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  • Raghav Sand

Everything Teaches Something

Pay attention and you will train your mind to learn something from everything. We have been programmed to look at the brighter side of things and stay positive in the face of adversity. Undoubtedly, this is the winning mantra. In the interim, it helps to acknowledge the negativity that we may feel around us. Every individual has a unique process to deal with situations. Thankfully, there is no blueprint to life. Words, sentences and phrases that you may come across in the following paragraphs may make you realize that all this is easier said than done. I know, it can, and for some of you it will feel unattainable, but that should not stop you from reading the whole article.

In earlier times, people had mentors, teachers who imparted life lessons and a sense of community. Modern life has made humans more inward looking than they were ever before. Through an open-minded conversation, we can help each other overcome difficulties. And if we are doing well for ourselves, it will be nice to take others along. Never help someone with a sense of pity or charity. Do little for others, but do it unconditionally as a service to humanity.

Observe and Preserve

I have always observed people and listened to what they have to say. Given the vast size of my extended family, everyone has taught me something. Yes, all of them have imparted life lessons, which would otherwise have taken me more than a lifetime to learn. I know, you must be thinking how is it possible that everyone has taught me something? Did I ever mention that people from my extended family or social circle have all taught me something good? No, teaching doesn’t always have to be from the positive side; sometimes we have to reverse engineer the negativity as well.

Some of the people whom I have come across have left an indelible mark on me with their humility, honesty and simplicity, while others have shown how I should not behave with others. Both the varieties are equally important. In our pursuit of hyper-positivity, we tend to overlook the bad stuff. I am not asking you to applaud or idolize the wrong people.

Don’t Discriminate, but Differentiate

Never discriminate, rather, you should differentiate between people for the sake of self-preservation. With folded hands, I would request one and all, irrespective of your age, gender, or IQ – do something which will make people remember you for good. Stop being rude and judgmental. If you really feel someone deserves your counsel or suggestion, then help them with constructive feedback. Don’t worry, there is plenty of time left, irrespective of your current age and state of mind.

Find Your Kind

The path to simplicity, in thought and life, is paved with ideas that seem complex. To elaborate a thought and enable understanding among people, we have to take the road less travelled. Find your kind and apply your mind. Culture and class are rare, if you are lucky, you shall meet nice people. Until you find your kind, be polite and positive. Don’t become what others want you to become.

Have you ever noticed how people who gossip, have a filthy language or boast about how good they are doing in life pull or push you in their comfort zone and tirelessly want to ruin you? Don’t react to their appeal, but respond with what is in your best interest, even if it means you will talk less with them. Just to stay friends with someone or have a good rapport with a member of your extended family, don’t lower your standards.

Make Better Choices

The motivation to become a good person requires consistent effort. We cannot afford to be nice in patches and then don the hat of hypocrisy. There is a difference between being critical and caring. I have no inclination to transform others and become a social reformer. At the same time, I am not trying to be the judge, jury and executioner. Sooner or later, everyone realizes that they are not kids anymore and make the effort to bring a positive change in their life and the life of those around them. People who are either surrounded by nice people or are alone succeed in their life; life around toxic people, whether apparent or disguised, will easily get stuck in a complex maze.

Being alone and lonely are two completely different things. This may sound strange to some of you. Go figure! People who like being alone are better organized psychologically and emotionally. The endeavour should be to engage with the basic phenomenon of life. We are continuously getting bombarded with irrelevant information, while on other occasions we consume trash-talk from our surroundings on our own. In today’s world of plug-and-play, we can decide what we see and hear.

It Starts with You

To expect good things from others, one needs to look within. Without making appropriate modifications, and always expecting others to be nice, polite and wise, is a futile exercise. Not everyone you know is a well-wisher. First of all, make peace with this fact. Learn the art of diplomacy and stop paying attention to noises within your head and most definitely from people outside your inner circle. As adults, it is alright to not be buddies with everyone and yet co-exist peacefully. This realisation is best experienced when it is organic. Do I need to repeat that our life is finite and given its uncertain nature, everything can extinguish in the blink of an eye? Life is meant to be lived without constantly thinking about the inevitable.

Our attitude, behaviour, character, vocabulary, ethics and morals are not signed, sealed and delivered in the maternity ward itself. It is our choices that define the person we eventually become. Negativity need not be apparent; on most occasions it is disguised. Just like we take care of our body to stay fit so that we can perform everyday activities like walking or running, and lifting or pushing objects, we should build mental muscles and agility to defend ourselves from rotten discourse. Not every information that we consume is an audio-visual content; some of it comes from the people in our lives. The delicate nature of some relationships, whether it is in our family or community, makes it challenging to steer the direction of conversation. For the sake of self-preservation, do what is right and stop trying to keep everyone happy at the cost of your emotional well-being.

Anger and Anxiety – Explore Options

Anger is the product of spill over strain. It is important to channel it properly and avoid being consumed by it. Anxiety and anger are proportional; they are also complementary. Anger is an adaptive response to threat. It infuses bravery and encourages us to take action. If we learn to use anger to our advantage, it can provide motivation and purpose.

Why We Need Negative Feelings

Negative feelings should be used as an opportunity to turn around and bring a change in behaviour. There is a definite upside in feeling down. If we pay attention, negative feelings can help us identify what is wrong in our life. Feelings such as hopelessness and despair are empty emotions; it is impossible to take advantage from them. On the other hand, anger, sadness, anxiety, and loneliness are based on reality and can be used advantageously. It is important to label the feeling and acknowledge it.

For example, if your heart is racing, then you are anxious. If you are feeling heavy in chest and have tense jaws, these are signs of sadness and anger, respectively.

Angry people judge others more harshly than they judge themselves. You need not share intimate feelings to feel good. Feeling good by spending money is an easy option in the near term, but not sustainable in the long term. A small suggestive list is given below for applying negative feelings beneficially.

  1. Stay in control

  2. Know your audience

  3. Focus on your objective

  4. Believe your course of action will work;

  5. Avoid anger if you want to be creative; and

  6. Take a step-by-step approach.

Our near and dear ones are not punching bags and should be treated in a dignified manner. Having a meaningful conversation is a good starting point. We are all in this together.

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