A few weeks ago my wife and I were delayed while driving home over the Oregon Cascades on Highway 22. There was an accident a few miles ahead of us that shut down traffic in both directions for 3 hours. We certainly hadn’t anticipated that.
I can remember a time in my past when a delay like this, or even one much shorter, would have caused me great frustration and irritation. Fortunately, I don’t get irritated over things like this anymore. What has helped me most in this area is making sure I take a moment and actually put things in the proper perspective.
Yes, we were delayed for 3 hours, but we were also very fortunate that we weren’t involved in the accident ahead of us. I’m sure the people who were involved would much rather have only been delayed versus having their car damaged, being injured, or experiencing loss of life. With that perspective in mind, it made it really hard for me to get upset and start complaining, especially when I’m sitting in the beautiful Oregon Cascades with my wife, knowing we’ll be on our way soon. In light of that, I really had nothing to complain about.
I think that when we lack the proper perspective, we often let little things frustrate us unnecessarily.
The next time you find yourself getting frustrated, pause for a moment and make sure you have the proper perspective on the situation. If you don’t, then change your perspective. It’s a great way to not only alleviate unnecessary stress and frustration. It’s also a great reminder of what we have to be grateful for.
The topic of “enough” has been a recurring theme this week. Whether it’s what we have, what we do, or what we are, there seems to be this sense that it’s never enough. I would argue the contrary: We have enough, we do enough, and we are enough.
I think the sense of “not enough” comes from our own unrealistic expectations. The seeds of these expectations sprout from many sources, including:
- Advertisements showing all the things we supposedly need, and lack, in order to be happy.
- Unkind comments (intentional or otherwise) from people around to us.
- Societal and cultural definitions of success.
- Comparisons we make between our own worst experiences and someone else’s highlight reel.
- Expectations placed on us by others or ourselves.
When we focus our thoughts on unmet expectations, how can we feel anything other than inadequate, or that we are missing something? How could we possibly have the satisfied sense of enough?
Fortunately, we can change our perspective! Instead of focusing on our unmet expectations we can choose to:
- Appreciate and enjoy where we are right now.
- Enjoy the process of improving, learning, and growing.
- Remind ourselves of the abundance we do have in our lives and be thankful for it
- Realize that someone out there (likely several people) would look at our situations and think that we have, do and are more than enough.
It’s important to have a desire to improve and strive to do and be our very best. This pursuit is one of the great joys of life. However, let’s be sure we’re not missing out on this joy by remembering that while we are striving to improve we are currently, and wonderfully enough.