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“Rise above the little things” – John Burroughts, American essayist
Have you ever wondered why it’s always the “little things” that seem to topple your day from optimistic to pessimistic? Why we focus on a little point rather than letting it pass by and moving on with our day?
While I don’t have the answer as to why, I may be able to share some tips on how we can move past it.
What Are The Little Things?
The truth is that I usually think that what is worrying me is not little.
Which is what fuels anger, rage and generally turns a great day into a bad one. A comment, an event, a word – can turn our day around for the worse if we let it. Sometimes, I’ll freely admit, those feelings stay around for much more than the same day! I can think of some examples with ex-neighbours of mine, but I’ll be honest and say the little things bothered me a bit too much in that case.
Do you remember a book series called Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…(and it’s all small stuff)? I remember it being quite popular in the late nineties, seeing on on many bookshelves and loving reading the quotes inside. I miss having those library copies around the house and may buy one to remind myself of them!
3 Ways To To Learn To Let Go
If you remember my post on letting go, you’ll remember that this is a true area of struggle for me. Yet another reason to read more about it, I suppose! (If you happen to be an expert on letting go, comment at the end of this post – and let’s connect!)
1. Put the Little Things Into Perspective
First, we can take a step outside ourselves and look at the situation – how big is the “little thing” that is on the verge of ruining our day? As hard as it is to brush off comments and incidents, maybe they’re not worth holding onto. Will this truly matter in a month? A year? Five years? Ask the question.
Trust me, it’s still difficult to shake off the little things, but it helps. Does this little impediment really ruin my long-term goals? If not, can I focus on something positive that also happened recently and not carry the burden of negativity with me today?
Breathing in and out deeply when I do this helps, too. Usually, the answer with a clear head is that I’m worrying way too much and ruining my inner peace. In the long run, it’s not worth it.
3. Remember This Story About A Monk
This is a story I heard at the wellness retreat (author unknown):
A monk and his young monk-in-training are walking through the forest. They have sworn to, among many other vows, not touch women for the duration of their monkhood. Soon, they come to a clearing and a large river. An woman is standing there, asking for help and for them to carry her across the river. The older monk pauses for a second, contemplating, and then picks her up and carries her to the other side of the river. The young monk is shocked as he has never seen the older monk break a rule. They walk in silence for miles before the young monk can’t take his thoughts anymore and asks his teacher why he broke the rule. How could he possibly have done that?
“I put her down an hour ago…why are you still carrying her?”
Like the monk, we need to let go of actions as they happen and not carry resentment or negative thoughts towards what has happened. Personally, I struggle with this – but each time, I think of the monk, and it helps.
Of course, it’s also possible that when we let go of all that stress, we can discover who we really are – what we’re meant to be. We can see the path a little more clearly if we’re not clouded by little things that create negativity.
Do you remember my Easter trip to a yoga and wellness retreat? It’s on that trip that I tried meditation and realized how truly difficult it is for me to let the little things go. I was the only one who really struggled to stay still during guided meditations. (Case in point – they gave me a special spot by the door so I could leave if I couldn’t handle the stillness).
Mindfulness is about being conscious of your feelings and aware when you may react in a certain way. In fact, I know so little about it that I was thrilled when a fellow educational blogger mentioned this Mindfulness in Education Summit happening this week. I’ve used visualizations in a lot of my lesson plans, and growth mindset activities – but mindfulness is a whole other world of recognizing emotions and being able to let the little things go.
If you sign up for the summit before it begins on the 16th of October (2019), you’ll get an email with a preview video. It has a great idea about using snowglobes at home or in the classroom – but I won’t spoil the surprise!
What are your tips for letting the little things go, not sweating the small stuff? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! 😀
Have a lovely and productive week!
P.S. Photography fans, the photo for today’s post (and free poster!) is one I took at the Habsburg Palace in Vienna, Austria this past summer
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