Like most people, I’m kind of a hypocrite. I hate when people are negative, or self pitying, or self indulgent, and of course, I’m guilty of it.
I hate listening to people complain day in and day out about things that don’t matter. Or that they have control of. Or that they have no control of. Because if you can control it, why complain when you could change it? And if you can’t control it, what does your complaining solve?
I get it. There’s something therapeutic about just being able to get something off of your chest, and maybe even be empathized with.
I think it’s important to say what’s on your mind, because I rarely ever do. And I know how much damage that can do for you as an individual and for your relationships.
When people annoy me or piss me off, I usually don’t react. A lot of the times, I won’t even acknowledge it. It never seems worth the uncomfortable conversation. I’m a very laid back person, and I hate confrontation. So I tell myself I’ll just get over it, and go on with my life. And I kind of do, but I kind of don’t. And the resentment and bottled up frustrations compound for months or even years until I freak the f out.
It’s best explained by this scene from Anger Management:
So I’m not trying to discourage anyone from having a healthy amount of discussion about what bothers them. I’m definitely not going to shoot anyone, but it’s something I desperately need to work on.
That being said, I’m starting to think the more we focus on the little and medium things, the more miserable we make ourselves.
I came across this tweet recently, and it really got me thinking.
How many bad moments have I turned into bad days? How many brief interactions or difficult conversations or series of mild inconveniences have I blown out of proportion and allowed to completely consume my day and ruin my mood? How many precious days have I allowed myself to waste, justifying going to my room, vegging out on Netflix and stuffing my face with all the carbs I could find because I had a “bad day?”
My friend shared something that her professor used to say: bad days are reserved for loved ones dying, for getting dumped, for getting fired. There’s no reason to ruin a perfectly good day with endless potential because you got stuck in traffic, or you made a mistake at work, or your friend forgot to Venmo you for drinks last weekend. Outside of traumatic life events like job loss, heartache, and death, whether or not you have a bad day is a CHOICE.
Recently, I had an unpleasant interaction with a coworker. As aforementioned, I shake a lot of things off, and let a lot roll off my shoulders, but I was honestly kind of pissed. I complained about it, and kind of talked through it, and made a conscious decision to treat what happened as a bad moment that I wouldn’t allow to bother me or ruin an otherwise good day. And I feel a million times better than I would have if I had decided to let that 20 second conversation dictate my day — or even my relationship with that coworker.
When we wake up each morning, we only have so much energy. Caffeine obviously helps, but I don’t think it actually increases your net energy for the day — it just releases more earlier, and leaves you more drained once it wears off. And energy isn’t just about the brainpower we use at work or the physical labor we exert in the gym, it’s about what occupies our minds. When we fume and seethe and fixate on things that really don’t matter, we waste a finite amount of energy that ultimately could have been directed at something positive or productive.
Obviously, nothing is set in stone, and nothing is black and white. My roommate works at a nonprofit focused on saving kids being abused — usually sexually — and sees some really fucked up shit on a daily basis. Things like that are bound to take a toll on anyone. Sometimes, little things can add up. Like, one thing after another goes wrong at work, the guy you got excited about gets back with his ex, and your friends flake on the plans you made. And by like, 7:30, you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it sucks, and you’re allowed to be upset. But taking ownership of your attitude and your mindset is an empowering thing. It doesn’t mean you’re immune to human emotion — or even overreaction. It means you’re making a choice control your emotions instead of letting your emotions control you.