Making mountain out of a molehill

By Safian Younas

“You assumed your relative/friend’s decisions to not invite you to their event was based on malice, lack of care for you and with no compassion. Your entire feeling was based on a lot of assumptions! You failed to give your friend/relative the benefit of doubt. And instead of being the positive, kind and caring friend who appreciates a mature friendship you have displayed every sign of selfishness. It became all about you, instead of your relative/friend’s special event. This whole thing was always about your relative/friend’s event and s/he has every right to chose who s/he wants to invite. All you have to do is respect their choice, if you truly respect them”

I stumbled across this reflection piece by Ajmal Masroor recently. From my observation it depicts an ailment that applies quite generally to most instances where people are upset by other people, especially loved ones.

Unfortunately, making a mountain out of a molehill seems to be the mantra by which many people/families/organisations operate – and thus petty issues dominate people’s lives, distracting them from the more important things in life.

Its sad how many families are caught up in issues because someone wasn’t invited to such and such an event, or someone didn’t give a gift to such and such, or someone didn’t come to visit, etc etc. Similarly, how many an organisation/mosque refuses to work with another because small issues from past interactions are blown out of proportion and an element of stubbornness and pride persists. Or how many an elder or committee member or volunteer feels disgruntled because they say they haven’t been treated how they “feel they deserve to be treated” by their organisation / colleague.

Broad point:

If you find yourself upset with someone, its because you expected something from them and feel that they let you down. That expectation can be anything – emotional support, help, an invitation to an event, involvement in a project, etc.

  • Mistake number one – Expect of no-body except God. He alone is the One who you can rely upon always. Don’t get caught up on perceived words deeds misdeeds actions inactions of people.
  • Mistake number two – dont waste your time feeling grief for so called “let downs” from loved ones, family, friends, colleagues. The fault is with yourself. Be grateful of the good they may exhibit, and dont let your ego tell you that you should be entitled to this or that, because the odds are you aren’t. Rather, have a good opinion of others and make excuses for them.
  • Mistake number three – its all about perception. Don’t waste your life being the victim. You’ll only make yourself feel bad, and so ultimately you lose out. And then you complain that you have so many issues in your life, when your own psyche is to blame.

The hadith comes to mind – “amazing is the state of of the believer. Whenever given success he is grateful, and whenever afflicted with a mishappening he is patient”

If we were able to internalise this message then we would become more mature at dealing with issues, and regardless of outcome, would always maintain a positive outlook on situations and people.

Molehill Mountain

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Making mountain out of a molehill
© Ajmal Masroor May 17, 2013

Something has happened to you in your life. You are extremely upset and you are about to take drastic steps. Someone has let you down! It’s your best friend; or its your family member. You are willing to disrupt your relationship because of this.

S/he didn’t invite you to her wedding. S/he is getting married in a stately home in the countryside. It is an exclusive party; all families have been invited. You have been close, often introduced to others as a member of the family. Yet, in this very momentous occasion s/he has left you out! You have talked about each other wedding for years, always wanted to go to the wedding and at such a venue too.

You are asking all sorts of questions to yourself including why did s/he not invite me? What did I do wrong? Why did s/he decide to leave me out? You are now going over and over the whole thing, analyzing your relationship with the finest toothcomb. What could it have been? Your memory is racing through time, thinking about all the good and bad time you have spent together. The more you think the more upset you become.

You convince yourself that your relative/friend has done this out of choice. S/he could have invited you if s/he really wanted to. You make yourself believe that they dont care about you anymore. You conclude erroneously that your friendship has come to an end and you never really meant much to them.

When you make a mountain out of a molehill usually you fail to recognize that your relative/friend may have been limited to the number of people she could invite to the wedding due to many reasons including financial constraints, venue capacity, families’ decision and decisions informed by the spouse.

In the world of therapy this is called catastrophising – “taking a singular aspect and magnifying it to the point that it becomes so overwhelming, it dominates all else, even the truth, or most particularly, the truth.” (Sally Brampton)

You assumed your relative/friend’s decisions to not invite you was based on malice, lack of care for you and with no compassion. Your entire feeling was based on a lot of assumptions! You failed to give your friend the benefit of the doubt. And instead of being the positive, kind and caring friend who appreciates a mature friendship you have displayed every sign of selfishness. It became all about you, instead of your relative/friend’s special day. This whole thing was always about your relative/friend’s wedding day and s/he has every right to chose who s/he wants to invite. All you have to do is respect their choice!

Imagine a difference response. When you heard about your relative/friend’s upcoming wedding you could have wished them well, congratulated and showed them your excitement for the wedding with or without your presence. This would have left you feeling better; you would have found contentment in your heart and friendship would have remained intact. It is only a fool who makes a mountain out of a molehill!

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