When you feel a negative way towards a situation, whether it be resentment, jealousy, anger, sadness, or even loneliness, you have three options. In the wise words of Eckhart Tolle, you can either change it, accept it, or get rid of it.
This past week, I have done all three.
There were days I felt so anxious I nearly had full blown panic attacks. I kept trying to convince myself that everything was alright, that I didn't need to be stressed. But, ultimately, I couldn't 'control' my anxiety, which ended up making me feel more anxious in the end.
After a 10+ hour day at the library with no food breaks or interruptions, I finally had this epiphany, and this is how everybody can use it to their own advantage.
The Three Rules of Life
1. Change It
This is the first route you should always take while going about any negative situation.
Sit down with a paper and make a list of at least five realistic ways a situation could be tweaked to benefit yourself. Selfish, I know, but being selfish isn't always a bad thing.
Take an idea or two from your list, and put it into action.
For example, I was anxious about the upcoming article due (the article you are reading right now) and I wondered if I could change the situation in a simple way to benefit myself.
So I went out on a limb and asked for an extension.
And just like that, I had an extra two days to write this, plus room to breathe. Not only did I feel relieved instantly, but because I was able to relax, it gave way to natural inspiration.
(The text you are reading now is entirely attributed to the emotional novel of an iMessage I sent to my mom at midnight on a Tuesday.)
Another situation I found myself in, was that I wasn't giving nearly enough time or attention to my position on a school dance team. I loved it, I just honestly did not have enough time for it.
So I quit.
...Okay, a little dramatic, in reality I just handed my position over to another girl on the team. But now instead of having a job, I can go back to just taking and enjoying dance classes, free of responsibility.
It can be hard to say no sometimes, but it is absolutely necessary.
Now, changing a situation won't always work. You can definitely try to convince your professor to bump your grade up, but some of us know all too well how impossible that can be.
When there is no way to change a situation, the only action you can then take is to change your outlook on it.
And that gives way to the next step in this life-changing process..
2. Accept It
Acceptance can be tough. You have to allow yourself to detach your identification of a person/event with the negative thoughts surrounding it.
A simple way to help this process is to make a list of all the positive ways a situation is benefitting you.
For example, I wrote down the classes I am having the hardest time with. Then, under each class, I wrote as many reasons I could think of as to why it is benefitting me, either now or in the long run.
It gave me a new perspective and it was easy to release some of stress I was feeling, knowing now that getting 100% on every assignment will be trivial at the end of the day.
When you stop resisting something, that something will stop persisting.
That is to say, if all you can think about is the fact that you should not think about something, you are still giving all your power to that unwanted thought.
When you can realize that you are having that thought and accept its place in your mind, you are creating space between you and the negativity surrounding that thought.
This week, I had to accept the fact that my anxiety was normal.
Because I really do have a busy schedule, and there is no way around that. I finally realized that all I can do from this point forward is to look at my to-do list with excitement, and enjoy the process of completing each task.
Just simply changing my mental position from hatred to acceptance let me breathe easier.
An example for a much more stressful situation:
My car got hit in a parking lot recently and, upon finding it bashed in with no note, I instantly got furious.
But, ultimately, I had to calm myself down and realize that karma would take its course, and that all I could do was file a report and let the police handle it. Instead of putting all the pressure on myself, I surrendered. It made a world of difference.
And here I am now, with a fixed up car, and no money has left my pockets.
3. Leave it
When acceptance is not an option, say maybe you are in an abusive relationship, or you absolutely cannot come to terms with something, get rid of it.
Say goodbye to the toxic person.
Say no to the commitment you made but are dreading.
Delete the emails you still haven't gotten around to looking at.
Stop watching the news.
Get up and walk out of the room.
Like, literally leave.
We don't need more space - space is space, there can't be more or less of it. Space just is, it exists everywhere, naturally. What we do need more of is emptiness. What we need is fewer things taking up space.
Sometimes you just have to be cleared out and reset. Don't dread things, ignore things, avoid things, as this is harmful to your physical, mental and emotional health. Just delete it entirely. Do not let something suck the energy out of you when you have the power to release it.
If you find yourself resenting a situation, picture yourself in a bubble.
Fill this bubble with all people, and events currently going on in your life. Are you feeling claustrophobic? Good.
Now find that situation you dread and erase it. Take a mental pencil eraser to it, blow it away, mentally burn it, imagine it washing away with water - whatever works for you. Do this with your eyes closed.
I guarantee you will instantly feel the relief of empty space, like a literal weight off your shoulders. Now breathe through that empty space, find the next situation that you can't change or no longer accept, and erase that as well.
Now, try to do the same in the physical realm in the best way possible, and know the relief, freedom, and peace that awaits.
I took this to the max and I literally quit my job.
Just the mention of it gave me instant anxiety, and I noticed I was dreading any commitment that came along with it.
To get the full effect of this freedom, I immediately thereafter deleted all emails from said job, as well as the app our co-workers communicated on. What a breath of fresh air. Not only did I get rid of something that drained my energy, I am now free to the possibilities of something better coming along.
Sadly, I have had to apply this rule to people - friends, boys, teachers, acquaintances. I have had to completely sever ties to people in my life recently.
I tried steps one and two, and they just were not working. I could feel these people sucking my happiness. It was tough initially, because I love everyone around me, but now I can feel myself being more open, confident and happy.
It's all about healthy change.
Now that you know these three simple, but life-changing, rules I encourage you to go through this process with everything you face in your daily life.
Never be afraid to ask for more or less, and always do what you feel in your heart.
If anything makes you unhappy just by the thought of it popping up in your head, that is the easiest, most prominent sign of some dysfunction at any level.
You deserve better. You deserve to be happy. And you deserve to be able to free yourself from this negative mental prison you keep yourself locked in.
Peace and blessings, y'all.