I have been wondering – are we making life harder than it has to be?
Oh, life is tough. With a million things to manage on a daily basis, it is no surprise we lag behind more often than we care to admit. Still, life probably hard sometimes because we can be our own enemies. We make it hard for ourselves. Weird eh?
What really happens is this: when times are tough, we make them tougher just to get a sense of control. And while that may or may not make sense, I do think we are used to making life harder than it has to be.
How, you ask?
4 ways we are making life harder than it has to be
Assuming the worst
Yes, we just can’t help it. We love to catastrophize and be negative nancies (yeah, love that phrase). I know it depends on the mood we’re in. If we’ve had a bad day, we think everyone is out to get us. Most of the time, people do not intend to inconvenience us or make our lives miserable. That person who cut you off in traffic? Maybe she was in a hurry to go to the hospital. Your partner who seemed distant this morning? Probably had something on her mind that was bothering her – it wasn’t something you did.
When we assume the worst of others’ actions, we are making life harder than it has to be.
What to do?
Take it easy. When we think the worst, it makes us angry. Pause before deciding that others’ intent is malicious. Truth is – the actions of most people is not personal at all.
Having ridiculous expectations
One of my most favorite quotes is by Sydney J Harris
“When I hear somebody say ‘Life is hard’, I am always tempted to ask ‘Compared to what?’”
If there is one thing we can have a control of in our life, it is our expectations. But that hardly means we should go overboard with them. Sure, there’ll be glass-half-empty-half-full situations. There will be times when we must expect the glass to be empty. And when it has wine, be grateful! A good policy to follow is to focus more on what we have rather than have high expectations and whine about what we don’t have.
Taking risks can be scary. We try and avoid that as much as we can. We don’t want to run into danger unless we are pretty sure of getting out of it, safe. But when we do this, we get trapped in our bubble of comfort. If we want to make life better, we must stretch out of our comfort zone. We must risk rejection, failure, and loss. When we avoid risks we are making life harder than it has to be.
I am not saying rush into oncoming traffic. But do take calculated risks. Think of an area in your life that you want to improve and set goals. Short term goals. Challenge yourself. When you become comfortable, set slightly higher goals. You’ll be amazed to find yourself accomplishing them. Believe in yourself!
Comparisons to others
Not lightly has it been said that comparison is the thief of joy! If there is one toxic thing in today’s world—and social media I might add—it is this: it opens the doors wide to constantly compare ourselves to others. What’s worse (and stupid) is that we compare ourselves to others in their best moments. We see the glamorous side of things and not what happens on the other side of the camera.
Your friends probably don’t have it as good as they want you to think. There will always be someone with more of everything—friends, money—than you. Don’t let their lives concern you. The only person you must compare yourself to is the version of you from the past—and take pride in how far you have come.
When we worry less about others, take more risks, and keep expectations reasonable, life is much better. If we go through life trying to be what we are not and assume that the world is out to get us, we make life harder than it has to be. How can we expect things to get better without taking action? Sitting tight and hoping for magic is the best way to set ourselves up for failure.
Guilty of any of the above?
Why end up making life harder than it has to be?
What are your thoughts on this?
Wednesday Wisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of inspiring stories, verse, quotes, anecdotes, reflections, easy meditation, thought-provoking questions and humor. Oh yeah, some days are not so short.