How to Deal With Unpleasant Situations


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by Jayaram V

You can learn from both the pleasant and unpleasant aspects of life. Discretion is important in both cases. Jayaram V

You cannot always choose what is best for you. Sometimes life makes decisions for you. Jayaram V

An unpleasant situation is any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, creates conflicts, causes you pain and sufferings, takes away your freedom, subjects you to doubt and despair, or contributes to unpleasant memories and traumas. An unpleasant situation may arise because of unpleasant feelings, unpleasant people, unpleasant circumstances or unpleasant relationships or unpleasant job. You may also include in it situations that are bad, negative, or adverse and that seem to threaten your peace of mind.

Unpleasant situations and examples

Life being what it is, no one can fully escape from unpleasant situations in their lives. You may deal with them successfully and take preventive measures, but you cannot completely avoid them. No insurance policy on earth can guarantee you freedom from uncomfortable and tough situation that produce strong, hurtful emotions in you. Bad things happen. Occasionally, life become difficult.  It is the price you pay to find happiness and fulfillment in this world where you are in competition with innumerable people for attention, success and happiness. Some examples of negative, difficult, and unpleasant situations are marital discards, job related conflicts, enmity or hostilities, financial loss, loss of name or status, social unrest, loss of near and dear, natural calamities, illness, and so on.

Leann was a graphic designer who worked for a fashion design company. Her department was merged with another, and her boss was replaced by a new boss. Her new boss did not like Leann as she was close to her previous boss and kept finding fault with her work and ideas, until Leann found it too stressful to work under her and began looking for a new job. For Leann talking to her boss and explaining her work or ideas became a rather unpleasant experience as she dreaded every moment of it.

Jamison was the owner of a small restaurant in a small town on the east coast. His business was running smoothly, until a competitor opened another restaurant in the same street and began offering a variety of food items. Jamison did not realize the extent of damage until he noticed that his regular customers stopped visiting his restaurant. To make the matters worse, he noticed that the number of bad reviews and negative comments about his restaurant were increasing on the Internet. Jamison had no clue what was going on, but he suspected that his competitor and his own manager were colluding and causing him trouble. For Jamison the very thought of his failing business became a source of anxiety and depression.

Alex was recently promoted as a project lead in his department and given a very important assignment, which was sponsored by a top ranking official in the company. His boss told him that a lot was expected of him and his future growth in the company would depend upon how well he managed the project. Alex was given a team of six developers and two analysts to complete the project. The analysts were envious of Alex's popularity and growing influence. They were not happy that they were made to work under him. They began delaying the project by raising unnecessary concerns. One of the analysts even tampered with the servers and brought them down to delay the project and put Alex in a vulnerable position. Alex knew what was going on, but he was unwilling to confront the analysts or complain against them because he was worried that his superiors might consider him a weak leader.

Katie had a happy marriage life or so she thought until her husband began coming home late and started telling all kinds of excuses. He also started drawing more cash from the bank to hide the details of his spending, and where he was going. She did not know what to do because she was a housewife who depended upon her husband for everything. She had no working experience and no college education. When she realized that her husband was cheating on her, she did not know what to do or where to go. For Katie living in the house and being ignored by her husband became an extremely painful situation and resulted in a nervous breakdown.

Daniel worked as a freelance reporter for a local newspaper. He had no family. His parents died long back, and he was divorced twice. Both his ex wives remarried and left him for good. Due to his erratic working habits, his employer did not hire him for a full-time job but paid him compensation for each assignment he completed. When there was not enough money, he lived in the shelters and applied for food stamps. One day, he was diagnosed with a liver problem, which required surgery and an ongoing treatment. He had no insurance and no savings. Daniel did not know how to raise the money and pay for the treatment. He found himself in a difficult situation where he had no control whatsoever on his life or his future. He found himself alone, depressed, hopeless and helpless.

