May 2016 By Suma Varughese Change yourself and not the circumstances when things go wrong, says Suma Varughese One mistake all of us do when caught in a difficult or unpleasant situation, is to bail out of it. If a friendship has run into rough waters, we break the friendship. If our boss at the job is giving us trouble, we change the job. If the marriage is going through friction, we decide to part ways. If our family life is unpleasant, we hightail out of there as soon as we have grown up enough to find a job in another city. It takes a certain amount of evolution to recognise that changing our circumstances changes nothing. After a while, another friendship breaks and yet another. The new job also gives us trouble. If we venture into a new marriage, almost certainly, problems will crop up. Of course, I am not saying one should never leave a marriage or a job, no matter how unhappy you are. What I am saying, however, is that the motive to leave the job or marriage is all-important. Sometimes, it may be that we have outgrown a marriage or a job and our inner voice gives us the sanction to leave. Such cleavages will not be emotional. They will be dispassionate and peaceful because we know from within that this part of our life is over. However, if we leave our circumstances because they are unpleasant or hard, then we are letting go of an opportunity to grow. All hardships and difficulties hold the promise of growth and transformation if we only address ourselves to them. In the case of the fractured friendship, maybe we are meant to resolve the conflict, instead of rupturing the relationship. We are not adept at mending bonds. Most of us grew up with only two default reactions to conflict. Either we explode, or we sulk and withdraw. It takes will, humility and commitment to decide that we are not going to let this friendship go; that we are willing to look within, take responsibility for our share of the rupture, and to apologise for it. Almost inevitably, I have found that the other too will apologise and joyfully take back the reins of the friendship. And because we have learnt that our friendship can withstand the strain of rupture, it usually vaults to a higher level; both parties are more at ease with each other and not so afraid of hurting each other’s feelings. And so it moves one more notch towards intimacy. What growth! Similarly, there are massive lessons for us to learn each time something goes wrong at work or with our health. Instead of taking on another job, or running to an allopath to pop pills, we need to introspect. There are certain questions we need to ask ourselves at the beginning of any difficulty. How have I contributed to this problem? What lessons are there for me to learn? What steps can I take to resolve this? If we sincerely address ourselves to answering and addressing these questions, nine out of 10, we will have solved the problem, and along the way we will have learned valuable lessons in humility, patience, determination, self-control and will power. Because we have learnt what it wanted to teach us, in all probability the same problem will not occur again. Or if it does, it is to help us to resolve other issues that we did not address the first time round. However, if we try and escape the problem by changing the circumstance, the problem is bound to recur. It has to, because it is our time to confront it and the more we put it off, the harder it becomes. Ultimately, we must acknowledge that the design of human life is perfect and we are best served by accepting each circumstance gracefully, and learning what it holds in store for us. Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. She also holds writer’s workshops. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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