“You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response. Your options are to complain or to look ahead and figure out how to make the situation better.” Tony Dungy

I’m sure you would agree with me that it is very possible for two people to go through exactly the same challenge in life yet end up with two different and completely opposite responses and hence results/outcomes based on their personalities and perception of the challenging situation.

Now, let’s consider an example where you could effortlessly bring about a significant change/mind shift with tangible results and solutions to a challenge you may be currently facing in your relationship/s by simply changing your perception. I would like you to take a few minutes and imagine or visualise yourself currently being surrounded by friends/ relations who take absolute delight in constantly irritating you, putting you down, and humiliating you in front of everyone. They are constantly looking for every given opportunity to criticise, judge, and condemn you or talk ill about you. What would you do in a situation like this?

Without in-depth knowledge and insight of who you truly are – your unique strengths and potential – it is almost impossible to respond to such a situation with wisdom, grace, and serenity. This is so because you cannot change them or their perceptions about you (unless they willfully choose to do so). They are the only ones capable of changing themselves/their perceptions. In effect, it is not your duty to try to change them and their perceptions about you—it is simply not your job or responsibility to try to get their approval!

On the other hand, what you could do, and have the power to do, is to change your perception and thoughts about them and the situation. You could very well ask me, “But how is this possible? How can I change my perception about them and a pathetic situation like this?” Again, I tell you it is quite simple and pretty much straightforward without any involvement of some sort of magical formulas or powers.

This is what I would highly recommend you to do: In the first instance, instead of getting all upset, frustrated, and depressed, the first and foremost advice I will give you is to change your perception about them! Change the way you now look at them. Do this with compassion and knowledge of the fact that they may have a problem of low self-esteem and confidence and think that by putting you down and constantly criticizing you it will make them look better than you and help them feel good about themselves. This may equally be a spouse who constantly puts you down and criticises you at every given opportunity. Would you spend all day in self-pity, feeling sad and lowly about yourself, or find the courage and power to just walk away from him/her and the environment with your head held high?

All you really need in a case like this is the serenity and mental strength to be able to accept the things you cannot change in life and to keep being who you truly are;   while for such friends all you need is to show compassion or pity—in a case where they are not willing to change their attitude towards you. As a matter of fact, one thing you will notice with such people is that they are not just being mean and disrespectful to you alone but to everyone they come across or encounter in life. They are probably having deep self-esteem/confidence issues and being critical of everyone but themselves. Ultimately, you may need to walk away from such company, and in this simple way you have overcome and also have the serenity and peace of mind to move on.

Of course, the ultimate choice is yours and yours alone. Do not tell me you do not have a choice (as we often tend to think, assume, and hence believe in times when we are facing some very difficult and challenging moments in life and seem completely helpless and powerless). There is always a choice available to us, however painful that may sometimes be. For example, many people choose to keep on living and hoping for a better life despite their hardships and disappointments, yet others choose to take away their own lives by committing suicide and giving up every hope to live. On the other hand, making no decision is also a choice! Your perceptions have the power to open up new doors of hope and opportunities to you where there weren’t any before! Hence change your overall perception (especially the negative and destructive ones) about yourself, life, and others today and watch your life and world become more meaningful and your life worth living to the fullest!

To your wellbeing and success!

Photo credit: African Glitz – Courtesy of Fraternize Events


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