2020 has been the most happening year in many years. We started it normally, making plans and resolutions, only to have been brought to a standstill.
This is the distillation of what brought me peace in the most anxious times.
Reality #1: The world is not here to make your life any easier.
Imagine you live in the middle of a desert, where the desert symbolizes how people and situations work around us. It will be laughable to expect the desert to convert into a rain forest to simply accommodate your thirst.
Cabs will not arrive on time, mysterious virus will grind bustling cities to a halt, a new crisis will not wait for the existing one to abate first. People will behave the way they want, speak loudly, eat noisily, have strong opinions, be judgemental, and will behave difficultly and irrationally. People will also be passionate about the causes they feel, take extreme measures for ideas that they believe in, be immeasurably kind and sometimes immeasurably nasty.
People will be people.
Why do we expect situations to behave in a way that is convenient for us?
Sh*t happens. You are not obliged to react to the world in any way that you don’t want to. The world will be nice to you and nasty to you, and none of it may not be convenient for you, but who’s stopping you to dig deeper and find your own reserves of belief and goodness?
The bottom line remains that everyone is finally responsible for their own behavior- good or bad. How were you today?
Reality #2: Your health is your personal responsibility.
There is nothing new that I can say here. It’s like a universal fact of life that we all know but tend to forget now and then.
We like to outsource the difficult things. Especially things like will-power and responsibility. My alarm didn’t wake me up, my wife didn’t get that diet chivda, my friends ordered a pizza, my husband said it was a good idea to sleep-in, it was just one drunken party- these could be very valid reasons but finally are just excuses.
The only person truly responsible for our good or bad health is- US. Health is as personal as it gets.
Not our job, not our friends, not our spouse or kids have shoulders big enough to take the blame for our bad health. If we are not keeping ourselves fit- it’s on us.
So, do what it takes. When you take that precious time and carve out time from your job, your family, and friends to do what is important for yourself, it’s worth remembering that your family and your job would most benefit from your good health.
Reality #3: The only person truly responsible for your happiness is you.
There are people, who are inclined to be so critical of themselves, that they leave the job of making them feel better to their loved ones. They do everything to dig themselves into a mental hole of depression, only to expect others to make them feel better. We all do that sometimes. We allow our internal critical voice to dominate everything else, including reason.
Such people are often disappointed, if not always. Since they are already over-critical of themselves, any small agreement from others becomes the feather that broke the camel’s back, in addition to already feeling like rubbish.
It is my harsh reality because I have been guilty of this too, only to realize that the only person with any real power to make me happy is really me. Any romanticized version of this story where a best friend/spouse/family member has the power to make you feel instantly happy can be accepted only with conditions apply* signature.
It is human nature to go with the winner. If your close ones see that they have a chance of making you feel better, is only when they will attempt to do so. If you have a habit of shutting down everyone around you, eventually that is exactly what will happen.
As much as we want others to carry the burden, the real onus of feeling light and content lies with us. Some people need help with that. But as the saying goes- even God Helps those who help themselves.
Knowing that the power to making myself happy lies with me, is infinitely empowering, helps relationships get better, and gives me an immense sense of well-being.
So here’s a 3 line summary that I hope to remember as I embrace 2021:
a. Be at peace with the world. Sh*t happens.
b. My physical health is my business.
c. My mental well being and happiness is in my hands.
What’s your mantra for 2021?