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Choose Not to Get Disturbed, No Matter What!


“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~ Maya Angelou

On a weekend gathering of like-minded individuals, we were discussing about one of my favorite subjects – The Power of Choice.

The Premise

We discussed about how the mindset of being at the source of the matter and keeping the power to consciously choose our actions can affect our life positively.

We discussed about choice being nothing but a mindset, a perception of what a right or wrong choice may be.

We discussed about how our values, beliefs and perceptions affect our choices.

We discussed about impact of tiny choices and the direction that our life takes based on those.

We discussed about building our life around set principles and active choices, consciously made based on those principles.

The Heart Touching Story

While we were discussing the power of choice,  and how we can choose our delights, we experienced a noteworthy something: A cousin of a friend – about whom I knew very little at that time – raised her hand. She looked like in her late-teens and wanted to say something.

Here’s what she said:

“Last month, I was assaulted by my uncle. It was absolutely unexpected. I felt deceived, being hurt and disturbed. I never thought my uncle would do this to me. I was feeling like sky has fallen onto me. But, after listening to the power of choice, I’m not going to feel disturbed. I’m going to choose to be happy no matter what. I must thank my cousin who brought me to this session.”

Everyone was touched by this girl’s humbleness and courage. She wanted to choose to be cause in the matter rather than being victim of what happened to her.

Sure, she was in a lot of disturbance but she gained the self-cognizance that she could choose her response to her scourging personal battle. She saw that she could be cause in the matter and not mere an effect.

She also asked how exactly she could be cause in the matter.

My answer was:  “Accept your uncle the way he is and the way he is not. Call him and let him know that you don’t have any personal vengeance against him and you forgive him for what he did. And observe how you feel.”

“This sounds difficult but I’ll do that and let you know,” was her reply.

An Interruption

While this dialogue was happening, one distant friend interrupted,

”I lost my job last week and I was feeling that I’m destroyed although I can live without job for at least next 3 months. My pain is nothing compared with what this girl had to pass through. Maybe this is an opportunity to create something more meaningful. I should not waste my time regretting about what happened and should make a choice to move forward.”

The friend made this choice because he compared his pain with someone else. He had the choice not wait and compare his situation with someone else to be able to take charge of his life…in the discussion he understood that and announced to make a better choice.

Coming back to the girl again…

To create a new life, she must be able to accept and let go of wrath she was feeling about her uncle. It was hard (in fact, next to impossible in the situations like this) but surefire way of getting out of disturbed state of mind and start living life again.

I don’t know how she would handle this situation. But I am sure if she has really understood what the power of choice is, she’ll find meaning and inner peace in her life. Eventually, she’ll find serenity and freedom to live a better life.

The next steps

Only your actions, nothing else, are your true belonging, isn’t it?

Being able to choose is an opportunity to be cause in the matter. Read and reflect on what Victor Frankl wrote:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lie our growth and our freedom.”

We all encounter similar – may be less intense – situations in our lives where we think we’re taken away.  Some of us feel frustrated, victimized and down just because they have made a choice to feel that way.

Can we not learn from this brave girl and choose to be happy, no matter what?

About the author:

utpal-vaishnav-aboutUtpal Vaishnav is a lifelong learner, entrepreneur and author. He is the founder of Self Help Zen where he shares pragmatic tips for effective living.


  1. Melissa Melissa April 11, 2013

    Of the feeds I’ve received last time, this one particularly struck me. I have, for a time, underwent sessions with a psychologist who helped me alter my negative thinking. It took me several years to finally ‘decide’ to let go. I realized that the key is within not from the guide…You are right, happiness is indeed a choice.

    It takes a very strong mindset to ‘not get disturbed’ when facing certain situations… I give myself space for fear but not allow it to overcome me…

    Since happiness is a choice, I consciously choose it everyday…every single minute…second of my life knowing that there is a God Who wishes the same thing for me.

