So what is growth? When it comes to human beings I like to use a simple definition. It is an expansion of our capacity and abilities. The more you grow your capacity and abilities, the more equipped you are to live life to its fullest. So I want to give you an idea that will do just that and it might not be what you expect.
Life can’t happen the way you want it to 100% of the time! I told you you weren’t expecting that. So now you’re probably asking “how will embracing this idea grow me as an individual?” Great question. By fully embracing the impossibility that life will always go the way you want it to, you naturally cultivate acceptance, tranquility, and patience which leads to more happiness within you. On an intellectual level we know this fact that life cant always happen the way we want it to is true, but in our day to day existence, we act as if we don’t know this. Practicing this idea in my day-to-day life over the last year has brought me more happiness than I could have expected.
This idea gives you countless opportunities. There is an opportunity is in every situation. Do you find them? Do you seize the opportunity to remain calm in yourself when faced with an unforeseen challenge. The more you do it, the easier it gets. How about large events in your life…do you find the positive? Or do you explode and make things worse for yourself and others around you? Everyone’s life is hard! Everyone faces challenges daily. But the happiest people know this, accept it, and rise above it. They are bigger than their problems.
There are over 7 billion people on the planet, so how would it be possible for everyone to have anything and everything they want all the time? That has massive implications doesn’t it? Coexisting with others and your surroundings is the only option if you wish to reduce or remove suffering from your life. Everyone has their own subjective reality. That reality doesn’t have to become your reality but you have to respect it.
Also, stop taking things so personally! The person on the freeway who cut you off yesterday was not trying to publicly humiliate you, they were just late for work and didn’t check their mirrors before they lane changed. They might not be in the right but it’s also not a big deal. This does not mean that you don’t stand up for yourself when needed if someone infringes on your rights. You can still let them know what is not acceptable, while also staying right in yourself, and not sweating the small stuff.
I was in a coffee shop the other day and an older gentlemen was reading in the corner when a mother walked in with her two children. The children began playing loudly and laughing. The older gentlemen got upset and said something to the children. This stuck with me because it clearly illustrated how we are all living in our own little worlds and believe we are entitled to things. In this case the man truly thought that he was totally in the right. Yes, quiet would have been ideal for this gentlemen but it was not ideal for the children. So who is right?
How many times do each of us experience this tunnel vision? We are always somehow relating our surroundings back to ourselves. We think of everything around us in terms of our self. The voice in your head says things like, “how is this affecting me?” Or “what will that mean for me?” Or “I wish that would happen to me instead.” And unfortunately this is all happening compulsively and on an unconscious level. We need to keep a level of perspective in the background of our lives and grow our ability to live in the bigger picture or we will continue to suffer.
You get to a point where you have no choice other than to turn to peace, or you will destroy your life if you don’t. This letting go gives you a new level of freedom and happiness. Your mind is pushing you so hard all the time, so it’s very liberating once you free yourself from this. Once you learn how to roll with the punches you actually become stronger AND happier. You are no longer rigid to your ego or your “plan” and you can act appropriately instead of reacting inappropriately. Life may not happen the way you want it to 100% of the time, but fortunately YOU can happen the way you want to 100% of the time.