Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The day a *Bollywood celebrity snubbed me.

2 Lessons Learned

Okay so this individual is an acclaimed celebrity and I admire his ability to be versatile and oh so uber-cool in whatever he does. Aha! So now you know it’s a ‘him.’ And that my friends, is no accident. Having to be gender neutral throughout this post would have been too cumbersome a task to take on.
Having said that about the present I’d like to dive straight into the past…

…My college years were full of memories. Coming from a highly grounded and honorably traditional family, the world outside of those realms was all brand new - more diverse and quite overwhelming. Typical of an impressionable youngster, I did all I could to fit in…. was a member of most college frats, hung out in the canteen, acquired a new wardrobe, attended and bunked classes, made new friends and went to socials and parties. Along the way though the line between ‘who I was’ with some and ‘who I was trying to be’ with some others gradually faded. Whilst I stretched myself to cope with all kinds of peer pressure as well as excel in academics, the internal struggle led to a few wrong choices which proved to be big learning lessons in later years. All in all, the metamorphosis of those influential (trial and error) years triumphed into greater self-awareness and a more perceptive understanding of others around me.
During this time I had a group of friends with whom I hung out often. ‘He’ was an integral part of that group and as such a good friend.

Many years later, I was on a call once with somebody who happened to be sitting with this yesteryear friend of mine. So of course I jumped at the opportunity to talk to him after so many years.
Here’s what transpired:

Me: Hiiiiiii!  (Super excited)
Him: Hello (In an indifferent voice)
Me: Sooooo; how are YOU? (Completely in a  bum-chum pal moment)
Him: Good. (Unenthusiastic monosyllable responses)
Me: You remember me, right? (Just not getting his drift; Duh!)
Him: Yes, I do. (Wish I didn’t voice)
Me: How’s life, it’s been ions (Still totally swimming in the past)
Him: Uhuh (Me: Uhuh???! That’s all you can manage to say! Finally…. Not a light bulb but a full on tube light moment right there!)
Me: Great then, good talking to you. (Good?! Seriously did you just say good?! Which part?! The part where you felt dumb and stupid or that part where you felt even more dumb and stupid?)
Him: Uhuh; Bye.
Me: Bye (Whatever…like it really even matters)

Now at first I was surprised, the sad kind of surprised. Why would he? How could he? I was a friend, not his BFF but hey; we were good friends. I felt bad. I relentlessly tried to analyze the situation… Is it his celebrity status and fame which brings on that attitude? Has he unfairly judged me?  Or perhaps all these years led to a ‘disconnect’. Or was our ‘connect’ back then just a fa├žade? And then again I thought; his reasons could be entirely different. It could be that he was having a bad day; perhaps he was feeling unwell or maybe he was just preoccupied with his own stuff.
Obsessing over the ‘why’ of ‘what’ just happened had me feeling rather restless. Until I reckoned whatever his reasons this small little incident taught me two things:

Over-analyzing is unhealthy:  Stop it. Over analyzing (or over-thinking) is a stress disorder that can affect your daily life. Analysis paralysis or paralysis of analysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.

‘Over’ being the key word. Analyze by all means, understand the situation, learn from it, take any required action and then most importantly - Let it go.

How others act is out of your control. Essentially not something to delve upon. How you react is entirely in your control and important to bear in mind at all times.
**Forgiving yourself is healthy:  Do it. What analyzing did for me was it made me pay attention to aspects of my past that my subconscious was resurfacing as a result of this incident. Staring at me were leftovers of guilt and remnant regret from past actions. I reflected, addressed them and took corrective action. What could I do today to rid me of this past guilt? What could I learn from this regret? These were some of the questions I asked myself in order to heal my soul.

Pay attention to what is reemerging.  Year after year we unconsciously carry our past baggage into the future. Perhaps we believe there is a price, some dis-empowering form of life-long penance that we must pay. There is a tendency in all of us to hold ourselves more accountable than we do others. If someone else did the same things, you might learn to forgive them or at least let go of the hurt, anger or guilt. That's because it's easier to forgive others. After all, they don't live in your head. Yet, most of us born to this earth have not lived or died without messing up something or, in some cases, ourselves. Mistakes are natural. Therefore please forgive yourself. Not because you should, but because you can.

In conclusion folks; I’d just like to say;
You do not have to suffer from guilt or regret. You can stop beating yourself up, it is not serving you. Instead learn, take action, forgive and stop looking behind you. Turn around. See what is right in front of you, and better yet, what lies ahead.

Note: Name withheld out of sheer nostalgia. He was a dear friend and for all its worth, I’d like to remember him fondly for what once was. :)
*Bollywood: Hindi language film industry based in Mumbai, India.

** It is your prerogative to heal in a way best suited to your beliefs and values. Some ask for forgiveness from God others practice charity. Whatever you resonate with works.