This post was heavily inspired by a great article written by Brianna Wiest
I spend a lot of time thinking about how perception shapes my ideas and experiences.
What I see as a negative experience may be very positive to another individual, but why is that? What makes some people more capable of letting the irritations of life roll off their back.
“Inner peace is not the insistence that you can’t tolerate "negative" people, places or situations, it is having the ability to cope with them.”
For some people it’s a natural inclination. You may be a more relaxed person and, as a side effect, you are less apt to become upset.
For others it may be a hard fought battle, requiring energy and self-awareness just to keep things at a bearable level.
I think one of the major contributing factors to unhappiness is being too bought in to one way of thinking. Your perception of an event is always going to be biased, but if you can view things as objectively as possible it may be easier to forget about what irked you in the first place.
One thought experiment I get to try this line of thinking on quite frequently is when ordering food. Sometimes my order isn’t quite right, or the people preparing the food are taking a long time. Maybe my sandwich has some ingredient I asked them to remove, or there’s an overabundance of lettuce and hardly any meat. These are small but commonly annoying things that can’t really be avoided.
It is in these moments that I will often pause and think for a moment:
Does my anger improve the situation? Is the person preparing my food that petty?
Am I able to fix the problem with minimal effort? Will they offer a solution?
It seems almost commonplace to assume malicious intent any time we perceive someone to have wronged us. We are creating the reason for our own unhappiness and allowing external situations beyond our control to determine our experience.