I don’t think it’s any secret that I frequently use things that are happening around me as inspiration for topics in the Positivity Series. I hope you’ll indulge me for a particularly personal (read: no lists this week, sorry) entry, dedicated to a very special co-worker.
Now, before I get started, I want to differentiate between the thought processes of “there is genocide in Darfur, how dare you care about your small, silly problems,” and “yeah, I feel like crap today, but I can put that in perspective.” Usually, the former comes from an outside perspective, intending to shame us for our feelings. I’m not down with that. Feelings are feelings and you can’t always help how you feel, even if it isn’t rational. Yeah, my disappointment in not being able to snag tickets for the midnight showing of The Hunger Games with the rest of my friends is nothing compared to mass murder, but since I don’t have a frame of reference for one, it’s not as real a feeling to me as the other. Rather, I like to feel my feelings, but limit the time I’m allowed to sulk for minor things, reminding myself that it’s not worth the time and effort.
Last week, one of my coworkers, after exhibiting stroke-like symptoms, went to the ER and spent the entire week in the hospital. It’s looking like it wasn’t a stroke, but there was something found in MRIs of her brain. The week culminated in a biopsy to determine what exactly this unknown something was. Throughout the rest of the week, it seemed as if bad things were just raining down on the people around us. We found out someone who use to work in another office had died suddenly last weekend, leaving behind a not-yet-one-year-old baby, someone else was needing heart surgery, and a few people’s parents had developed major health problems. When it rains, it pours, hmm?
Obviously, when surrounded by people going through tough times, it’s easy to be thankful for the minor problems (or lack thereof) that you have. What really hit me this week, though, was my coworker’s reaction to everything happening. Rather than being upset or stressed or worried, she knew that she was in the best hands and couldn’t do anything to affect the outcomes at the moment. When she talked to our boss after her biopsy, she kept saying how “neat” an experience it was. I’d like to think I could take a little credit for my positive influence in the office, but in actuality, I don’t know if I would have been focusing on the neatness of the experience. That was definitely a lesson for me!
This Week’s Challenge
Take a dose of perspective. Look as something that’s been bothering you more than you know it should. Put it in perspective: does this really need to affect me? Would this bother me less if I had more important things to worry about? Probably, the answer to that one is yes. Be thankful that something minor can bother you so much.
This Week’s Mantra
It seems like a nonsense statement at first, but give it a minute to sink in: “The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” – Theodore I. Rubin (found at TinyBuddha)
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or mental health expert, and there are problems that positivity cannot overcome, so please do not take this advice in lieu of a doctor’s care.
Not all challenges will be relevant to everyone, so I welcome you to come and go as you please and take from each challenge what works for you! Please make sure to share your thoughts in the comments!