When life knocks you down


Life is a total reflection of our own perception. It is easy to have a great attitude, a strong work ethic and a positive outlook when things are going great; but how do we stand up during the tough times?

Dante wrote The Divine Comedy while under a sentence of death, and Walt Disney went bankrupt and suffered a nervous breakdown. However, they still made it to the top of the mountain and are both examples of how we can wade through hurdles.

Most people do not accept tough things and adversities easily. However, it is better not to fight and struggle. What is the use of doing so? Instead, we should be cool with what is and accept things as they are. We must push through the adversity we face in a cool way. If we try to fight with hardships, it only adds more pain and it may lead us to depression and anxiety. We may fail to find a solution for our problems.

Years ago, when I was working in a residential school, I noticed one of my students falling many times and then getting up and continuing playing, while in the playground. When I learned that he was the victim of cerebral palsy, I became worried as the boy was 15 year old. He was well aware of his condition, but was happily celebrating his life. When I asked him to accept help from his friends he said in a very understanding way: “No ma’am, I fall but I can get up.” I cried inside whenever I saw him struggling to get up, but his efforts to do so were remarkable. I learned a big lesson from this boy’s ability to accept his falls and failures.

A lot of training is needed to accept reality; this is what we call radical acceptance, accepting what is. No one wants to experience pain, sadness or loss, and when we attempt to avoid or resist those emotions, we add suffering to our pain. In an adverse situation, our first reaction is: No, it should not be so, it is not fair, it can’t be. This kind of resisting reality, only serves to delay healing.

We are desperate only because we are living in that gone happy past or fancying the exuberant remote future, reluctant to accept the hardships and pain of the present.

When once I was asked to meet an oncologist, I cried a lot, prayed and continuously asked God what sin I had committed. But all the drama was over when I saw that many people were waiting for results in the same oncology department. Many of them were younger, facing very serious and advanced stages of the disease. I realized that I was one of them, yet the residue of resistance was there until I remembered my student’s words. I heard that low cheerful voice saying: “I can get up.”

Yes, I started thinking in a cool way, instead of adding suffering to pain, I smiled and tried to console others; for the first time I was humbled before my dear student for awakening my inward eye.

So how do we stand up when life knocks us down? Be cool, be composed and don’t allow yourself to have a compulsive mind.

Jayashree Santhosh,

International Indian School, Dammam