A Longer Response to A.

July 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

Today I had the below exchange between A (I’m omitting her name) and myself on Twitter.

I wanted to say more to A but Twitter only allows 140 character exchanges.  So today’s post is for A.

“I was reading your blogs, I really admire how you can stay so positive. Most people would just give up myself included.” – A

“It’s really important to transform pain and sadness into something worthwhile and positive. There is great power in that.” – Deborah

“I agree but it seems like everywhere I look there’s always something there to remind me how unhappy I am.” – A

No one is always happy or unhappy and lots of things in life are beyond our control. But what we can choose is how to deal with the good and the bad. 

I really don’t want to come off preachy or that I know it all, trust me I don’t.  But I’ve had my share of misfortunes so I came to a point in my life that I decided I would look at things and deal with them in a different way. It was about survival.

First I learned, and continue learning, not to sweat the small stuff.  The small stuff is just that, small, and it isn’t worth my anger, frustration or disappointment.

As an example, when I need to call a bank, store, service supplier and I know it’s going to be an annoying call I tell myself to breath and to stay calm before I even pick up the phone. If I get angry,maybe  for that short period of time, I feel good (blowing off steam) but what the anger does to me for the rest of my day is not worth it. There is actually a very interesting New York Times article Happy Days: When the Heart Pays the Price of Anger that talks about just that.

If someone doesn’t like me or says something derogative about me, it makes me sad but it doesn’t stop me.  As long as I’m okay with my own sense of right and wrong, I’m fine. I tell myself “don’t sweat the small stuff.”

I’m also learning that I don’t control everything and I shouldn’t blame myself and others, in certain situations, for when things don’t work out. I’m learning to let it go.

Often having a feeling of well being can come from small things.  For me, is playing with my dog, sitting outside in my yard, having a great meal (I love food) or having a nice glass of wine (I love wine).  Everyone has something that if they stop for a moment to enjoy brings a smile to their face.  So I make a point of stopping and playing with my dog or sitting outside or having great food or a glass of wine every day.  I’ve also started doing Thai massages.  They are inexpensive and amazing.  A little time to pamper myself.

I also try not to think about what I don’t have in my life that I would like to have and try to concentrate on today.  We never know which way life is going to go so worrying about it or pining for the future is a complete waste of time.

Before my husband passed, I was much more obsessed with achieving success.  Others had it and so I should have it too.  The same energy has shifted to doing things that I can be proud of, in my case it is this site, my book, my volunteering.  I have not become a softie.  I think I’m as daring, funny as I ever been.

We all have to make a living.  We need to pay for at least food and shelter but doing something that we can be proud of, whatever that is, can shift how we feel about ourselves and life.

I don’t think people have to go through tragedy to make big changes.  All we need is the desire to live differently.

I’m not giving A or anyone else advice, I’m just sharing what I think.  I like everyone else have my struggles. But I do know we need to transform all that is sad into something else or the energy contained in sadness weighs us down too much.

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