Have you ever experienced the aching emotion of feeling wronged by life? When your suffering seems unjustified? When others seem to be living a perfectly normal life? And you wonder,’why is this happening to me alone?’
We invariably experience setbacks that make us question the fairness of life-from being overlooked for a promotion to losing a job, from a disturbed relationship to a separation or divorce, from a chronic illness to loosing a loved one. Agonising over feeling singled out,we are overcome by crippling thoughts of self-doubt, self-blame and self pity.
Here are four keys for overcoming such despair:
1. GRATITUDE: When tennis icon Arthur Ashe was dying of AIDS , a fan questioned him for such a nasty disease. He responded that of the millions who play tennis, only few fortunate ones get to Wimbledon and when he was holding the champion’s trophy, he never asked God ‘why me?’
While we are quick to blame our circumstances during moments of distress, we take our blessings for granted. Making a list of reasons you are grateful for would help you appreciate how fortunate you are. Reminding yourself of the key points in the list on a daily basis can help you keep negative emotions at bay.
2. FAITH: Our pain becomes unbearable because we take all our circumstances personally. Judging every troubling situation only from the perspective of it’s impact on us, we don’t recognise that it is an integral part of life’s evolution. The sun rises and sets; plants are born, some to become trees and others to die early. Likewise, the universe is unfolding in our life, as it needs to. It is we who resist it.
We need to cultivate faith that whatever is manifesting is for our highest good- even if we can’t always see it that way. It is darkest before dawn and a mental breakthrough of building a meaningful relationship with our suffering is always within reach. Aligning our journey with that of the universe allows us to not only accept our current reality, but also accelerate our personal growth.
3. LESSONS: Cultivating faith in the laws of the universe removes overwhelming anxiety and opens us up to learning new lessons. To appreciate potential lessons, focus on your state of being; ask yourself the following two questions:
Who are you being in the current situation- intolerant, over-ambitious, judgemental, egoistic? Who do do you need to be to experience a different reality- open-minded, balanced, accepting and calmer? The more attention you can pay to the new way, the quicker your emotional and spiritual recovery would be.
4. WHOLENESS: What paralyses us most is fear that whatever is happening is going to scar us forever – job loss would lead to a ruined career and falling-out of a relationship a confirmation of a loveless life. Seeming real during those trying moments,these thoughts are far from the truth.
These setbacks are merely an experience of our senses and can’t affect the deepest part of us. You are and remain pure, whole and complete there. Sufi mystic Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” These situations arise in our life so we can look inwards and start journeying towards touching the sacred within. Building that relationship with our suffering empowers us to effectively work through it.