After almost 100 days, we are at number three. This pandemic, the permeability of news and emotions of people who are living several miles away is affecting our emotional well-being. We are combating it in our styles. Dating apps, social media, alcoholism, creating new avatars, binge-watching, starting-up etc.
In this post, I will be linking one of my personal childhood experiences with one of the concepts in positive psychology. And towards the end of this, I might give you a working framework of how you can also stay sane.
During my early childhood, my mother used to give me cash in hand with a milk container to fetch milk from the booth. I had to cross a huge park with a lot of curved paths, fountains, ponds, and shrubs. One day while asking the milkman to give me a token, I put my hand in my pocket only to find that the money was gone. My heart sank for the first time in my life. The trauma it created had a huge impact on me. I felt as though I had lost everything. I was not worried about the money. I was more afraid that my mom would kill me if I tell her the truth. So I started crying and on my way back I strolled through the entire park with my eyes brimmed with tears. Everything was blurred. My life kinda ended there.
Nevertheless, I went home. My mother saw me crying and asked what happened. I told her everything. She asked me to come along with her. I couldn't understand. Why didn't she shout at me? I kept crying. We reached the park and I showed her how I navigated exactly. She walked for some minutes and stopped near the pond. She asked me to stop crying and listen to her carefully.
She asked me to gather 5-6 stones. I somehow managed. Then, she asked me to throw them into the pond one-by-one. I was in no mood to comprehend this absurd activity and did what she told me. Alteast she didn't scold me, I thought. I threw one rock very weakly. I was exhausted from my mental tension and constant weeping. She said, "throw one again but this time I want to see energy." I managed, but I failed. She again said, "this time I want to hear the sound of a pebble dropping into the pond." I managed. Again she said, "now throw and I want to see ripples and waves." I wanted to end this long & unnecessary, out of context activity so I gave it a full shot and managed to form ripples.
Little did I know she was preparing me for life. Resilience and boldness are the way of life - she taught. Psychological resilience is the capacity to respond quickly and constructively to crises. Every time you feel low or feel life ends here, you have to be bold and solve problems until they form ripples. My major takeaway from this episode was that I understood I couldn't make it the first time as I was in another mindset. I was thinking of losing money but when I started throwing and playing the game, I excelled.
Throwing stones can be a metaphorical analogy for redirecting your emotions onto the world or the person. It works on a common assumption that we should not take anything very personally.
First, you have to choose which stones are worthy of picking. And then decide with what intensity we have to throw them. Because we have to make sure we make maximum ripples in the pound and keep playing the game.
Many thanks to Ashna for proofreading this article and constantly supporting me during these times.