By Wasim Kakroo
IT’S normal to feel sad and disturbed when circumstances don’t go the way you expected. We humans have a tendency to have very high expectations for how events should turn out, which compromises our ability to cope with situations successfully if something goes wrong.
One frequently falls short of achieving the desired grade, getting a crucial job, or occasionally losing something that required all of their labor, sweat, and tears. It is a really depressing experience, and it wouldn’t be inappropriate to comfort someone in such a situation by urging them not to cry over the spilled milk.
However, it is important to realize that such a failure leads to the development of a range of emotions, not only sadness, and that these emotions may or may not be interconnected. It is perhaps much more important to make all of these negative feelings and difficult emotions conscious when you are going through such a difficult moment. These feelings, after all, are what might eventually fuel growth and excellence in such people’s lives. Numerous studies have been done that demonstrate these difficult emotions have a wide range of positive effects. Some of the most well-known difficult emotions include “Sadness,” which can help you focus on details, “Anxiety,” which can inspire you to think of issues and challenges in new ways, “Jealousy,” which can spur you on to work harder, and “Guilt,” which can help you stop acting in unhealthy ways. Avoidance tactics can cause more harm than good, so it’s better to be aware of all of these difficult emotions and accept them as a natural part of life rather than suppressing them and moving on.
It’s always darkest before the dawn, and it would be accurate to assume that all the negativity that arises from unpleasant events and poor outcomes is wearing the veil of darkness. The morning would then be the success that comes after. And the most important step is along this route to achievement. For a while, you may feel disturbed and discouraged by the circumstances, but you must also acknowledge their complexity and the reasons behind your mistakes before you can begin to take steps to overcome them. Because pain (not suffering) is a big motivating force, it must be acknowledged, recognized, and valued. As reasonable as it is to suppose that “whatever happens in the past, should stay in the past,” it is also reasonable to acknowledge that, if the past is used properly to learn lessons, it might become the guiding post for the future.
The benefits of having a pleasant and upbeat attitude are numerous and go unspoken in society. However, it might cause a lot of mental burden on the mind and might force one to put on a phony smile, and hence this toxic positivity might compel one to be unnaturally happy in the face of grief and failure. The pressure from society and ourselves that causes most people to mask difficult emotions they don’t completely feel is what leads to toxic positivity. As a result of this need to be happy, people frequently turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking and substance abuse. These are all short-term fixes and avoidance tactics that temporarily improve one’s mood but are seriously harmful over the long run.
In all such circumstances, all that is required is the space to mourn in silence, to reflect calmly, and not to be pressured to carry on with life. These brief periods of sadness should be used effectively because they not only provide us a chance to reflect but also give us the necessary reality checks. They give us the time we need to take care of ourselves and learn better coping skills. They teach us the value of each and every emotion on the emotional spectrum, including those that we frequently try to avoid and suppress.
My personal failings in life (that includes my leaving Ph.D in plant sciences after two years due to my ill physical health) have taught me that if I had let them overwhelm me, I could have become severely depressed, but instead I accepted them as challenges and learned from them. I also discovered that once you accept bad news not as a bad thing but as a sign that you need to change, you aren’t defeated by it since you are learning from it. Therefore, it all depends on how you handle failures.
Therefore, we must understand the significance of experiencing all the emotions, reflecting on our mistakes and failings, learning from them, and then getting ready to go on with our lives. The urge to immediately let go and put the incident behind you is a very temporary solution, and if we don’t learn to handle difficult times and difficult emotions appropriately, they may will reappear in our life at some point in the future with more ugliness.
Occasionally things don’t work out as planned, and while it’s necessary to feel it in the moment and take lessons from it, it’s also crucial to understand that these moments of discouragement and sadness are usually supposed to pass quickly. However, if such moments and the associated thoughts and feelings have a significant and long-lasting effect, they might trigger certain psychological problems and call for help from mental health professionals such as clinical psychologists and/or psychiatrists.
Last but not least, we all want to lead happy and meaningful lives, and the way to that is through accepting all of the setbacks and associated emotions that may initially seem to be obstacles but ultimately serve as the catalyst for growth and excellence.
Stay safe sane and productive!
- The author is a licensed clinical psychologist (alumni of Govt. Medical College Srinagar) and works as a consultant clinical psychologist at Centre for Mental Health Services (CMHS) at Rambagh Srinagar. He can be reached at 8825067196
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