How to Keep the Small Stuff from Driving You Crazy
“Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” –William Shakespeare
“There is no such thing as good or bad people, only teachers,” some well-meaning soul once told me. We are meant to learn from every person who came into our path.
I could forego a few lessons. Some experiences left me so shattered that I had wished to erase them from memory like the way it was done in the Jim Carrey movie, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
I was married to an amazing man, and even after we decided on divorce, we were still in love, but staying together would have made us miserable. After him, I fell into two relationships; each lasted a little over six months but what happens after felt like the atomic bomb lay waste all the good in me, its dust coated the many fine things afterward.
Those are the Majors. They never fail to teach us something.
Then there are the Blisters aka The Small Stuff.
A Blister is the driver who cuts you off on a one-way road then drives 15 miles under the speed limit for the rest of the way. The neighbor who comes home at midnight and decides to hang out in his garage and play DJ. The dog owner who thinks she’s doing you a service by allowing her dog to fertilize your lawn.
We really, really want to categorize them as “bad people.” We have a need to complain to anyone about them (ahem, guilty of that right now). We feel justified in doing so because we feel wronged by them. But tread carefully. You know what happens when you pick on blisters and they pop. You’ll be treated to ugly ooze.
It’s okay to sweat the small stuff, but here are three healthy ways to go about it.
1. Make sure your complaint department has a short line.
Keep your complaint department open for five minutes. In that time, go ahead and sweat the small stuff. Allow yourself to vent, gripe, or feel self-pity about the situation. But for goodness sakes, after five minutes, shut it down.
2. Part company.
That driver who cut you off yesterday? If you are still talking about him to your co-worker the next morning and again to your husband at dinner, he is still with you. You now have invited him to your work and into your home. Do you want to give such people this much importance? Let go.
3. Search for the lesson.
Not everything has to happen for a reason. Random stuff happens in life. But it is always a good idea to pause and search for value in your experience. My marriage taught me, among a million other lessons, that loving someone is hard when you haven’t figured out how to love yourself. As for the Blisters, they were put here to teach me patience.
Search for the lesson. If there is none, apply numbers one and two. Then move on.
Your turn: what helped you to mind less?