The sharpest weapon we have against anxiety, negativity and stress is our ability to choose one present thought over another.
Recently, so much has been postponed, closed or canceled. But not everything.
Love has not been postponed, closed or canceled.
Hope has not been postponed, closed or canceled.
Self-care has not been postponed, closed or canceled.
Right now is an opportunity to invest… in the little things that matter most.
The human experience is filled with love, passion, creativity, joy, connection, compassion, laughter…and the taste of chocolate cake. But because we as human beings learn, evolve and grow through life’s ups and downs, our experience also includes plenty of difficult situations and seasons that round us out.
The key right now is to not let life’s difficulties get the best of you.
Think about the most gut-wrenching situations you’ve endured in your past. Doing so likely brings up some very uncomfortable feelings. And the associated attachments you have may stir anxiety, anger or sadness. This is a predicament many of us face.
Now imagine how you would feel if you were able to get over these feelings. By “get over” I mean no longer suffering over something that can’t be controlled. I know this is possible because Marc and I have both personally come to peace with extremely difficult, heartbreaking, uncontrollable situations in our past, and we’ve witnessed hundreds of our students and Think Better, Live Better seminar attendees do the same.
So what’s the secret? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, but all of the possible answers start with…
Releasing Your Judgments
The truth is, it’s impossible to get over a difficult situation—to let it go—if you’re still obsessively judging it and comparing it to something else. Let’s revisit one specific gut-wrenching situation from your past again—choose one that still stirs negative emotions. And then ask yourself:
- Do you believe it should not have happened at all?
- Do you believe the outcome should have been different?
- Do you take what happened personally?
- Do you blame someone else for what happened?
- Do you blame yourself?
- Do you believe the situation is impossible to get over?
If you caught yourself thinking “yes” to one or more of those questions, then what’s prolonging your suffering and preventing you from getting over it is judgment. Your judgments about what “should have happened” continues to postpone the love, hope, and self-care you know you are capable of practicing.
Now you may be thinking, “What happened was unbelievably horrible! I can’t conceive of ever getting over it!” But releasing your judgment does not mean you’re pleased with what happened, or that you support it, but rather that you are eliminating the negative burden you are carrying by perpetually judging it.
When you let go of your negative judgments, you automatically replace the victim mentality with acceptance and presence. And acceptance and presence together will free your mind and move you forward.
This very same principle applies to our present challenges with COVID-19, especially for those of us who are not ill.
When we think better about our circumstances, we live better in spite of them.
And there is no reason to postpone. Now is the time to practice being more mindful of your judgments and how you respond to life. Of course, that’s much easier said that done. Mindfulness as a daily ritual is the ultimate challenge. It’s a way of living, of being, of seeing, of tapping into the full power of your humanity, without judgment.
At its core, mindfulness is…
- Being aware of what’s happening in the present moment without wishing it were different
- Enjoying each pleasant experience without holding on when it changes (which it will)
- Being with each unpleasant experience without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t)
Let Each Moment Entice You
Above all, what you need to remember is that where you are and what you’re doing at any given moment is absolutely essential.
Because it is the only moment guaranteed to you.
You are not on your way somewhere else.
You are not progressing to a more important time or place.
The present is not just a stepping-stone—it is the ultimate destination.
This moment is where your greatest opportunity lies.
This moment is your life!
It might seem obvious, but we forget more often than we’d like to admit.
All day, every day, many of us feel like the present isn’t enough—like our life right now simply isn’t worthy of our full presence. And because of this, we judge it harshly and miss out on most of life’s present beauty.
But what if we did the opposite?
What if we accepted this moment—no matter how imperfect—as exactly enough?
What if we accepted the “bad” with the good, the letdowns with the lessons, the heart-wrenching with the interesting, the anxiety with the opportunity, as part of a package deal that this moment alone is offering us?
What if we paused right now, and saw everything with perfect clarity?
Keep thinking about it…
Would we live more meaningful and memorable lives in the days and weeks ahead?
Would we have more beautiful stories to cherish and share?
I think we would.
And thus, I think now is the best time to practice.
Are you ready for a challenge?
It takes roughly 60 days to form a new habit. So for the next eight weeks, wake up every morning and practice being less judgmental and more mindful—practice looking at the bright side of your life—and you will rewire your brain.
Will you accept this challenge?
Did this post resonate with you today?
We would love to hear from YOU.
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Also, our podcast, THINK BETTER, LIVE BETTER (yes, it shares the title of our annual live event) can be used as a tool to keep your mindset grounded while you’re socially distancing, etc. You can listen to the whole first season—30 episodes—on your favorite podcast player right now (M&A on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts).