relationships

Ignore Your But(t)

This time of year makes it incredibly easy to be negative.

Think about it, we’re totally in limbo. Past the good parts of Winter – namely Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/awesome time with food, family & friends – and waiting for the beginnings of Spring. We stay inside most of the time, it’s difficult to find motivation to go to class, let alone to see friends. We’re marooned on a snowy island, waiting for a rescue boat! No, this isn’t exactly the time of year we tend to be optimistic and cheery.

Which is why it’s the perfect time for this message I’ve been ruminating on for a couple weeks. (Keep in mind, these ‘advice’ articles are just as much [if not more] written to remind myself of things as they are to ‘advise’ you). And the message is:

Focus on the wells, forget about the buts.

I will give you a few examples:

  • Well, I love most of my body, but my butt is too big”
  • Well, it’s bright and sunny outside, but it’s -20 degrees”
  • Well, my boots keep the slush out, but they’re kind of ugly”
  • Well, I love my boyfriend, but he works too hard”

I’m not saying that ignoring the buts is easy, because it’s not. The buts are the things that stubbornly invade our “otherwise happy” days. They shout out for our attention, distract us from the positive, and seem to constantly take up more of our thoughts than the wells. But I would venture to say that happiness is in the wells. Think of it this way: most of the time, the buts are things we can’t control. They’re constant. You can’t change them. So what’s the point of fixating on them? They’re not going away. You can’t alter the weather, no matter how much you try, and your body will always have the same basic shape, no matter how much you work out. So why waste so much time and energy focusing on the buts and ignoring the wells?

Another way of putting it: practice gratitude. It may sound all hippie and new-agey, but I honestly think one of the very best ways to find happiness is to learn to be grateful for what you have right now. Sure, you may strive to achieve a better life for yourself, more cash money, more clothes, etc, and that’s all well and fine – it’s great to have goals. But the real happiness comes with acknowledging every day how great your life already is. Focusing on the sweet spots of your day, reminding yourself to be positive, diverting your attention from buts to wells.

For a ton of perspective, please read this amazing article from Danielle Laporte on why you’re privileged. Two of my favourite quotes from it:

Really, what’s the worst of your problems?

We have so many rights, must we exercise the right to complain?

As much as possible, we should try to pull ourselves out from under the rubble of negative thoughts that crowd our minds. The way I see it, if the negative things are there to stay, and so are the positive ones, I’d much rather expend my energy stubbornly reminding myself to stay positive, stay grateful, stay happy. And no, I’m not being happy-go-lucky about this, it’s not always going to work, and there’s no such thing as being happy all the time. You can’t have light without dark after all! But in those everyday situations where we have a choice between acting/thinking/speaking negatively or positively, I think we should always try to choose positive.

  • “Well, I love most of my body!”
  • “Well, it’s bright and sunny today!”
  • “Well, my boots keep the slush out!”
  • “Well, I love my boyfriend!”

Some of you are sitting there thinking: “Wow, how naive! She is being so unrealistic. The world is a tough place, after all.” I know it is. We all do. But I don’t think that being realistic (read: pessimistic) about the state of the world is going to help us achieve any happiness. I’m well aware of the dangers, horrors, and terrors of our world. Yet I’m also aware of the wonders, loves, and beauty of it. And when given the choice of what to focus on, I think it will bring me a great deal more happiness to stay positive.

I’d love to know what you think! How often do you find yourself “but-ing” the heck out of your day, getting pulled into a spiral of negative thinking? Or do you try and make a conscious effort to be grateful every day? Any tips or tricks for us newbs about how to stay positive?

xoxo,

Is It Worth It?

I had a big fight with my boyfriend a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t anything major, but tempers ran high and we were upset. In the subsequent days, when I had time to think, I realized that most of all, I felt tired. I didn’t want to have fights, I didn’t want to get upset, I was exhausted from feeling all these feelings. I questioned, as all couples do, if it was worth it. “It seems like we fight all the time”, “What’s the point of all this?”, “Why are we doing this to ourselves!?”.

It’s so easy to say those things in the aftermath of all sorts of bad feelings and really feel that you mean them. We tend to forget the wonderful experiences when we’ve felt uplifted and alive and honoured. We get ready to give up on the relationship the second it makes us feel badly.

While I was in this state of funk, I texted my mum. I told her we’d had a big fight, and she could tell I was down. After getting some of the details, she wrote something that made me stop, breathe and re-center:

Nothing worthwhile is easy.

