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Friday, November 15, 2013

If you can’t change someone, don’t grieve and suffer

If you can’t convince someone to change, accept the person for who he or she is, and do whatever you can best do in the circumstances. Important: Don’t complain, don’t grieve, don’t suffer!

My 59-year-old friend lost his alcoholic brother, who was three years younger to him, a couple of days ago. It was a traumatic end to a Life that had been consumed by the habit. Over the past month every organ in his body had failed and he had been held up by Life support systems. This brought an end to a 40-year-old saga in my friend’s Life. After the death of their parents, my friend had raised his brother, struggling hard to put him through school. But the lad did not take to academics. Instead he fell among wayward company and took to drinking and gambling. As the years passed, the brother’s habit and behavior caused my friend innumerable problems. Their family was forced to leave the neighborhood they lived in because of the younger fellow’s incessant drunken brawls. My friend, who is a very reputed photographer in Indian media circles, had to close down his studio because his brother would land up there at all times demanding money for his drink in front of clients – much to my friend’s embarrassment! Efforts were made several times by my friend to put his brother through de-addiction programs – but each attempt, while consuming precious cash, failed miserably. Over the last five years, the alcoholic brother’s hospitalization and associated medical costs led my friend to hawk every financial asset he had created painstakingly through his career. Family and friends had been advising my friend to legally separate from his brother and leave him to his fate. But my friend always explained it away saying: “I don’t want to flinch from my duty as a brother and as a human being. I know it is pointless to expect my brother to turn a new leaf or even be cured of his various bodily ailments. But I want to be able to care and tend to him.” All through the 22-odd years that I have known my friend, I have never heard him complain of his brother. Nor have I seen him grieve or suffer. He simply went about looking after his brother – dutifully, diligently. “When I saw his dead body in the hospital, I wept. Not because I couldn’t save him or transform him. But because he was no longer there for me to care for him,” said my friend, when I called to condole his brother’s passing away.

People may have their own views of how such a pointless, futile situation could have been handled differently. But, all the same, the learning from my friend’s experience is simple – yet profound. Which is to accept people for who they are, to do our best and to not complain or grieve or suffer.

People are people. They will do what pleases them or what they think is right. Each Life comes with a pre-ordained cosmic design. Until that design plays out completely that Life will go on. Sometimes, the best of advice from the most experienced people will not be heeded. In those times reason will cease to apply. People will drive themselves – and others – crazy, appearing to be on a suicidal mission. You will feel helpless when you are unable to wean them away from their self-destructive tendencies. Normally, in such situations, people in my friend’s shoes will tend to become bitter. They will complain. They will feel miserable about their helplessness. Or they may get agitated with the whole situation. Or even depressed. This applies not only to people but to Life situations as well. My friend’s attitude teaches us to simply flow with Life. Peacefully. Because what has to happen will happen. The only choice we have is to accept Life for what it is and to go on doing whatever we think is the best in any given situation!

1 comment:

  1. I agree..we cant change others, better to accept that and find peace.