Now is the time to look the devil in the eye

No one is handed a perfect life on a platter. You make what is possible out of what you get.We are made differently, we are hardwired differently. Many of us have a core life tendency that grows closely with us and feeds off our actions, forming a lifelong relationship.

You can have a relationship with a spouse, with a child, with a dog, with a bad habit, with anything that you live in close contact with and ‘relate’ to. Some of us tend to be arrogant and some angry. Some are greedy and some kind. Some has compassion and some insecurity. You and I know people who, no matter how much they have, always want more: another house, another bag, another car, another piece of jewellery. The need to fuel that hollow feeling of greed that is never satisfied. But step one is to recognise central life tendencies. Facing them is the tough part. If you cannot identify your central tendency or its impacts on your life, then its the sin of ignorance. And ignorance, my friend, is worse than foolishness and greed.

You recognise a life tendency because it manifests itself in all interactions, in all situations involving you and the world you live in. Let’s take impatience. It’s a tendency that trips you up. Let’s look at a child who works very hard to succeed but still doesn’t manage. Normally, she will get impatient after a while and will throw her studies to the winds, getting involved in television, telephone calls and such silly things to distract herself. Impatience leads to frustration and frustration leads to self destruction. You land up becoming a victim to its dictates. You land up taking actions you would rather not take. This in turn could lead to inner resentment. Stored resentment is a killer disease. You allow your impatience to manipulate you. Let’s look at it with clarity: it’s a bad habit that grows within us out of a sense of weakness. Out of being out of control. Key word to living with yourself and with the world is control. Those who are impatient often feel they are not strong enough or smart enough to control things, because they did not succeed in the first place. We become impatient when things don’t work for us and so many self defeating emotions take over. Hurt, anger, misery, anxious, fear... So, now is the time to look the demon in the face.

But how do we control that impatience? Frankly, it’s a self process. It’s moving away from impatience towards patience, that’s the only way. To stop, to reassess, to rethink, to pause... to wait rather than react. Like the famous philosopher Epictetus said, “No man is free who is not master of himself.” Actually, one does not need to be overtly powerful or exert influence over people to show freedom. Nor is it necessary to intimidate people to show freedom or strength. Strength comes from within and quietly makes its presence felt to those around you. It doesn’t need to run with the wolves shouting its place in the sun.

Some of us become impatient because we live upto someone else’s expectations. Well, now it’s time to prove only to yourself. Just as relationships with people change, so, too, can realationships with our habits.

(The writer is a theatre director and novelist)

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