It’s a tricky balance: being mindful of how you make others feel v. being true to not only yourself but also the greater good.

This year, oh, this year.

For me, it started with a death in the family and ended with a relationship crumbling. In between, the February Bar Exam, COVID-19, a kinda break-up, more Trump Administration nonsense, and more death.

Whenever we go through difficult times, we can do one of two things: either ignore the problems or self-reflect. Before, I was the former. However, years of therapy made me the latter. But, too much self-reflection can lead us down a dark path. We beat ourselves up to the point where we punish our past selves instead of fixing the problem.

I don’t gain anything by saying to myself, “you should have done this instead so you would not be in this current situation.” I will spend hours analyzing every little detail. I’ll replay conversations in my head then cause nothing but more distress. Instead, I should ask, “what can I learn from this?” Being self-critical and self-aware brought me a lot of joy. I am more confident and comfortable with who I am. Moreover, I feel more emotionally stable.

Image from sites.mills.edu

Yet, my rationality has isolated me. When asked, I attempt to give rational solutions to people’s problems. However, these solutions may not be what they like to hear. So, I try to be mindful but honest. And, balancing that is tricky. My rationality demands immediate and instant progress. But, history shows that progress is the opposite. It takes it’s sweet-ass time.

All of this gives me a sense of loneliness which made me increase my patience level. I am trying to not have a “zero tolerance policy” vibe when people don’t share my viewpoints. Simply put, I avoid cancel culture. I fight my defensive urges and simply listen to the other person. I dissect what they’re saying then find the source of their feelings. By doing this, I chose to see the good in people and help them. To me, this is progress.

Yes, it’s very exhausting. And, when someone thinks I don’t create a safe or welcoming vibe, I am shattered. Simply put, my self-image is damaged. This year, I’ve lost a lot. From people to self-care skills, 2020 has broken the over-confident Indian woman who you’ve all fallen in love with.

YET! HERE I AM! STILL FUCKING TRYING TO BE A BETTER PERSON!

I am working so hard on myself but feel as though I am losing everyone when I do it. I see the world fall apart but can’t do anything about it. No one will listen to my solutions for whatever reasons they hold dear to them. I can’t force people to change for the betterment of themselves and their community. I have to be patient. And, being patient this year fucking sucks because people are dying. I cannot scream or call them names. Rather, I must remain calm and be patient. I hope to extend olive branches by having the difficult conversations.

We’ve all lost something or someone this year. But, we have all lost the ability to reflect on what really matters to us. We place blame on each other, leaders, and our loved ones. And, sometimes, ourselves. Instead of learning to be better, we lash out then hurt our chances of progress. (The only people I will exclude from this list are those who lost someone to COVID-19. Because, we will never understand their pain)

Personally, I want to give up on the Nikita Initiative because I am not seeing quick progress. But, I know that many (most likely a few) find some inspiration here. Also, I must remind myself that change takes time.

Therefore, I’ll continue to share, write, and hope. I won’t lose those this year.

Please stay safe. Fuck 2020.

Published by Nikita Srivastava

a passionate feminist and social justice warrior who occasionally calls herself a goddess. She received her JD in 2019 and became licensed to practice law in 2020.

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