    Thank you for this guest post from your friend BS… Lots of love!
    Melissa recently posted..Growing TogetherMy Profile

  2. sukanyabora sukanyabora April 6, 2013

    I agree with some of the previous commenters. Expecting the young girl to forgive and move on to me is actually allowing the perpetrator, her uncle in this instance, a free pass to future egregious behavior. Of course, a lot will depend on how you define “assault”. To me assault is something unacceptable like violence, rape or abuse. An event or an occurence that scars people irreparably. And if that was the case, then I am not sure how one can be expected to forgive and move on. Everything is situational but when assault of any kind is involved, it needs to be taken very seriously and the person who is the assaulter needs to be held accountable for their behavior.
    sukanyabora recently posted..It’s Never AlrightMy Profile

    • Utpal Vaishnav Utpal Vaishnav April 6, 2013

      Thank you for expressing your point of view, Sukanyabora.

      The premise of the post is to invest your present moment in something that is worth the remaining moments of your life. Cursing the Uncle and not forgiving him is easy, tempting and the most common choice most people would make.

      The problem with not forgiving someone and allowing hatred to live inside you is that we also become the part of suffering that we would not otherwise.

      Our lives are made of the choices we make (active or passive) and no choices are wrong or right. They are just choices with their consequences.
      Utpal Vaishnav recently posted..Jumping to Conclusions – A Habit You May Like to Change One DayMy Profile

  3. Mary Stephenson Mary Stephenson April 5, 2013

    Hi Utpal

    Very interesting post. Although I do hope there was much more instruction to the young girl than to just go and forgive her uncle. I just wrote a post a few weeks ago on “The Healing Power of Forgiveness”. It is never about forgiving someone for a bad act. It never condones them for what they did and that they can just go do it again and again. It is more for the victim, a release to go about healing. To forgive does not release the person from the act, it releases the victim from the pain and anger so they can move on.

    Thanks for telling the experiences.

    Mary Stephenson recently posted..The Healing Power of ForgivenessMy Profile

    • Utpal Vaishnav Utpal Vaishnav April 5, 2013

      Thanks Mary for sharing your point of view. You caught it right. It is never about someone else. It is always about thyself. That is purely object oriented thinking.

      I’m coming from Software Engineering background and I have experienced that when you start thinking in objects, you not only get to understand software engineering better, you get to understand life better. And, most important realization is, it is the object that matters not the one whom it relates with.

      The same thing is true with love. We never love someone because the other person is great. We love someone because we are at bliss when we love them. It is all about ourselves!

      You have wrote a nice post about healing through forgiveness. I have a point of view about healing. In order to “heal” something, one has to let go of any remaining grudges with the other person. One has to complete the relationship. When one completes the relationship, the person becomes free and the healing happens. Now completing the relationship is never easy. Accepting the things as they are and not as we feel how they should be is the MOST difficult challenge for most of us.

      Thanks for bringing in this point and have a nice day ahead!
      Utpal Vaishnav recently posted..Jumping to Conclusions – A Habit You May Like to Change One DayMy Profile

  4. G Angela G Angela April 5, 2013

    This was a daring post, I like the title Choose Not to Get Disturbed, No matter what – I have taken this line literally in my life, so many times to get back my power. Each time I was challenged, I told this statement to myself, no matter what happens I am not going to sit and cry, and I refuse to live in the past, as i known very well by now that past cannot be undone, what is here is the present and i do not want to spoil it by looking back ! thanks for sharing ! I am inspired today

    • Utpal Vaishnav Utpal Vaishnav April 5, 2013

      Angela, Thanks for stopping by and sharing how you have dealt with the challenges. The statement you told to yourself is straight to the point Angela. This reminded me to my daily avouchment that I have used for years to generate power within. It is mentioned here: Play the Music, Don’t let it play with you! under the subtitle “My Daily Avouchment”.
      Utpal Vaishnav recently posted..Jumping to Conclusions – A Habit You May Like to Change One DayMy Profile

  5. Viren Viren April 5, 2013

    You have given very vivid illustrations. The power of choice makes or breaks us. That must have been a very awesome seminar, how I wish all human beings can learn the power of making important choices.