Why unpleasant situations arise

The above are few examples of difficult or unpleasant situations people face in their lives. They arise due to various external and internal reasons or a combination of factors. In most cases, they are caused by either your actions or the actions of others or acts of God, chance, or providence. Whether they are caused by external or internal factors, by you or others, you are primarily responsible for your life.

The situations that arise in your life are mostly caused by your thinking and actions or by your explicit or implicit involvement. It may apply to even situations where you seemed to have played no role. An unpleasant situation is a bad karma, arising from your thoughts, actions or your past. You need to resolve it by understanding its root cause and finding suitable solutions. The following factors, whether caused by you or others, are mostly responsible for unpleasant situations in your life.

1. Negligence or carelessness.

2. Ignorance or lack of right knowledge.

3. Lack of discipline.

4. Selfishness.

5. Bad habits.

6. Lack of values

7. Lack of flexibility and adaptability.

8. Immoral and evil conduct.

9. Lack of trust.

10. Envy, pride, anger, fear and greed.

11. Wrong priorities.

12. Conflicts and misunderstandings.

13. Self-destructive behavior.

14. Desires and expectations.

15. Interference from other people.

Difficult situation means

Spiritually speaking, problem situations arise in our lives because of our imperfections, weaknesses, and mistakes. If we are wise enough we can learn from them and improve ourselves, our actions, decisions, thinking and behavior. In other words, we do not have to look at them as problem but as learning opportunities. A difficult situation means any of the following when:

1. You are not in harmony with yourself.

2. You have not made right choices.

3. You are not optimizing your talents or potentials.

4. You are not listening to yourself.

5. You are not in alignment with your purpose.

6. You are not learning from your mistakes.

7. You feel you are victimized or treated unfairly.

8. You are coping with bad relationships and do not seem to get over it.

9. You have emotional issues and unable to control your negative emotions.

The universal rational approach

It is difficult to generalize and say that a particular approach or solution will apply to all problem situations. Each problem situation requires a specific approach or solution. The following one is a scientific and rational approach, which is by far the most effective and practical approach used by many in decision making and problem solving.

1. Analyze the problem.

2. Ascertain the causes.

3. Find alternative solutions.

4. Weigh the options.

5. Choose the best option and follow it.

Suggestions to handle negative and unpleasant situations

However hard you may try you cannot avoid unpleasant situations. Life does not always happen according to your expectations. When bad situations arise, be it at home, at workplace, in relationships, or elsewhere, you must keep your spirits up and learn to deal with them. In this regard the following suggestions may help.

1. Be completely honest with yourself and try to be objective. Many people live in denial and do not directly address the problem.

2. Examine your role in each situation and whether you can resolve the problem on your own.

3. Try to be open, flexible and adaptable.

4. Give others the benefit of doubt.

5. Do not ignore the problem, because when problems are ignored they become crises.

6. Keep your emotions under control and use your logical mind.

7. Consult others if you have doubts or do not know what to do. Sometimes you may need the help of others or of experts.

8. If it is getting too tough, release your emotions by talking to someone or by some other means.

9. Be honest with yourself. If you are responsible for it, admit your mistakes and try to rectify the situation.

10. Whatever may happen do not lose hope. Keep up your spirits and stay motivated.

11. Learn from the situation and from your experience.

12. Have a strategy to tackle the problem and stick to it. For example if your strategy is to find an amicable solution with minimum friction, you should not waste your energy trying to prove that others are fault.

In tough situations people generally resort to two basic approaches or responses, the fight and the flight responses. You can use both approaches according to your need and circumstances. Sometimes it is necessary to avoid confrontation and sometimes it is necessary to confront the problem or the person who is causing it. In either case, your decision should be guided not by fear but by the need or the justification of it. Confrontation does not mean you use aggression or intimidation. It can also mean you acknowledge the problem and actively deal with it on priority basis.

Bhagavadgita Translation and Commentary by Jayaram V Avaialbe in USA/UK/DE/FR/ES/IT/NL/PL/SC/JP/CA/AU

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