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Lighten Up

Want to manage your way through this crazy world we live in? You better have a sense of humor. In the past I have had a difficult time accepting all of the little misfortunes that came my way. As a child I pretty much always got want I wanted. And I assumed it would always be that way. As I got older I quickly learned this wasn’t so. Needless to say it was like a cold splash of water to the face. My response was to rage and feel sorry for myself. “What did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening to me? It isn’t fair. I can’t take it anymore.” Sound familiar?  

Like a dinner guest who never leaves, this pity party lasted way too long. And I wasted so much time and energy in trying to have a fair and perfect life. A life without bumps in the road or sadness and disappointment. I honestly thought that this life existed. Like it was out there and everyone else was enjoying it but ME. No wonder I always felt like a failure, I had set myself up to fail.  

I now know something I wish I would have known many, many years ago. Life is not always sunny. There are many rainy days. And sometimes it seems as if they will never go away. But this is NORMAL. There isn’t a single person no matter how rich, successful or beautiful who can escape them.

Why did I not know this? If you think about it, wouldn’t it be smart if we all were handed a life manual on our way home from the maternity ward? A booklet that tells you what to expect now that you have arrived here on earth? “Listen kid, life is not all peaches and cream. There will be good and bad. Enjoy the good and don’t freak out over the bad. It happens to all of us.” Boy would it save a lot of suffering. 

It is amazing what can happen when you stop throwing your own pity party. It actually leaves you room and energy to deal with whatever situation is causing you stress.

My life drastically changed when began to not sweat the small stuff and to simply stop and listen and oftentimes laugh. When I don't react to things but instead just sit still and watch them, I feel clear headed. Without a clenched jaw and a knot in my stomach it is easier to let my feelings wash over me without overreacting and regretting it later. In the scheme of things is it really so horrible that my daughter spilled iced tea on the floor or my husband didn’t clean the stubble out of the bathroom sink? Or that I forgot to pay a bill on time or lost one of my favorite pairs of gloves? Not really. An inconvenience, maybe. 

If you want to stop suffering you have to change your thinking. Don’t waste anymore time lamenting about your misfortunes. Instead, accept them for what they are: an inescapable part of life and an opportunity to lighten up, laugh and learn.

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