No one can make you unhappy or disturb your inner peace unless you allow them to!
We often end up blaming others for the way we feel about the situations we are in. For instance, you order a coffee at a café and it arrives lukewarm. You tell the waiter to replace the coffee. He refuses. And you get angry. Till you arrived at the café and ordered that coffee you were in fine spirits. But that experience leaves you fuming. A friend who sees you stomping out of the café seeks to know the reason for your lousy mood. And you blame the café and the waiter. Now, while they may have served you bad coffee, the truth is you served yourself the lousy mood. Think about it – did the coffee or the waiter cause your unhappiness and anger or was it your expectation that the coffee be hot and the waiter be polite that caused you to lose your cool? The coffee arrived the way it did. The waiter behaved the way he did. You had an expectation that was different from reality. And so you were upset. In all situations in Life, if you choose to remain unruffled, no one can make you upset or angry, and no one can make you unhappy.
Happiness is always accepting, and loving, what is. In the example above, happiness meant accepting the coffee the way it came and accepting the waiter for the idiot that he is. This does not mean that you should not object to the poor service. Of course you can and you must. But don’t lose your equilibrium, your sense of happiness and inner peace, over someone else’s behavior. In fact, on a daily basis you can use the hundreds of provocations that Life throws at you, to train yourself to accept what is, the way it is and to be peaceful and happy. Someone cutting across the road as you drive, an irksome fellow passenger on a plane, a nasty auto-rickshaw or taxi driver, a shopper who elbows past you at the check-out late in a store, your rebellious teenager at home – each of these interactions offers you an opportunity to learn to be happy despite the circumstance, despite the provocation. Currently, you are succumbing to the provocation. You are responding with anger because you are questioning why someone is behaving the way he or she is. But if you let them be and if you agree that you are not going to lose your balance, your cool, you will find that you can be both peaceful and happy – all the time!
Responding to Life peacefully is a lot more sensible than reacting to Life. Reacting comes with impulse. Responding requires reflection. When you reflect over every event in your Life, even if it’s just for a moment, and then respond, you are giving yourself the chance to first accept your reality and then frame your action. And wherever there’s acceptance, instead of resistance, there can only be inner peace and happiness.