Life is stressful. For many of us, it seems like a series of obstacles we need to constantly overcome. We become obsessed with the mundane, worrying about every plight and every wrongdoing, stressing about the controllable and uncontrollable.
We become irritated, aggravated and annoyed at the slightest inconvenience, wrapping our happiness up in factors around us that are, many times, out of our control.
We carry an invisible weight, over-thinking everything and holding a heavy heart. But as the days pass and the sun rises and the moon sets, I must ask, why? Why are we taking everything so seriously? When did we become so small under the weight of worrying?
The late David Foster Wallace once gave an iconic graduation speech called “This Is Water,” in which he urged graduates to pay attention to the life around them and not get weighed down by the mundane, trivial aspects of adult life. He preached self-awareness and freedom from the rat race we’ve come to know as life.
“The capital-T, Truth, is about life before death. It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head. It is about simple awareness — awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: ‘This is water, this is water.’”
This idea of “this is water” can be hard to wrap our minds around because it’s such a simple concept. We have a tendency to over-think things, to look at life a million other ways than just living in it, through it. We analyze, theorize and postulate our time on earth, rather than just immerse ourselves in it. Our minds are always somewhere else, somewhere distant and obscure, usually leading to missed moments and opportunities and replacing them with ulcers and panic attacks.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can make a conscious effort to laugh at yourself, to laugh at life. You don’t have to conform to the human tendency to live life like it’s a competition, or even anything more than a beautiful and fleeting experience. Because as everyone keeps telling you, it’s over pretty quickly and all that petty stuff you’re worrying about now won’t mean sh*t when you’re dead. So maybe figure out if the reason you’re not enjoying life all the time is that you’re taking it a bit too seriously.
1.You Can’t Laugh At Yourself
Being able to laugh at yourself is one of the first steps to freeing yourself. If you live your life afraid to be who you are and admit to your inherent weirdness, you are alienating yourself from the rest of the world. Life isn’t about hiding behind the things that make you different or unique; it’s about showcasing them as markers of your individuality.
2. You Get Irritated When Thing Don’t Go Your Way
Sh*t is always going to go wrong. Whether it’s a long line in the check-out aisle, or your friends canceling on your dinner plans, there’s no smooth sailing through life. Instead, it’s about rolling with the punches, growing from the obstacles and learning to get over the petty, insignificant bullsh*t that will only bring you down if you let it.
3. You Hold Grudges
Gautama Buddha said, “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” There is no better way to describe the adverse effects of holding grudges. Life is too short to be weighed down by anger and resentment when you could easily let it go.
4. You Stress About Things That Can’t Be Changed
There really is no use in crying over spilled milk. Once something happens, the only way to move on is to move forward. Thinking and worrying about how to change situations that can’t be solved is a waste of your time.
5. You Can’t Adapt To Change
If you can’t adapt to change, you aren’t living your life correctly. There’s a constant need to change, and the cycles of the Earth are just part of our natural rhythm. To change is to evolve and to resist that change is to resist becoming a better, more adaptable person.
6. You Can’t Admit To Your Flaws
Flaws are part of us. They are the ugly parts we don’t want anyone to see. We view them as weaknesses, hiding behind them and thus, hiding with them. If you are constantly scared to show your flaws, you are resisting showing yourself to the rest of the world.
7. You Don’t Know How To Live In The Moment
One of the most irresponsible vices that plagues our society is the inability to live in the moment, to enjoy the now and truly be present. If you are constantly thinking about tomorrow, yesterday or 10 years from now, then you are missing out on your life.
8. You Can’t Say Sorry
Being able to apologize, whether you truly feel in the wrong or not, is an important step in freeing yourself from the weight of guilt and the burden of others. Apologizing is a humbling experience for both you and the people around you. Refusing to admit defeat or wrongdoing will only lead to a life of petty arguments and constant confrontation.
9. You’re Hypercritical
Judging everyone else is not only exhausting but will lead to a life with little friends and little patience. You have no right to judge anyone anymore than he or she has the right to judge you. Believing that a person’s flaws are a sign of weakness or ineptitude is an ignorance that will destroy you slowly from the inside, if everyone else doesn’t come after you first.
10. You’re Afraid Of Doing Anything That May Affect Your Future
The future is as ambiguous as death itself. Planning your life around an unpredictable outcome results in ignoring the present and never truly living in the moment. Planning for a life that doesn’t exist yet is like refusing to live at all.
11. You Think You’re Smarter Than Everyone
Arrogance is a quality that will leave you not only friendless, but also unable to live harmoniously with the life around you. Believing you are better than everyone is a recipe for alienation and a life of complete solitude and contempt for and by those around you.
This post originally appeared at Elite Daily
Previously published on Goodmenproject.com