It’s time to get out of your own way. Life isn’t easy, but struggling against it leads to misery. There’s something to be said for accepting reality and doing your best to move through the world. That doesn’t mean giving up. It means keeping your negative thoughts and emotions in-check while doing your best. Reality is like a boulder rolling down a hill. Wishing won’t make it change its course. Your mental struggles are no more effective than a wish that will never come true. Struggling against reality leads to unhappiness.
Try these tips instead:
1. Be modest. The universe is chugging along. The galaxies are moving apart at break neck speed. The Earth is a speck of dust circling a modest star among billions of stars. For you to think that you know how things should be might be just a tad on the arrogant side.
* Most of the unhappiness in your life is because things aren’t the way you think they should be. You think you should be with a certain person, have a specific job, drive a specific car, have a particular body shape, social life, and mood.
* Maybe things are exactly the way they should be.
2. Face the facts. You can’t push a noodle up a hill. You can’t play in the NBA is you’re 63 years old and 5-ft nothing. When you can’t see the reality of the world, you repeat your mistakes. It doesn’t matter how many times you try out for the Lakers after getting your senior citizen discount at the local diner. It’s not going to happen.
3. What has happened is done. Lose your girlfriend? Pouting and complaining about it won’t help. Strike out in the eighth inning of the company coed softball tournament? Your tears will change nothing. Let it go. Look forward to the next adventure.
4. Focus on what you can influence. You can’t change your height, the color of your skin, your age, your family, other people, the weather, and so on. Keep your attention on what you can control.
* Thinking and worrying about the things you cannot control, and getting upset about them, is damaging. You feel worse than you did when you started. You also feel more hopeless and less in control of your life.
5. Pain is part of life, but suffering is optional. Struggling is a type of suffering. Things will happen that you perceive negatively. Someone will back into your car, or you’ll spill coffee on your favorite pants. Whether you allow the outcome to upset you is entirely within your power.
6. Your self-talk alters your reality. Reality is reality, regardless of your thoughts, but your perception of reality is altered negatively when your self-talk is negative. Either keep your self-talk positive or be mindful enough that your self-talk disappears. The former is much less challenging than the latter. Be mindful of your self talk.
The secret to inner peace is to stop struggling against reality. Reality always wins when you try to push against it. It’s immutable. Rather than struggling with reality, let go of your expectations. You can only be disappointed when you fail to get what you expect. Do your best, but avoid being bothered by what life delivers to your door step. Simply grab your broom and cheerfully sweep it away.