Updated: Sep 24, 2020
Don’t we wish we had a time machine? Won’t it be magnificent to be able to go back to our past to undo or redo certain parts of our life? We humans are ever-learning and very stubborn creatures and hence have many such questions. Life has thrown so much at us but we refuse to give up hope. We dangle with hope as we do with our lives, which in turn (sometimes) help us fight better because we refuse to give up. This also helps us to face our difficulties better and can be seen as a crucial factor of resilience. Resilience has been defined as the process of adapting well in the face of trauma, adversity, tragedy, threats or other significant sources of stress - such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.
Along with the ability of resilience, we also have been given the gift of time. According to Heraclitus a Greek philosopher, “Change is the only constant”. We have been given the exact amount of hours each day as the rest of the world. We face a number of hurdles and difficulties on a day to day basis which lead to frustration, irritation, annoyance and even anger at times. It’s what we make out of it which makes the difference in our lives. Even though the situations we face every day might be unique to each one, happy or sad, they still have similar effects on our psychological well- being. So, here’s a list of things that may help you as they have helped me when I decided to cope with any stressors.
Guilt doesn’t need to have an action component to it. That is, the feeling of guilt that you may be burdened with does not need to be dealt with compensation in the forms of physical exertion. Rather, it is much more effective to deal with it internally through introspection. While some people find it difficult, others might not be capable of introspection. So if you are one of them, you can always talk about the stress to someone who can be honest with you and point out the faults and mistakes on your behalf. This could be via questioning or introducing a broader perspective or pointing out strengths and weaknesses. This process makes it easier to accept oneself and the other side involved. After introspection is done, you can start to think about the solution part of the stress or problem.
Anger can be productive! Yes, you read that right. The feeling of anger can be productive if directed and channeled properly to achieve your goals (for example: channeling anger during workouts help with performance). However, while channelizing your anger, remember to be careful about causing harm to yourself. Use it productively, use it to boost motivation and strengthen your aims.
Our body and mind function very differently, and in order to be in-sync with them, we need to understand them optimally. When we have an infection, our body rises its core temperature to fight with it causing a fever. Similarly, when our mind is fighting negative thoughts and images our mind can fight them by building introspection and build positivity.
Sometimes, your presence alone is enough to aid someone’s recovery – mental or otherwise. When we see our close ones in suffering, we too feel anxious about it and that affects us emotionally too. Sometimes, it is enough to just be there for them rather than trying to make them feel better or save the situation. If you wish to help someone you’re close to, it is best to emotionally detach from them. It means that you detach from their problems and issues, and not them as a person. This will help you to bring a lot of practicality to the table, rather than helplessness. This approach will even help you support them better.
You need to accept that every person’s reaction to emotions and life events are different, in order to heal from the sadness. Self – acceptance is the most crucial step towards a healthy process of improvement. Once you are self- aware, taking actions and accepting the solutions also becomes easier.
Your roles for yourself are bound/based upon your perceptions which stem from various experiences. So, when experiences change, so does our perception. They are not stringent or fixed. For example, one thinks that he/she would not be a good cook at all, because they have never tried it. Once they do, they realize that they actually cooked well. So the perception towards self, changes.
Sometimes, your guide (parents, teachers or guardian) can make mistakes. We should try to develop enough patience to allow them to improve themselves. After all, “To err is human”. Every relationship has highs and lows. So, giving chances is a way of supporting improvement. But, if the person in front does not improve and commits the same mistake again and again, causing you drain emotionally and physically and increase stress levels, then those are signs that the person has become toxic to a certain extent, and you must then leave that relationship and or distance yourself from that person.
Compatibility of partners (friendship, relationship, marriage etc) works best if you have the clarity about your own, as well as your partner’s opinions about life and differences in choices. It is also important to remember that no relationship sails without the right communication. If there are differences, learn to be open about them, talk about them, and don’t forget to get a solution for each issue, and keep it as beneficial to both parties as possible. The outcomes should never be lopsided.
We need to go out of our comfort zone to face the fear of failure or a bad experience. But unless we try novel experiences in our life, we will not realize how much life has to offer. Instilling a path of experimentation, being alright with failure, learning and improving ourselves aides us in our life’s pursuit.
Ultimately, you have the power to change your life. There are endless opportunities and choices that we can make in the next split second that can throw us into an entirely different path in our life. We often forget that we are adults and hence we are no longer bound by our guardian’s perception of us. We can make different choices and also have responsibility of our own mind, body and emotions.
Some of the most important points that we need to remind ourselves of, are:
You are allowed to experience any emotion and fully express it in any healthy/ productive way that you want to.
Being sad/ asking for help is not equal to being weak.
Your past is not your permanent identity.
Taking breaks is essential. It does not mean that you’re lacking behind.
You need to help yourself before you help others and strike a balance between fulfilling your needs and others wants.
Self- awareness can take you a long way because it helps in improving everyday.
You are worthy of love ( self- love, most importantly). Do not depend on others for it.
Decision making can be tricky at times. We might not be able to decide for ourselves. In such a scenario, taking time aside to think and analyze is very important. The right decisions can be difficult to follow, but push yourself for it. You’ll realize the worth later.
Trust your decisions and go ahead. Even if you fail, you’ll know what went wrong and then learning becomes even better.
Each morning brings us a new opportunity to change our life. It brings with it the power to change us to be better. As clichéd as this may sound, it is the truth. We choose every second of our life. Yes, of course we are bound by responsibilities. But we are as bound by them as much as we let ourselves be. We can always strive to strike a balance between the life we have and the life we want while not sabotaging either. It is an art, yes but not impossible. What is life if you don’t make mistakes along the way? What is life if you don’t have a million memories accounting for both negative and positive experiences? What is life if you don’t have a little fun along the way? What is life if not a mixture of all this? - Sharmistha Banerjee