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Your Reactions Might be Making Things Worse

It's not what happens that makes you upset. It's not what the world gives you that produces negative
Your Reactions Might be Making Things Worse
It’s not what happens that makes you upset.
It’s not what the world gives you that produces negative feelings.
It might be you.
Think I’m making a bold claim?
Keep reading, and I’ll explain what I mean.

"Talk to the hand" might not be the best way to go about things.
"Talk to the hand" might not be the best way to go about things.
Why Your Mind is the Worst
I used to think that some people just got unlucky, that the world was out to get them.
I felt that way myself many times in my life.
Until I started reading about Buddhism and Stoicism.
Those two life philosophies changed the way I view my life.
Buddhism states that all of life is suffering, and it is our task in life to see that reality and learn to accept it.
And the core tenet of Stoicism is that any and all bad things can happen to us–but that we always can control how we respond.
At first I didn’t like what sounded like such a negative outlook of these two philosophical/religious frameworks.
But then I realized that’s exactly the point they are making.
My reaction to what is happening is at the heart of it all.
If I can learn to change my reaction, I can learn to lessen the load from the pain in my life.
Pain is Pain Until it Isn't
Someone has taken something from you.
You don’t like this.
You wan’t to get this precious object back.
But why do you want this thing in the first place?
Do you really need it as badly as you think you do?
What is your relationship with this object you crave so much?
Buddhism would say that your attachment to this thing is the root cause of your suffering.
Stoicism would have you look at your response to what happened.
Is it serving you?
Is it causing undue harm?
Again, your pain is not in what happened to you; it’s in your response to what happened to you.
Think about it.
So What's a Human to Do?
Learn to let go.
Learn to notice when you are becoming overly attached to a fixed view of the world.
How you go about doing this is up to you.
There is no panacea for pain in life, and the practices that stick with you are the ones tailored to fit your unique life.
Still, there are things you can try.
Next time something “awful” happens to you, take a deep breath.
Or use a word of your choosing to break the negative thought pattern–a word like “STOP” or “ENOUGH.”
Once you’re free of the pattern, you’re free to choose another path.
Most of all, go easy on yourself.
Life is a learning process.
We all have to learn to deal with the pain we carry.
There are others walking a similar path, however.
Identify someone in your life you respect for how they carry their pain, and ask them how they do it.
No one needs to carry such a heavy load alone.
In Conclusion
Hopefully you’ve learned something about the nature of suffering from this issue.
Hopefully you have a clearer understanding of your role in the event-pain cycle that is life.
Life is hard enough as it is, and we often respond in ways that make it harder than it needs to be.
The solution is not in beating yourself up about it.
The answer is in realizing that what once held great power over you can be met with an ever greater power, a power that you’ve always had.
Thank you for reading. If you liked this issue, why don’t you share it with someone who would like it as well? Help lessen someone’s burden.
Also, invite your friends to like the fast-growing Facebook page for The Mental Health Update.

I’m glad you’re on this mental health journey with me,

Jordan
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Jordan Brown - Mental Health Writer, Poet, and Advocate

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