I think we all have the tendency to put ourselves at the center of the universe, and see everything from the viewpoint of how it affects us. But this can have all kinds of adverse effects, from feeling sorry for ourselves when things aren’t going exactly as planned, to doubting ourselves when we aren’t perfect.
So this morning, instead of worrying so much about myself, I thought about other people I might help. Finding little ways to help others gets me out of my self-centered thinking, and then I’m not wallowing in self-pity anymore – I’m starting to think about what others need. I’m not doubting myself, because the question of whether I’m good enough or not is no longer the central question. The central question now is about what others need.
Thus, thinking about others instead of oneself helps solve feelings of discouragement and defeat.
2. It is your resistance to ‘what is’ that causes your suffering (be present).
This morning my mind was ruminating about every time and place other than the time and place I was in. When I caught myself doing this, I brought my focus back to the present.
Remember, happiness is allowing yourself to be perfectly OK with ‘what is,’ rather than wishing for and worrying about ‘what is not.’ ‘What is’ is what’s supposed to be, or it would not be. The rest is just you, arguing with life. Think about that for a minute. This means your suffering only ever occurs when you resist how things are in the present.
Although you can’t control everything that happens to you; you can only control the way you respond to what happens. In your response is your power. In your power is your presence.
3. You are more than one thing (loosen up and stretch your identity).
We all have this picture in our minds of ourselves – this idea of what kind of person we are. When this idea gets threatened, we react defensively. People may question whether we did a good job, and this threatens our idea of being a competent person, so we become angry or hurt by the criticism. Someone falsely accuses us of something and this threatens our idea that we’re a good person, and so we get angry and attack the other person.
4. Today is still a priceless gift (make the best of it).
I only have so many days left on Earth. I don’t know how many that is, but I do know it’s a very limited number. I know that each one of those limited days is a gift, a blessing… a miracle. And that squandering this miracle is a crime – a horrible lack of appreciation for what I’ve been given. And so, I reminded myself this morning that this day counts and that I still need to make the best of it. That doesn’t mean I need to be hyper-productive or work myself into the ground, but that I should do something worthwhile.
Sometimes taking a break to nourish yourself is a worthwhile activity, because doing so allows you to regroup and do other worthwhile things. But just sitting around in self-pity isn’t helpful.
5. Complaining is only making matters worse (find a solution).
When I get in a funk, I have a tendency to complain out loud to everyone around who’s close enough to hear me. Obviously, this doesn’t help them, or me. And as soon as I catch myself doing this, I force myself to shift gears.
The bottom line is that you will never get to where you want to be by complaining about where you are now. Each step in your life is preparing you for the one that comes after it. Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have limited time and energy. Any amount of time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve anything worthwhile. And it won’t make us any happier either.
If you took 10% of the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving your present problem, you’d be surprised by how well and how fast things can work out.
When you stop complaining, and refuse to see yourself as a helpless victim, you’ll find that you are more powerful than you realized, but only if you choose to accept this reality.
6. Feeling discouraged and defeated is a sign that it’s time to make a change (make that change).
It could be a change of heart, a change in your perspective, or a change in your habits. But the point in any case is that the way you are doing things is no longer working.
When we feel discouraged and defeated, typically our first instinct is to look outside of ourselves for someone or something to blame. In reality, we ought to be looking at how we’re feeling, what we’re thinking, and how we plan to respond.
Your life is your responsibility. While you can’t always change what’s outside of you, you can certainly change your perception of it. And the funny thing is, when you change the way you look at things, the things themselves change, which paves the way for positive action.
7. Even the tiniest possible step is progress. (take a tiny step NOW).
It can be hard to get moving when you’re seriously stuck. It is at this point that just making the next step changes everything. I always tell friends that my life (Sam) journey over this past two decades has been a catalogue of taking little steps that ends up making the difference. You can start today with that one seemingly insignificant step.