I don’t know if it’s just a quirk of my personality or if someone dropped me on my head as a child, but I always feel responsible for everything. I feel like if I was only good enough at managing all aspects of my life, my house would always be clean, I would never be late, laundry would never pile up, my children would never be screwed up in any way, my husband would be ecstatic to be with me at all times, I would never wind up in the slow lane, my mail would never get lost or delayed, my furniture would never need replacing, my walls would never need a touch-up, my checking account would never be low and certainly not empty (or worse – overdrawn! Or even worse than that – closed! Oh no!) and I would be able to make everyone love me and always have my emotions perfectly in check – except when I shouldn‘t. Because these are just the things that any decent person can do, right? And if you can’t even be a decent person, you should at least have the decency to feel bad about it! Right? Like I said, dropped on my head . . .
I’m learning not to feel bad about all the things I can’t make perfect, but trying to be neurotically responsible did teach me something important: don’t get upset over things you can’t change. You see, I spent so much time trying to figure out how to fix everything that was wrong, when I came across something I couldn’t do anything to change, it was a relief! “Yay – something I don’t have to worry about!” These things were not my enemy – they were friends, making my neurotic life easier.
Hopefully, you are not nearly as neurotic as me, but this lesson is true for you as well. Reality is, no matter how hard you try, life will give you a lot of opportunities to be unhappy. If you take all or even most of them, you will spend an unacceptable amount of time being unhappy. If you can’t change something, then it will continue to be what it is whether you are happy or unhappy about it. So when life hands you opportunities to be unhappy, try not to take the bait unless you can do something to change it.