As much as it stings, the world keeps spinning despite our feelings.
How I feel about what happens in my life does nothing to change the outcome. No matter how strong my justification as to why my partner was wrong for dumping me, I’m afraid I’m still single. Late to an important meeting? Regardless of the anomaly I ran into on the highway, my seat was empty at the time of commencement. Overdraft at the bank? I can kick and scream all I want but unfortunately, that’s staying put, too.
The wasted time, effort and attention — and subsequent emotional fatigue — spent on defending outcomes that have already transpired was the silent killer of my happiness and fulfillment. And the worst part was, it was essentially automatic.
Being happy these days has far more to do with what you omit from your life than what you actually add to it. Getting out of the way what’s in the way will make more of a difference than anything you could supplant on top of an already muddled-up emotional state.
Looking for a place to start? Here are five simple things to practice letting go of to make more room for happiness to ensue on its own volition — and you won’t need a vacation or a promotion to make it happen.
1. The Need To Be Right
This is a simple one I’m sure you’ve heard of before. Assigning your inner peace onto a contingency of you always getting your point of cross will make you feel at odds far more often than not, as communication is not exactly a one-sided affair.
Feeling good about yourself doesn’t need to hinge on you getting the last word or one-upping someone. Sometimes, simply allowing someone else to have their moment — even if you are right — can make all the difference in the world. You shouldn’t need to be right all the time. If you do, look beneath the desire and identify what fear is driving this behavior. Is it a fear of loss? Insignificance? Status? What really is it?
Moreover, love is never about who has the upper hand. That stuff belongs in childish flings you foster in high school. True and meaningful relationships are about giving things up for one another and most importantly, giving things up for the sake of the relationship.
2. Attachment To Memories
The way we remember things is very different from the way we experience them. Apart from the idiom that hindsight is 20/20, we tend to romanticize memories by adding drama, meaning and essentially theatrics in our heads to give our lives more significance — a fundamental need of the human personality.
There’s nothing wrong with this process, but stacked up against the present moment — which we as human beings have a bad habit of devaluing — it may be difficult for what’s happening right now to compete. Stepping over what’s taking place today is the expressway to regret — one of life’s most expensive tolls.
Memories are essential to our existence. They characterize an important story about where we’ve been and who we were along our life’s journey. Cherish them. Love them. Treasure them. But keep them separate from the here and now.
Otherwise, you run the risk of being unable to transcend time ever again and your mental scrapbook will have sown its last page.
Amber Rae, author of the bestseller Choose Wonder Over Worry, argues that our feelings are not the problem — it’s our relationship to them.
Worry is a by-product of a number of emotions that precede it: guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, stress, overwhelm, inadequacy, and inauthenticity, just to name a few.
These feelings can be debilitating if you allow them. And if your solution is to stick with what’s inserted automatically — worry — you’re certain to become immobilized.
Instead, leverage the very best your sense of humor has to offer and see worry for its absurdity. It simply perpetuates the source. Why cling to a can of lighter fluid while attempting to put out a grease fire?
Re-direct your attention back to your internal locus of control, stand up, and take action towards the areas you can actually impact.
Many of us do this unconsciously and wonder why we get offended so easily. If you’re setting out to decide who people are and what their motives are, you’re certain to get blowback. You’re free to question someone’s behavior but when you start questioning intent, that’s when things can get sticky.
Attempting to interpret someone else’s actions for them is like giving a toast a wedding you weren’t invited to. You’re not them, and therefore, you’re speaking out of turn.
You’re free to interpret things to yourself, but if I were you, I’d choose the more empowering route if you can help it. Depending on what the person was focused on at the time will dictate the execution of the choices they make and consequently, how those actions land for other people.
And when things still don’t make sense, the blanket statement of “that’s just where they’re at” should suffice just fine. After all, none of us have a complete picture of reality.
We’re all blind to something.
Saving the best for last, I’ll save you the preachy rhetoric and just leave you with a quote from Wayne Dyer.
“When you judge, you don’t actually define others by your judgments. You define yourself as someone who needs to judge.”