It’s Time We Be Strong Mentally

Kakali Das

So I have a Facebook friend (fictional) whose life seems perfect; she resides in a gorgeous house, has an eminently worthwhile career. She and her family scoots off on all these exciting escapades together on their weekends and I wonder they take a professional Photographer along with them (pun intended), because no matter where they go and what they do the entire family appears as pretty as a picture aesthetically. She invariably keeps on posting about how blessed she is for the life she has. And I am none to comment on whether the display of perfection is merely for the sake of being on Facebook or not.

We’ve all heard of the statement, “The grass is always greener on the other side”, because it’s ever so true.

How many of you have a friend as such? And how many of you apparently don’t like that person sometimes? (chuckle continues…)

We all do this, don’t we? It’s hard not to be jealous or offended. But that way of thinking costs and injures us awfully. Perhaps we scroll through our Facebook feeds and a particular post makes us frown, it’s merely 5 seconds of our time, how could it be hurting us?Researchers like John M. Grohol, Psychologist, Mental Health Expert have already wrote in Psych Central that envying our friends on Facebook leads to ‘depression’; that’s merely one of the traps that our minds set for us. Being jealous may seem small in the moment but that way of thinking corrodes our entire mental strength beyond repair.

There are 3 kinds of destructive beliefs that make us inefficient and rob us of our mental peace. The first one is the unhealthy beliefs about ourselves. We tend to be remorseful for ourselves. It’s fine to a great degree to be downhearted when something dreadful happens but the feeling of self-pity transcends that. It is when we start to magnify and augment our misfortune, it is when we surmise things like, “Why do these things always have to happen to me?”, “Why am I so unlucky?”that oppresses us.That course of thinking keeps us stuck, engrossed in the problems, dissuades us from finding a solution to them. And even if we can’t create a solution, we can always initiate to cure our lives or somebody else’s. Being busy hosting our pity parties would thrash us into the black hole and annihilate us. The second type of destructive belief that holds us back is unhealthy beliefs about others. We think that people can control us and we give away our powers to them. If you say ‘this person has hurt me a lot’, you unmindfully give away your powers to that person. May be he/she is not the nicest person on earth but it is up to you how you respond to him/her because it’s you who is in control of yourself or your mind. The third type is the unhealthy beliefs about the world. We tend to think that the world owes us something. We think that if we put in enough hard work, we deserve success. But expecting success to voluntarily arise like some sort of comic reward will only lead to disappointment.

We take things personally. When a friend of us suddenly cancels the plan of our meetup, we somewhere start considering ourselves to be not important enough for them. Imagine, you invite a friend to go to the movies, he or she replies, “Oh I am so sorry, I won’t be able to come as I am stuck at work”, but you see a picture on social media of him/her dinning with the other friends the next hour. It upsets you and you start believing that there is definitely something wrong with you and that they don’t like you. Similarly, you work your fingers to the bone in the office but if at last all you get is criticism, you rush home being enraged and continue sharing your awful experience to your family. While you are narrating the story, if one of the persons walk-off to switch on the TV, you abruptly get raged up assuming the uninterested attitude of them towards you. It’s natural for us to take these situations personally. Moreover, when two persons are in conversation with each other and suddenly one gazes at you from a distance and smirks, it promptly occurs to you that they may be talking or gossiping about you slyly. We take that personally. But Why? Why do we take things personally? Somebody says or does something and we feel wounded, neglected, betrayed by the other one. We presume, it is the other person’s fault, he is responsible for what we feel, he is the one to blame. Now hang on! Who says that? Which part of us is speaking that? It is our EGO.

Our ‘ego’ thinks that others should take us into consideration, it seldom wants to be criticised. It wants to be acknowledged. Hence, we want to be right all the time. When our ‘ego’ takes over, it is exhausting, we are fighting all day. We are in an incessant struggle with the rest of the world; it drains our energy. On the contrary, we experience much more harmony and connection between us and other people, if we forgo the negativity within us. So the question is, do we want to be right or do we want to be happy? Some of us might think that we would be happy by being right!

The only solution to it is to think, “it is not about me”. If the project, you have slogged your arse off in has been rejected by your boss, then it’s harmless to think that maybe his/her requirements of it are tad different. We simply need to shift our focus from ME to WE in order to refrain ourselves from taking things personally. If I try to discern the intention of the other person and make space for understanding him instead of judging, it would scarcely be about us. For an instance, when a child refuses to go to sleep, throws himself on the floor, kicking and screaming, “I hate you”, does the parent take that personally? No! Because the mother knows, it isn’t about her, it’s about what the child wants, it wants to stay up a bit longer and that’s all. Secondly, we need to stop doubting about ourselves and our capabilities. For instance, if somebody says, “You are an orange”, you will give a chortle. It’s funny, isn’t it? Why would anyone take it seriously or believe in it! Humans can’t be oranges; we don’t doubt on us to be an orange. But if somebody says, “Hey, you’re too selfish”, Ouch! I take it personally and I get hurt because I know there is some truth in it. I am aware of the fact that I don’t always take into account other people’s needs. When you are being criticised and it hurts, chances are big that this is rooted in your mind and it touches the raw nerve.

 It’s all simple as that but only in theory. In reality it would be excruciating to refrain ourselves from taking things personally. Do we know how many thoughts our brain produces a day? In 2005, National Science Foundation, published an article which wrote, “An average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day and 80% of them are negative”. It genuinely takes load of efforts to correct ourselves amidst it. Seeing the positive intention of the other person requires a lot of discipline and training which we humans fail in most of the time. Meditation help a lot in blocking negativity to a much extent, hence have been following it for years now. Before I take a step, I invariably have a prep talk with myself, to not get triggered by the people and their judgements. I voice out each time something discomforts me. By opening up, by being vulnerable, by unveiling what you feel without blaming the other, increases the chance of people taking you into account, understand you. This helps immensely, as I have witnessed myself evolving and emerging into an entirely different being since I have begun acknowledging my flaws and maintaining a routine to work on it.

I know very well how hard it is give up on our bad mental health, to get rid of those unhealthy beliefs and pessimistic thoughts that we have carried around with us for so long but we can’t afford not to give them up as well. Because sooner or later you are going to hit a time in your life where you will need all the mental strength that you can muster. But good habits aren’t enough, it only takes one or two small habits to really hold you back in times of distress.

**মহাবাহু**

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