​HANDLING EMOTIONALLY DRAINING SITUATIONS

Just as I sit to write this article, there was a potential stimulus to cause an emotional tension within me. A colleague had posted an obscene video in my workplace WhatsApp group. I had seen the hazy image and realized that it had inappropriate content. So, I decided not to download / view it. With peace still reigning in my mind, I continued with my other daily chores. Meanwhile, other colleagues began viewing it and were enraged at the person who had posted such a video in what is meant to be an official forum. And, as you would expect there was fiery exchange of words in the group. The colleague who had posted the video, pleaded innocence saying that it got posted by mistake. Some colleagues left the group. And the saga is still continuing as I write this article.

My purpose of sharing the above incident is to give a peek into how even small actions or words can pose as strains or stressors in our lives and drain us. Imagine beginning a day with such a video! Now, I trace my steps back and put myself in the place where I first saw the video in the group. What would have happened had I not seen the hazy image and would have decided to view it? Firstly, I would have been emotionally disturbed (as I gather from the comments of others in the group that it was highly sexually explicit). Next, I would have harboured a very negative impression about the person who posted it. Ultimately, it would have disturbed my mental peace. It would have continued to linger in my mind for several days and so on the responses would have continued.

That’s about me. However, there would be people who would have enjoyed such a video. There are people who sure begin their day with such content and spend most of their leisure time viewing such content. For them it is not emotionally draining, rather it is emotionally pleasurable – a stress-reliever.

It is then very clear that what is emotionally draining for one, may not be so for others. To give examples – one person may love shopping, while for another it may be physically and emotionally draining. One person may feel cooking to be a good stress-buster, whereas for another it may be a strainer.

And yes, not only do work, sickness, death of a loved one, divorce, disappointment, failure and the like, emotionally drain a person, but also events like a wedding, celebrating a festival, visiting a friend, a kitty party can be equally draining.

Richard Lazarus, a psychologist who has done commendable work in the area of ‘stress and strain’ is of the opinion that there are two ways to cause emotional strain in a person – exposure to certain stimuli present in the environment and the response of the individual to it. Some of the common hassles that drain people emotionally all over the world are – issues of appearance (weight, height and looks), health of family members, rising price of common goods, too many things to do in a short time, tax payments, misplacing or losing things, children’s education, a non-responsive spouse, loss of employment, a dip in the business, a house full of guests, truant/rebellious children, personal disorganization, frequent job transfers, shifting houses frequently, etc.

How then do we handle such emotionally stressful and draining events?

We all have certain triggers in our lives that drain us to the core…so much so that, all we need later is to be left alone for a while. However, since the triggers are different for different people there cannot be a one-size-fits-all remedy. A few general measures that can be taken –

  1. Stay away from the company of people whom you have identified to be stressors in your life. But what do you do, if your spouse/your children fall into that category? Identify what triggers them. Talk them into handling those situations better and show them reason as to how they can make theirs and others lives better by managing those little triggers in their lives.
  2.  Avoid situations that drain you. But what if your workplace stains you? Quitting your job is not the solution (unless of course it is too intolerable). What if your workplace is your stress-buster and your home is where you feel drained out? Leaving home is never an option. Effective management of people and chores at home would lessen the pressure.
  3. Take care of your health. Your health is God’s gift to you. Choose to eat healthy foods, drink healthy fluids, sleep enough and exercise well. A healthy body ensures a healthy mind. Too much toxins in the body and lack of sleep generate irritation and frustration easily.
  4. Spend time alone in the lap of nature. Gazing at the starry sky, listening to the chirping of birds, watching butterflies flutter from flower to flower, lying down on a grassy lawn are wonderful stress busters. If there is absolutely no way in which you can escape to such places periodically, take to gardening. If you don’t have a patch of land, buy some potted plants and care for them daily. You’ll soon notice the difference.
  5. Be alone with God – Pray. The Bible says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you.” No matter what is the draining factor in your life, take it to God. It may be something big and impossible or it may be a petty matter, God can and will help you manage it better if you take it to Him.
  6. Don’t escape emotionally draining situations; find ways of handling them. Avoidance is never the answer. That’s because, how many times can you avoid such a situation? And what would you do each time it recurs? So, a better strategy is to find out ways to tackle such situations.

The above list is not exhaustive, but the space surely is. As we deal with emotionally draining situations, it is also wise to identify in what ways do our words or actions drain others. Intentionally or otherwise are we causing stress in others’ lives? Let’s be mindful and make the necessary amends.

Quote of the day

You walk your way to success or failure all alone though there are many who come across your path either as a help or an obstacle.

Quote of the day

You need not be disheartened at the failures, just try changing your mindset and perspective towards it.

