Mike is frustrated. He really wants to watch this great new movie tonight but all cinema tickets are already sold out. That sucks. Peter, a friend of Mike, doesn’t care because he is not really into movies anyway.
Alright, we all can understand Mike’s situation. He really wants to watch this new movie tonight and it is not going to happen. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that Mike is not accepting the situation.
The problem is not that there are no more cinema tickets, the problem is that Mike wants things to be different.
What bothers Mike doesn’t bother Peter. So the situation itself is not the problem, it is how Mike thinks about it, feels about it and reacts to it.
Having no problems
We often label situations that are not like we want as problems. People have different problems because people have different expectations, beliefs and value systems. The way out of this is acceptance.
Instead of wasting energy on negative emotions like anger, fear or guilt, move on right away. Accept the situation as it is and try to understand why you feel a certain situation is a problem at all.
Very often problems are just expectations you had that did not become reality.
You might say: But I still want this and that, well that’s your problem you want something but can’t have it. Stop wanting and take things as they are and life gets a lot better.
Life is pretty perfect without problems
If there are no problems something must be pretty perfect huh? Several studies show that after the basic human needs are met (basically people have shelter, food and some social connections) your happiness depends on how you live your life. How you deal with all those little situations you experience every day.
I’m no guru and I also still sometimes want things but if things turn out in a different way I learned to get to the acceptance stage way quicker. That makes life a much more enjoyable ride.
Acceptance, just like other skills, can be learned.
The basics of what helped me to change my way of thinking are outlined in the 100% free, no sign ups or whatever required Psychology Essentials Course.
I don’t sell anything, I created this course to wake people up and help them to understand a few essential concepts that can change lives. It changed mine and it can change yours. Carpe diem!
Diener, E., Seligman, M. E. P. (2004) Beyond money: Toward an economy of well-being. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 5: 1–31.
Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, (2008) “Happiness Adaptation to Income beyond ‘Basic Needs'” NBER Working Papers 14539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.