Monday, December 18, 2006

Life Is A Seesaw

I hate going to restaurants. As an obstetrician used to eating fast, the food takes too long. The waiter will take my order and vanish into the kitchen for what looks like a century. The sight of other people's food will stimulate my salivary glands and cause my stomach to protest. Finally, the food will arrive and most of the time it's what I ordered, but sometimes something goes wrong. I either get the wrong food or the food does not taste good. Either way, I get disappointed and regret going to the restaurant. I could have eaten at home.

Does this sound familiar? I am sure you've had such an experience. Life is like that. You cannot go through life and expect everything to be Kosher. In Harold S. Kushner's book, "when bad things happen to good people," he deals with these issues. The human experience, imperfect, is prone to errors. The question is not whether bad things will happen to you but when they will happen. The key to dealing with these, sometimes, unexpected jolts in life is to first and foremost remember that you're human with "feet of clay" . If you put your feet in water long enough, one of these days you may lose your feet. You should therefore consider the following ideas to immunize yourself against loosing your clay feet.

  1. You should be a great optimist. Optimists regard the world as a positive place. However optimism is even stronger if it's combined with faith.
  2. Your past disappointments should be lessons for you. They will provide you insights into what went wrong so you don't repeat the same mistakes again. As George Santayana said, " those who don't know history are bound to repeat it." If you learn form your past you develop new skills and faculties that will help you weather future blows.
  3. Create trusting relationships to buffer you when things don't go your way.
  4. Remember the world is not perfect.
  5. When you're driving, look at the cemetery. It will remind you that you're here for a purpose and when your time comes you'll go off the stage. At least you're alive, hence make the best of your time here no matter what your current situation is.
  6. Have a high sense of humor so you can laugh at yourself often. This way, you don't take yourself serious and think you are superhuman who cannot be touched by human calamities.
  7. Above all, remember even the Saviour suffered.


kate said...

hi manny--

enjoying your blog!!

happy holiday!!

i'm going to send you a neat article about blogging that i know you'll like!!

kate loving shenk

Manny Essel, MD said...

Hi Katie,
Thanks for your comment and your article which I enjoyed very much. May you have the strength to be nonjudgemental and face these issues with equanimity.