How do we juggle listening to our friends and family members gripe about their problems, tell their ‘story’ of how this or that person, thing, circumstance makes them unhappy, anxious, or depressed, and still stay upbeat ourselves?
Maybe it’s due to the economic upheaval we have experienced in the past four years, since 2008, that so many people are also in emotional upheaval. It seems to be ubiquitous, if you really listen to people’s complaints about their lives.
Yet to continue to let them vent, bend your ear, and dampen your spirit, what if you could steer their thoughts toward the blessings of their lives, the opportunities for growth imbedded in their difficult situations, and reflect to them how much stronger their branches of personality are in the storms that blow against the trunks of their lives.
I’ve started looking at my watch when on the telephone with some of these friends—and letting no more than five minutes go by, before I try to redirect their thoughts. And, sometimes, I have to do this with myself, too, on days when my wheels of worry turn in my head, over and over…they derail me from my intention for progress, and I have to consciously move from my own ‘story’ to the incredibly exciting unwritten chapters of my present life, as it unfolds into my future. I do believe that repetitive negative thoughts can create grooves in our psyches, making us more miserable than necessary. We hear that detaching from outcomes eliminates suffering. That suffering, or loving every minute of life, are both choices.
Which will you choose today, and tomorrow? I’m voting for being grateful for my blessings, and figuring that all the rest is my contributing to my spiritual, emotional, and intellectual growth.
Grow old with me, someone said. Let’s focus on ‘grow,’ shall we? It makes for a much more interesting and inspiring ‘story.’