A STAIRCASE THAT LEAD DOWN TO A DEAD END

Akshit shrugged as he was sitting in his balcony, looking at the sky blankly – his eyes getting wet as he remembered Anamika.

It was the vacation time and he was busy with his friends playing cricket, cards, roaming around and celebrating with them. He could not even imagine how quickly those 10-12 days passed away. She was a neighbor and was part of the group. Her family and his family were in good terms. All the neighbourhood friends were together almost the whole day except during the night. She was with all of them too. But when they both were alone, many times, she would suddenly become quiet in the middle of their conversation. He was so naive to be aware of the pain that she was going through. He was in 12th class and not mature enough to understand what she may be going through. He was busy making fun with her and all the friends. She even showed him a letter that a guy had given her sometime back. She read few lines for him also. She was talking about that guy. He did not even remember what she was talking about that guy. What was her problem? He was so inattentive that time. 

Akshit’s vacation time came to an end and he was ready to return to his place of study. He said good bye to her but she was looking terribly pale. She held his hands and said, “So you’re going finally?” Her voice was feeble. Akshit thought this feeling to be just an emotional expression caused by his departure. But he never thought that it would be her last expression of his best friend. 

Akshit came back to his place of study and after 4-5 months of his return, he was busy preparing for his 12th Board exams. That time he received a letter from his mom in which she had mentioned about an accident that she witnessed which had left her traumatized. But she never disclosed anything to him as he was busy preparing for his class 12th Board Exam.

His exam finished. Summer vacation started. His parents visited him for a few days and one day at the breakfast, Akshit’s mom started crying and telling him about the incident she mentioned in the letter few days before his exams. And her statement literally stopped his heart beat for a few seconds when she said: “Anamika is no more, she committed suicide, and nobody knows why she did that.”

It was difficult for Akshit to even accept what he heard. Her smiling face started dancing in front of him. He stood there for sometime looking at his mom sobbing and telling him about her. That day he went to the bathroom and wept quietly but bitterly. All the memories of his last visit flashed back. The only thought that was torturing him was that he could not help her; he could not save her life. He could not stop her from  going down a staircase that lead to the dead end. She was opening up before him, but he could not understand her heartache. He literally started blaming himself for the loss of her life.

That night he prayed to God and asked forgiveness for not availing the opportunity given to him that day. He asked Him the strength and the power to observe people closely, to be a good listener, to be attentive to people’s needs and to understand their heartaches. This memory made him sensitive to the slightest pain of any person who interacts with him. It alerts him every time he talks to a young boy or girl about their problems. Despite the guilt and pain, he was grateful to God for teaching him this hard learnt lesson. 

LOOK AT ‘BITTERNESS’ OUT OF THE BOX

In a general sense the word ‘Bitterness’ makes us understand about the taste of something, as the web dictionary defines ‘Bitter’ as, “having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste”. But when we use that same meaning for life then it seems very grievous. The other definitions of bitter are: Hard to bear; grievous; distressful….etc. – as I said the matter becomes very serious when we lose the taste of our life.

“My life has no joy… It’s so bitter.”

“The bitterness towards my life is increasing day by day.”

“I am so bitter about my life. I don’t wanna live anymore.”

“I want to quit.”

“No any more.”

The above statements indicate how someone can feel when s/he is bitter about his/her life.

What can make us bitter?

Let me explain a case study…

A girl of 4-5 years lost her mother. The mother didn’t die but left her. The girl grew up with her siblings but the trauma was heavy on the whole family though she suffered the most. She suffered combating jealousy, wicked schemes of outsiders, injustice from the single parent she had with her. All these things happened not only for a year or two but year after year. The girl kept feeling rejected by all. She cried, she yelled but there was no one to come to her rescue. Her father fixed her marriage to a boy who was a terminally ill person. She loved him despite of his sickness seeing his caring nature. She got married to him but the problems never ended. The bitterness to life increased in her heart and mind.

This case study gives us a picture of a lady with extreme bitterness towards her life. If we look around us there are many such people who have lost hope in their lives.

If I take my example, I have felt bitter towards my life lots of times. I was bitter because I wasn’t given good health so that I could play with my friends in school. I was bitter because I was restricted to ride a bicycle and used to go to school with my aunt in the cycle rickshaw. I was bitter because I was unable to be used in any physical activities which any young kid or college going boy loves to do. I was bitter, in fact felt disgusted of me when I used to see the girls coming to the college by motor bike yet I used to come sitting at the back of my friends’ bicycle or motor bike or come alone in a cycle rickshaw. I used to depend a lot on my friends to do many things for me. Sometimes they used to deny me of doing it for me. I felt disgusted when my family members were looking for any physically handicapped quota for my college admission. I was bitter when I was unable to do any professional course for my future.

