Last week, I had a client who came to me distraught, following a light-hearted card game with her friends. It was a friendly game with low stakes. In the last game, she did something that wasn’t acceptable to some of the players. The impulsive reaction of her friends left her feeling cheated and hurt; and she was unfairly forced out of the game. During our session, she was embarrassed about making this small issue so prominent, but it was lingering in her thoughts for too long, and thus needed to be addressed. In her case, it was more about her being treated unfairly rather than leaving the game that she would have won.
Since childhood, we have been taught about fairness. Science has actually proven that when we witness unfairness — even to someone we don’t know, it triggers a response in our body. Our amygdala is triggered (the primitive part of the brain that controls anger and fear), and we go into fight or flight mode resulting in anxiety. And yet every day we have ample opportunities to see the unfairness in life — be it a deserving colleague who didn’t get the promotion, or an innocent person falsely jailed, and let’s not even get started about the massive injustices happening all over the world. The truth is that life isn’t fair. And as much as we want to change that, we can’t (in most cases). But we can learn to process these feelings. Here’s how:
Life isn’t exactly equal for all of us all of the time, make peace with that. But don’t let it get you down. Do all that you can. Address and process what you’re feeling and you can even use it to your advantage.
Sit back and ponder over what happened. Is there something you can do? What could be the root cause? Is this a recurring pattern? If you need to take action or speak up, go ahead and do it. So many people have found meaning in their life by giving voice to those who have none.
When something bad happens to you (or when something good doesn’t happen), it might be a chance to do something differently or to learn something new about yourself, about the way the world works, about the people around you. It may lead you to a different path.
It could even push you out of your comfort zone. Remember there is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.
As cliche as it may sound, your only competition is with the person you were yesterday. Do not compare yourself with another. Each one’s path is uniquely theirs. And none are devoid of challenges, pain and sorrow. If comparing yourself with someone drives you to push harder, then it’s a useful emotion. But if it’s dragging you down, making you feel resentful and angry, you know it’s futile. Gather your attention to yourself, your gifts and how you can use them to achieve what you want.
Be grateful for what is going right in your life. Gratitude rewires our brain to a higher vibration. Rumi, the 13th century poet said, “Live life like its rigged in your favour”. This means that everything happens for your benefit. Could it be that all the difficulties we go through are actually meant to make us stronger and wiser? Believe that the universe does have your back. But there’s a small catch to this — we must conduct ourselves accordingly and stop standing in our own way.
Constantly blaming your childhood, your upbringing, the government, the weather, destiny and everything else for your situation isn’t going to make it any better. The blame game is an exercise in futility. Instead, ask yourself how you can change the situation and the outcome. Do all it takes.
Lastly, remember that it isn’t about the cards we’re dealt, but how we play those cards that makes the difference.
Connect with Delna Mistry Anand across social media @DelnaAnand
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