To lose one’s parent at a critical stage is not a prayer anyone would wake up to say. Even to cast an enemy with such awful, horrible and tears gulping curse would demean one’s sense of empathy and humanness. But some never wake to say such prayer nor had a curse placed on them by their enemies. Things just happen with neither time for reflection nor contemplation.
In life terrible things happen, disaster strike, tragedy cascade yet life never stops a bit, night still pave the way for morning to pick, clock still ticks and goat never cease bleating. Once the big horror fall like crane up roof, packing the remnant and letting go off of the sadness should next on anyone in search of happiness after life endless kerfuffle.But things aren’t that credulous.
Jane’s father died after two weeks at the University. At four, she lost her mum to a protracted breast cancer, alongside her two sibling, life would have mean a whole hellish theatre had their father never came to their rescue and fill the wide gap created by their mother’s demise.
Growing up wasn’t for her a posh adventure nor fill with merrymaking moments, rather, as the first of the three, she had to quickly graduate to that motherly role. So up in the morning and fall in the night tired, worn out and exhausted. For years this was the way to live and if not for her father’s supportive and advisory role, things wouldn’t have seems meaningful to her.
When news broke of her father’s sudden death in a ghastly accident one bright (or not really that bright) Monday morning, to say she was devastatingly destroyed would stripe her emotion of its rightful vocabulary. Her heart got wrenched. She jumped into depression and sadness pervades the atmosphere. Nothing could change her mind; words fly by her ears and attempt to ease her trauma all fell dead.
People around got concerned; they were worried, for they all believe this could be a dangerous path or a dead end road leading to a dead end destination. Someone had to be brave and pull the wool, here courage is the dose and anyone willing to inject it wouldn’t mind the outcome though like the saying, bitter pills are hard to swallow, but still will be swallowed anyway.
Well-grounded and vast in the principles of psychology, the Man who rose to that occasion has had his own share of life’s low and high moments. So it wasn’t as if a theoretician is coming up with dose that is far from reality. In this case, it is theory meshed with practicality.
Perhaps, the works of Martin Seligman on optimism and pessimism has been described as phenomenal and exceptional. Seligman says the characteristics of a pessimist is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do and are their own fault. The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case.
The optimists believe defeat is not their fault: Circumstances, bad luck, or other people brought it about. Such people are unfazed by defeat. Confronted by a bad situation, they perceive it as a challenge and try harder.
Thus the three optimistic metric was invented: Permanent, Pervasive and Personal. Jane then was asked whether she believes her father’s death could be prevented or whether her father’s death would create an unalterable tragedy in her life, she lifted up her head a bit. When she was further calmly asked whether her father’s death was her fault, she nodded in disapproval. Then she was asked again whether what happened to her will spill over to everything she does, like her studies or ability to care for her sibling, her cheeks soften.
Finally, she was asked whether all of this tragedy is personal to her or that it has or is or will never happened to anyone. She disagreed completely. Already, a friend of her is an orphan. After all these realization and questions was she able to clearly and glaringly see how a change of thoughts could effectively ease ones of life inescapable suffering and challenges.
“Death” she was told “doesn’t make life pointless, but rather make it purposeful”. And like suffering, it only makes life more worthwhile and meaningful.