This post has taken a lot longer to write than I thought it would. Not because the words didn’t come naturally, but because I really wanted to make sure that what I am trying to say is clear in order to really get my point across. This is one of the most important posts I’ve written and I really want to make sure I get it right.
We are all stressed at some point in time or another. Something happens in our lives or just rubs us the wrong way and gets us mad and tense and we seemingly can do nothing about it, it’s just the way we react and we can’t help it.
I’m going to share with you a two-part epiphany I had a month or two ago while going through a really hard time in my life.
The general summary is boiled down here: don’t sweat the small stuff. There are very few reasons why we should stress, get angry, and have a general apathy for people and life in general. Why? Because in the grand scheme of things, whatever you’re stressed about probably doesn’t mean anything or matter in the long run. Let me take you through my experiences in order to attempt to explain my point.
The first, was late at night (well I guess in the morning), at around 2am right smack in the middle of college final exams. I was standing in my room in total darkness just sort of meditating. Thinking about everything that was going on in my life and how it was affecting me, and it was all affecting me mostly for the worse. Then, all of a sudden in some sort of weird experience and thrill, my subconscious sort of snapped, turned around 180 and I was happy. I don’t know whether it was the sleep deprivation talking or not, but my mind was telling me that there is no reason to hate life and to be stressed and angry. Whatever happens, life goes on. The small stress over my stupid final exam that had been brewing for weeks instantly became not even a slight worry because I realized how trivial it all is. Whatever grade I get, life goes on. Those around me aren’t affected in any way by the grade I get, and long-term in 10 or 20 years, I will not be able to care less about the score I got on my one final. Nor will I probably remember it.
My worries about my relationship were gone as well. And I realized that we should just embrace life and those in it for what it is and who they are. Whatever I was feeling towards certain people seemed to get lifted off of my shoulders because we are all the same, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to be mad at people or hate people for certain things. It’s pointless. We’re all here to live and to be happy coexisting. Why spend our time stressing and hating when we have so much potential to be happy and enjoy life and those around us? It’s just a huge waste of time. If people are in your life who are making you unhappy, they shouldn’t be in your life. Cherish the moments you spend with ones you love and those who make you a better version of yourself and focus on strengthening those bonds, instead of trying to repair and patch those with ones you don’t love or who make you weaker. This doesn’t mean that at the first sign of a struggle you give up, but there comes a point in time where certain people tend to make you a weaker version of yourself for too long, and that needs to be recognized and addressed.
The second half of my epiphany came when I was driving to my new apartment with a car full of stuff to move in, when all of a sudden I hit major traffic and the highway turned into a parking lot. I was taken over with rage and annoyance that I couldn’t even sit still. To top that off, I realized that I had forgotten my keys so I had to turn around and go back home. I couldn’t believe it. I was so angry and it completely changed me in that moment. Then, that little voice came back inside my head. I immediately had this eerie sense of calmness within me. I told myself that it was absolutely ridiculous for me to be so genuinely angry at my current situation. I was in no rush at all, I wasn’t going to be late for anything at all. I was just annoyed at traffic, an inanimate idea, and at myself for forgetting my keys, a simple mistake that would take maybe 20 extra minutes to fix. I fell back again into this reasoning that there was no logical reason for me to be so stressed, annoyed, and angry. Traffic is out of my control. I had forgotten my keys and had made peace with the idea that it was a mistake and I would correct it as fast as I could. I realized that I was happy just to be alive, safe, and healthy and that in the long run, even an hour down the line, I would not care at all about how I just forgot my keys and was stuck in traffic. If this anger and stress is so fleeting, why should we waste our time with it at all? Matters of such little importance do not deserve what we put ourselves through. Not by a long shot.
Now, stress can be a good thing. There are good stresses that make us more productive. Certain emotions can be both positive and negative, it’s just the context that we have them in is what determines their value and benefit. Pay close attention to the kinds of feelings you are having in a given situation or towards a certain person. If it is a negative emotion, as yourself “why?”, and if it is a positive emotion, ask yourself the same question and figure out what it is that makes you tick and what truly makes you happy to become a better, stronger version of yourself. We need to care more about the ones we are close with and whom we love and value the presence of. And those who reciprocate those same feelings. We are lucky to even have a chance at life – why should we waste it by being angry and stressed over people and things that don’t matter at all and who are bringing you down? You don’t have to love and be passionate about every single situation or person you meet, but appreciate those moments and those people as human beings, who all just want to be happy as well.
I don’t know if the message has gotten lost at all here, but what I want to emphasize here is that we shouldn’t let the unimportant stuff get in our way and bog us down. 75% of the stress and anger we face has such little impact on our lives in the long term that it is useless to let it take us over, even for a minute. Embrace happiness and embrace life and your loved ones. It’s just silly, and actually unhealthy, to live any other way.