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Weekly Blog #60 - The small things in life...

How often does one really think about personal preferences in regards to the circumstances one wants to live in? I'm talking about basic things like:

  • What bothers me on a daily basis? E.g. the length of my daily commute, the amount of tasks on my to-do list, a leaking tap in the kitchen, my old, saggy mattress, the gas consumption of my car, my monthly phone/electricity/water bill or other nuisances in regards to the daily use of appliances, electronics, etc...

Also, there might be slightly 'bigger' questions:

  • What bothers me about my job? What does it take to make it a little bit more enjoyable every day?

  • Do I spend enough time with my loved ones and am I able to see my friends as often as I'd like to? How are they (do I really know?) and what can I do to make their lives better?

  • Do I have enough free time to enjoy my hobbies? What are my hobbies (the ones that I truly enjoy)?

  • Do I prefer access to a certain, stable diet or do I prefer a variety of different foods? And if so, can I afford it?

You probably get the idea of what I'm referring to as "basic things". Some of these questions might be highly individual, others rather universal. But the point is: do you have time to think about all the underlying circumstances - whatever they may be - that influence your life and set the tone for the day? Do you think about the reasons for the mood that you are in after waking up? What about your level of energy that you start the day with - high or low? Do you push thoughts about small unpleasantries aside when they come to your mind or do you enjoy thinking about them because you feel like you have control over them?

Sometimes I get the feeling that people take pride in spamming others about the inconveniences of their lives. They just seem to enjoy feeling sorry for themselves. "Same shit, different day"... "Look at the problems I have to deal with"... But where's the dignity in that? What's the purpose? What about taking responsibility? Don't get me wrong, there are certain things in life that we can't influence. But most of the stuff that happens to us is alterable in one way or the other. If something bothers me the first question I ask myself is: How much does it really bother me? And if it really does: can I change it? If I can't change it I try to let the negative thoughts about it go. But if I can change it I tell myself: Do it NOW!

I've learned for myself that every unpleasantry that we don't attend to as soon as possible will only grow and cause bigger problems over time. Problems don't right themselves. If a problem disappears without doing anything about it, it probably never has been a problem in the first place. If it bothers me over and over again though, it's better to do something immediately than to wait for it to get better (which won't happen) or hide it away in the subconscious. And that's not even the worst. The worst is "getting used to a problem". It's willful blindness towards something that takes away a part of our energy and makes us miserable over time. There are enough issues imposed upon us that we have to attend to every day. Don't carry the ones around for too long that you've imposed on yourself. Don't be lazy about them.

I'm not putting these things into a bigger context such as "having meaningful goals and meaningful relationships". That's a different topic for a different time. Let me just share one quick thought: it makes the decision to take action on issues that occur much easier if we are capable to judge if taking action will move us towards and overarching goal. But there's enough literature on that. For now it's more important to realize that even without a goal for every step of our way it is easier to cope with daily life if we take the time to realize and understand what's bothering us and to categorize these things into "changeable" and "unchangeable" issues. And even if we are not capable of taking immediate action - which happens quite often to be fair - knowing if something that is bothering us can be influenced by our own actions and taking responsibility for dealing with these issues can be a promising outlook. One last thing: realizing that there are things we can't change is a form of taking responsibility, too. Nobody will take away the burden of reacting to these things. And we WILL react, that's certain. So it is better to be aware that it is solely our responsibility to decide HOW we react.

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