Author: Dr. Ajit Varwandkar
I recently went through a writer’s block phase – a situation when I had so much to write, but the words would not come out of my pen. While I was bubbling with creativity and a host of ideas to write something good, it was becoming increasingly tough for me to translate my thoughts into a structured write-up. The more I aspired to overcome this inertia, the more it seemed insurmountable. I felt overwhelmed by this never before the experienced status quo. Eventually, I found a solution to defeat this challenge: “Let it be and enjoy the change within.”
Yes, the resistance started to dissolve when I stopped making efforts. Friends, this experience reminded me of one of the most valuable life lessons – “Acceptance is the key to many life imbroglios.”
One such situation was faced by Laddu Pinto when he was a university student. His final examination was on the corner, and he knew his preparation was way behind the minimum acceptable standards. Laddu resolved to give his best efforts in the remaining time available before the examination date. Every time he sat at his study table, a horde of depressing thoughts would run through his mind. It became increasingly impossible for him to begin his study.
The more he made efforts to get back to preparations, the more he got into the procrastination trap. That’s when his parent approached me for a counselling session. I offered them an unexpected solution: I asked the boy to relax and stop thinking about the examination for 24 hours. I reminded him of all such incidents from his past when he got stuck somewhere but could ultimately make things happen. I convinced him about his ability to win. He agreed and shed all his resistance. As the anxiety subsided, he regained the enthusiasm to start his studies. As a result, the boy did well in his examinations.
The other day I got trapped in a traffic jam. It was a crazy and unorganised crowd. With vehicles stuck on the ground, nothing was moving. Not even an inch. Initially, I got irritated, but later good sense prevailed, and I decided to go with the flow – how so ever slow! It took me two hours to navigate half a kilometre, but I came out peacefully!
Friends, this happens to most of us. These are situations where you disobey yourself! You know the importance of some activity, but you still need to find the drive to act towards it. Sometimes the consequences of such inactions could be severe still; inertia dictates the will.
Here are three powerful strategies which could be used to deal with such situations.
Acceptance: During such phases, the emotional cloud rains a lot of insecurity. The best way to deal with yourself is to get into the mode of acceptance. Just convey yourself the mantra that “It is okay”. One must know that we are no different than anyone else to experience such crazy and non-productive emotions. That’s perfectly human to be so.
It must be noted that “acceptance” does not mean you have surrendered. Acceptance also does not mean you will not make further efforts to change the situation. All it means is that you have decided to pause a bit to be able to move ahead swiftly after some time.
Self-empathy: Usually, people are empathetic towards others. However, when it comes to self-expectations, sometimes we become harsh. We expect too much when living in a state of zero expectations. This is where we need to exercise empathy with ourselves.
Self-empathy is not equal to accepting defeat or distraction. It is a state of self-understanding and consolation. It brings enlightenment and peace.
Relaxation: When the desire is the act, but the craving is to be inactive, it is called the state of cognitive dissonance. It is strongly recommended to practice meditation during such periods. Meditation is a perfect tool to uproot all the weeds growing on the canvas of our mind. It brings clarity and confidence. I have experienced that 20 minutes of meditation in the morning and evening is sufficient to help one bounce back.
Do contact me in case you have any career queries.
Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of myaglakadam.com. He is a leading career counselor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India