As hot-blooded Punjabis, conflict is something we are familiar with in my family. Growing up, I saw my parents deal with upsetting situations & people in two different ways: my dad would react & mostly get angry. My mom would ignore. Yup, these were the only 2 options presented to me. I have tested both of these options on several occasions. Neither seems to do the trick for me. In both cases, you walk away with nothing accomplished. Someone else’s actions affect you. You get angry, upset, & frustrated and ultimately the issue is still looming. It’s like the old adage, “getting angry is like trying to kill your enemy by drinking poison.” You get left with the bitter taste in your mouth.
I tried to find a middle ground which was to resolve. Let’s get everyone around one table, talk about it & come to an amicable solution. Aha! Then there’s that magical word everyone loves, ‘closure.’ This may work sometimes but not all the time. Especially when you’re dealing with difficult people. Some people don’t want to come to the table. They don’t even want to sit in the chair. They just kick it & walk away. Then what do you do?
Finally, overtime I have realised the power of letting go.
Observe the thought, the feeling, the emotion that springs up within you.
Don’t try to fight it or ignore it. Let it come. But in the same essence that it comes, let it go. Imagine water bubbling up in a stream. What happens when you try to control the movement of water? Well, you’ll probably end up drowning.
Stop trying to control it.
Let it go.
Fill yourself with so much other stuff, that there’s no room for it to stay & fester.
What’s the other stuff?
1. Practice Gratitude
I never understood the power of this until I started practicing it. When you start appreciating people & things that happen to you, you are filled with less negativity. This is a very simple truth. Think about what made you smile the day before & try to hold onto that feeling. Every time you feel the sensation of a negative emotion, don’t fight it but remind yourself about the bigger picture. There is so much good happening in your life on a daily basis.
2. Respect & Connect
Value people for who they are – not what they are or represent in society. Connect with everyone at the most basic level. My most interesting life experiences & ultimately stories always started with a mistake, an accident, a wrong turn, a delay or a missed train that helped me meet such amazing people & have unforgettable moments. Those moments do count & I look back on them so fondly.
3. Just Laugh
It may sound strange, but sometimes you’re in a situation that seems so bad, so impossible, and so messed up that all you can do is laugh! You might cry first, and that’s okay as long as you laugh as well. I once unintentionally offended a well-known personality and it got blown completely out of proportion. Initially, I was pretty worried but then I realised, that hey, how many people can actually say they offended someone of such importance? It’s an achievement Sonal, I told myself. And it made me laugh. Thankfully it was one of those instances that did get resolved, but what’s more important is I laughed about it while I was in the thick of it. This also had the added benefit of helping me relax and think clearly – rather than get all worked up about what to do next.
You’re going to be filled with negative emotions & thoughts which is natural. But how do you not let them get to you? Meditation isn’t about controlling your mind it’s about accepting. Accept the thoughts that come to you. But also harness the power of letting them flow out of you.