Recently, I’ve been overlooked for a promotion at work. A lesser experienced & knowledgeable (in my opinion) colleague of mine was chosen. And, the worst part was that I had to report to him in some capacity. I’ve been huffing and puffing from that day complaining to whoever listens to me. But, today something changed in me, like the balance of some scale just shifted, I said to myself, “life is unfair, so what about it? What can I do now? How long will I feel bad? Let’s just let it go”. I immediately felt relieved. My rational mind had been telling me to quit moaning a long time back. But, my emotions never abated. What changed then now? Did my emotions run their course? Did they just washout from my body?
I don’t know. But, I feel at peace with myself now. I think we need to internalize that life is not fair all the time and we do not have control on a lot of situations. There is a good possibility that what happened is not what we wanted which leads us to sorrow and anger. The sooner we accept, the better. We all know that, but we don’t. We keep hanging on, to what? Foolish hope? It’s that we don’t know when to quit. We keep clinging even though the battle is all over. We refuse to believe there is no more chance.
I don’t mean to say we need to accept everything life throws at us without a fight. We should. I’m not advocating we compromise even when we are getting a raw deal. We should fight back. But, we need to understand that at some point this fight makes no sense at all. We need to know when it is the time to let go. That is true wisdom. Then, and only then can we pick up the pieces, get on with our life, work on what we can do and forget what we cannot control. We need to know if we should put up a fight or give up. Wallowing in self pity, anger and sorrow are valid responses, but for how long?
I found it easier to go to work once I stopped thinking why I did not get that position. I accepted what I could not control and concentrated on my work. Similiarly we’ll end up at the short end of the stick sometimes. We might be stuck with a partner who never gives but only takes, a colleague who never pulls her weight, luck favouring the woefully unprepared, a loved one who refuses to change for the better, all before our eyes. But, can we do anything about this? If yes, by all means we should. But, if we can’t, then we should stop fooling ourselves with ‘we-still-can’ attitude and accept what is for what it is. (If it is not something you can accept, walk out – be it a job or a relation) I don’t know if this is failure in me speaking, but I’ve found this quote from Alcohol Anonymous very helpful:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.