World for PeaceYouths for Peace

Responding, Rather Than Reacting

Challenges are an integral part of human existence. They cannot be wished away. One has to accept the existence of challenges as a fact of life in this present world.

Word For Peace

Challenges are an integral part of human existence. They cannot be wished away. One has to accept the existence of challenges as a fact of life in this present world.

challengesWhile one cannot hope to lead a life here, on Earth, that is completely free of challenges, what one can hope for is to have the wisdom to respond to challenges in a positive way when we face them. While not many challenging things that happen around us are in our control, we do have control over how we respond to them.

Suppose you have to go out for some important work but just then, it begins to rain. Now, you can choose to react angrily and curse the rain. You can complain that you might get wet in the rain and catch a cold. You can lose your temper and spoil your mood and raise your blood pressure thereby. But all of this is not going to stop the rain, because you simply have no control over the weather.

If you were sensible, you would do none of the above. You would accept the rain simply as a happening, over which you have no control. You wouldn’t spoil your mood by cursing the rain and moaning about how awful you think it is. By accepting the rain as a fact, if you really needed to go out, you would think of what practical steps you could take so that you would not get wet and would also be able to get your work done. So, for example, you might put on a raincoat, or take out your umbrella. In this way, accepting a challenging situation as a fact in whose happening you have no control, you would work out a suitable course of action that could enable you to go out to do the work you intended to despite the rain.

challengesThis analogy indicates a principle that both individuals and social groups can adopt when faced with challenges that they have no control over. In such a situation, they should not allow themselves to fall prey to negative reaction. They should recognise that such an approach is not likely to solve the issue they are faced with and that it would produce no positive result. They should know that, in fact, this approach is likely to be counter-productive and would likely only harm them (like a person who curses the rain and spoils his mood thereby and raises his blood-pressure but does not succeed in getting the rain to stop). Faced with a challenging situation, they should reflect on the most positive and effective way to handle the matter and then act on it. In this way, they would able to move ahead.

If you come to think of it, as individuals we have no control whatsoever over how other people think about us or behave with us. There is only person over whose thinking and behaviour we have control—and that is, our self. This same rule that applies at the level of individuals also applies at a larger level, at the level of social groups and communities, who, after all, are simply a collection of individuals. Members of one social group cannot control how members from another group think about them or behave with them. But what they do have control over is how they themselves think and behave, including vis-à-vis others. That means that human beings, as individuals as well and as members of social groups, can choose to respond positively when faced with a challenging situation instead of reacting negatively. That way, they are more likely to achieve a more satisfactory result while at the same time saving themselves from negative thinking and unwholesome actions and the deleterious consequences thereof that might harm them more than anyone else.

By Rohail

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