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Learning to cope with life and its challenges (thehindu)

A bucket list of points to make the most of the daily life experience and ensure the right choices all the way

Life is fun every day during our school and college days, as we enjoy them with our friends in different ways. But one fine day things start changing. We get into a job for a living. We get married. We have children. The challenges around handling the people in our lives start coming up.

The people we interact with daily in our professional life do not always treat us the way we want them to. Some of them even hurt us, knowingly or unknowingly. Some of our managers do not treat us with fairness. Our peers try ways to show they are better than us. Our relationships that are to last all our life don’t work to our expectations. The spouse is not understanding enough. Parents keep complaining about silly things. We struggle day and night to understand how we can satisfy the people around us, how we can change them, and live the life of our dreams. This was definitely not the life we were looking forward to when we were young!

Here are some of the truths we can imbibe into our essence in order to help us out of all that misery and suffering:

Truth 1: We cannot change other people or their behaviour. If we are not ready to change ourselves for someone else, we surely cannot expect them to do so. So accept the fact that the other person will not change just because we want them to. Relaxing expectations tremendously improves your peace of mind, especially in the matter of our children.

Truth 2: We have the choice to not let other people’s behaviour affect us. When someone behaves or talks in a manner that is meant to hurt us, imagine that we have a mirror in front of us to just deflect the remark/behaviour, before it even touches us. Once we start practising the Imaginary Mirror technique, the hurt and suffering we have to go through because of other people’s acts, words and so on will slowly start vanishing. We should never be dependent on others to define our state of happiness. The feedback from others should only be taken in a positive sense, to help us improve ourselves.

Truth 3: The only things we have control over are our thoughts and our behaviour. Once we learn to defend ourselves against the negativity around us, we can start changing the pattern of our thoughts to make us happier.

l Be grateful for the countless good things and blessings in your life. List them on a piece of paper whenever we feel down and out. To make it even more challenging, don’t repeat entries. We will be surprised that we never run out of items when we start counting our blessings. Spend time once in a while to look around and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the trees, hills, clouds, wind…

l Whenever we feel someone is trying to let us down, try to understand why they are doing so. Most of the time a person’s behaviour is transaction-based, limited to that situation, and doesn’t define who the person actually is! So be willing to forgive and forget. This removes much of the burden from our shoulders!

l Respect the person we are. When we start loving and respecting ourselves, other people will follow. Do not live to please others, being a door mat to others. God made us in his own image, and a part of God lives in us. I am important, so are my needs. Treat ourselves once in a while – maybe a special spa, a special gift that you have wanted for long, and feel good about it.

l The present moment offers us many choices, and we are free to make our choices. Prioritise and take informed decisions that we will not regret ever, at any time in the future.

l Gain control over our mind: Many a time we will find our mind wandering in many ifs and buts, past and future, which never materialise in reality. These thoughts only add on to our worries, and we start trying to solve the problems before they even arise in our life. Live in the present. Practise monitoring our thoughts on a frequent basis and redirect our mind to focus on more productive thoughts. Regular meditation can be of additional help here. The worries we have are just directly proportional to the probability of illness and disease in our life; so let us consciously reduce or even get rid of them.

l Relax and take a deep breath. Allow the good things to come to our life. Do we know that God (or the Universe or Consciousness or whatever else our belief is…) is always trying to push all the perfect things to us?

We are almost always in a state of fear and resistance, and so we unknowingly try to push all the good things away from us. Relax and open up our minds to receive.

This life is the only one we are consciously aware of. Let us live it to the fullest, be grateful for each and every blessing we already are in possession.

(The author is a senior manager at Infosys in Thiruvananthapuram and is a ‘Samaritans Counselor’ for the 5,000-plus employees of the local centre, helping them overcome challenges, both personal and professional.


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