Long ago and far, far away, I dated a lovely man for a while who often had big reactions to little events, so I said to him one time, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
His response was, “There is no small stuff.” His life reflected this belief. He was often upset about little things and was frequently angry with many people. Nothing was too minor to set him off.
I saw him not long ago, and he admitted that there was indeed a lot of small stuff—yet he no longer lets it ruin his life. Too bad he sweated it for so many of those years. He could have been enjoying life on a much grander scale, in terms of well-being.
If you are always upset and angry, you might want to define for yourself what is “small stuff” and what is “big stuff.” I cannot tell you how to sort it out for yourself, but I do have some thoughts to share with you about some of my own small versus big stuff.
Small: Someone driving very slowly in front of you when you are in a hurry. Big: A drunk driver weaving in and out of traffic endangering everyone’s life.
Small: Someone in front of you in the bank line who seems to have endless business. Big: No money and no bank account.
Small: A cranky, too-tired child. Big: A child with an incurable illness.
Small: Looking into your overfull closet and declaring that you have nothing to wear. Big: No clothes and no closet.
Small: Spilling something and getting a spot on your carpet. Big: No house and no carpet.
Small: The wind blew and messed up your new hairdo. Big: The tornado came and blew away your house.
Small: Someone put a scratch on your fender. Big: Your car was totaled.
Small: You have bills to pay. Big: You have no money and no credit.
These are probably more examples than you need to get the idea. So from now on, when you start to get rattled, ask yourself some questions:
- Will this have a long-term effect, or is it a just-for-the-moment annoyance?
- Is this endangering my life or the life of another?
- Is this something that will impair my health or the health of another
- Will this have a significant negative impact on my life or the life of another?
- Is this something that endangers any living thing on the planet?
- Will this endanger the planet itself?
- Is this something I really want to lose control over?
Again, this is about making choices based on what you believe is important and what is not. Only you can decide if you wish to be upset or take life in stride.