If you learn to balance ‘living’ and ‘living through a crisis’ you will discover what life is all about
By Manjulaa Shirodkar
Anton Chekhov, the Russian litterateur (29 January 1860 – 15 July 1904) once famously said, “Any idiot can face a crisis… it’s the day to day living that wears you out.” While its true that a lot of people survive a crisis and live to tell the tale, its also correct that any crisis changes most individuals without their being aware of it. But it’s the art of balancing the two – crisis and living, that actually defines who you are and your character.
Let’s explain that a bit more clearly. A crisis can affect an individual, a community or society at large and in case of the latter two – its handled collectively so most individuals involved swim along – hoping and praying that the worst will get over soon, without taking initiative or lending support. Even though they may be affected, a collective crisis normally remains on the fringes of collective consciousness. It affects the individual only when it reaches their doorstep.
In the case of an individual going through an unprecedented or unanticipated period of unhappiness or difficulty, the immediate desire is to get out of the mess – aka swim ashore. Its when any crisis hits you head-on, that focus on survival rather than analysis of what’s happening at that moment dictates a lot of decisions.
While that is one way of dealing with the situation, the attention ideally should remain on preparedness of going through a crisis. For instance, one doesn’t have to face a financial crisis if one is prepared for it in advance. Meaning that, one has been saving small amounts over years.
Small, snail pace savings can be built up from the day one begins to earn money. It can be very tempting to put off saving small amounts as its very heady to be earning and spending your ‘own’ money. But its great in the long run to be financially conscious so as to never be caught off guard. One can even start educating one’s children about saving and teaching them the importance being financially sound to avoid financial roadblocks in future.
Savings also come in handy if one doesn’t have to worry about how to find money in a medical emergency if one has insurances in place. Unexpected loss of job or loss in business can cause people to lose their heads but as American author C. J. Redwine says, “Losing your head in a crisis is a good way to become the crisis.” So saving money or having medical insurances in place when the going is relatively smooth is one way to keep yourself afloat in the unexpected event of loss of income or medical crisis.
Personal crisis can also occur if relationships go awry. If someone you trust implicitly back-stabs you it can be difficult to overcome the pain immediately. A good way to be prepared for it, is to be aware of your strength as an individual. To remind yourself periodically (even when in the relationship) that it is you that needs taking care of and not necessarily the person in front. If they lean on you excessively, teach them to be emotionally self-reliant. If you lean on someone extensively, make sure you are aware of the pitfalls, in case relations turn sour.
Learn to recognize the signs when a relationship begins to change. It could be that you are feeling suffocated or the other person wants to break away. In either scenario be prepared to talk to them. You may even have to walk away eventually if things go beyond redemption point. And that is when an emotional crisis will take its toll. Keep a steady head, remind yourself that its okay sometimes to walk away or let the other go. Keeping emotional checks goes a long way in steadying you in times of an emotional drain.
In all scenarios remember its important to “Never let a serious crisis go to waste,” for… “it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before,” says Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago, US of A. Walking away from the relationship is not the same as walking away from life and happiness. Strive not to turn negative or bitter – no matter the temptation. The challenge is to give yourself and life another chance.
A crisis, any crisis is an opportunity. It may take a huge toll on you mentally but eventually it helps you become stronger as an individual. Avoid fleeing (looking for an escape) or a freezing (paralysed with fear) when faced with a tough situation.
If you look at it in the face, and start thinking solutions, any crisis becomes more manageable. In the end, it makes better people out of us. It can be a great time to test our value systems, our principles and long held beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of.
Its only the experience of living through one crisis that will decide how prepared you are for another – should life so choose. And the more prepared you are, the less worried you would be in case of the next challenge. Therein lies your success.
Life is for living. Go on and live it, and don’t let it ‘wear you out’ as someone famous named Chekhov once said.
Also Read: To Live A Better Life – Slow Down
What's Your Reaction?
Manjulaa Shirodkar (nee Negi) is an established film critic and author, having worked in leading national publications. She is also a Film Selection Committee member for various film festivals.