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Sometimes You Have To Stop And Smell The Roses

Sometimes You Have To Stop And Smell The Roses

Sometimes you can be chastised as an introvert for being a pessimist. Whether you feel it’s a choice or if you simply could never stop being so negative, in some way you may actually like it. Let’s face it we all see that overly happy person at work, serving us food, or taking our order for something, and we think “How can they be so happy?”. So many videos and posts urge us to have this outlook on life. They say we would be much better off being positive and happy. What if we don’t want to? Some people just want to watch the world burn, and nothing will stop us from having such a nihilistic viewpoint, which we prefer. So what are some of the earmarks of liking your own unhappiness?

When the glass is always half empty

For as long as I can remember I have thought of the glass as being half empty. If a glass is presented to you that has a liquid level of exactly half of its volume, what would you say the level of it is? Is it half full, or half empty? Recently I have changed my response to a more realistic one. I just tend to say that there is only half there. But with that new response there is a resistance to change; for ages I had thought of the glass as being half empty. The question of the glass has always been one of optimism versus pessimism. Now that I am older and wiser I know that being negative is not always the best thing, yet my reluctance to even simply say that the glass may be half full is apparent. Now there’s just half a glass. Baby steps.

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When you feel stuck, and put conditions on your happiness

There was a point in my life where I had begun to feel positive. I had positive thoughts and emotions, my relationship was going well, and my work life couldn’t have been better. This terrified me! I had never had these feeling before; I’ve never been a happy person, luckily it didn’t continue and my unhappiness reared it’s ugly head once more. I once again stumbled about life trying to find my way and the ultimate goal of my ideal happiness, is that really the life for me?

That’s right, I too aspired to be happy. But there’s a catch– I put so many conditions on my happiness that it became almost unattainable. I’d like to make X amount of money, live in X house, and have the partner that has X qualities. What happens when we are trying to attain these goals? We’re usually stricken with the kind of unhappiness that I’ve felt over the years. And when we do meet these goals for happiness? Well it just so happens that more goals are placed on the pile to achieve before we can become a “happy person”– that way we are always unhappy.

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When your personality separates you from others and makes your unhappiness grow

Some people are more comfortable with a solitary life, they would rather stay in and not go out. An introverted person will avoid personal encounters with even the people they are most familiar with. It’s not that they don’t want talk, they just won’t have the sort of open and happy conversation you’re looking for. Introverted people know the daily struggle of being seen as shy or awkward, and when they open up and talk they hear things like “Wow I really brought you out of your shell.”, or they’re told something about how well they speak. It’s wasn’t that they were never a good speaker and couldn’t speak, maybe they just didn’t value the low brow conversations they had heard before? As introverts, we really don’t like small talk.

When you feel the whole world is against you

Some of my relationships are the source of my happiest times. Most of my relationships, however, have been a headache, or ended in heartbreak. The difference between the two is subtle. Some relationships fall together like they were meant to be. They don’t always have to be romantic ones, in fact most of my happiest relationships are with friends of the same sex. My unhappiness in relationships has been the result of failed romantic endeavors. If you’re currently single then all of your romantic endeavors up until this point have failed. With romance, it’s a mutual thing, and you have to look at the cause of the failure; you can’t say that it was entirely their fault. Maybe you will be destined for unhappiness, and if you’re looking for love on Tinder or other dating apps this is likely. The only form of comfort we can hope for is to share our cynical perspective and unhappiness with someone equally as unhappy as we are.

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Conclusion: Live for today

I won’t tell you some spiritual nonsense about learning to love yourself. This plight is certainly not due to the fact that one cannot love the inner self that you retreat to when society seems cruel and uncaring. When all your relationships have failed you and even your family and close friends have grown and become distant you will need to find something to hold on to. You can read a book or other helpful articles on Lifehack.org on the same topics.

If you’ve found that the world inside yourself has become grey and dull from the unhappiness you experience find another world to explore. Life can be mundane at best, and wherever you travel humanity has a way of being indistinct in certain cruel or pernicious ways.

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But find the love, find it whenever you can and hold on to it. It has a nasty habit of slipping through your fingers sometimes but if you feel you have lost it, just remember there is a whole world out there where you can look for it. It may be in the tiniest of books, or URLs. It could be in the smallest laugh of a child or whimper of a baby animal, and sometimes when you’re looking for too long, it might be right inside yourself that you find the cure for your unhappiness. The help you can give to others, even a stranger, can open up the most trod upon of hearts and emotions. This too, I’m sure you will hate, for it is a thankless act.

Featured photo credit: ☻☺ via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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