The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind. — Dr. Wayne Dyer
Are bad situations really that bad? Are good situations really that good? Often times we are quick to label and react to the situations around us. We let our situation hijack our emotions and make us do things that we’ll later regret.
Let’s say you don’t get admitted into your dream school. Most students find this situation to be very difficult, as it could influence your future. Yet, what if your perfect partner goes to the school you end up going to, and you network with students who’ll end up getting you a job that blasts all of your expectations out of the water? This perceived, “bad situation” turned out to be one of the best “mistakes” to have ever happened to you.
Similarly, let’s say you get promoted to a new position at work. It’s a position that you’ve been putting in extra hours for, and this extra effort has been impressing all of your coworkers. It comes with a new corner office, a better hourly wage, and a nice annual bonus. What’s not to like? It turns out this “wonderful” job opportunity also comes with an expected 60 hour work week, more responsibility, and a big bundle of stress that follows you wherever you go.
We like to judge situations that we are in, or guess what a future situation will be like. This causes a lot of stress as we try to hold onto the good and dwell on the bad.
Situations, both good and bad, will pass. While this sounds pessimistic on the surface, it’s a truism that we can really use to our advantage as we navigate our day to day life.
Experiencing a good situation, like meeting up with a friend, watching a good show, or going on vacation? Soak up the good times for what they are, and be grateful for getting to experience that moment. Once it’s gone, continue practicing gratitude for that moment and move on.
During bad situations, be patient and remember bad times will pass too. See what you can learn from the situation, and see if you can make it into a better situation. If no good lesson seems to come out of it, give it time. Sometimes we don’t see the good until much later.
When we can stand back from our situations, we take back control of our life and emotions. We create more space between the situation and our reactions, which allows us to spend more time to rationally think and process what’s going on.
It’s not an easy practice, and some situations will be easier to deal with than others. Sure, some situations may truly seem incredible, while others can truly seem horrible. Use this practice on the everyday hassles, and see how things go from there. Our perspective makes all the difference; use one that helps you.1