There are times when no matter how hard we try, we feel powerless to change a situation. In fact, the more we try to change something, the more tangled up we become. It is at these times that it is important to take a break from our efforts, and let life work in our favor.
This past weekend I came down with a flu. It hit me quickly and there was nothing I could do to feel better. Having had a history, in my younger days, of frequent illness, I have developed a bag of tricks to treat all the symptoms and get myself feeling better quickly. This time, however, none of it was working.
What did work was curling up in a ball on the sofa and going to sleep. When I finally gave in to this rest period, I found myself grateful for the downtime. I was able to get the sleep I had been missing, and think about all the experiences I have had over the past month. This opportunity to digest what was going on in my life was invaluable, and the illness left just as quickly as it came.
We all have experiences that we think should be different. We believe that if we could just change the situation, or the person involved, then we would be on top of the world. Unfortunately, we do not have control over the people around us, or the conditions. Our power actually lies in our ability to respond to life in a poised and confident manner.
One of the students who attends a lunch group that I facilitate was at odds with the rest of the group. They openly expressed their dislike for him, and he wavered between wanting their approval and wanting to fight back, at least verbally, against them. Unfortunately, every time he would lash out, it would only bring him more of what he did not want in the first place.
Many of us can relate to that feeling of desperately wanting others to like us. In my case, I can recall many times when I attempted, unsuccessfully, to earn the approval of people in my life. The challenge with these type of situations is to remember that the most important person to be in good with is myself.
By taking the time to nurture myself, and remind myself that all is well, I find that the rest of my life works itself out just fine. From the outside, it is easy for me to see that the student that I mentioned does not need the approval of these children. It is as if his desperate need to be liked by them is attracting him to the very people who will never approve of him. I am quite sure that as he releases his desire to be approved of by the students that I mentioned, a new world of friendships will open up to him.
As I stated, the key is to develop a good relationship with yourself. The ability to remind yourself that you are a valuable human being, and that you do not need to desperately strive for anything, is essential to living a free and successful life. As you take the initiative to be your own cheerleader, new doors open up, and you will naturally rise to new levels of fulfillment.
Perhaps there is an area of your life that you have been desperately wanting to change. The first step is to drop the desperation. Take some time to remind yourself that you are an amazing person exactly as you are right now. Remind yourself that life is full of unexpected good, and that your job is to open your mind to new possibilities. You will be surprised by how fast things begin to change as you cooperate with life, instead of fighting for what you think you need.
Photo (Top): If you are feeling stressed, take a break. Remind yourself that you are worthy of the best in life. Alina Parvez, a student at West LA College, volunteers her time to help our students shine.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, to find out more go to www.DarrellandEd.com.