I have a confession to make. The last three weeks have left me feeling pretty miserable. It all started with a lingering flu that I just couldn’t shake. And for someone who is usually very, very busy living life to the max, I have to admit that it’s been a struggle for me to deal with the limitations that come with ill health.
I can’t remember how many times I’ve said: “I just don’t have time to be sick!” And there’s a clue in the sentence right? I don’t have time. Maybe if I made more time to rest and kept my days somewhat less busy then I would have more energy and less sickness? Needless to say this is something that I am working on!
My sickness lesson
And so the last three weeks were at first a strain, but I do believe I’ve learned something along the way. If you look hard enough, there’s a lesson to be learned in every single circumstance in life. That’s what keeps things interesting right?
For me, my lesson came from my Fiance and as I found myself three weeks into my sickness (and about to freak out at the thought of not doing yoga for 21 consecutive days in a row) I caught myself lingering in self-pity.
I have to admit I had done a pretty good job of keeping the wheels on for the initial two weeks and worked really hard to practice patience and acceptance, but by the time I got to the third week that was it. Enough was enough and I finally gave myself permission to moan.
That was until my fiancé reminded me that I really had nothing to moan about. His rather brutal response to my whining was this:
“Do you have to sleep on the streets tonight?”
“No” I answered meekly.
“Are you starving hungry because you haven’t eaten for three days?”
“No” I answered inaudibly.
“Then do you really have anything to moan about?”
“No” I answered sheepishly.
“You should think yourself lucky to have such a small thing to be miserable about!” He said.
“Yep you’re right” I admitted begrudgingly.
The point is – it can be so easy to get caught up in your own story and before you know it you have blown your somewhat insignificant problems completely out of proportion and have jumped on-board the self-pity train.
We should feel lucky to be miserable
I’ll repeat it once more – “we should feel lucky to be miserable”. It’s a great point right? If all we have to complain about is a little bit of sickness, or a traffic jam, or a stressful day at the office, then we really are very lucky to have such minor things to worry about.
And if you think about it – just what is the point in self-pity anyway? What does it even achieve? All it does is make you feel worse. In-fact, if you dissect self-pity as a behavioral pattern, what it actually does is create an inner resistance, because in order to feel self-pity you have to feel like something is not going your way. Often there is a specific type of language accompanied with this behavior where we end up saying things like:
- “I shouldn’t be feeling like this”
- “It’s not fair”
- “Why me!”
What this language does on a subconscious level is create this inner resistance that actually drains your energy without you realising it. Think about it – when you are fighting something, or when you feel annoyed that life isn’t going your way it’s pretty tiring right? That’s because you are literally fighting life.
The power of acceptance
In contrast however, when we accept things as they are, we free ourselves up to go with the flow and enjoy life more. Take this one step further – and choose to feel gratitude (I am lucky to feel miserable) and you’ll find life really moves up a notch.
So for me, an important lesson has been learned, one that I’m sure I’ll need to keep working at, but one that will hopefully see me entertaining self-pity less and less and gratitude more.
I’ve spent quite some time over the last year or so exploring a lot of this thinking in my LESS STRESS course, and I’ll be launching this over the next few months, (including a 5 step model to lower stress levels) so stay tuned as I’m really excited to share this with you.
In the mean time, perhaps you can join me and start to actually enjoy the feeling of being miserable – because let’s face it there are always worse situations out there than what we are facing.
Simple Life Strategy: 5 Ways to Enjoy Feeling Miserable
1. The fact is; life will throw curve balls at you – so it’s unrealistic to believe that everything will be plain sailing 100% of the time. Accept that at times it’s likely you’ll feel that things aren’t going your way.
2. Remember to thank your lucky stars that you don’t have anything really major to complain about like having a home to live in or food on the table.
3. Check in to see if you’re resisting whatever is going on for you? If you are, realise that you’re actually fighting life and this is not a wise battle to take on!
4. Choose to practice acceptance instead of fighting your situation.
5. Take it one step further and choose to practice gratitude. Look for those things in life that you’re grateful for and you’ll suddenly have a whole new perspective on life.
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