When is the last time something in your life went wrong? You know, some minor thing that put a bump into your day’s plans and ruined your mood.
These things happen to us day in and day out if you watch for them, we forget our keys at our desk and have to go all the way back to the office to get them, we forget to take out the trash and have to let it pile up for another week in the garage, or someone takes our parking spot and we have to walk and extra block to get home.
These things happen to us daily, and if it isn’t one minor catastrophe, then it is probably another; but we tend to forget that these things don’t usually matter much in the scheme of our lives even when we focus on them as the end of the world.
How many times do we allow little inconveniences and circumstances that are outside of our control to dictate our moods and dampen our spirits?
I’ll even tell you what happened to me today at the airport and you can see if it sounds at all familiar…
I left my book on the plane during my connection flight
A few weeks ago I was on the plane coming back from Istanbul and I had a short layover in Amsterdam. Our plane was late due to weather and I was in a rush to make it to the next flight.
I was reading a book at the time (The way of the superior man) and I was about 100 pages in already-almost halfway through. I had to practically sprint through the airport to make it to my second flight to Atlanta and when I finally got there I realized my book was still in the back of the seat on my first plane.
I went to the service desk and asked the lady at the counter if it would be possible to get my book before my next flight and she politely told me that it wouldn’t be possible. The best I could do would be to call the Schiphol airport and ask to speak with someone in charge of the lost and found.
She told me that I-pads, computers, passports, etc. could be found and brought, but not a book. (What is more important than knowledge??? Candy Crush and readmission to your country apparently)
I was pretty upset about forgetting my book. Thinking about the couple of hours I had already vested into reading the book and that I would now have to get back to the US and order another copy and then wait a few days before I would receive it (I don’t personally like electronic books so I’d have to wait for a hard-copy in the mail).
I was all upset about it and I felt my mood changing. I wasn’t angry with anyone that they couldn’t get my book, I was just upset that my plan for what I was going to do for the next 9 hour flight got derailed.
Suddenly my plans to leisurely finish my book on the flight got cancelled and I was awash with emotion…
And then I started thinking about how crazy it was for me to let something so small and trivial affect my mood so negatively. The words of the airport personnel echoed in my mind “We could send someone back for major items, I-pads, laptops, passports, purses, but we can’t send someone out for a book, I’m sorry”
She was right, it was just a book, but I made it into something more with my thoughts. I decided to just let it go.
It was out of my control and I could either spend the next 9 hours being upset that I forgot my book, or I could make the best of the situation I was in. So I decided to get some other things done instead, one task was even writing this post!
It probably sounds absurd to hear me boo-hooing about my book, but ask yourself honestly how many times each day you allow such a small things affect how you feel…
When someone cuts you off in traffic how angry do you get? Do you imagine ramming them off the road with your car, do you scream and flip them off, do you sit and think about what an asshole that person was for the next 24 hours straight?
How does someone cutting you off really affect you? Do you get home or to work any later because of them, are you injured in anyway, did this somehow change your destiny forever?
Yet we have all been there… cursing at some driver in traffic that angered us and then we just can’t let it go for some reason, even though their actions had very little or zero physical effect on our day. In an instance like this we CREATE the bad experience by thinking about it, stewing over it, getting worked up over it.
How much easier is it to just shrug it off and forgive the person…maybe they didn’t see you, maybe they are running late for work, we all make mistakes sometimes right?
Yet we will often allow some event as small as this one to shape and alter our mood for the entire day.
Just decide to let it go…or ask yourself another question the next time something goes wrong.
Ask yourself this: Am I willing at this current time to make the investment of time and effort it will take to pursue this matter further, Am I willing or able to do something that will change or alter this event at this time?
Think about it…if someone cuts you off in traffic and you don’t crash your car, what harm was really done? What course of action can you really pursue to find closure on the matter? Are you willing to miss work in order to follow this asshole all the way through traffic and then confront them when they stop where they are going? What if they pull a gun on you, what if they decide to pull over and fight you? Are you willing to get in a fight or get shot in order to make this person admit that they were wrong?
