IT'S UP TO YOU
It's so easy to let life knock the us down. There are so many petty little things that nip at our heels every day, just waiting to get a good grip and pull us backwards and sink us into a funk.
THE LITTLE THINGS
Most of the annoyances that come our way are small. Once you make your mind up not to let them bother you, they can just wash over the top and barely make a mark on your life. It's actually a good feeling when you reach a point when you can let stuff like that go and know that you beat it by not reacting to it. It's taken me a long time to reach this point, but it's a good place to be in.
THE BIGGER STUFF
Then there are the bigger things that come along in life to hurt you - the betrayal of a friend, the angry words of a family member resulting in a feud that affects everyone, awful workmates, marital problems, angry people on the road or elsewhere who make you feel threatened. These can seem insurmountable at the time, but often distance and a clear head (and a good dose of maturity and self confidence) can make all the difference and put them into perspective. After a while, even the big things often become small things when you don't give them the time and attention they crave.
CHOOSING NOT TO BE UPSET OR ANNOYED
I've watched a friend's life implode before my eyes because she has chosen to find hurt and betrayal in her marriage rather than choosing to give her husband the benefit of the doubt. She repeats the same toxic behaviour over and over again and wonders why she gets the same results. Nobody should live like that. Marriage should be a haven, not a hostile battlefield. It all comes down to choices - choose to be happy or choose to move on. Big choices, but ultimately they give better results than choosing to be miserable and cause misery to the people around you.
Richard Carlson sums it up so well in his book "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" when he says that we can't be free from life's annoyances but we can free ourselves from being annoyed by them. A few years ago I would have doubted this, I let way too many things influence my feelings - but entering the second half of life has made me realize that time is short and it's not worth wasting emotional energy on people or events that drag me down. Life is much richer when you move on, take a deep breath and focus on the good things that come our way every day.
Being miserable is a choice - so is being happy - I know which one I prefer. Every day I choose happiness because it really is the best way to live.