‘Up’ Your Ante

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RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR

Most of us dread the thought that if we begin to get distressed, we will be disturbed forever. This premise bids fair to the idea that if we overcome a past event, we will feel secure. In the process, we move away from feeling sad to making life meaningful. This is a compensatory skill; a natural ability all of us are endowed with. When we use it effectively, things work to our advantage. Nevertheless, it is imperative that we balance the pangs of the past with the present. This helps us to not only re-examine emotions, but also to empathise with the positives of our day-to-day life, without getting into the rut that it was earlier.

The first thing one has to realise is that to resolve difficult, or painful, issues one has to wear a new thinking cap. In other words, you have to ‘don’ the role of being your own observer, referee and participant in your difficulties. If you don’t, you will end up experiencing the previous pain, fear and danger afresh. You will not be able to understand yourself and your true nature. This is a simple proposition. When you are able to bring about balance and attention, you will be able to act as a witness and participant to what caused you distress and how well you prevailed over it. As mind researchers attest, when you revisit a hurt feeling, you will feel the twinge, apprehension and peril of the unpleasant incident. This will help to ‘jog your memory’ — that although the bitter experience was real, the present is safe and sound, and that you are standing afar from the earlier threat.

Just thinking, or believing, that things would be hunky-dory may not always help. You should understand your beliefs that are rooted in the emotional context. You should also identify the internal conflict that caused the past disquiet. It is a given that every conflict is a product of two incomplete opposite pieces of belief. According to one form of psychotherapy — which primarily focuses on your experiences at the present-moment, your relationships, social and environmental contexts — resolving conflicts involves connecting the self towards a perspective, or a context. This is keyed to the view that you are open to look at issues that are disturbing you. It is this readiness to look from the inside-out and allow feelings to be felt, or recognised, that can make or break your ‘hold’ to overcome stressful experiences of the past.

When you arm yourself with such an accepting outlook, it brings new hope. It also helps you to become as much of an observer as a participant. Else, it will rekindle old issues; it will not bring about a healing experience. When you commit yourself to be your own observer, you will become more aware of the precise nature of the past event. In the process, you will become objectively inclined to examine the framework or structure of your beliefs and know whether they are true, or not.

Psychologists concur that it is better to substitute an unhelpful tendency rather than do away with it. What does this suggest? That it is far easier to accept and change yourself by reclaiming a positive belief. For instance, if you were to believe that you are undeserving and find out otherwise, that you are really worth your talent in gold, you will be able to free yourself and repair your negative feelings. This will bring about tangible transformation — in the form of a newer, healthier mindset. It will also help you to surmount a troubled past, or the worrying future.

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