There are days, months, or years when it seems things are not going our way. The past two weeks have not been the easiest for me. However, in writing this article today with much more perspective, I have realized that the last couple of weeks were not particularly difficult either. It was all in my head.
When I feel that I have sunk into the bottomless rabbit hole that is my mind, I find it helpful to pause, breathe, and ask myself a few questions.
The first thing I ask is, “Where are you?” This question may come across as silly, but it is the easiest way to reground myself and be present. In answering this question, I take time to look around and notice details I usually do not pay much attention to. I breathe and take a mental inventory of my blessings. Sometimes, I get too fixated and stuck in my head that I forget that there is so much beauty around me to appreciate. I realize that when thoughts of gratitude shift to expectations, that is where most displeasure comes from.
The next question I ask is, “Do you have to do this?” Because, no, I do not have to do anything, I get to do what I want to do. This lesson is one of the most liberating realizations I have come to. I do not have to wake up early; I wake up early in the morning, so I can do more of the things I want to do and enjoy some quiet me-time instead of rushing to work or rushing my work towards the end of the day. I do not have to work, I have the opportunity to work and learn as much as I allow myself to learn. I choose to work on the things I want to do or at least work towards my goals and dreams. We are lucky to have choices, to have aspirations, and to make those aspirations a reality. We do not have to do anything in life, we get to do everything in life. We get to experience life.
Another question I ask myself is, “Do you really need more in your life?” Instead of asking what can I add to my world, I ask, “What can I remove from my world to make my life better?” It is like spring cleaning my life and removing things that, as the Japanese professional organizer Marie Kondo would say, no longer spark joy. I start by writing down thoughts or ideas I can let go to focus on what is more important. If you think about it, you do not need much to stay happy, to sustain, to live, and to just be.
Lastly, when I am very stressed, I ask, “Will any of this matter when I am in my 80s?” The answer to most of my worries is “No.” I try to remind myself that, if I am not going to worry about it in the future, why worry about it now? Instead of worrying about a dilemma, I think of ways to move around or beyond a problem gracefully.
I cannot control what life throws at me, but I can control how I react to life’s occurrences. With this crucial takeaway in mind, I am learning to step back and look at situations a bit differently. It is one of the most uncomplicated and potent ways to recalibrate and refocus on the road ahead.
How about you? What question will you ask yourself today?
Kristel Hope Avenido is an associate of the Tax Compliance and Advisory of P&A Grant Thornton in Cebu. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, advisory, and outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 23 partners and more than 900 staff members. We’d like to hear from you! Tweet us: @GrantThorntonPH, like us on Facebook: P&A Grant Thornton, and email your comments to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit our website: www.grantthornton.com.ph
As published in Mindanao Times, dated 26 June 2020