in: Advice, Character, Sunday Firesides

Sunday Firesides: Congratulations, You’re a Human!

Have you been feeling down and dejected?

Do you sometimes get in a funk for no apparent reason?

Do you experience anxiety, worry, or stress?

Do you sometimes suffer from poor sleep, lethargy, or a lack of motivation?

Do you occasionally feel restless, disoriented, and out of sorts?

Well, we’ve run some tests, examined the results, and are ready to share what may be the unexpectedly favorable findings:

Congratulations, you’re a human!

Very often, we experience our negative feelings and oscillating moods as a sign of a problem, one in need of professional help. Certainly, when they reach all-consuming, life-sabotaging proportions, they can be. But much of the time, these symptoms are merely consistent with having the mortal experience.

In fact, we can suffer more from our perception of our negative feelings than from the feelings themselves. We’re depressed about being depressed; anxious about being anxious; discombobulated about being discombobulated. It’s the gap between how we expect life to be, and how it really is, that unmoors us.

Paradoxically, the better we manage our expectations — the more we accept less-than-ideal states as par for the course, as part of the natural ebb and flow of life, as things that can be handled but never eliminated, as the norm rather than a deviation from it — the happier we become. 

Our ups and downs, our unaccountable weirdnesses, our feelings of forlornness, aren’t problems with which we’ve been stricken, but taxes on a prize we’ve been given: the chance to be alive.

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