The easiest thing to do in the world, in my opinion, is to sit back and complain about everything around you, including your own self. It always rhymes with things like “why did it have to happen to me?” or “what is wrong with the world?” or even “what did I do to deserve this?”, and it goes on and on and on. There’s no end, no limit to it. I used to be a champion at it, once upon a time! I partly blame the French heritance in me (!) and partly my delicious Pakistani society.

Before I dive deeply in this topic, I would like to add few things in the brackets. I’ve been targeted in my previous articles for sitting out of Pakistan and making comments and/or even criticizing Pakistan from a distance; and how easy it is to do so. Let me assure you that I perfectly understand where you’re coming from; if I were in your shoes, I might have reacted the same way. But did it occur to anyone that my living abroad and writing about Pakistan actually shows how deeply connected I am to my home? Or writing like this is my only way of communicating with my people and try to pass on, what I think, is a good message? Or maybe the reasons I had for moving abroad were rather imposed on me by destiny than anything else? That’s exactly what I tried to explain in my previous article: we tend to jump to conclusions and judge others! Let’s give the next person the benefit of the doubt, folks… And as for the criticizing part, let me assure everyone that my intention is not to promote the negativity of our society but rather highlight it so we, as individuals, can start working on our weaknesses.

Coming back to the topic now: as I mentioned earlier, the easiest thing to do is to complain in life, about life; about everything and nothing. It doesn’t have to be limited to something grand or dramatic; it can be triggered at the smallest, tiniest thing like “I can’t find my eye lash curler or nail cutter or my matching sock, etc”. And the world falls apart. And of course, there are big issues in our life that trigger disappointment, sadness and much more aspects of negativity in our personality, and by extension in people around us. Why do we tend to do that? More importantly, what do we get out of it? I would go for either drawing other people’s attention or some sort of inner satisfaction or reflection of an unhappy state of mind or all of them, if not more. I remember in my young days at college, our sore topic used to be how our tailors messed up our clothes or how the esthetician messed our eyebrows shape and so on and so forth. When I look back, no doubt it looks silly now but it also shows a little bit of naivety on our part. Because, in a way, that is what our world was limited to. We are all humans, physically different from one and another, but deep down we experience the same emotions though with different intensity. A real success, our real success as an individual, is how we deal with these emotions and how much we let those affect not only us but people surrounding us. This is where a rational approach kicks in; or in other words, the pragmatic approach. And trust you me, we are all born with this skill, no matter what the color of our skin is. We only need to develop and polish this aspect of our personality. Again, I am not here to teach anyone (despite my academic profession); I am here to only share my opinion and gain knowledge from the readers’ perspectives.

I briefly offered few reasons for behaving in that particular way, but then again it is what it seems to me; you will obviously have a different perception. I am not going to dwell too much on the reasons but rather attempt to come up with solutions on how to deal with this issue. I remember the last time I got in this bitter and complained about everything that moved around me was, of course, when I was going through some changes in my personal life. But the one that marked the difference in my approach towards life altogether was when I found myself jobless, in this foreign land. I had never been jobless in Pakistan, so coming to face with this struggle seemed not only alien but it also scared the hell out of me! Besides, when you are outside your comfort zone, the tiniest problem starts looking like Mount Everest! So, my whining started: how could this be happening to me, after all what I went through, how can possibly God be doing this to me, to ME?! I started blaming the system, the unfairness of the situation, etc. One day, sitting in a local café, while sipping, though unable to taste, my favorite hot chocolate, I remembered what my best friend had told me once, in college days: if you want positive things to happen to you, start thinking positive. Ten odd years ago, her words didn’t register, I am even sure she didn’t know what she was saying (!), but years later, her words hit home. Hit hard, I tell ya! From that day onward, my life changed upside down; from personal relationship to professional life. I started applying her theory in my daily life, thus giving it a practical shape. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, I had to make a huge conscious effort, I even had to struggle emotionally, but I did not let my mind control me anymore. On the contrary, I control my mind. As a result, now, I try to dig positivity out of the darkest black hole in front of me, and suddenly the same hole starts becoming bright. I didn’t find a job right away, it took me time, but when I did, it was perfect. I always make a list of the “struggles” of the day, and one by one, I overcome them. Today, I have to literally dig the positivity from the 20 inches snow pile outside my house!

 The writer is a PhD French literature. She's now a professor of French settled in Canada.