It’s true, isn’t it? Things that are easy might be nice, and pleasant, and maybe even fun, but usually they’re not important & worthwhile. Of course, there are probably a few examples of worthwhile things that seem easy (not that I can think of any right now). I would argue though: were they without any negative emotions? Without feelings of doubt, fear, anger, hopelessness, etc? Although, of course, most human experiences have negative emotions, I think it’s harder to stick with worthwhile ones, because they require so much more work than other experiences. Wouldn’t it just be easier to turn to friends-with-benefits scenarios instead of engaging in serious relationships, to eat tasty junk food instead of learning to nourish yourself, to hang out with friends that only talk about superficial things? Yes. It would be easier. But would it be worthwhile?

????worthwhile |?w?r??(h)w?l|
adjective
worth the time, money, or effort spent; of value or importance : extra lighting would make a worthwhile contribution to road safety.

You might have an easy relationship, but if it’s always easy, it’s probably not giving you much that could be considered of value or importance. Of course, this would depend on what you personally would define as valuable in a relationship, but for me: trust, understanding, inspiration, acceptance, communication. Those are things I believe are worthwhile, and consequently I don’t believe you can achieve any of those things without some effort, time, conflict and difficulty.

Think of a few things that you would consider worthwhile, important, valuable. Friendships? Volunteer work? Campaigning for something? Maintaining personal values? Nothing worthwhile is easy. Worthwhile things are wrought with struggles, frustration, negative emotions. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on them. It doesn’t mean that we should throw in the towel on a boyfriend or best friend just because there’s conflict. That’s the whole point: these things are worth it. Which means that working through the hard times will pay you back in great times.

To a certain extent, we all know this intuitively. When we really believe in something, we’re willing to fight for it against adversity, to defend it against criticism, to work for it because we know in the end it will be worth it. This is just meant as a reminder: are you considering giving up on something that might end up being worthwhile?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

xoxo,

How’s Mars?

I have been thinking/discussing recently the major (and ridiculous) differences between males and females. It’s astounding! As I’m currently in a relationship after some time of being single, I find myself once again shocked and frustrated by some of the things that go along with being struck by that darn arrow. First things first, the buzz can wear off pretty darn fast. Secondly, trying to read another person is like trying to decipher ancient mandarin by using hot chocolate powder. Oh sure, most body language is readable. Most sentences can be easily deconstructed. But when it comes to the opposite sex, when all mangled up with your screwed perceptions (screwed by ‘love’, of course) it becomes nothing short of impossible. Yet, being the woman that I am, I always still assume I have some idea of what men REALLY mean (never true) or what they REALLY want (usually wrong). So I go ahead and judge the situation, which may or may not shift my mood, which may or may not cause an issue with the other person. Confusing, frustrating, stupid.

Talking about this with one of my favourite people, we realized we are the same way: both insufferable overthinkers. We overanalyze every minute detail of a conversation, assume, accuse, apologize. The only solution we can think of to solve this very grave problem of personality traits is to check oneself. Everytime we catch ourselves overthinking, we must tell ourselves to halt this process before it becomes an issue. Again, easier said than done.

That’s one key difference then between males and females. I am extremely perceptive and sensitive, and therefore quite emotional. The man I’m with, however, is very unemotional and has a difficult time expressing his emotions, like many men. My friend remarked today that this, unfortunately is the case in the majority of the male sex..they are consistently taught not only not to cry, but really not to express any other emotion in words. Suppression is just as harmful to a relationship as is overexpression. A balance is required, but with neither party usually able to comply, it ends up being a relationship of two poles. The female, emotional side, and the male, stoic side. Opposites attract, but when problems occur and emotions rise, you end up with one person crying and the other silent and frustrated. It’s terrible!

I read a very significant quote the other day that makes light of the situation and yet still rings true:

“Male emotion is like female sexuality. You can’t go too fast too soon.”

Sexist? I disagree. I think that the female requires a feeling of validation in some way before she will feel comfortable getting sexual, and so maybe that is the little piece I am missing..Maybe the man requires much more of the validation of his character, assurance that you really like him, more familiarity with you, before he is able to express himself properly with you. Something to think about definitely. It makes so much sense when you work the analogy backwards!

One thing’s for sure: if only emotional chemistry was as easy as physical chemistry. Relationships would be a breeze!

Scroll to Top