you feel good. What you feel inside gets reflected outside. The inner peace radiates. If you feel content and more loving towards yourself and others, you tend to look good. Your skin looks better, healthy, radiant, and younger when you are happy. While positive emotions help improve skin, negative emotions can contribute to skin damage. This isn’t to say that happiness is be all and end all to having a glowing complexion, however, happinesscertainly helps. When you are in love and feel happy, your smile is brighter, your eyes twinkle, and your skin glows. A loving relationship can do wonders for you; not just give you a healthy and positive mindset but also enhance your beauty.
Doing Good to Feel Good and Look Good
While we talk about looking-good and feeling-good connection, we cannot ignore the need for doing good and being good for lasting happiness and real beauty. Physical beauty is only skin deep; the real beauty comes from good deeds.
Here I recall a dramatized version of a story that I watched on Doordarshan years ago that left an indelible mark on me. A beautiful young girl and a handsome lad, head over heels in love with each other, are shown to be living in a picturesque mountainous terrain. The boy approaches the girl’s father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. While declining his proposal, the old man asks the boy to earn sufficient money to become worthy of his daughter. The dejected lover makes a devious plan of making money by throwing big nails on the sloping road so as to cause accidents to the vehicles passing that road. Cars topple on the hilly road as their tyers burst due to nails on the track. The boy robs the injured and the dead of all their cash and valuables. With the money collected through wily means, he approaches the girl’s father again. The father’s clause is met but the girl refuses to marry the boy. “You are not the same innocent, honest boy whom I loved. Now you look crooked.”
The moral of the story is ‘Face is the mirror of the mind’. Wrong actions get reflected on the face, so do the good deeds. When you do good, not only do you get a good feeling, but you look beautiful too. Positive thoughts and good deeds bring glow on your face. Helping others make you happier and healthier. Acts of kindness give a good feeling that radiates.
“When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad, and that’s my religion.” Abraham Lincoln
The significance of looking good in enhancing the ‘feel good factor’ cannot be undermined. One must take care of one’s looks, dress well but the attention should not be focused on looks alone. It is better to prioritize ‘being good’ as no beauty shines better than a good heart. The shift in focus from looking good to doing good, not only brings happiness but also radiance on the face.
( Published in Woman’s era March 2023 issue)
It was a sort of upheaval in life, stoppage of monthly salary, loss of position and also my routine. Coinciding with the time when I was grappling with the empty nest syndrome, superannuation hit me like a double whammy. Initially, it was not easy to handle.
However, five years into my retirement, I am at ease with this phase of life. I have no big dreams, no great ambitions. I may sound unenthusiastic but the fact is I am contented, fully satisfied with my life. I have nothing but gratitude for all that I have. A beautiful family, no serious health issues and enough of resources, I couldn’t have asked for more. I don’t have a mansion to live in but have a house, my cozy home that gives me all the comforts. I may not be flush with funds but there is enough; in fact, more than I ever dreamt of.
I believe one is never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. I dream, though my dreams are modest, seeped in reality. I do not aspire to touch the sky, to catch the sun and the moon but I seek small joys of life. I have no lofty targets to achieve, but I set small goals for myself that keep me motivated. It may be walking ten thousand steps a day or completing a task. I am not in the mad race to attain more and more but that doesn’t stop me from striving for small accomplishments. Learning and doing something new gives me immense joy.
I may not have big dreams, but I do have a ‘choti si aashaa’, a wish to lead an active, reasonably busy life. As I speak about the need to stay engaged and occupied, I am reminded of the poem ‘Leisure’ by W H Davies, which famously begins “What is this life if, full of care,/We have no time to stand and stare.”
Well! Post-retirement, time is not an issue. I have all the time but I don’t want to just ‘stand and stare’. I want to remain busy and active as it is activity that keeps me pepped up and energized. Every morning there should be something to look forward to, some motivation to jump out of the bed. I must have a goal to constantly engage my mind, something creative to keep the spark ignited within. Of course, I do not want to be frantically busy, but love to be joyfully occupied. To remain busy without being over-ambitious is what I wish.
Also, I wish to be less critical, more accepting. I have come to realize that people don’t t always behave the way you want them to; situations are not as to your liking. It is better to ignore what you cannot change. Just chill, this ,I feel, is the best approach.
My mantra for a happy retired life is to remain busy, ignore what you can’t change and stay healthy.
‘Vyast raho , mast raho , swasth raho!
(Published in Hindustan Times on 27 January 2023 in Spice of life column )