So what we observe in both of these true life experiences that the life situations, the people around us, sometimes family, sicknesses etc., are the causes of our bitterness towards life.

But what about the lady? She never gave up, despite the devilish thoughts of death coming to her mind again and again. She never gave in to that thought of quitting her life.  She lives with a hope that her Creator God will definitely bring changes in her life one day.

She says, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Bitterness never came to an end in my life. What do you think it’s finished just because I smile and stay jovial? I have overcome it?

NO WAY!!!

But it could not overpower me after I understood the perspective of my life. I changed the way I  used to look at bitterness in my life. My focus shifted from what I don’t have, what I can’t do to what I have, what I can do. My motto in life became to “Smile and make others Smile” instead of counting how much I suffered. The scripture portion – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” became My Motivation.

Friends! Look at your life differently, change your perspective to make bitterness negligible.

Stay blessed!!!

FAILED YET FAMOUS

Today is a day of celebration for Candles Online. This post will be the 700th post of Candles Online. It’s truly a milestone and the timing is absolutely appropriate for the occasion with a concluding day for the topic ‘Celebrating Failure‘.  

If I look back, I find myself sad and sorrowful two years back when Candles Online was not in the picture. The printed format failed to stay afloat. All my dreams had sunk in the deep sea. But now… we have been inspiring many around the globe, over 130 countries approximately. Candles Online had faced failures a lot of times yet it has become famous among many. It is still growing day after day because of some very committed people along with me and also because of God’s grace. 

I am going to let you watch an incredible video of 25 very famous world personalities who had failed in their lives or were considered failures by people initially, yet became world famous personalities afterwards. 

Be encouraged and never quit…

Stay blessed!

FREEDOM FROM ENTANGLEMENTS

Failure is something which literally jeopardizes our normal functioning. But there’s a question which popped up in my mind – “What really causes failure?”

And the answer that came to my mind was – ENTANGLEMENTS. But again a question arose in my mind – “Then what are those entanglements that become the causes of our failure?” I found them as under:

NEGATIVE MINDSET

A girl who is not fair or doesn’t have a good figure can’t be considered a failure in life though some do. A boy who studied hard but came second in the class can’t be considered a failure. But some parents do feel that way. A person who doesn’t have a gift of singing can’t be considered as a failure just because he/she could not sing well in the competition. We witness so many reality shows where the participants feel that way and go back weeping as if they lost life’s battle completely.

Ms. Usha Uthup, a very popular Bollywood singer was invited to one of the reality shows. She has a very manly voice from the very beginning. I will never forget what she said about her weakness that day.  She said, “I don’t have sweet female tonal quality because of my vocal chord. But I had never grumbled about what I can’t or don’t have. Instead, I let my weakness be my strength. And I am sure there’s nobody in Bollywood who can sing like me now.” She laughed about it and the audience gave her a standing ovation for her mindset.

When I think about myself I sometime wonder. Where was I as a kid and a teen… grumbling for being sickly and unable to do anything…??? And where I am now… who doesn’t even bother as to what I can’t do but concentrates on what I can. There was only a change of mindset… really nothing else.

Our negative mindset becomes an entanglement on our feet which never allows us to move forward in the path of success. And we end up a failure.

PROCRASTINATION & LAZINESS

Few scripture portions to elaborate this point:

  • A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road,
        a fierce lion roaming the streets!”
  • The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,
        because his hands refuse to work.
  • As a door turns on its hinges,
        so a sluggard turns on his bed.
  • Diligent hands will rule,
        but laziness ends in forced labor.
  • A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,
        but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Do I really have to explain them? 😉 They are very loud, harsh and clear about a person who is lazy – a sluggard. 

I have always struggled with my habit of procrastination. Sometimes, I wonder why I keep things for later and rush at the last moment. I am learning. I will definitely overcome that attitude of mine. Some people fail because of this particular entanglement.

DISTRACTIONS

I have seen people who earn money and are satisfied with that. They could have enough for themselves, for their family, for their children’s education etc. and they are happy with that. They are the persons who don’t know that they have failed in achieving something very vital in life. Either they over work, counting themselves in the rat race of earning more and more or they are happy with whatever little they earn without any objective, vision or passion. 

Can’t I be happy with what I am doing, earning and just live my life instead of writing, being instrumental in floating Candles Online etc., managing it by thinking and discussing?

Somehow, I feel people are distracted from their goal and purpose as humans, supreme created beings. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Thus, distractions also lead to failures as one of the very dangerous entanglements.

Friends! Do you want not to be a failure? Then get yourself released from these THREE major entanglements that cause failure: Negative Mindset, Laziness and Distractions.

Stay Blessed!