Recognize your reality!

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How many “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts" do you have in your life?  He "should" help me clean the house; she "shouldn’t" react that way; he "shouldn’t" have told me to invest in that stock, because it went down and I lost a lot of money.  If there is a lot of emotion behind such statements, they have the potential to cause anguish.  If we devote a lot of energy to wishing things were different than they are, or that people were different than they are, we wind up stressed and unhappy.

The fact is, what is, is.  There is no point arguing with reality.  If it is raining, we don’t waste our time anguishing that it shouldn’t be raining.  Instead, we plan accordingly.  Many times “shoulds” involve other adults, and we think that we will be happy when the other person changes.  We may be waiting a long time.  It might make more sense to accept the reality that our partner may not be great at keeping the house clean, and instead, plan to have a cleaner come in to help out occasionally. This way, we are not dwelling on the problem, but rather, coming up with a viable solution.

Another way to look at it may be to figure out whether something is our business or someone else’s business. What another adult thinks, does or does not do, is that person’s business and we do not have any control over that.  What we think, do or do not do is our business, and we do have control over that.  Staying in one’s own business only can vastly simplify a life. So, get rid of the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” in your life by becoming clear on what is, and then if needed, come up with positive solutions that are within your ability to control and execute.  This will lower your stress and probably make you a lot happier.

These are a couple of the concepts come from the book Loving What Is, by Byron Katie, where she talks about a process called “The Work”, which consists of four questions that help you analyze your beliefs about difficult problems in your life, and allows you to find freedom from the heartache.

Katie, Byron Loving What Is Three Rivers Press, New York NY, 2002.

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