Dingy days and flying fur. January has been been kind of rough. It seems like everyone has a long list of things they don’t have. Personal, professional, societal, philosophical- we’re all dissatisfied by not having something.
There are several ways we deal with feelings that we are missing out. We can ignore it, we can find like-minded people to commiserate with us, we can work alone or with others to actively obtain what we feel is missing or we can change our perspective about the situation.
If we ignore the missing piece in our puzzle, it (or our interest in it) may just go away on its own. This option requires no effort but probably has the lowest success rate on obtaining the original goal. But if the desire or need goes away on its own, that’s a pretty good deal, right?
Sometimes we can reduce our stress by commiserating with others. Sharing burdens makes them feel lighter. For example, as a young mom, those precious moments caught in a store or coffee shop with an adult friend can be invaluable and feel like a life-saver. As I have a deep interest in education, I can relate to The Guardian’s recent pieces on the struggles that England is having regarding their education funding so I follow that. Or, when you’re trying to get in better shape physically, having a buddy or two to keep you moving forward and being there for your successes and failures makes the process much more enjoyable and fruitful.
Then there’s always the “try try try again” method. We can put our heads down and just try to soldier on but we need to think with agility to avoid the other adage about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Let’s remember that when we make connections with others it can inspire us to find new ways to actively achieve our goals with the benefit of new resources being available. We’re seeing this type of behavior exhibited today in large-scale and I believe we’ll continue to do so moving forward. For example, I’ve been blown away by the skills and techniques exhibited by K-Pop fans like the US BTS ARMY to plan and coordinate events and projects. On a smaller scale, sometimes we participate in buying clubs or share babysitting, sports equipment or carpooling duties to stretch our means.
The last mechanism I’d like to explore is that of changing our perspective. As I’ve written before, I have had Type 1 Diabetes since 1994. It’s a chronic disease with downright scary side effects and potential outcomes. I could scream and howl at the injustice of having this disease. I could rant and rave about the mental and financial costs to myself and my family. (Yes, in case you’re wondering, I have.) But do you know what? Because of T1D, I don’t have a limited understanding of my body. I don’t have any diagnosed eye damage, heart damage, kidney damage, nerve damage or skin damage. (Yet.) I don’t have a fear of working my butt off (yes, pun intended) to eat well, lose weight and get into better cardiovascular health. This disease has taught me some hard lessons and I don’t fear dancing and having a great time with fans at a concert when I’m twice as old as many of the other attendees because I’m still enthusiastically alive and I want to celebrate that fact.
The Forge’s Fire
Not having everything we initially want or need ends up being good for us. Yes, it’s miserable at times. However, it teaches us to chill. It teaches us to reach out to others. It teaches us to think and decide what REALLY matters to us. It teaches us to come up with creative ways to achieve our goals. Lastly, it can teach us that perhaps what we initially feared or hated the most is actually the defining fire that our inner self and soul will emerge from.