Sometimes in life, we want friends, colleagues, and people we need to be accountable to in a variety of settings to be things they are not. We’d like parents (or whomever) to be “one-stop shops.” Often, we have a way of doing things that is different than the way others do things. Sometimes we can compromise, but sometimes we have to accept we won’t be getting what we want or even close to it. It’s good to be careful not to get derailed from the healthier railroad track of our own life when this happens.
Tips for not getting derailed from the healthier track of our own lives
At some point, I/we recognize that we’re going down a train track that will leave us dissatisfied with certain people or situations on the path of life, and our wanting it or them or the organization to go to a place it won’t go can be painful. Stop thinking that you’ll get something “new” from people, places or things that have proven time and again that they don’t do what you want them to do. If I/we don’t assume some personal awareness and stop to adjust our own “take on things,” therein lies the possibility of incurring personal pain or self-damage in the way of excessive frustration and possible further upset.
Bumping up against this type of frustration might lead you to stay in an unhealthy state of mind too long. Hopefully, you can veer towards choosing a healthier adaptation and way forward. The insight as to what is going on can itself be helpful. I’ve written about learning not to go to the hardware store for bread or milk or dairy before on this website. When I’m personally cognizant of what is going on when I bump up against a “hardware store person or situation” and my unrealistic expectation(s) of wanting this person or institution or provider to be something they just are not (even if they provide lots of other good things,) I have to halt before I proceed and do an introspective investigation of “I.” STOP CHOOSING TO BE FRUSTRATED. GO ELSEWHERE FOR THOSE NEEDS. HARDWARE STORES DO NOT SELL BREAD OR MILK OR DAIRY.
Big and loud and in all caps to get it clear not to take that train in my mind or life.
There’s a piece where I see that when I find myself frustrated in these situations, I have to work on self-acceptance and forgiveness and realizing that when I’m kinder and more patient with myself, it helps a tremendous amount. When I see I can’t always get everything done every day the way others want, then I’m less apt to get upset and stop expecting the other party to be different, more, or other than they are.
And I back away from thinking that person or organization can be my “be-all, end-all”, one-stop shop. I remind myself whom they are in my life and sometimes remind myself of all that they are carrying in the way of life’s burdens at this time as well, be it a friend, relative, service provider, colleague, contracted worker, a store clerk, etc. I remember that they too are trying (like most human beings,) to do the best they can in that moment.
There’s someone in my life whom I care about and to whom I owe a large debt of gratitude. But when I want that person to “get me,” to be nurturing, to say the “right thing that I want them to say,” when I’m happy or proud of something in my life, and then they don’t respond similarly…I must see that I am barking up the wrong tree. I am shopping for bread or almond milk in a hardware store and it doesn’t work well for me!
Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC, and Director of the International Association of Journal Writers talks and writes, teaches and muses on the myriad health and other benefits of mindful journaling. One thing I’ve heard her mention in interviews or telechats about mindful journaling as a practice is to do an internal dialogue when writing in your journal: to ask yourself in your writing the question of “what does the part that hurts emotionally or physically want to say to the part that doesn’t hurt?”
And though this writing exercise may seem far afield from frustrating situations and people in one’s life, it’s hard to deny that the emotional pain of wanting someone or some situation to be what they are not in your own life is a painful experience. Repeating the pattern multiple times in life can be more intense pain.
Everyone I know jokes about how long it takes at the DMV here. They all want to figure out a way to make it less of an all-day, have to come back a second day, multiple hours upon hours of headache experience and yet, we all do it. In the end, we try to get the documents, wait in different lines, take tests, wait again, get pictures, come back and are happy to have what we need from this large government agency. It is what it is. They aren’t trying to upset people, it’s just overwhelmingly large and that is frustrating for most people, and possibly for the DMV employees too.
