“If I could have one moment free from stress I would know true happiness.”
It is unsettling to note how often I have heard that lament over the years. Increasingly it appears as if we are fated to cope with a seemingly unending parade of stressful events that are out of our control and create an environment of constant worry and anxiety.
Try as we may to stay positive, we find ourselves nodding in woeful agreement to Gilda Radner’s old SNL sketch of Rosanne Rosannadanna, “It’s always something.” The daily hassle seems inescapable: deadlines to meet, quotas to achieve, bills to be paid, relationships gone awry, kids rebelling, loved ones bickering and on and on.
Perhaps we struggle to find a peace that is ever more elusive because we are programmed to measure success by how often we get what we want, which is another way of measuring the extent by which we control the situation. Therein lies the predicament: we always want more and as for being in control, if you want God to laugh tell him your plans.
It’s axiomatic: by being attached to a pre-determined outcome, fear of failure or less than stellar performance makes stress intrinsic to the endeavor!
But the reality is unassailable; there are occasions when the result you want may not be in the cards.
To avoid stress we must let go of outcome.
That doesn’t mean being indifferent to success and failure. Or not trying as hard as you can to achieve your objectives. Or stifling disappointment when outcome is not what you anticipated.
It means that we understand that life is organic. It goes of its own accord. And if we work toward a goal, giving our all, doing all we could, giving all we have to give, well then, that is enough.
We are not victims. Life happens for us, not to us! We can learn to take what life dishes out and learn from it.
And just think, without self-imposed standards of setting the bar, we would be free of the constant pressure to raise it higher and higher. We would be, dare I say it, happy!