Take a break to re-calibrate life

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Fortunately, I am blessed with clarity of thought. I came here to see my father who I hadn’t seen over 18 months, the longest time since I was born.

By Shilpa Bhasin Mehra

Published: Wed 4 Aug 2021, 12:40 AM

Last updated: Wed 4 Aug 2021, 12:46 AM

I came to Delhi from Dubai in March this year. I was scheduled to fly back end of April when I could not due to the travel ban from April 24. Over the months I have heard this dialogue repeated ad nauseam, “oh no, poor you, been stuck here for so long”. Did I say anything that warrants this comment, forget complain or crib? This comment would have been justified, if I was depressed about the situation and desperate to go back. I am not.

Fortunately, I am blessed with clarity of thought. I came here to see my father who I hadn’t seen over 18 months, the longest time since I was born. Every time I meet him, I feel my trip here has been so fruitful. Mission accomplished and counting! So, what is there to crib?

Here is the paradox. I have noticed that the people who complain are the same ones who rattle at the drop of a hat, proverbs like “depends how you look at things, if the glass is half empty or half full”. It is strange that they are the ones always looking at the half empty glass. These proverbs are said to feel and look good, but not actually meant and certainly not implemented. My take on this glass proverb is — I like my glass to be full, so if it looks even little empty, please top it up.

Life is certainly tough and we are living in unprecedented times. There are many reasons for us to become bona fide pessimist but let’s cling on to even one reason to be an optimist. We need to remember that optimism creates opportunity and pessimism kills it. The word “optimism” actually derives from the Latin word “optima”, meaning the best outcome or belief in the greatest good. We all get to wake up every day and choose whether we are going to be a glass half-full, or a glass half-empty person.

You can’t solve your problems by complaining about them. To quote Einstein: “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking at which they were created.” Where pessimists see problems, optimists find opportunities. If you change the way you look at your problems, your problems change and transform into a rich array of opportunities to grow, learn and discover. Many times in life, we need to see it from a different angle and fresh perspectives. There may be many things that we cannot change, but there will also be a few things about which we can do something.

In these times, we need to preserve our energy and guard our positive energy protectively. So stay away from energy vampires who only crib and complain about everything in life and take you down their misery lane. We certainly don’t need that. When I see such a person I promise myself that I will not be like that. If I cannot add to anyone’s happiness, who am I to subtract it?

We can certainly learn from Amy Cuddy how to carry ourselves like an optimist. Specific adjustments in your body language make you feel more powerful and confident. If you slump your shoulders and look down to the ground, optimism and opportunity will definitely elude you. But stand tall, chin up, smile and you will attract all sorts of positive people and opportunities into your life.

One medicine that is most prescribed, that is free of cost but still undervalued is laughter. It may be difficult to find humour in these tough times, but if can do so, we can certainly laugh some of our troubles away. I have great respect for comedians because they are masters at finding the humour in even the most unfunny situations. Humour is a highly effective antidote to almost every ailment, anxiety or adversity. Watching a funny movie or better still, spending time with a friend who makes you laugh is literally medicinal and these days priceless.

Stay close to people, physically or virtually, who love and care for you, who value you, encourage you and inspire you. Stay away from the pessimist and energy drainers. Covid has also sent us all on a kind of sabbatical, a forced break in some way or the other. So let’s make the most of this break and re-calibrate our lives. While our life may have gone a bit off track, we can still appreciate all that we have. Complaining about life, won’t get it back on track faster. An optimist is a person who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. Or as said in her characteristic style, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” — Dolly Parton.

Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is a legal consultant based in Dubai and the founder of Legal Connect.

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