Our daily lives can be filled with small annoyances—you lock yourself out of the house; a shopping cart puts a ding in your new car; a neighbor’s dog poops in your driveway; the shoes you ordered arrive after the event; your boss forgets to approve your reimbursement report prior to leaving for a two-week vacation; a “friend” was heard talking about you behind your back.
Whenever we’re faced with an adverse experience, we often react in a way that doesn’t serve us well. We tend to overreact and become consumed with the incident. No doubt you’ve been on the receiving end of having asked someone, “How was your day?” to which, they rambled on and on about all the little nuisances they encountered throughout the day.
If we’re not careful, we can lose sight of the what’s really important by focusing too much of our time and energy swatting at the annoying little “gnats” in life. If left unchecked, we can spend our entire lives creating with one drama after another when it’s just not that big a deal! When we learn to become less reactionary and more perspective-minded, we develop emotional stability. Circumstances become easier to navigate when recognize the true insignificance of these external forces.
Here are four perspectives that will help you not get bogged down on trivial matters:
Accept responsibility. Striving for perfection is a journey and not a destination. Rather than getting irritated the next time a police officer pulls you over and gives you a ticket, just admit that you ran through the traffic light and be mindful to do better.
Extend Compassionate. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. People won’t always live up to your expectations. That’s where perspective comes in. So, your sibling didn’t repay the money you loaned them on the date promised. Give them the benefit of doubt before rushing in, “Fire, Aim, Ready!”
It’s not about you. When people wage unprovoked attacks and innuendos against you, understand that’s it not about you—it’s about them. Don’t waste your time trying to answer every attack and explain your every intention. Stay focused on being you.
Life Happens. Regardless of how good you may try to live, bad things will happen. Sometimes you will find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don’t play the blame game; take responsibility for your life and keep moving. In the end, it will all work out.
Twenty years ago the world watched as President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton went through the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It was no small ordeal. But I like Hillary’s response when asked the question, “How is it that you didn’t throw in the towel?” She said, “I wanted to crawl in bed, pull the covers over my head and have a nervous breakdown, but I just didn’t have time!” Like Hillary, we have to learn to handle life with grace—in the small stuff and often in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. On the backdrop of life and eternity, it’s all small stuff!
Take Action Challenge Quote this serenity prayer each day this week before beginning your day: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” --Reinhold Niebuhr