Getting off the ‘dissatisfaction train of life’
There’s a piece of this that makes it incumbent on someone who wants to get off the dissatisfaction train of life – where they get derailed each time the “hardware store” just is what it is, to ACCEPT others a bit more. Acceptance is a buzzword these days, and yet, “just accepting,” can actually make your own train run much more smoothly on the tracks of life. Please note that this concept of accepting does not mean condoning or tolerating abusive or abhorrent behavior from others towards you. Accepting others who are less than stellar in one-on-one interactions (and sometimes organizations as well,) goes a long way in helping us have more equilibrium and it also helps calms down both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It may mean you find healthier ways to release upset and stress. And it may mean you search out people and places that “fit” more for you!
In building the metaphorical Bento box of personal self-care kit tools for yourself (email me to find out more about this,) to take better care of your heart, soul, body and mind, think of how to signal to yourself to cycle out of the frustration of trying to get something from a person/workplace/store/service provider/family member, that doesn’t have that “item” available to offer. Give a name or label to what you think or feel, think of a personal insight for you and then do something radically different. Find a new way to let the tension out, go hang out with people who meet more of your other needs, or see if you can fill some of those needs yourself, for yourself, at this time in your life. 😊
Some possible ideas: Go write in a journal, get or give yourself a foot massage, write or call a good friend, spend time with a loved one who “gets you,” cuddle up with a pet, take a child on a walk, pick up a hobby or craft you used to enjoy and want to get back to doing.
It takes a long time to change habits. But if you hold out hope and keep an open mind to recognizing and naming things you want to change and try different ways to look at the way you respond, you can see change over time.
Years ago, I was on a study abroad program in India. While there, a group I was with met the Dalai Lama. He said something I’ll never forget. He said that, if you want to know if you’re becoming a better person, you can’t see it by looking a year back. But if you look at a longer period of time, 10 years, for example, you will have a better assessment if you have become a kinder, calmer, less impatient, less upset and more loving person.
Though I was only 20 at the time, that advice has stayed with me. When I look back, I see that the concept of moving away from frustrating expectations of others, as well as other helpful life lessons, have created healthier habits and more mindful qualities in my relationships and human interactions over a longer period of time in my life. Thank goodness!
Joyfestivalindustries.com and my shtick are about finding more joy, calm, happiness, positivity, gratitude, mindfulness and helping people find ways to be in “flow” in their own lives and up their own personal joy-quotient.
There’s a wonderful quote, that has been misattributed to many famous people over the years, and it reads, “Thoughts create words, words create actions, actions create habits, habits create destiny.” – Anonymous
Fill your cup, fill your mind, fill your soul with thoughts that create healthier and happier words, which will create better self-care actions, which will lead to more mindful and joyful habits and help you to have a life with fewer hammers and nails and more peace, calm and contentedness. May your ride along the tracks of life continue to show you exciting and happy new vistas.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about carving out a life and path towards joy, or what your experience has been in trying to veer yourself out of or away from the difficulties or curve balls that life can throw you and into healthier habits and ways of living. Email me at [email protected].
Before you go:
Be sure and scoot over to my JOYFESTIVAL INDUSTRIES Shop and check out my DIY Joy Kits!
I’ve always believed that your personal mission to Raise Your Joy Quotient can take many forms. They can be gatherings at a home that includes music, poetry, comedy, vision boarding, some interesting speech, meditation and other activities led by you or friends.
Or they can be subtle and gentle like a quiet dinner with friends or the creation of a mobile pop-up Happiness Room in the public sector. There is no right or wrong way to facilitate your own JOYFESTIVAL, but it does need to have the common ingredients of gratitude, joy, positivity, connection, and activity for it to work best!
Luckily, I’ve taken much of the guesswork out of creating your own JOYFESTIVAL with the creation of my DIY Joy Kits. Within these kits, you will find all the tips, ideas, processes and activities to take the angst out of throwing the “meaningful-party” enabling you to share your own inner joy with the world around you, whether you’re in the midst of darkness or light, busy lives or lives that need a jumpstart. Click the image above to visit the JOYFESTIVAL INDUSTRIES Shop or go here!