“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.” – Doe Zantamata

While the whole pandemic was just taking baby steps and not even reached the doorsteps of my country; I was busy crunching buttons on the keyboard, chasing targets, thinking about holidays that I have planned in the upcoming months, and the happy weekend to cool down the burnout of the whole work of the week.

But unfortunately, things changed at an exponential pace, and the whole country got into a complete lockdown. And all the things that had the attention of my mind a few days back got obsolete. We were locked in our home, with a mind, which can be a best friend or enemy in such an unpredictable event of life. 

The lockdown and staying at home for a complete twenty- four hours was giving me worries about getting depressed, not able to achieve some work goals (and not able to meet some people for work purposes), and the unimaginable sorry state of mind and work that might happen at the end of the lockdown.

But in life, most of the worries never come true, and something exactly happened to me.

The less amount of work, and more time spent doing house chores and reading different books, got me to do self-introspection, which later evolved into an inward journey.

It led me to think about the hard work that we do just to achieve something. We get emotionally invested and put in the extra effort. But, if we do not achieve the goal, we feel sad and lose confidence, and if we complete the goal, we get hyper-excited.

Which made me think about the way I react to situations. I ponder, and I got to know that all these years, my state of mind changed as the situation around me changes. Though it helps sometimes as a motivation inducer, it created stress or too much happiness, and the mind was never still.

It reminded me of my days in college and the period of applying for jobs. One day, I was feeling super down and questioning my abilities because of a rejection by a company I dreamed of joining, and the other day, I was feeling happy about getting shortlisted for another multi-national company. 

Similarly, in my professional life, when I was working as an employee if a finger was pointed at me in a certain situation or the manager behaved harshly; I defended impulsively or sometimes got disappointed regardless of being right or wrong. Similarly, if there was appreciation; I felt great for myself and the top of the world.

All this made me realise one thing; you can’t let the outer situations decide the way you react to situations. 

There should be a ‘pillar of morals’ inside your mind, which stands strong in emotional spurs, and in uncommon situations, which will guide you, stop you before reacting, make you think, then respond.

My ‘pillar of morals’ is staying calm in every situation, being kind, and looking for qualities good in every individual. 

Because if you react abruptly to the change in the situation, you become a slave to them. But if you stick to your morals, think, then respond, you handle the situation in a better way and mostly end it on a winning note.

Also, happiness in appreciation, fame, and success made me realise that we crave this feel-good feeling from the outside world and people. 

I still have the distinct memory of moving to another city from my home town for the first time; and how it made me feel lonely and super-normal (which I was not supposed to be). All I was missing was the super feeling of getting acknowledged everywhere I go; or knowing someone or someplace for every need that I had.

And this memory taught me that we want situations to make us feel special, and people praise us, know us; and the most discomfort and worries of mind revolve around this.

But this period of isolation and introspection helped me learning one more important lesson viz the mind can find peace in itself. And it all starts with acknowledging our negative thoughts, insecurities and flaws of mind. It’s our choice; whether to get irritated by them or accept them with love, understand the negativity, work on it, and become a better individual.

I soon realised that accepting my imperfection and flaws as mine and embracing all my positivity and negativity with love reduced my urge to find appreciation from people and situations.

The understanding of these flaws like insecurity, looking for praise, negative thinking; were all trying to convey a message or a missing puzzle of life, and asking me to find the solutions, and in the process, asking me to become better at understanding my thinking.

I do sometimes sit alone for 10-15 minutes to let thoughts flow; as a neutral spectator, I try to understand what they are trying to say.

Now, here comes the interesting part.

With normalcy returning in life and work going, as usual, I find that the two realisations I had earlier were just the beginning and not the end. The mind learns things quickly, but it takes patience and practice to make the learning natural response of the brain.

The work situations and conversations with people around me do make me react like of the past, as it is the easiest and quickest thing to do. But changes happen gradually. In the early phases, the mind does signal that it is the wrong way of thinking and reacting and what should be the ideal way. Thus, I understood that I have to embrace and understand the old and natural thought process and gradually introduce new thinking.

I do get to see changes in myself while talking with my close one with whom I have been most frank and raw. The mind still does signal to react impulsively; (it will be wrong and fake to say that everything is perfect), but the motivation and past success of following my pillar of morals motivate me to choose the hard yet sensible path.