Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's just... silly

I continue to be astounded by how far some people are willing to go to stay inside the negative cocoon they've built around themselves. It occurred to me when I was backpacking that we really do worry about some stupid stuff back here at home. Some people get really upset over a television channel being changed, a thought being spoken aloud, laughter when there shouldn't be any (according to them). Others are always complaining about 'The Man' (the government, corporations, the media) doing something they don't like, the world not being exactly as they see fit, or their lives not turning out as they had envisioned. It all adds up to nothing but a spiral of negativity which brings them and everyone around them down. Nothing constructive comes of it; in fact this behaviour often hastens the onset of self-loathing and despair. If you deem everything around you to be stressful, inappropriate or ugly, where are you going to find beauty and serenity? Will you find any at all? Will you ever be happy and content?
It's a question I can't definitively answer, but I'd hazard a guess that 'No' is going to be pretty accurate.

Kids are told 'not to judge a book by its cover', and it's a good lesson to learn. Reading between the lines and spotting the man behind the curtain are very important skills to have. Perhaps though, slightly older kids should be taught that putting a glossy cover on a grubby book improves the book's quality just a little bit and encourages readers to pick it up and get to know it. This isn't to say that people (or books) should hide depression, sickness or emotions behind a false facade, rather that if they act a little happier and smile a little more, the world will look on them and smile a bit more too.
'Smile and the world smiles with you' is a vomit-inducing line, but there's some truth hidden there.
'Fake it til you make it' is a better phrase. It's a well-known fact that the more depressed and boring you tell yourself you are, the more depressed and boring you will become. It's a two-way street though: if you tell yourself that you're happy, and force a smile, you feel a bit better. Soon you're not even faking it, it's become part of who you are. If all you're seeing is ugliness in everything and faults in everyone, you certainly won't notice a Perfect Moment when it comes swanning by.

Being closed to new experiences, new ideas and focusing on what's wrong with life and the world leaves your brain muddied. It took The Andes to crystallise my brain, and I'm glad it did. I worry about stupid stuff far less now, I'm far less judgemental than I used to be (or at least I keep more of those thoughts to myself) and I'm more receptive to perfect moments. In a nutshell, I'm much happier and I don't have this feeling that the world is a crappy place and that life is too hard to manage. Constantly complaining about things increases the chances you'll find fault in something - and that just continues the cycle with ever-increasing frequency.

The next time you go to say 'Well I guess I'm just boring then' or 'THIS is stupid, and THIS is stupid, and THIS is stupid' or that 'everything you do fails', just take a second and see if you can rephrase it to make it happier. Our lives aren't anywhere near as crappy as some people make them out to be, so it's probably a good idea if you stop bringing others into the make-believe world of crap you've created for yourself. If your life really IS crappy and difficult, well shit, get some help, you probably need it. If it ISN'T, and you come to the conclusion that, all things considered, life is pretty good and that you're lucky to have all these opportunities at your feet, you'll probably feel better about yourself and that positivity will rub off.

Sure, some things are worth worrying and complaining about but, really, is spilled milk really one of them?