Positivity · Self Improvement · Understanding

We are in control

At some point in our lives we all have gone through a difficult phase. The phase that tested our patience or made us question our journey. The phase that made us doubt the genuineness of people or the hope we carry that things will get better over time. The phase that seemed never-ending.

I went through that phase.

The phase I went through made me doubt my own values and beliefs that I so strongly followed throughout my life. I met people who were irrational, ignorant and rude, many times for no reason at all, or so I thought. And I went through situations that did not make sense to me at the time. I got angry, frustrated and upset. I wept. I often made rude comments to those who said something rude to me first because I wanted to make them feel the way they made me feel. I devalued myself and caved into negativity. All of this demoralized me.

“Why?” I asked myself. Why does this happen to me? Why are people rude to me if I’ve been nothing but nice to them?

During these times, I often spoke to a few people to get some clarity on the upsetting situations. They listened patiently and encouraged me not to worry about what others do and to focus on myself. They emphasized that the only thing I can control is myself and my attitude towards the situations. Nothing else. I knew they were right but sometimes it takes a while for things to set in my mind and sometimes it takes another perspective or another day or time for it to all click.

Have you ever read you something and suddenly it all processed? Like that quote or article somehow, someway captured the exact words needed in order for you to wholly comprehend and process the meaning? That’s what happened to me when I read the following quote by Mother Teresa. It resonated and it processed.

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” -Mother Teresa

I read this quote and suddenly everything those few people said to me all made sense. It just took other words, another day and time and a different frame of mind to fully comprehend it.

What I learned is this: karma is essential. In Jainism, the law of karma states that any verbal, physical or mental thoughts or actions create an effect and that, in turn, creates another and so on. Our actions and attitude determine our fate. How we speak, how we act and how we think depend on us and that ultimately impacts the future. Therefore, we are in control of our karma and our future.

Throughout our lives we experience many unexpected circumstances which confuse, anger or frighten us and more often than not, it happens when we least expect it. But though we have no control over the unanticipated circumstances, we do have control over our attitude towards those circumstances. How we react is purely up to us. That is our karma.

We are all connected somehow and our stories are intertwined but our journey of life is independent and our path is our own. We are individual souls occupying individual bodies going through individual journeys that life offers us. We are responsible for our own spiritual growth.

How others behave is entirely up to them and how we behave is entirely up to us. As Mother Teresa stated, if someone is stubborn or selfish or if they question our kindness, we should be confident in our behavior because only we know and understand our own intentions, not them. And if we live an honest life and get cheated or do good that goes unappreciated, we should do it anyway because the good karma we receive from it, even if not immediately identifiable, is our own and that cannot be taken from us. We must be the very best version of ourselves and that will be a reward of its own and will aid in our spiritual journey.  Therefore, people can hurt us, question us and cheat us but they cannot deny us of our spiritual advancement, they can only create obstacles. How we respond and proceed thereafter is contingent on us.

This quote applies to all of us, religious or not. Because, sure, it can be between us and God, but ultimately it’s our morals, values, actions and attitude that determine our future. This quote embodies, what I believe, to be the true reason of why we are here on Earth. Be the best version of ourselves, continue to grow into better human beings and advance spiritually and that will determine our fate thereafter.

Our karma is our power.

We are in control


Read my next post: Are you your own bully?

Read my previous post: Why we are small, yet significant

4 thoughts on “We are in control

  1. This is a great quote by Mother Teresa! I really liked your story and message. I want to share some additional thoughts with my own prospective:

    In my own experience, I can relate to unfortunate events happening to me when least expected. I’ve found it very difficult during those times to react with positivity and kindness, and avoid becoming angry or upset. The first thought that comes to mind when something bad happens is, why me? If I’ve done nothing wrong, why did the unfortunate event occur?

    In looking for an answer to this question, what resonated most with me is the last sentence of Mother Teresa’s quote: “It was never between you and them anyway.” To me this suggests that the person who carries out a negative action is not the true cause of the unfortunate event – there must be a different source. What could this be? The law of karma offers a powerful explanation: our own negative past actions. Karma accumulated from our past (including even from past lifetimes) is directly responsible for each unfortunate event. The person who does harm to us is only a messenger for carrying out the consequences of bad Karma.

    Take a real life example: In Malaysia, corporal punishment is still used today. Criminals who are convicted of robbery in a court of law are sentenced to getting beaten with a cane as punishment. In this system, there is a separate person, a caning officer, who carries out the punishment for many criminals. While this is incredibly harsh, the criminals almost never respond with anger at the caning officer. They understand the officer is simply carrying out his duty, and that the punishment is the direct result of committing the crime.

    If we have the same understanding as the criminal has of the caning officer, we can change our prospective when unfortunate events occur. The person who we may wrongfully blame is simply the messenger carrying out the consequences of our own past actions. And that’s another compelling reason to react positively.

    1. Apurva,

      Incredible insight! 🙂 I absolutely agree that the person who does the wrong is simply a “messenger” of all the bad karma we have accumulated over our lifetime(s). That last line of the quote is one that gets to me the most too and I always have to remind myself that my journey is purely MINE. When I constantly tell myself that each time someone’s words or actions upset me, I start processing it and eventually those negative emotions go away. It’s something we must practice each time and eventually we’ll be able to realize the truth.

      Thank you for all your lovely comments on this and the great real-life example of corporal punishment.


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