Simplifying Life

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Have you ever found your life getting too messy? I don’t mean cluttered with stuff. I mean psychologically and emotionally messy. Cluttered with unwanted emotions inside your head caused by either events in your own life or events in the life of others close to you, perhaps friends, family members, even the world at large. When that happens to me, and it has a number of times in my life, I find I have to take inventory about what I need and don’t need in my life to make me happy.

When this happens to me, I don’t always recognize it initially. I have to find myself under so much stress that I can hardly cope. Once that happens, I make a priority list. The first item on my list is health. I have to eliminate the sources of stress in my life, at least to the extent that I can. I find that I, personally, can’t be subject to over-stimulation. I have to lead a fairly quiet life to be happy. I don’t have to be a hermit – far from it. But, I have to have the time and space to quiet my mind and emotions to keep my health on an even keel. Sometimes, I have to be pretty brutal and distance myself from situations that are causing stress in my life.

The second item on my priority list is the truth of reality. I have to live in the real world. My friends often tell me to be optimistic and that is a nice sentiment. I think I am usually optimistic, maybe too much so. I prefer to be realistic. You can have hopes and dreams and still be realistic. You can strive to make your hopes and dreams come true and I did that with regard to my own career. However, I knew it was not realistic to strive to be the Queen of England. That’s an extreme example. I’ve found if I keep it real, I’m far happier than if I put myself under stress trying to make the impossible happen or be someone I’m not.

The third priority on my list is love. Realize that you can’t make people love you. Let’s take families. Not every person in your family is going to love you. That’s realistic. Nothing you do or don’t do is going to make them love you. At some point, it’s time to quit trying. The same is true for relationships with a significant other or with friends. You can work hard at a relationship and sometimes it will turn out well and sometimes it won’t. You have to learn to compromise. But, you can’t make them love you. You have to know when to let them go.

My priority list works for me. What’s yours?