We all have people in our lives who seemingly know how to push our buttons—they are somehow able to get under our skin and threaten our peace and happiness. There may also be circumstances that invariably make us tense or irritable. Rather than denying that this is happening or resigning ourselves to these unpleasant feelings, we can use a variety of tools and perspectives to help us identify these conditions and address them. We can also make ourselves less susceptible to being impacted by these conditions. We can build a foundation of serenity through practices that stabilize our emotional reactions and make us aware of how we interact with the world. We can also be proactive about the elements in our lives to which we consistently have negative reactions. Finally, we can look inside ourselves and try to truly understand why we react the way we do and use that knowledge to mitigate our negative emotions.
It can be hard to let things run their natural course, especially when it means letting go of something very precious to you.
It is a very natural thing to move in and out of people’s lives. For workmates, teammates, or even friends, this can happen regularly, and while these transitions can be difficult, there are other circumstances that are way more intense. There are those in your life that are truly a part of you—literally and figuratively. You see a big part of them in you and you in them. You’ve given enough of yourself to them and to their growth and evolution that their lives and yours literally merge. At least for a time.
Do you ever go through periods feeling that you’re just not satisfied?
We all have times when we’re not happy about the way our lives are going. Everything may be fine, or even good, but life can still seem mundane or ordinary. When no milestones are happening, when we’re in the doldrums between vacations, or when there’s nothing but routine, it can seem as if our lives aren’t special or extraordinary. Life satisfaction doesn’t mean settling for a life that is less than what you want it to be—it means accepting and living in the moment to the fullest. It means making the most of what you have while being open to opportunities and potential change. It means acknowledging and being grateful for the good things in your life and having a plan for addressing the aspects of your life that aren’t what you want. Life satisfaction means choosing to be happy now—not at some point in the future.
All of us feel pain at some point in our lives.
Most of us experience moderate pain, and some of us have to endure chronic, intense pain for extended periods. Pain is there for a reason—to warn us of harm, to let us know that something is wrong, or to stop us from doing further damage. It’s generally not pleasant, and is sometimes difficult or impossible to endure. But pain and suffering are not the same thing. Pain is a signal, and suffering is our reaction to it. In some cases, it’s possible to control or reinterpret that reaction and decrease or cease our suffering. It’s certainly easier said than done, and it may not work for everyone or in every circumstance, but it’s worth exploring.
What’s your overall impression when you think about your impact on the world?
Most people would probably say that it’s positive but that they could probably do more. But many are not really aware of the range of impacts they have and are not intentional about understanding or targeting their impacts. Many impacts you have on the world, both positive and negative, are subtle. You might give someone a genuine smile and change the course of their day. You might unknowingly use a product with palm oil, not realizing that it’s leading to the extinction of species. When we think of our impacts, many of us only think about those impacts about which we’ve made choices, like giving money to a charity, when the bulk of our impacts do not rise to