Sunday, April 12, 2009

Story About Self-Change and Changing Others !

Sumati, a devoted wife, lived a happy life except for one problem—her husband’ssmoking habit. Anil, Sumati’s husband, was a compulsive smoker. He had been caught intothis habit for more than four years now and this had been the cause of the couple’ssquabble—Sumati did not approve of Anil’s smoking habit and seemed tired of asking himto change his ways. Anil too, at times,appeared to struggle to come out of his habit.Then, one day in desperation, Sumati decided to take help of their good old family physician,Mr Lal. A man of uncommon understanding of human nature, Mr Lal was well known toboth of them and was reputed for his wisdom and loving care.

‘What is the matter?’ asked Mr Lal.Sumati broke into a sob and expressed herinability to make Anil change his ways. ‘I am tired of telling him to . . .,’ she moaned. ‘Isthere no way out?’ she asked Mr Lal.

After a little thought, Mr Lal turned to Sumati and said, ‘If you want to help Anil,then do one thing: stop nagging him for two months.’

Though it sounded quite puzzling,Sumati agreed and returned home.

Next time she saw Anil smoking and as usual wanted to point it out to him, sherestrained herself. She, however, found it very difficult to keep silent. This went on—thisstruggle to not nag him anymore. It was a fierce battle but since she had given her wordsto Mr Lal, she kept on struggling. At the end of two months, she was at Mr Lal’s again.

‘How was it? Could you keep your words?’ asked Mr Lal.

‘To some extent. But it was so very difficult,’ replied Sumati.

‘Look here, Sumati,’ said Mr Lal with a smile, ‘how difficult you find to overcome yourown habit. How can you then ask Anil to overcome his? When it is so very challengingto overcome one’s own habit, how much more challenging it would be someone to overcomehis habit? He may find it equally hard and challenging.’

Sumati felt as if a great covering had been removed from her mind. ‘Indeed, Anil needsunderstanding. May be he too has tried but failed, like me failing to overcome my nagginghabit.I must be more considerate and careful in my estimation of Anil’s problem.’ Shedecided to turn to a new leaf. Her selfacceptance gave her an insight into howhuman mind works and she became more understanding and wise. She could no longerdislike Anil and this helped Anil to slowly wean away from his habit.

The moral of the story is simple: if we want to change others, we must begin fromourselves. First self-change, then changing others. May be a better way of saying it wouldbe: keep doing them simultaneously. On the one hand, constant self-analysis, selfamendmentand self-improvement, and on the other, helping others to do the same

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