Thursday, March 12, 2015

What story do you tell yourself?

Optimism for me is a way of life. Does it mean that one shall never think of any negatives at all? People often ask me what is optimism for me? When everything is topsy turvy in life, then without getting disheartened when I take one single step and make an effort to bring things into order, that is optimism for me. When, every situation is unfavourable, then also, I do my best and move ahead with the hope that even the unfavourable can be turned into my advantage, that is optimism for me. When, I am trapped in the web of loneliness and feel like just hiding myself from the world, I get up and hug the world, that is optimism for me. When, I am going through severe bouts of depression due to low phases of life, I try to combat the same by doing something meaningful to bring smile on others’ face, that is optimism for me. When the heart cries that I am not so beautiful, still, I stand before the mirror and appreciate my long lustrous hair, that is optimism for me. When I am criticized for no good reason by the world, I still do self-evaluation and finally tell myself that an unjust criticism is a disguised compliment, that is optimism for me. God forbid, when my near and dear ones are suffering, and I am also suffering in the process, I get a shoulder to lean upon and I thank God for the same, that is optimism for me. One morning, when I find that I am given a pink slip in my organization, if I dare to put a food-stall or garment stall and earn out of it, that is optimism for me. When my relationship fails, without playing the blame game, if I am able to accept the reality and learn out of the mistakes, that is optimism for me. I made every attempt to make my business successful, but failed, still I gather courage to look out for an alternate profession and excel in it, that is optimism for me. When I walk on the road, if I am able to help even a stranger who met with an accident (God forbid), that is optimism for me. There might be 100 reasons to cry for in my life, but still, if I could find one reason to laugh, that is optimism for me. So, basically, optimism is not an attribute to be displayed when everything around me is absolutely going great but has to be displayed during adverse situations by identifying the positivity amongst negativity.  

Let me share with you the real life story of one of my acquaintance Ramanathan (name changed), 21 year old guy. I met him during one of my corporate training programme. Ramanathan was a very active participant. But at the end of the second day, he expressed his desire to talk to me. When I sat with him, he broke down completely and his story shook me as well. Within a span of 12 months, he saw the deaths of two of his close family members – his grandmother followed by mother. Grandmother had natural death. But what Ramanathan told me about his mother was very shocking. His mother was a social activist and for the rights of dalits, she self-immolated. Ramanathan’s father was so distraught that he got mentally disturbed.

Ramanathan was crying inconsolably and saying: “Whomever I love, they go away from me. First, I lost my dear grandmother, then my mother who was just 40 and my father is completely broken. Why my mother had to commit suicide, she knew that I can’t live without her.”

I allowed Ramanathan to cry. I didn’t want to stop him. When I felt that he is a bit calm, I told him: “Ramanathan, what you have gone through is absolutely terrible. But what is more painful is how you are handling with what happened to you.”

Ramanathan looked at me and I continued: “If possible, just change the story which you tell yourself. Whomever you love haven’t left you. Grandmother had to go because it was her time to go, a natural death. Mother did not commit suicide but she sacrificed her life for the common people. Don’t you feel lucky to be born to such a great soul, who lived and died for others. Didn’t she become a martyr? And about father, he has lost his better half, the void can’t be filled at all, still, can a son try to give so much care and attention to his father that he is able to come out of this tough phase.”

Ramanathan was thoughtful and he just said: Yes, it is important to change the story which I am telling myself.

He changed the story which he said to himself. This incident happened a year back. And today, Ramanathan is taking care of his father, enabling him to accept his wife’s death. Ramanathan is working with one of the prestigious research institute of our country. And, he has decided to complete his mother’s mission. Isn’t it a great story of optimism. Yes, I have always drawn my energy of optimism from people like Ramanathan as well.      

Take a pause and ask yourself: What story do you tell yourself? Is it a story of Optimism?

I am writing this article as part of - #lookup