So, you want to change your life, but here comes another stressful event and bang! The chocolate cake is eaten, the wine is poured, the cigarette smoked. But what if we could just know for certain that “This too shall pass”.
What the “this” is for today could be anything, an unexpected tax demand; the lawnmower breaking down; water pouring through your roof; kids refusing to go to school; kids refusing to come home from school, car won’t start and on and on they go.
Little everyday stressors that we feel are sent to make our life a misery, to ruin our day, to make it impossible to live our life in the moment. Oh well, we tried we mumble to ourselves as we crack open the bottle of gin. How are we meant to live life in the moment when these things keep happening to me? Our mind screams at us. How can I stay on a diet, give up drink when all these things keep happening to me, oblivious to the fact that they are happening to everyone.
The universe has not singled you out for special treatment. All these things which can at the time seem huge problems, giant obstacles to be overcome are in fact just life, living in this world with an estimated 7.8 billion other people all trying to get along. All having good days, all having bad days. Needing to supply the necessities of survival, shelter, money, and food, then things will happen because nothing is given to us and nothing is guaranteed in this life.
In our quest for survival things will happen, living in your home will require maintenance or things will wrong, if you have kids then you have all the additional daily stressors created by their own unique personalities. Being on a limited budget and unexpected bills arrive, making our income last until the next salary can be an everyday struggle and a juggle for survival, but does any of this stop us living in the moment or are we only using it as excuses to use our habit of choice and keep ourselves stuck in our cycle of stress, worry and unhappiness, using our drug of choice to get us through the day.
If you are one of the lucky people who only has an occasional stressful situation, then these too can be enough to stop you making the changes you want in your life.
We make our decision “enough is enough”. Today is the day I am giving up wine, cigarettes, chocolate, drugs – insert your own poison. You may even have more than one day when “enough was enough” in fact it is normal to have many more than one and most people do not give up an addiction at the first attempt.
Like any new skill it takes practice and that is why any attempt to stop that is not successful is never a failure it is all part of the learning process. You have started creating a new neural pathway in your brain, and next time you stop you can strengthen it a little more. Any time free from you habit is a positive, congratulate yourself on your success.
This time, like all the other times, you have reached your “enough is enough” moment, you are determined, you really have had enough, you want to change, this time the diet will work, you will cut down or give up alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. You know why you need to change, and you set off enthusiastically on day 1, and at some point during that day or that week, bang! It arrives, the first stressor, it could be anything, big or small, but it is enough to begin having doubts:
“Maybe now is not the time?”
“Why do these things keep happing to me?”
“How am I expected to cope with life without my crutch?”
And on and on we go until we can convince ourselves that it is ok to give in, and we give in telling ourselves that day 1 can wait.
How to we overcome this? because if we don’t we are trapped for life. If we accept that life is full of little or big stressful events and we use our addictive habit to help with stressful events then how do we see that using an addictive habit is not the solutions to the problems life throws at us.
“Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.”
HOW TO STOP LIFE GETTING IN YOUR WAY
- First things first, it is time to stop seeing everything that happens to you as a major unsolvable problem and start seeing them as being part of life. I know it can feel that way, but you need to remember that you are alive, and everyone is experiencing annoying and stressful events every day. What matters is how we cope with them. We can cave in and act like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders or we can shrug and accept that this is life and if we are part of this great eco system then we will experience problems and upsets, but always remember all the great things that happen as well.
- Repeat the mantra:
“This too shall pass”
Think back to all the little and big events in your life that upset you in the past, things that stressed you, that caused sleepless nights, that had you reaching for your drug of choice to soothe. Did it work? Did it work for more than 5 minutes? Did it solve the problem? Was the problem still there the next day? Was the problem harder to solve because in addition to the problem you were now beating yourself up because you had relied on your habit once again, or you now had the problem and a hangover?
- Everything moves along, everything is temporary, and nothing stands still. We are all changing every second of every day, the days change from morning to night, the seasons change from spring to winter. Flowers are changing from the seeds, to buds to bloom and finally death. Nothing stays the same for long and no matter what your problem is it will not stay the same. You will find a way to solve the problem, to change the situation or accept it and find a way to live with it.
Look around you. Everything changes. everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing, and changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.”
Dr. Steve Mataboli
- Distance yourself from the problem, not in a physical sense but in your mind. Often when we are stressed about a situation it is there at the forefront of our mind making it difficult to think about and focus on anything else. Take time to sit quietly and look at the problem as if it is on a screen in front of you, watch what is happening as if it is happening to a friend and not you.
Now ask yourself “what advice would you give that friend on how to deal with this situation?”
Our lives are meant to be enjoyed, they are meant to be fun, if we are frowning more than we are smiling then it is time to let go of everyday stressors and see them for what they are, and know and believe, deep down inside with a clarity that makes sense to you, that