The Art Of Going With The Flow
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be a reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao-Tzu.
This is what going with the flow means if broken in simplest terms.
Precisely pointing out the spontaneous nature of life, Lao-tzu talks about the tool that becomes our best friend in this spontaneous journey of life- going with the flow. Change is the only constant in life and sometimes, things might turn out the way we wanted them to. This diversion from the routine we are used to becoming a source of anger and frustration. The simple solution that will help ease the angst of such situations is -going with the flow.
What does go with the flow mean?
Going with the flow in its essence is accepting the flow of situations that life has planned for us, it is an action as simple as smiling and breathing, and it is accepting life just the way it is rather than trying to mould it according to our expectations. Roll the punches and go with the flow!
For example- You are habituated to do your morning routine every day, but today you have a deadline to meet. You didn’t get to do your morning routine and that leaves you frustrated and angry for the rest of the day since you are used to doing it.
What did you benefit from being angry? Nothing. But what did you lose? Your peace of mind and calm! The change in the norm has left you frustrated and has made it harder for you to concentrate on the rest of the things.
Not the smartest way to handle things, isn’t it? If we retrospect into our lives and think about the times when we lost our calm due to some diversions in the norm and how it left you annoyed, you will find plenty of instances and this sole reason makes it important for us to know how to go with the flow.
Explaining how to go with the flow is very easy and quite basic, but its implementation in the everyday life is pretty difficult.
How to go with the flow?
If you are wondering a fresh off the platter answer to this query, sorry to disappoint you but we have none. Going with the flow is an art that an individual masters at his own speed over time. But here are some tips that might help you to go with the flow.
1. Be aware
An important step towards mastering the art of going with the flow is becoming aware of oneself. Know and observe yourself. Try to understand the instances where you lose your calm and identify the patterns. Then work on finding a solution to it.
Being aware of one’s reaction patterns helps limit the extremity of the reactions to a great extent and helps us in effectively managing our emotions, allowing us to go with the flow. Remember, self-awareness is key.
2.Accept that you can’t control everything
Deep down, we are all aware of the limitations of human life but often, our actions seem to contradict the very idea. Hence, it is extremely important to realise and accept the fact that things won’t always go as planned and we won’t be able to do anything to change its course because that is not in our hands. But what is in our hands is that we can just let it go and go with the flow.
The example above makes it very clear that venting over things that aren’t within our control just makes it harder for us. But accepting the fact that we cannot control everything, helps us find a solution for the diversion and enables us to carry on with life.
3.Adopt a perspective
Adopting a certain perspective towards things never hurts anybody! Do you find yourself frustrated when your car breaks down or your washing machine does not work and start thinking that everything around you is negative? That needs to change!
Instead, adopt a perspective and start observing life from a different angle. Step back, take a deep breath and think about how you can develop a positive aspect from the situation. Try and look towards the brighter part of it and how you can mend it. Already feeling better? Told ya!
4.Take one step at a time
Do not burden yourself and take one step at a time. Slowly imbibe the essence of going with the flow and refrain from biting off big chunks in one go. Take your first small step when hazed with such a situation. Relax and try to understand the situation first rather than rushing to find a solution.
Once you have understood the situation and accepted it, a solution will follow. Try and repeat till you gain a hold of the practice and then proceed. Remember that you are growing and learning every day, so please be kind to yourself.
A good smile never hurts anyone. Learn to smile and accept the situation as it is, rather than stressing upon why it went a different course than you expected. Smile at the absurdity of life and think about how funny its unpredictability is. Smile over a situation places you above it and lets you free from its harsh clutches. It gives you the power to control its damages or effects and detaches you from the angst of it. If you learn to smile in such situations, you have come a long way in mastering the art of going with the flow!
Remember the time when you dreamt about the “perfect” life and are now stuck in an ironic situation that contradicts its very idea? You are not alone. A perfect life is a utopian dream, all we have is now.
Accept the world as an imperfect artist trying to create its own art. Going with the flow requires practice and dedication. So when you know what ‘go with the flow’ means, master the tricks to go with the flow and embrace the change. Remember, beauty exists in everything around us if we choose to look at it.
As Bob Dylan rightly states- “I accept chaos. I am not sure whether it accepts me.”