  6. Harleena Singh Harleena Singh April 5, 2013

    Hi Utpal, and welcome to Corinne’s blog 🙂

    This was a beautiful post, and I loved the examples you shared in it to make us understand things in a better way.

    I agree with Anne as I wonder if I would have the courage to make the choice to move ahead in life, or even to be able to forgive such a person so easily. Yes, I know she had the option to sit and sulk lifelong, or to move ahead in her life, and she chose the better one. And in her way – she inspired others who heard her story, while the other person who compared himself to her, found his problem so small as compared.

    Life IS after all – all about the choices we make in our lives. When we are surrounded by problems and difficulties – we always have a choice to chose what we want. Some choose a rough path, while others an easier one, and the results show within no time as well.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice day, both of you 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..Ways of Dealing with the Loss of a Loved OneMy Profile

  7. Galen Pearl Galen Pearl April 5, 2013

    It is hard to balance the freedom of letting our own anger and resentment go, of truly forgiving, and at the same time creating safe boundaries and holding others accountable. When a man went into an Amish school and shot ten children before killing himself, the Amish community was quick to express forgiveness and reached out to his wife and family. Had he lived, they would also have supported whatever consequences the law imposed…and visited him in prison.

    Likewise, I think the challenge for this young woman was to forgive and release her uncle, but to be clear that his attack was unacceptable.

    Great examples of putting this concept into practice!
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Thin PlacesMy Profile

    • Utpal Vaishnav Utpal Vaishnav April 5, 2013

      Thanks Galen for your comment.

      The attack was unacceptable for sure and all what can be done to prevent such act must be done. That’s undebatable.

      The point is, when we take responsibility of our lives, impact of “bad” things will be diluted. And that’s in our control.

      It is nice connecting with you over Corinne’s website. I look forward to connect and learn from your unique experiences.
      Utpal Vaishnav recently posted..On True LoveMy Profile

      • Galen Pearl Galen Pearl April 5, 2013

        I agree completely with your point. In this young woman’s case, taking responsibility has the two aspects of forgiving so that she releases herself, and holding the uncle accountable so that she refuses to be a victim. In both aspects she is controlling the only thing she can–herself. And as you said, this gives us great power to transform “bad” things.
        Galen Pearl recently posted..Thin PlacesMy Profile

  8. Vishnu Vishnu April 5, 2013

    Hi Utpal – two things to note about this event. Yes, the courage and bravery of the girl you mentioned and also, the strength she was able to convey seem to help inspire others to be vulnerable with their stories. We have no control about the circumstances or events in our lives and things which happen to us but we do have control over how to react to them. So let’s start taking more control over how we respond to things – like this young girl and your friend did. Like you said in the last comment, easier said that done!

    • Utpal Vaishnav Utpal Vaishnav April 5, 2013


      Thanks for your comment.

      Your notes are straight to the point. Many people talk about changing the world but only a few know that changing the world is all about changing how you perceive the world. And yes, it’s never easy. The reason is simple. Most of us don’t want to presume responsibilities of our own actions. Taking more control implies presuming more responsibilities.

      There’s a natural resistance to it so it’s always easy to say but extremely difficult to put in practice.

      Unless we put things in practice they don’t work so key is to take actions which is scary 🙂

      PS: I got your twitter follow notification. It was nice way to say that I’ll connect with someone who has two V in their name. Liked it 🙂
      Utpal Vaishnav recently posted..On True LoveMy Profile

  9. Anne Anne April 4, 2013

    She’s very brave indeed. I don’t know if I would have the strength she did.

    I know we all have a choice in how we react to what happens to us in life. Thanks for reminding me of this.
    Anne recently posted..How To Change Your FeelingsMy Profile

    • Utpal Vaishnav Utpal Vaishnav April 4, 2013

      Indeed she is brave Anne. Thank you for mention.

      Interesting thing about choice is: every moment we make choices. Active or passive. When we make active choices, we assume responsibility otherwise more often than not, we don’t. Key is to learn to make active choices. Easier said than done.
      Utpal Vaishnav recently posted..On True LoveMy Profile

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