How do we react to adversity?
Once upon a time there was a girl who constantly complained about her life and how difficult it was to go on. She was tired of struggling to assert herself and find her place in the world . It seemed to her that she was living in a vortex. Whenever she solved a problem and believed she could breathe a sigh of relief, another question appeared that engaged her in a new “battle”. She was exhausted and no longer knew what to do. One day, visiting her grandmother, she attacked with the usual set of complaints and dissatisfactions .
At some point in the outburst, the old woman invited her granddaughter into her kitchenette and asked her to pass her a potato, an egg and some tea leaves that she had in the cupboard. Then he put on the fire three different saucepans and an ingredient in each. The young woman did not understand, but she was used to some of her grandmother’s extravagances. Once the boil got up and several minutes passed, he turned off the heat and placed the potato, egg and tea leaves in three cups in front of his granddaughter.
“What do you see dear?” churches. The somewhat puzzled young girl listed: “A potato, an egg and some tea.”
“Well, look at this potato.” The old woman replied. “It was strong and firm when you took it from the pantry and now it’s soft and we can crush it easily.” “And this egg?” he continued “You had to be careful not to break it when you touched it, while now it has become hard under the shell.” “Now look at these leaves …”
“All of them have faced the same test, that is boiling water. The potato that seemed so robust is now soft. The egg, initially fragile and liquid, has become hard and hard. ”
“They were transformed by boiling water,” ventured the granddaughter.
“That’s right, instead these delicate leaflets, after facing the boiling water, have changed, but they have released all their aroma and have changed the water itself. And you dear, how do you behave before the tests? “
“Do you allow the world’s adverse events to turn you into something different and undergo change or are you like tea? Tea changes the water, the element that causes it pain. When the water reaches the boiling point, the tea releases its best flavor. If you are like the leaves you have observed, when things go wrong, you will react at your best and allow the world around you to improve. “
What does this short story lead us to reflect on?
Life is not linear and it is inevitable to encounter obstacles on your way. Once this happens, however, each of us can choose how to react to everything that happens.
This does not mean that we must react in a positive and “super-optimistic” way in front of whatever event makes us suffer and puts us on our knees, without accepting that we are human and we can feel bad.
It is difficult to act like the brave and resilient tea leaves every time we face a problem. We carry infinite scars inside us every time we appeared compact and resolute, but in the end we turned out to be “soft” and “easy to crush” like the poor potato of the story.
And what about all the times when, not wanting to risk someone or something violating our fragile shell, we hardened ourselves in order to protect ourselves and make our most precious part inaccessible.
We work on our resources
Staying on the subject of metaphor, it is possible to learn to react like tea. We need to work on our resources in order to remember them even when we are in difficulty. However, we must not pretend to be invincible and we must recognize the fatigue, tiredness and existence of our individual frailties.
If we spend our lives presenting ourselves as stoic and imperturbable people, the price to pay will be to risk being knocked out of adversity; while if we harden to protect ourselves we move away from our true essence every day. In fact, we are led to think that obstacles block our way, but it is more appropriate to say that they themselves are the way .
We face avalanches of obstacles every day. Some days the alarm that rings appears to us as our most bitter enemy, which tears us to sleep far too early and the day starts badly and cannot take off. On other days we find work, we face our greatest fears, we know love, we become parents, we lose someone dear, we graduate or leave for a great trip and we don’t think about almost everything we have gone through to get there.
“Be in a good mood. Do not think about today’s failures but about the successes that may bring you tomorrow. You have chosen a difficult task for yourself, but you will be successful if you persevere; and you will discover joy in overcoming obstacles. ” – Helen Adams Keller