Today’s Lesson: You get what you take.
John Lennon may have just been sitting there doing time, “Watching the Wheels go ’round and ’round…” but he nailed it with the title of this post.
Have you noticed that problems are like gifts? We give them to each other. Sometimes we receive good ones and we are excited to try them on but a lot of the time they are more like another bottle of cologne you already have four of, or the wrong size paisley-patterned sweater from otherwise well-meaning people.
What we forget is that gifts must be accepted. If we do not accept them, they go away (and sometimes stop being offered altogether). In other words, we think problems happen to us but actually we pick our problems.
That is why on Monday someone can cut you off in traffic and you feel enraged, blare your horn, and curse them (until they look directly at you–then, you pretend you are focused on the traffic light ahead). Yet, on Tuesday, someone can cut you off and you simply swerve out-of-the-way and move on, listening to your favorite song. No problem.
On Monday, someone offered you the gift of a problem and you generously accepted it. On Tuesday, someone offered you the same problem, but you graciously declined it.
People offer you problems all the time. We love to give our problems away. Sometimes we are even offered the same problem over and over (my cat kindly offers me the problem of barfing up hairballs at 4 in the morning every few nights).
All of our problems are the same way. We only have the problems we accept.
When you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, confused, lost, stressed, or depressed (or all of those at the same time), consider what problems you are generously accepting and what ones you should graciously decline.
Maybe it is time to politely inform Grandma paisley is not your style and you actually wear a different size than when you were twelve (or that you have stopped celebrating holidays altogether). She may not like your attitude but… well, that’s her problem.