I have a problem enjoying life. My tendency leads me to be highly anxious, and people often confuse my frustrations with anger, which it rarely is. I’m usually so focused on what I need to be doing next that my joy of the moment tends to be pushed to the side. Realizing these flaws in myself, naturally, I’d like to improve…
In years past, I’ve discovered a few tricks that can help put my focus in the right places. The first thing I must remind myself is: Don’t Panic! My anxieties about getting tasks completed can make me an unbearable person to be around, I get edgy. While my high anxiety lends me to be driven and accomplish tasks, I tend to get hyper focused on the task at hand and block everything else out. This makes relating to people a challenge because people may feel ignored or pushed to the side. So, it becomes important, in such moments, to realize I can accomplish whatever task that’s at hand in good time. If I allow myself to get too rushed, it may lead me to making foolish mistakes. In addition, whatever it is we achieve in life, it is rarely worth harming others for, or breaking relationships over. I say rarely because of situations like abuse relationships, for example, may get in the way of preventing us from reaching our goals and becoming the best version of ourselves. As Matthew Kelly might put it…So, I think the situations may be rare that will excuse us from breaking a relationship in order to achieve success, but possible.
Secondly, I need to make sure I have adequate time for myself. I think this is a really important concept, so you’ll see me reference it often. Time for myself is how I keep my head clear, and remember what is most important in life. I can refresh myself, and see the value in life again, and more importantly, the value of those around me. When I stay hyper focused on tasking for too long, I develop a sort of mental tunnel vision and the task at hand tends to be “all there is”, this can obviously be a destructive force to one’s own psyche because self can get lost. Lose sight of self, and you’ll most likely lose sight of what you value. This can be your own health and extend to family and friends. I have the tendency to disconnect from my family emotionally when under high financial strain. While getting bills paid on time, and groceries bought to feed the kids are important, losing touch with any one person in the house can lead to a broken home, the pattern for divorce sets in before paperwork ever gets filled. I don’t want to get to that place. Noticing tendencies can let us see patterns, the ability to see patterns can prevent us from making the same mistakes that we have already made, or that others have. And it’s far easier to reverse a tendency or pattern we are in while it is still easily managed, “early detection” so to speak. I’ve seen and heard many stories of divorce in my life, and that is not a path I am willing to take my family down. So, I take the time I need to keep my priorities straight. The point is to not lose sight of what holds the most value in life. I need to take the time to shift gears so I can better focus on those things. Are your paychecks or bills the most important things to you?
Third, I was just reminded of this last night, is a Greek term-Kairos. This means a point in time and space where change can take place, and likely will take place. The trick is to be ready and willing to receive the change in many circumstances. The examples of this concept are pretty bold throughout history: the coming of Jesus as messiah; the liberation of slaves in America, and the much needed liberty for African Americans that followed; the Women’s Liberation movement, just to name a few. The difficult thing to remember is that these events happen to us personally too, in our own lives. In difficult times, remembering Kairos is important to keep my sanity. Much needed change is coming, and it will turn out for the best.
The fourth is enjoying the little things. I realize how worn this concept may seem, but it requires attention here, so let’s breath some life back into it. If you can’t love the little parts of life, you probably won’t enjoy the big things, either. My nature tendency is to respond to such an idea with “It’s worth a try; I haven’t had anything to test this theory out on yet”. This is just a sad excuse though; there are always things in life to take joy from. So, instead I say, enjoy the sunset, or sunrise (which is the tougher of the two for me). Smell flowers, even if you have allergies! Watch a bee fly, or a squirrel play. If you happen to be in a really cynical place, you may have to start with watching someone trip, and hopefully fall. If that doesn’t crack a smile I don’t know what will…tripping someone perhaps? Don’t trip people.
Life has its ups and downs, we all know this. Let us work on not losing hope of a better day tomorrow. Just to be clear, no one was harmed while writing this blog. I’m going to listen to Queen’s “Under Pressure” now, and I suggest you do the same.
Steve, still in a black tee