So in keeping with this “thinking positive” vibe, I also stumbled upon another blog entry worth taking a glance at if you’re feeling down and out. It’s called 22 Things Happy People Do Differently by Chiara Fucarino on Lesley Carter’s Bucket List blog. I’ve tweeted (?) about one of Lesley Carter‘s other blog entries that enhanced my perspective on traveling. (For me, the gist was you really don’t need to be rich to travel. If you want to get somewhere bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes by volunteering, teaching, etc. Read it here) I think, in general, the list is not too difficult to follow and could be another good way to remind yourself to chill out when chaos ensues or stress begins to weigh you down. Of course, like most suggestions or ideas, this whole list is easier said than done. (I mean, we are human after all) But, once the storm clears and you find yourself still alive, it could still be a great quick reference to go back to.
Speaking for myself, for example, I know I always have things I could improve on. For me, items number one, number eleven, number fifteen, and number twenty-two really stand out to me.
Item number one is, “Don’t hold grudges”. I’ve been one to forgive but not forget. If you’ve ever hurt me or screwed me over in one way or another I’m inclined to remember it. I’m not losing sleep over it but I do absorb my lesson (if, any) from the encounter and move on. But I don’t forget it. Most of the time I like to think if the experience was dramatic enough, it would make a great story to tell later on. I believe in the power of laughter, but time is also a great way to heal.
Item number eleven is, “Avoid social comparison”. For me, this will happen no matter what and will be a constant battle to the end of my days. I believe the key (in coping with this) is to remind myself that everyone is a unique individual with unique lives on unique journeys in this thing called life. To compare yourself to anyone else good or bad is, indeed, a waste of time but we do it. For me, I’m not so much talking about material possessions or wealth but professional accomplishments or even my artistic body of work. I’d like to be the best and strive for it in every aspect of my work BUT there’s always that little voice asking, “What is insert name doing better than you?” Sometimes this helps with my competitive thinking, other times well…
Item number fifteen is, “Nurture social relationships”. This is what our film, American Hikikomori, is about. It’s a film about loneliness and isolation because of an absence of nurtured meaningful relationships. When people get depressed, they shut themselves down and hide. I’ve done it, you’ve done it; we’ve all done it. What helps us come back out is our personal support team through our family and friends. Some people struggle with this and our film explores that.
Item number twenty-two is “Accept what cannot be changed”. I think this goes hand in hand with the last two and becomes easier to do as I continue to mature. My wife and I are both stubborn people but over the last few years of being together have occassionally noticed how we can let certain things go a little easier now than when we were in our twenties. Maybe that is the true wisdom of maturity and experience.
Maybe that’s the key to happiness; holding on to what matters most to you and letting go of the crap.