What Do You See In The Mirror? A Poetic Journey Into Yourself...

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By Jo Holmes, Associate Elect & Legends Report Writer

Have you ever thought about what you value most? Wanting and chasing more, means we can, perhaps, be focused only on the future and so therefore life in the now can feel less than we would like it to be at times. Nikita Gill has been described as one of the most successful Instapoets. She was born in Belfast to Indian parents and grew up in New Delhi.

Although she now has made an impact with her poetry, it wasn’t always easy for her to be heard through her work and for her to find what she values most.

Have You Thought About Who You Are And What You Value? 

Many aspects in the world today can reinforce, reflect and reward the view we have of ourselves and the world itself. These might be patterns of behaviour linked to our upbringing, our environments, the culture we were born into, our gender, the role we have in life, how we look, what we own or possessions we place importance upon.

Throughout our lives we have been taught to focus on working towards external goals, often materially orientated, and sometimes these societal expectations which surround us can utilise our energies for a purpose not really connected to our own selves and what we truly value. Not that we shouldn’t appreciate our physical attributes or enjoy possessions, it’s the priority in which we consider them that is usually the concern. Have you ever thought about what you value most?

What Do You Value Most In Your Life? Do You Know Where You Focus Your Time And Attention? 

Wanting and chasing more, means we can, perhaps, be focused only on the future and so therefore life in the now can feel less than we would like it to be at times. So we need to develop ourselves, starting with our unique human endowments. Through conscience, self-awareness, independent will and creative imagination, we can draw on our experiences to help guide us where we need to be present now and where we need to work towards our goals and vision for the future.

Do We Stay In This Place Where We Wait For It To Feel Better?  Or Do We Choose To Look More Closely In The Mirror To See What We Really Value? Is What We Value Based On What Others Value?

Surely if we are living a life where it does not give us the optimum chance to live our values, then we might expect that the life we live might feel less than we hoped for. If we take the time to discover and acknowledge what our values are, we can consider whether our lives are on the best course.

As a teacher with 21 years of experience, I live my values of learning, compassion and care in my classroom every day and it is hard to imagine not working within an environment where these values are not part of daily life.  In fact, prior to this career, I worked in the financial industry for 5 years, but always felt an underlying dissatisfaction and discomfort before making the decision to take the time to focus, retrain and embark on this path, in order to make a difference to so many bright, young, inquiring minds!

Looking back it is clear that this career change has brought more opportunity for inspiration and joy because it accords with my values and allows me to try and live these to a greater degree. Born out of a realisation that I wanted to give more, the whole experience ensures that I can empathise and guide others with their choices. Always recognising that we can take different paths as we understand our values and make changes in life to live these more fully.

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Which Values Matter After All? 

“Meet your reflection in the eyes that pronounce

Your depth, ignore empty words and stand tall.”

― Nikita Gill, Instapoet - From ‘The Looking Glass’ 

Nikita Gill has been described as one of the most successful Instapoets, born in Belfast to Indian parents she grew up in New Delhi. Although she now has made an impact with her poetry, it wasn’t always easy for her to be heard through her work, she was rejected over 130 times for publication but she never gave up!

She found her audience through social media, engaging with over 600,000 followers on Instagram, and to date, she has written and curated 6 volumes of poetry.

She draws from her personal experiences to share her messages about love but while drawing from Punjabi and Western folklore and traditional stories to give affirming messages about self, particularly through adversity and survival of spirit through those experiences. One could say that Nikita Gill has the values of resilience, empathy and compassion driving her life.

Nikita Gill, wasn’t always a poet, never mind a successful one. After gaining a masters degree, as many young graduates find, she found work where she could and worked as a cleaner and a carer. These jobs no doubt gave her some valuable and empathic experiences but possibly were not roles that were at the core of her primary values.

Perhaps those roles gave her the space to write, to allow her to carve out her niche to share her thoughts in poetic form with the world, to live what she valued. As a poet, you might determine that another of her values could perhaps be creativity.

How Much Are Sensitivity And Empathy Valued In Society?

A poet surely takes inspiration from all experiences and environments and whatever these may be, what we would expect of someone or not, they shape us and all have value.  She says of herself that as a young person she was described as oversensitive to events around her that were happening in the world. Could sensitivity not be valued in terms of societal expectations and is it not what will help you to survive in society? Or perhaps it is this very sensitivity that has caused her to be so successful with her poetry. Her sensitivity ensures that she is able to show empathy for others and to ignite this in others, especially if they have had a relatable experience.

Undoubtedly social media has been a great platform for Nikita Gill. Publishing online she says, is like starting a conversation and the comments she finds there demonstrate, to her, it is a safe place as people share personal traumas and challenges in a community online. Her online poetic presence inspiring faith that comments placed will be met with sensitivity and empathy.

How Much Value Do You Place On Your Social Media? 

Social media can also entertain and be a platform for exchanging ideas or products. But we all know that it can also cause that need to fit in, be popular, promote the idea of keeping up with a particular status, have a certain product or possession and experience a particular holiday destination, health or beauty product.

When the lifespan of a Facebook post is about 6 hours and Twitter is 18 minutes, then surely we have to consider the value of what exists there against our own internal value systems, what is important to us and what really matters.

Maybe we spend time there because we are unsure of our values and seek them externally?

If we value those external aspects perhaps it allows us to fit in, we stay in the loop of what is popular rather than seeking what is necessary for ourselves.

After all, we are all unique individuals and perhaps we can learn to feel at ease living by what matters to us personally. Learning to discover what that is and that this does not have to be driven by the need to find security from external factors which can be fleeting. Delving beneath the layers parents, partners, employers, social media has perhaps suggested who we should expect to be.

Many people doubted I would be able to commit to a 4-year degree course after not having studied for 5 years, if I had listened to their expectations of me, then I would have not had the opportunity of having a career that links to many of my values.

What Is Your Theory of You?

Writing in one poem, ‘The Theory of You’,  Nikita Gill pens,

“You are an assortment of atoms, carving out its very own fate.”

Biologically we are an assortment of molecular and chemical processes. However, to find a better course in life that WE determine, we are more than a blend of atoms.  There is more to us than just the surface i.e. the physical which meets the eyes of others.

We can be more than the pressure to behave in a particular way, look a certain way, live out a certain role, live a certain way or be defined by what we have. We can have a vision, honour ourselves and find a way to be comfortable with ourselves beyond who or what external factors can drive us to be. If we did this, maybe our lives can feel more purposeful and therefore successful when each day we look in the mirror and know truly who is looking back and leading our life path.

Dale Wimbrow, the American poet, wrote in his poem of 1934, The Man in the Glass,

“When you get what you want in your struggle for self

And the world makes you king for a day

Just go to a mirror and look at yourself

And see what the man has to say

 

It isn’t a father, mother or wife

Whose judgement upon you must pass

The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the one staring back from the glass?”

Knowing that we can hold up that mirror to ourselves and look beyond what we see, purely of our physical form, or what other people see. We can know that we have focused on growing ourselves from the goals we choose from what we value, not what society values or tells us we should value.

How To Apply This

How Can You Honour ‘You’ More Fully?

Have you ever thought about what your top 5 values are?

What could the outcomes be if you began to consider this for yourself? Conversely, what might it feel like to live life by default and someone else’s values?

Take the time to explore this question and write down a few personal reflections and thoughts for yourself now.

If you would like guidance and to learn more, contact us to join our webinar,  ‘Finding our Feet Together’, which will help you refine and define these further. Learn about the factors which can cause us to limit ourselves but also what will help us to understand what is important, what we ought to value and honour in ourselves so we can be a bigger presence in our own life.

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