A friend of mine so perfectly pointed out that we have a habit of soaring and achieving unexpected levels of survival—and greatness—during horrible life moments, while during our lesser “snowstorms” we habitually curl up on the couch and mope.
Or maybe that’s just my coping mechanism.
Because I’ve been moping.
This friend reminded me of something crucial: that we have a much greater capacity to succeed through what life throws at us than we are often self-credited for.
Such ignorance is not only a profound misfortune, but it’s also a tool that we hide away for self-preservation.
Let me explain.
Surely some of us deal with daily life much better than others.
My husband, for example, is capable of doing the dishes, the laundry and even unimaginably difficult school studies during grave personal tragedy—I can vouch for this personally.
He can rush around in the morning before work and effectively both make coffee and create pigtails in a three year old’s softly curled hair.
I, however, let the cobwebs collect when life gets to me—you know, on the corners of the floor boards where little dust bunnies then roll out onto the floor to silently scream at you quit ignoring your life and clean the house!
I can’t actually curl up on the couch since I’m responsible for this particular three year old, but I can become unnecessarily serious and quiet, and avoid nearly all social interaction.
My husband, though, plugs along—and looks handsome doing it.
I am wearing no make-up—which isn’t unordinary—but my sleeplessness is (atypically) displayed equivocally in my darker-than-usual under-eye circles and my depression shows absolutely in my sorrowful state of posture.
In short, I can be the happiest, liveliest, silliest creature that’s ever been met and also the sober, crestfallen, yoga-clad girl next-door.
And here’s what my recent experience with day-to-day (holiday) stressors (along with my wise friend’s observances) have taught me:
1. We are not meant to always be happy.
No, we’re meant to experience feelings that completely oppose joy, fortune and overall life peace.
We’re meant to go through this because, well, I have no reason—it’s a part of life, so get over it. (See, I warned that I could be stern.)
2. We need to know misery, for when we have company.
Meaning, our smaller inconveniences and adversities set the stage for our greater snowstorms—otherwise known as blizzards.
And, yes, these happen much less often than it might feel—because, in life, we have very few blizzards, yet a lot of snowstorms—but we approach them significantly more prepared when we’ve already dealt with lesser blows.
3. Life is challenging, plain and simple.
Whether we like it or not, it’s true that life is not for the faint of heart.
Life can be hard. Life can be anything but fun. Life can be demanding.
And guess what? That’s life.
4. It’s the little things that bring joy.
This is another (possibly annoyingly) true adage.
Have you forgotten how to smile and laugh at life’s small moments of sunshine? Then spend time with a three year old—or watch this:
Honestly, I’m still not out of my funk—and I’m okay with that.
I’m okay with this because I firmly believe that there’s nothing wrong with me sulking and being miserable—occasionally.
Certainly seek professional help if you experience down days more often than deliriously happy ones—or at least okey-dokey, alright ones.
On the other hand, remember when you have these sorts of moments that they’re just that—bits and pieces that make up your life, along with plenty of heaping handfuls of other (wonderful) stuff.
And, above all else, remember this wisdom from Jack Handey:
“In choosing your mission in life, do what makes you happy. Let’s say you enjoy lying on the couch, watching TV, not thinking about anything. Or maybe lying on the beach, wondering what’s on TV. Chances are, that’s where your greatest happiness will be.”
“Notice the little things—that are constantly biting you.”
“Happiness is not a circus clown rolling around in a big tractor tire so that his arms and legs form “spokes.” Happiness is when he stops.”
Okay, so that might not be life-changing intelligence, but it made you grin, didn’t it? Yep—remember that sensation because:
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
And if it didn’t make you crack a smile? That’s okay—because life is (occasionally) supposed to stink.
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Editor: Catherine Monkman
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