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Archive for March, 2009

life-imperfect

A strange tree by SFB579

Many are the days when one thing or another goes wrong. Traffic is unexpectedly slow, we miss an important phone call due to a meeting that ran late, or in our hurry to get ready for work, we forgot to grab something for lunch.

Life isn’t a TV show. Families sometimes offend you or say hurtful things.  Friends may forget to call or fail to stay in touch.  There may not be a funny side to being late for work or getting caught in the rain.

There’s no instruction book for life.  Sometimes it can be a jumbled, confusing mess. Things won’t always work out smoothly.  Your picnic might be filled with ants; your vacation could be canceled.  You might need to spend money at the dentist instead of purchasing the new TV you wanted.

That’s why it’s such a relief to recognize and accept the imperfection.  To understand that things aren’t always going to work out the way we planned. So it’s totally okay to feel angry, agitated or confused when our orderly lives suddenly fall apart.  It’s normal to feel upset when our plans get disrupted.

What can we do to make these tough times easier to bear? How do we move past our exasperation and frustration when all our preparation amounts to nothing or we can’t control the actions of people around us?  Here are a few ideas:

1.  Attitude. Our attitude is the number one thing under our control.  It is one of the easiest things to work on because it relies entirely on us.  We need to pay attention to our thoughts.  If begin that negative cycle of thoughts “This always happens to me,” or “My life sucks,” we can stop ourselves before this pattern of thinking adds to our problems.

It’s also good to refocus our attention.  There are a variety of ways.  We can close our eyes and take a few deep breaths, take a walk, put on some music, do an easier, mundane task for a while, or anything else that will put our mind in a calmer, more positive place.  It’s a good idea to make a list of these activities to have them ready when you need it.

2.  Stop rushing. Many of our problems in life come from trying to do too much at one time.  TV, magazines, and other organizational experts lead many of us to believe that we should be able to accomplish multiple things at once, with little to no loss of quality.

This is just simply not true.  The best way to have good quality is to focus on doing one thing at a time.  Slow down.  Keep to-do lists and do the top five things on it.  Get the most important things done and the rest will likely fall into place.

3.  Get help. From your spouse, your coworker, your mom or your best friend.  Turn to your teddy bear, you cuddly cat, or anyone else that will give you some love and support when things are going wrong.  Surprisingly, just that small reassurance that someone else has been through the same problem, or just that people care, can make obstacles seem to shrink into a more manageable size.

4.  Do something fun. It’s surprising how often just a little change can make a huge difference.  Doing something you enjoy, from fishing, kayaking, or bird watching to baking cookies, creating homemade greeting cards or just having a laugh with the girls can lighten the mind and energize the body.  Making time for pleasurable activities can give you the space to discover a new solution – or at least give you the rest your body and mind are craving.

The joy of life is in its imperfection. Roses may have thorns, but that doesn’t make them any less sweet.  The funniest moments are often the most unexpected.  Childbirth is hard and painful, but sometimes the most painful events bring us the greatest growth and satisfaction.

Cherish the love, laughter and good things in life, because when the bad times come, as they always do, those memories are the foundation that holds you up through the wayward storms life sends your way.

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