What do Mops and Emotions have in Common?

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With the lockdown many people in India, who would have never mopped or cleaned their houses, would have tried this endeavor.

I have tried many mops in the last 3 months. Disclaimer – I have not mopped much in my life – though I have cleaned floors and toilets at my house, at 7-11’s and at other stores where I have worked. But this was different – first it was in India. I had seen many people mop floors, sitting on the floor and mop and now with fancy stick mops. I know we have much fancier versions as well!

I am on a WhatsApp group for our housing community, school friends, college friends but no one ever brought up a discussion about mops. I always wondered why – I am sure we can learn from best practices about mopping and mops – why to restrict it just to mops, I say let’s talk about the best ways to clean the house, do the dishes, wash clothes and many more things. But for this article let me just stick to mopping.

Things changed when a neighbor visited and somehow the conversation went steered to, which is the best mop to use. Maybe, I unconsciously navigated the discussion in that direction, because I always wanted to message this on WhatsApp groups but was too afraid. What would people think? Would they judge me that I mop the house? You know, how it feels when you will be judged. Our conversation slowly digressed towards, how some people in our community talk about cleaning in one on one conversations and don’t bring it up in public.

I started to wonder, why is that. Is it a taboo to mop. Most of us can afford helps and they clean the house every day. There is no surprise that someone cleaned the house during the lockdown or at least I hope someone did. Is it our upbringing that we should not be discussing cleaning or is it beneath our false senes of pride to bring up discussion in a public forum.

Why do I talk about mops? Good Question – are something forbidden to talk about? On a serious note, I want to bring up a broader point about Mental Health and our Emotions. Just like our mops, we hardly talk about our emotions or our mental health. We hardly discuss any issues. Probably because we are not aware of what is right and what is wrong. So education about Mental Health helps.

You can look at the depression numbers and etc, they are high yes – but the question is why are they high. The reality is talking about emotions has taboo associated with it. it may present one as weak, meek, or tame individual. Is that really true and if so, according to who I ask?

As a child is brought up with a lot of love and care by my parents, neighbors, friends, and other family members. But somehow in our society, we associated crying with girls and use words like, “Be a Man” for boys. Growing up with years of avoidance of our emotions makes us forget about the notion of emotion associated with crying. Sadness.

Not unless we lose someone close or something bad that happens to us, we don’t access the idea of expressing ourselves maybe through crying or by other means. One of six known emotions is sadness, so it’s healthy to be sad but it’s unhealthy to always sad. That leads to what is commonly called depression. We all know how to be angry, we all know how to happy but when we continue to be sad, we know something is a miss. That’s when we know we need help. If we see someone continuously sad – that person needs help.

Now what to do incase you feel sad or negative emotions. Start with talking to friends or family. Each individual matters. The idea of self-compassion is a good way to start. How can you be compassionate towards yourself? Isn’t it wrong to take care of your emotional needs? When a friend or a family member is sad – how do you respond? You console them. Similarly you, your emotions, your being needs to be loved. Following or some ways learn to love yourself:

1. Mindfulness – This is what we call is sakshi bhava or being aware of your thoughts and emotions. This is easy to say but hard to practice. Let’s say you are mopping the floor – can you just mop the floor and not bring in any thoughts in mind? You start by noticing your thoughts by being present in the activity that you are doing. This will help prevent rumination and probably avoid going on a slippery slope of negative thoughts.

2. Self-Kindness – Last week, I missed a spot while mopping. Let me be honest, that probably happens every time I mop! Was it a bad design of the mop, my laziness or just my incompetence. Irrespective, I feel that I could give myself a slack, a little slack everyday! it’s not only about mopping but anything I do. I know I am not perfect and I am certain no one is. I like to keep reminding myself of being kind to myself. Just like, I would be kind to our almost 3-year daughter or any parent to their child.

3. Common Humanity – Am I the only one who thinks about a better mop or searches on amazon for best reviews of mops. Maybe, Maybe not! But I am certain that many people could do with a better mop. Just like the mop, every human is suffering at some level. The suffering from our emotions is universal. Suffering is the part of being human and everyone goes through it. It’s not about getting solace that others are suffering but to know that I am not alone going through these challenges. That we are connected with others.

In our society – we tend to blame ourselves for a lot of reasons. It may be because we act a certain way, look a certain way or someone says something about us. There is a constant reminder that we should be fit – or we should eat better or do something else better. Many people will have an opinion about the way you should live. Talk to your friends and family about how you feel, your emotions. If that’s too hard start with a conversation about mops!


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