“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” ― Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness
It’s going to be “the best ever!” — the best birthday, best Christmas, best dinner, best party, and you are likely to have the best nervous breakdown trying while you’re at it. Houses showing the best decor, yards that house the fewest weeds, and kids who have the best grades and behavior will eventually wear us down, won’t they? For some reason, all of those things and so many more are ways we often seem to measure our own worth. Take Russell’s advice: if you want to have a nervous breakdown, make the measure of your own importance a 10 on the 0-10 scale, and if you want to be happy, start now to lower that number.
Writing this just days before my oldest son marries the love of his life, I continue to ask myself, “On a scale of 0-10, how important is _____?” The things that have filled that blank have been large and small: the weather, photos, the food, people showing up, having fun, and making sure everyone is happy. Russell’s words are perfect for this weekend and for life.
How important is it that dinner begins exactly at 6:45 instead of 6:55, that the first dance is at precisely 7:15 instead of 7:30? How important is ______? Fill in your own blank for what you have given too much importance. Is your routine too rigid? It’s possible that your flexibility is being challenged when following the same routine matters more than enjoying the morning or the drive. Is your world black and white? A little gray can be daring and delightful.
I’m probably going to cry at least once during the day, but those will be happy tears. People often throw out a quote about life being short, like, “Life is short so eat the cake, buy the shoes, take the trip.” I’ll add to that, “Life is short, so have a blast on the journey!” It seems many of us get caught up in the importance of us and forget about the journeys others are traveling.
Joy is the will which labors, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.~ William Butler Yeats
Whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right. - Henry Ford
The best way out is always through. ~ Robert Frost
Real difficulties can be overcome, it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable. ~ Theodore N. Vail
Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall. ~ Oliver Goldsmith
You must be the change you want to see in the world. - Mahatma Gandhi
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Great perspective on not being concerned about things you can’t control.
Thanks, Mariah. I have to constantly remind myself.