Student Column: When Problems Become Blessings in Disguise
Be Patient when Confronted with Affliction and Trial
Conquering problems in life and solving complicated issues is never easy, but they are inevitable. No matter how much we try to avoid problems or make our lives uncomplicated, problems never fail to knock on our doors. A few take the easy way to eliminate these problems from their lives, legally or illegally, ethically or unethically, while the rest of us learn how to cope with the problem looming over us. It is tough to eliminate completely the issues that bedevil our lives.
The majority of our trials and tribulations in life remain unresolved, no matter how diligently we try to work on them or avoid them. Some of us go through many years of therapy or watch or listen to motivational videos and speeches or buy self-help books, but still the problem remains unresolved or it keeps coming back. What happens then is that normally the situation improves, or the issue doesn’t bother us anymore or we learn how to live with it. But the best thing is that, always, always, we realise that the problem we thought was a problem actually becomes a blessing to us, in certain ways.
Weird isn’t it? But doesn’t this phenomena jive with your own personal experiences? Those years of putting up with your annoying brother (or sister) have actually taught you about tolerance and patience. Your failure in your first year in college has actually made you a harder and better worker. Many years of tolerating your horrible ex-boss has actually prompted you to be more empathetic towards colleagues and co-workers, thus making you a better boss in your new job. That feeling of dejection when your most trusted person betrayed you has made you realise that you don’t really know people or what is going on in their heads. You realise that people change, for better or for worse, and when they do that, it affects you and everybody else.
Life’s many complex problems always leave us perplexed and exhausted. We become tired of worrying, of regrets, of crying and of wishing things were different. Then we started wishing. Wishing that that irritating person in our lives were dead or that we should have worked harder, or we shouldn’t have said that awful sentence or word. The reality is we cannot go back in time and we cannot change what has already happened. What we can do is to modify or shape the future. That much, we have control over.
So how do we make things better? Turn the tables and always look on the bright side. Always be optimistic and beat your pessimism. Always, always think that whatever happens has a reason, a good reason. I mentioned in my previous post that our lives are intertwined with others’. Whatever happens in our lives affect others and vice versa. But it is not necessarily a bad thing. It may look bad for a while and it may hurt us a little bit. But continue to persevere to be patient and before you know it, everything will turn out well. It may take some time though, but believe me, one of two things will happen. Either the problem will be solved, partially or fully, or you’ll get better at it, physically, mentally or emotionally.
A woman, who lost her husband in a fatal hit-and-run accident, asked her lawyer, whose husband was accused of philandering his office’s money, “How did you cope?”. The lawyer answered, “I take things one day at a time.” The woman asked again, “Does it get easier?” The lawyer replied, “No, but YOU get better at it.”
When we are faced with afflictions, our first reaction would be to point the finger of blame at somebody or to shout or scream at that person, or even at ourselves. Don’t. Nothing gets solved by blaming somebody for what happened or getting overly angry. We can only conjecture that the problem occurred because of that somebody. For all we know, it may not be so. With all the complexities in life and the intertwining of our paths, nobody can be certain that when something happens it is because of one particular person, or one particular event. It could just be a ripple effect of something that had happened previously, unknown to us. So avoid pointing fingers. Concentrate on solving the issue or mellowing the situation by being calm and patient.
Issues will become clearer when you can think straight. Take time to compose your feelings and gather your thoughts. Work towards solving the issue, not pondering on how to seek revenge or how to deal with or punish the other person (who you think was the cause of your problem). It is better to channel all your anger and exasperation on overcoming the tribulation rather than banging things or screaming. Of course, it’s okay to cry, or let out a little anger. It’s natural to feel sad or angry and it’s good to let it out, but control yourself and do not overdo it. Over-reactions can sometimes put you in a worse situation than before - injuring yourself, causing much distress and stress on your poor mental and physical state, and even making a fool of yourself if things were not really what you had speculated. Instead of solving the issue, you may have broken a relationship or picked up enemies, thus creating more problems. Then, you have to bear the burden of having to apologise or clearing up the mess that you really caused. Take control of your anger and feelings. Life is too precious and short to mull too much over things.
As mentioned before, problems may be blessings in disguise. Most of the time, problems make us realise our mistakes or shortcomings, or they open our eyes as to who are really our true friends. Problems often crop up because of lack of communication, trust and respect. Realising this should make us work harder to improve our communications with loved ones or friends, building up trust and respect. If problems occur because of self-pride and arrogance, or wrong choices in life, we can work towards improving our situation, our character, morale and values. Everyone has a flaw, but flaws can be corrected. So, work on correcting or patching up those flaws. These are the small blessings that sometimes we don’t realise are really blessings to make us better persons.
So when you are faced with an affliction or trial, stay on the safe side. You will manage it anyway. Just be patient and take things one step or one day at a time. Be positive and optimistic. Always remember that either things will work out in the end or you will come out stronger, better and more experienced. Whichever way, you win.
by Hanna Albdelwahab