This article is prompted by multiple “quotes” and interpretations of quotes, proverbs and sayings that I have come across in the past. It has been said before that once a different thinking process is experienced, the same things appear, sound and feel very different than they used to before the change in thinking process took place.
I have participated in multiple workshops conducted by Andrew T Austin, who is a man of many diverse skills and expertise – Author, Coach, Therapist, etc. And he focuses on ensuring that the people he works with can find their own solutions. A key takeaway I got from learning from him is, “As a facilitator, stay away from outcomes (solutions) or giving advice!” So, The intent of my notes and articles is NOT to offer a solution, or to achieve an outcome, and ONLY to help people think, and maybe offer a different perspective. And everyone is welcome to choose to either agree, disagree or be agnostic! That IS truly choice and I respect those choices!
Each of us have gone through this process of experiencing a higher level of knowledge or learning in our own ways through life. We learn or experience something, and we believe that it is very useful. And then we learn or experience something that is at a higher level. And what we believed until then to be great, profound etc., becomes mundane.
And sometimes, the opposite happens – that which appeared profound, great etc., until then, appears downright foolish and not much sense. For example, if we were to look at “learning to walk” as an example – when each of us who are graced by the Universe with all the physical apparatus needed to walk, walks for the first time, it is a breakthrough. And we were far from being completely balanced or graceful. However, what seemed profound and great then, becomes mundane and commonplace later on, when there is so much experience and expertise one has gained with practice. So much so, that we cannot even think of a time that we were unable to walk properly.
Anyways, let me move on to the reason I started this article. I have been engaging with a few people over the past week (specifically) and with some others for far longer on some things.
The first one is a picture, that has a few words superimposed on them which I have been seeing quite often:
Never forget 3 types of people in your life:
- Who helped you in difficult times
- Who left you in difficult times
- Who put you in difficult times.
On a first glance, this seems extremely profound and useful to a person who reads it. However, when one delves deeper, it turns out to be something that is really not useful, and ends up perpetuating the problem that the person might have – of being bitter! And let me explain.
Firstly, this “quotation” is aimed at helping people learn the lesson – THAT is useful. However, it presupposes that to learnt the lesson, one must also remember the pain that came with the experience. So, it gives this message, and subliminally says, “Stay bitter! Stay with the hurt!” with the apparent objective that the person who has experienced this hurt will not again get into a situation that causes them hurt! And if I anyways remain with the hurt, is this really helpful? And, I have already written an article on “learning the lesson, and forgetting the pain” which might give some more information on this aspect.Learn the lesson, forget the pain!
Secondly, it perpetuates “playing the victim” and makes the problem outside of the person experiencing the problem. I am aware that there might be situations where this might be different, and I am generalising that in most cases, it does not help the person really learn a lesson.
Thirdly, the ONLY one who can put ME in difficult times, is ME! None else! Because, in every moment of life, as long as a human being is alive, there is CHOICE! I might not be able to control what is done to me, and I have all the choice to respond in whatever manner I CHOOSE to.
I has sent a note to a few people on my WhatsApp broadcast list a couple of days ago and this read as follows:
Choice! The most powerful aspect of my life.
Marshall Goldsmith, in Triggers, says this about Choice
“Because our environmental factors are so often outside of our control, we may think there is not much we can do about them. We feel like victims of circumstance. Puppets of fate. I don’t accept that. Fate is the hand of cards we’ve been dealt. Choice is how we play the hand.”
Randy Pausch, in his Last Lecture said, “I can’t do anything about the cards I’m dealt, and I can choose how to play the hand!”
In exercising my choices, without creating undue hardships for others, is my freedom, liberation and fulfilment.
And my dear friend Kichu Krishnan, says, “The ONLY thing a person HAS to do in life, is DIE! In every thing else, they have a choice!”
And there is another one that goes like this:
Again, this sounds very nice and profound. And is aimed at making people “give” to others, and to contribute to others. THAT is truly noble and useful to have as an obkective. However, when looked at a little deeper, peeling some of the layers, and at the underlying, subliminal message, an entirely different picture appears (At least to me!)
Between feeling “extremely grateful” and “deeply indebted” is a world of difference in terms of the ‘emotional experience!” Gratitude is an uplifting emotion, and “Indebtedness” is not.
So, should I think about repayments when I do something for someone else? And if so, what is the reason, I’m doing it? To help others, or to ensure they feel not good about themselves and and less, that they are indebted? And for me to feel powerful that I’ve done something for someone they cannot “repay?” Between feeling “extremely grateful” and “deeply indebted” is a world of difference in terms of the ‘emotional experience!” Gratitude is an uplifting emotion, and “Indebtedness” is not. So, when I am doing something for someone, I should choose to make them feel grateful and not in debt. Repayment means I’m expecting something in return. And whatever I’ve given has lost all is value the moment I give in that manner.
“Give in a manner that the receiver feels they’re doing me a favour by accepting, and accept in a manner that the giver feels good!” is a motto that I have and find very useful.
“Give in a manner that the receiver feels they’re doing me a favour by accepting, and accept in a manner that the giver feels good!”
This is a picture that I came across, again, on social media. Here is an excerpt of an exchange between my friend, who had shared this, and I:
Cheenu: So, hate is carrying acid within. Doesn’t seem too useful. Letting go, is useful maybe! This the kind of quote that seems useful, and ends up hurting more those who’re already hurting.
Friend: The stress here is not with the word hate but with the emotion and the change it brings. It is like தீயினால் சுட்ட புண் உள்ளாறும் ஆறாதே நாவினால் சுட்ட வடு (திருக்குறள்)
[For those who do not read or even understand that this is “Thamizh” or “Tamil”, this is a very well known proverb, quote from Thiruvalluvar, a poet of many centuries ago.] It means, “The wounds of fire would vanish with time but the scars of wounds caused by words never.” it is not only for girls but for all human beings. Let go. Move on. All these things are healing process but the person won’t be the same after that. The hurt is again an experience it contributes to the making of the person. That’s my opinion and this is just a caution. And the message is never hurt anyone.
Cheenu: For whom does the scar remain? I can CHOOSE not to be affected. My thoughts upset me, people, circumstances, situations, events don’t upset me. So, it is the choice of the person to whom those words are spoken. The Thirukkural is for the person speaking the words to be careful and considerate. Let not someone use that as an excuse to stay upset.
And with ANY communication I create and deliver, I am responsible for the results of MY communication. This is a lesson I have learnt, and practice every single moment of my life, ever since I have learnt it. I might not always create what I want with my communication, and that I live by this tenet, is absolute. I have never ever shied away from taking responsibility for my communications, and how it is perceived by the recipient. And if my communication has not had the effect that I had aimed to have, then I have to correct it and ensure that the person receiving my communication understands and interprets it the way I want them to.
And with ANY communication I create and deliver, I am responsible for the results of MY communication.
May the Universe shower us all with patience, compassion, love for ourselves and for all others, whether they agree or have a different view from our own! And even when they do, I still have the choice to respond, rather than react!