Even if you decide to follow the person and beat them up or passively aggressively key their car while they walk inside wherever they are going, will it really make a difference? Will it change the fact that they cut you off in traffic?
Clearly the answer is this: You can’t change the fact that someone cut you off, and there is no logical reason at all to pursue the matter any further, because what’s done is done, and short of exacting physical revenge on this person for what they did there is nothing you can do. So what should you do next?
Most of the time you should just learn to let things go…
Life is a lot like riding a bull.
You can hold on, you can strap yourself down, work your grips so you can hold on better, and you can spend hours honing your skills and strength so you can better hold on, but when it all comes down to it you can’t control the bull.
You can’t tell the bull how to buck, you can’t calm him down or talk reason with him, he is a wild animal and he’s going to move exactly they way he decides to move. You can either hold on and learn to ride the movement of the bull and give way to his power, or you can let go.
You can’t control when someone cuts you off in traffic, and I couldn’t control or change that I left my book on the plane: these things just happen. So you just have to make the decision for yourself if you will you keep trying to hold on and risk getting thrown off, or will you let go and live to ride another day.
If you aren’t willing to put in the effort and work it will take to keep pursuing a matter then it just makes sense to let things go.
I could have made a big scene about my lost book, I could have paid to access the internet and then paid again to download an e-book copy of the book (then I would have later still needed to buy a hard copy because I like having physical book copies for my bookshelf), I could have risked missing my flight and run all the way back to the first plane (and I definitely would have missed my flight because I had a 15 minute interrogation from US immigration about my 2 month trip to Turkey), or I could have just moped around and been upset about it for the next 9 hours…so it just made sense to let it go.
If you really think about most of the things that you hold onto in life, most of things you get upset about and allow to ruin your mood, they just really don’t matter.
When your spouse says some snide comment, is it worth all the effort it takes to say something mean in return and start a fight? Usually not, yet we retaliate instantly.
When someone takes the parking spot from you at the grocery store is it worth getting in a shouting match over? Probably not, and they probably won’t move their car anyway.
When your tire is flat in the morning before work is it worth it and does it change anything for you to be upset and angry all day long? No, but we probably spend the next three days being angry and upset about it.
Happiness can only be experienced in the present. While we can gain happiness from working towards something or from achieving a long held dream, we can only feel joy in the moment. If you are searching for happiness, search no further than the place you are in at this moment. All the joy you could ever need exists now. Find the small things to appreciate and be grateful for, enjoy the moment, and become present to all of life’s fleeting blessings and beauties. #positivevibes #bethechange #goals #inspiration #motivation #quotes #quote #quoteoftheday #success #love #insta #happy #nice #instagood #follow #photo #like #instagood #healthyliving #happyday #good #selfimprovement #postivethinking #faith #believe #makeyourbestself A photo posted by @makeyourbestself on
Happiness can only be experienced in the present. While we can gain happiness from working towards something or from achieving a long held dream, we can only feel joy in the moment. If you are searching for happiness, search no further than the place you are in at this moment. All the joy you could ever need exists now. Find the small things to appreciate and be grateful for, enjoy the moment, and become present to all of life’s fleeting blessings and beauties. #positivevibes #bethechange #goals #inspiration #motivation #quotes #quote #quoteoftheday #success #love #insta #happy #nice #instagood #follow #photo #like #instagood #healthyliving #happyday #good #selfimprovement #postivethinking #faith #believe #makeyourbestself
A photo posted by @makeyourbestself on
So why not just let it go?
Doesn’t it make more sense to just embrace life, accept that somethings are outside of our control, and then let the little setbacks and obstacles go so that we can enjoy life and continue to work towards victories and success?
It is easier to play the victim, to say “whoa is me” and lament over everything that went wrong, but happiness isn’t some magical place we find at the end of the journey, it is the appreciation and ability of ourselves to find the good (even in the bad events in between happy moments) that CREATES happiness.
Do what you can, ask yourself what comes next and if it is worth the investment and effort to do what comes next, and then if the time is right then let it go.
Happiness is inside of you, at all times- even the bad ones- it is just up to you to create it.