BRING IT TO BARB Answering your questions on mental health, relationships and life issue

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Dear Barb,

I feel like I can no longer enjoy things in life any more. I used to be a real Seahawks fan for years and could follow players and study their abilities, but now with the kneeling thing it ruins it if I support it. I can’t go to any functions without everyone drinking or smoking pot so I don’t participate. The anti-Trump supporters are always around. My question is how can I be at peace and enjoy company with anyone anymore other than those who feel the same?

Signed,

Searching for Joy

Dear Searching for Joy,

Then stop! Can you hear me? Stop it! You are not the police of everyone around you. You are only the police of yourself! My mom used to tell me, “There’s a lot of different people in this world and you need to be able to get along with all of them.” Not entirely true, but true enough. It is not our job as humans to be the moral compass for those around us! Stop caring about another person’s viewpoint or what they think or support. Granted, you are known by the company you keep but you won’t have any company if your expectation is to align their beliefs with yours. The Seahawks, for example, are paid to play football. That is all that should really matter. Plain and simple! Gatherings should be functions that offer fun, meaningful conversation, not to manage consumption or judge anyone. Your focus needs to completely cross over to allowing others to think, believe and support whatever they choose regardless of whether it matches exactly, or partially, with your beliefs. We have become very intolerant as a society. I see it continuously with many of my counseling clients. Intolerance of how people talk, swear, dress, smell, behave and the list goes on. You are part of the problem. Stop it … can you hear me now? Intolerance begets more intolerance.

Next time you find you need to muster up some patience and tolerance, here are a few choices for your response: you can “just get along with other people” and let go or … spend a little energy and time asking questions about their viewpoints and acknowledge what it is that drives their belief, without any underlying agenda (i.e. defending yourself or converting them) or … look annoyed by your body language, belittle each point and visibly show an attitude that smacks of condescension (smirks or eye rolling), creating an atmosphere that feels uncomfortable. Whatever choice you make and practice, you’ll become good at! Ask yourself this “will I change my belief if they show me enough evidence to support their view?” I’m confident the answer will be no. Resisting watching TV when a Seahawks game is playing or remaining isolated from gatherings that could be fun and interesting is only punishing yourself. In a society that may not follow your rules or ideals, you are allowing society’s standard to affect your level of happiness. This will only make your world and circle of friends smaller and smaller until you are all by yourself, maybe with a cat, or a dog when you are 75 years old. Honestly, nobody wants to keep company with someone who adopts a “my way or the highway” demeanor. Better change this snowball effect before it builds more momentum and soon becomes a disorder or at best an unrealistic form of optimism for society causing you a lifetime of needless anxiety and disappointment. Letting go is so freeing.

That being said, there are standards of practice and behavior that are vital and expected in high office positions. But it is possible to be disappointed in others without having it affect your own personal happiness. Resist the uncontrollable urge to be validated by means of a debate. We all have different perspectives on things solely from an accumulation of our past experiences. Many times, these experiences are misguided or had information omitted that needed to be considered. Digging your heels into the ground or pounding sand is not the way to be heard. Limiting your company to only those who agree with you only hurts you! Take a deep breath for six seconds, hold for six seconds, blow out slowly for six seconds and say “uuuuhhhmmmmm” and see how much more joy you will feel because you are now actually seeking peace.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Barb I honestly feel that you made up this question in order to address what you see as issues in your own family. When did telling an adult to “stop it” ever work? If someone can’t experience happiness, it’s likely their problems go deeper that platitudes can correct. If someone doesn’t want to watch the Seahawks – well that’s a choice not a problem.

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