We are all familiar with the saying “Your life is shaped by your thoughts”. Only a few words, but they speak volumes. And everyone agrees with this saying. In principle. Because when we feel it – it sounds true. But when we try to analyse it – it sounds painful.
If it is true, you wonder what people’s thoughts are like if they live the lives they do not want? Undesirable? When they start complaining about their life being difficult, that life is a struggle, when they start talking about how bad people are, that there is no one who is normal, that everything has gone to hell – the only acceptable reaction that remains is to agree with their opinion. Because in any other attempt to express a different attitude, you will be at best labelled as an idealist, a dreamer and “a bit set in your ways”, or at worst, as crazy, a fool and a stargazer.
– Your thoughts run your life, and you say your life sucks. Maybe your thoughts suck, too?
This is where contradictions arise. People have a need to prove their thoughts to be correct, not useful. This is why it is more often the case that they spend their lives being right than being happy. In order for you to be right, it only takes stating what you see really is, but in order for you to be happy, you have to see a little bit further from what is and a little bit closer to what you want it to be. If you thoughtlessly suggest to those people they change their thoughts, you go into a battle, not just with them, but with their ego as well. This is when, with their joined forces, the landlord and his tenant ego open barrage fire against anything or anyone posing a threat to their long-established system of deeply-rooted convictions about the world they live in. The core of it boils down to this – they are right and you are a foreign mercenary.
You can choose. You are either going to talk about life being hard and most likely end up a victim who is always right, or you are going to start talking about life being easy, try it and see what happens. You are either going to talk about life being a struggle and most certainly end up being a wounded fighter who is always right, or you are going to start saying it is a party, try it and see what ensues. You are either going to talk about people being bad and surely end up as a good-hearted person nobody understands who is always right, or you are going to start believing that there are also some wonderful people, try it and see what happens. Because you may as well be right with a new story and happy at the same time. With the old story you are obviously just right.
Life without problems is possible, but life without challenges is not. The difference is that people who have problems seek solutions outside, while people who face challenges offer solutions delving deep inside themselves. Problems make you feel small and powerless, challenges make you grow and become bigger. Both things are essentially the same life situations that your attitude to them makes different. It is like a stranger smiling at you in the street, some people think about what that person needs, and some feel grateful for receiving a smile from a stranger. This is why people who see some life situations as challenges have the ability to enjoy life more. Because from one challenge to another they grow through experience. While those who live with problems get more and more tired, and even when the solution comes – they cannot feel happy about it.
They say when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. By the same token, when it becomes bitter, make a bitter-tasting liqueur. When it becomes tough, take a pull of toughness. But just drink a toast. Always. Because people who drink a toast to better days are the ones who believe in them, but those who are just idly hoping for them are waiting for someone else to dish them out. Instead of waiting for them, invoke them. Tell a new story if the old one is of no use anymore. The old one is just being repeated – the new one holds power.
Translated from the Serbian by Svetlana Milivojević-Petrović
This post is also available in: Serbian