We find the inner strength to deal with tragic issues. Horrible things like bankruptcy, divorce, serious illness and bereavement bring out the best in us. Faced with no escape we are wise enough to dig deep within ourselves to handle the really bad things in life.
Yet little things get to us. Things like tailgaters, bad body odour, eating with the mouth open, rude shop assistants, unhelpful call centre staff, stepping in dog dirt, coughing without covering the mouth, slow internet connections and poor customer service. We all have a list of things that get under our skin. But are we wise enough to learn how to stop them making us unhappy.
Losing the head…
We immediately become stressed and anxious when we let these things get to us. Rather than let go and get on with our day we get angry over them. The angrier we get the worse we feel. Not wise enough to dismiss them quickly from our minds we lose sight of the big picture.
Getting Wise with yourself…
Be wise and identify ten things that get to you. The world’s greatest list of pet peeves (things that annoy you most) at http://www.getannoyed.com/ will jog your memory if it needs jogging. Writing your list in the third person makes it easier for some strange reason. So when I began to write: Michael hates tailgaters,…the rest of the list just flowed for me. Don’t ask me why but it works!
Take on the enemy…
These are the enemy. They suck all the joy out of your life. They irk and torment you. And they will continue to ruffle your inner calm until you are wise enough to confront them. See them for what they are and they begin to lose their hold on you.
Break their hold over you…
You need to change the way you think to break their hold over you. In his book “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff” Richard Carlson has lots of wise suggestions that you can learn from. His ideas are not difficult to use. They help to put your pet hates into perspective. And the calmness that flows from them is good for you.
Examples of Carlson’s suggestions…
1. Make peace with imperfection
Carlson suggests that “the very act of focusing on imperfection pulls us away from our goal of being kind and gentle.” His solution is “to catch yourself when you fall into the habit of insisting that things should be other than they are. Gently remind yourself that life is okay the way it is, right now.”
2. Control your thoughts
Learn to notice what’s happening in your head before your thoughts have a chance to take hold. The sooner you do this the easier it is to nip the negative ones in the bud. Brooding over past problems with future concerns makes you anxious and frustrated. Learning to focus on the present moment helps push these fears and regrets from your mind.
3. “Small stuff” v “Big Stuff”
Whenever we hold on to our anger, we turn “small stuff” into really “big stuff” in our minds. We start to believe that our positions are more important than our happiness. They are not. To be more peaceful you must understand that being right is almost never as wise as allowing yourself to be happy.
4. “Will This Matter a Year From Now?”
Imagine that whatever issue you are dealing with isn’t happening right now but a year from now. Then simply ask yourself, “Is this situation really as important as I’m making it out to be?” Once in a great while it may be – but a vast majority of the time, it simply isn’t.
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