A friend of yours, who you really care about, never seems to make time to call you; you call or the call doesn’t happen. You get a little bit disappointed.
You did your work at the office and now you have to wait for your colleague who didn’t plan well and complete her portion of the work. You get a little bit frustrated.
You wait in the checkout line at the grocery store as the person in front of you hunts for their credit card through a bag full of receipts, papers and stuff. You get a little bit irritated.
By the end of the day you are angry and upset for no specific reason. I call this “catching seaweed.” When you go fishing and hook some seaweed, as you reel it in, it picks up other things on the way. By the time it reaches you, your fishing rod is bent with the weight of the things it dragged up and brought along.
Life is like that. The little things, in the aggregate, can become big things. We then can’t see all that is great and amazing about life – we only see the disappointments, irritations and frustrations. We are upset and we really don’t know why.
The trick with little things is to release them while they are still little. That way they don’t accumulate. When accumulated, they can bring the sanest of us down into insanity. So it is up to each of us to watch, assess and release, a process I share with my coaching clients.
Watch – pay greater attention to what you feel as you move through your day. Our greatest enemy is the lack of awareness. We can’t solve things in life without information and all information comes through our ability to show up present to the moments, emotions and thoughts of our lives. Tune in to check in on what you are feeling. This is where we first catch the little irritations, frustrations and disappointments. At this point, they are still small.
Assess – once noticing the irritations, frustrations and disappointments, see them for what they are – small and unimportant distractions. Choose a healthy perspective. The world is not perfect and people will be who they are. None of this has to affect our mood, attitude or mindset unless we allow it; our emotions are ours to control. I find saying something like, “How curious that I am so impacted by this little disappointment. I don’t want to be affected by this and this is totally my choice” helps me not to overreact. Calling attention to our feelings and responses helps us assess them for whether they improve us or shut us down. We feel powerful in the moment to choose what works for us.
Release – once seeing the situation for the nuance or petty irritation it truly was, release it out of your mind and heart so you don’t carry it with you for the balance of the day. Releasing it is like cutting the fishing line – the seaweed and junk are let loose – the distractions are now not part of your thoughts and emotions. As a result, each new situation that life sends to you can be dealt with using your best, clearest and most positive energy. Let it go as it happens and so it doesn’t accumulate.
We can easily get weighed down with life’s little disappointments, frustrations and irritations. When we allow them to accumulate, we quickly find ourselves with more than we can handle and influencing our perspective about unrelated things in life. But by watching, assessing and releasing, we don’t allow any event to build on any other. We keep our fishing line clear. We handle each event as it is and not let it be influenced by past events. The benefit is we choose to show up happier, saner and in our greater self in each moment, all because we choose not to let the little stuff become big stuff.