There are a lot of times you are unable to deal with your situation. The pain of helplessness is immense and many people stress out on things not under their control. Sometimes, they react with anger at the object of stress (a child, a teacher, a spouse, a parent, a boss, a colleague) and that no way alleviates their pain – instead it strains their relationship further and increases the pain.
I recently came across a person, whom the normal world could call as awkward. This was my first interaction with someone who expresses herself in a different way than what i have learnt to understand. I went pondering on what can hurl a person in a direction where your outside becomes more important than your inside. Or maybe the outside needs to express your inside. However it does represent a certain set of beliefs.
Each one of us holds dearly our set of belief and allowing someone to categorize seems too obnoxious – it hurts our self image. I am not a fanatic who requires compartments, but yes, some sort of categorization is what our brain is trained to do so that it is able to process and digest information.
Arguments are plays of mind to form our version of reality
– Vineet Raj Kapoor
I am sure there are ways people need to express themselves (like my students do so through their characters and stories) and being different is one way. How that is a tough ask. It requires one to be even more adept at the knowledge to be able to carry that expressibility, since without that that extra effort if appears superficial. Having said that, it is difficult today to be alone and have an existence you can identify with. Making a living (a profession), seems to be the best identity available to most. And for people who prefer to have a better identity than what they earn (or what post they hold), sometimes fail to get appreciated by this world in a manner they would like.
That said, young students have no means to express themselves (if money or position is the current ongoing means of expression), and this causes stress in them (what most people call – the teenage syndrome). Not all young people are in a position to handle that stress. Even older people in non-descript jobs may have this issue of a unexpressed life. As ghalib (ghalib’s Bazeecha-e-Atfal translation) would say it:
“Sab kahan kuchh lal-a-o-gul mein numayan ho gaye
Khak mein kya sooratein hongi, jo pinha ho gayein”
My English Translation:
“Not all seeds were able to turn into beautiful flowers
There are so many that turned to dust inside the dust”
So how to deal with that pain or stress? Both for the person who’s undergoing that pain, as well as for people who sometimes get stressed because of their situation.
The answer is:
Break down pain into laughable bits
– Vineet Raj Kapoor
Sounds difficult? Well let’s take the case of Gandhi. If you’ve seen the movie, you’d notice when posed a crucial question about the fate of India, with leaders asking him what to do (especially when the solution offered earlier was not palatable to them), he says – “i need to go feed the goat” and with that he walks away with the goat, leaving the other leaders to solve this situation with what they have. Gandhi did not belittle them, but indirectly stated two things – one, he said that he’d said enough (like R.E.M. did in Losing my religion), secondly, he also intended to say that the task must be handled without him, since his opinion (of not dividing india) didn’t make sense to them
Or take for instance, the situation when British Police comes to arrest Gandhi going for a Speech. To arrest they needed an issue, so they asked Gandhi what he was going to speak on. To which Gandhi replied,”the virtues of goat’s milk”
Let us take a situation in our homes.
If a child yells at you, you have 2 choices as a parent:
- Use your advantageous position as a parent (like using force or raising your voice), to silence him into obedience (the choice most take). However, that means that the child realises that he must get into that position of dominance before he can counter by this new method he learnt (which he does later in life with the parent and other people as well).
- The second and more difficult path is to allow the child to argue his position and let him discover or understand what is in his good. That elevates the child to an adult status and puts away certain methods that children use to get what they want outside of the purview of the current debate. However, being an adult without the required knowledge is a difficult task for a child and he is likely to see this as a lost battle (he doesn’t have sufficient knowledge to handle the argument).
- Wait, there is a third way! When you are hurt by a child’s method, sometimes taking away the subject towards something both could enjoy, like joking about the situation can help. This method allows the child not to take himself too seriously and could be the best way to deal with crises.
There is also a recent Indian Movie – OMG (O My God) that deals with such a situation. With Krishna (avatar) watching TV with a crowd of old women, who are eating icecream. They are glued to a live telecast of a man who had sued God for compensation (since the insurance companies said it was an act of god that he lost his house), and the Litigant is talking about God being responsible, an old woman interjects with loathe. At this critical and dramatic juncture, all Krishna does is – ask the old lady to refocus back on eating the icecream! A very valid interjection! Belittling the self and one’s opinion. It kind of states that it is not necessary to have an opinion on things beyond your control. And it is not even important to voice it, if you have an opinion on such matters.
I am sorry that the discussion kind of veered between people who are awkward, to dealing with stress, since at some place I felt that both were part of the same domain – understanding our world better and dealing with it.