- Mental Health
Why Does It Bother Me? – Your Emotional Response to Life
We humans are, by our very nature, an emotional lot. Just why we were given this capability (where other species apparently weren’t), has been debated for years, if not centuries. Some think it’s a survival mechanism. Still, other people can seemingly drift through life without needing any particularly strong emotional attachment to things. They may not be as happy as those that have a healthy emotional response to life, though.
Sometimes an emotional response is a good thing, like when someone dies, we grieve, we cry..it seems a terrible loss. At other times, an emotional response like anger or jealousy is not a good thing, it only instigates or accelerates a problem..creating bad feelings in the process. You may think it’s better to release your frustration, rather than keeping it bottled up for a long time.
Instead of looking at it that way, you need to ask yourself “Why does it bother me?”. Perhaps you’ve never even thought to ask yourself such a question. Think about it for a minute though..what caused you to place so much importance on something in the first place? We let our emotions control our immediate response to things that happen, all too often. Unfortunately such strong attachment to these things causes us a lot of stress, and peripheral stress on those around us.
Once you realize that everything that exists in this world has no intrinsic value whatsoever..other than the particular value YOU place on it, the answer should become fairly clear. There’s really no need to place so much importance on things. This isn’t to suggest that we ought to become unfeeling, uncaring robots. No..we just need to keep things in the proper perspective.
Letting go of your ego
Another unfortunate side of human nature is the notion of ‘ego’. We seem to want, or even need to massage this ego at all costs. Your ego, if challenged by any imagined opposition, takes up a defensive position. Here again, you need to ask yourself “Why does it bother me? ” “Is everybody wrong, and I’m right, or is my ‘ego’ brain playing tricks with me”? Hint: it’s the latter (even if you are right).
Another question you need to ask yourself is…”What’s the worst that could happen”. I’ll bet if you stepped back from the situation and analyzed it objectively..9 times out of 10, you wouldn't be able to come up with a truly valid response. Why cause yourself such stress in the first place? Chill, man!
[sigh]... If we could only let common sense rule our decision-making at all times. You might think that’s just not possible every time, but that isn’t necessarily so. Besides constantly asking yourself “Why does it bother me? ” and ”What’s the worst that could happen”, you need to lose the unrealistic attachment, or importance your ‘ego’ brain has created for these things. You really need to just ‘let things be’. Why get all hot and bothered about people and situations that have no direct effect on your life at all?
Once you realize that most things are transitory in nature, and they mostly don’t matter to any significant degree, you can relax and let go of all that stress. Life needn’t be a competition. Give your ego a break.
Change is constant, so why not move with it?
There’s also no reason to worry about things you have no control over, either. Especially things from your past. Although it seems obvious, you surely realize..the past is just that..the past. You can’t go back and change it, you can only learn from it..hopefully. You need to constantly move on, and let the past be what it is.
They say the only thing that’s constant is change. In most ways, this is a good thing. Otherwise, we get stuck in an endless cycle of the same-old, same-old. While familiarity frequently breeds content, after a while you may just get bored with the same old things, and find yourself searching for something better..the next bigger and better thing. This can only lead to a viscious cycle of dissatisfaction and stress.
Why not just free yourself from the attachment to such grasping and dissatisfaction. It’s your ego telling you what you want..again, not what you need.
This life is not about you, it’s about your place in it.
Whether you like it or not, your ego is making you do what’s best for you, first. This is unfortunate, since your true happiness depends on doing what’s best for others first, not what’s in it for you. Your ego should be taking a back seat.
You need to cultivate a positive, compassionate, and non-judgemental attitude toward others, whether they are family, friends, current or past enemies, people you’ve never even met, or have yet to meet. Even animals, insects, and the natural world needs your compassion and respect. This is what really matters to you, even if you’ve probably never thought of it that way. Stop listening to your ego. This is your key to true happiness.
Just remember to keep asking yourself “why does it bother me?” Stop being judgemental, or thinking negatively about the world around you. Embrace it in a positive way. You’ll be surprised how it then looks to you, and how relaxed and stress-free your life becomes, and the world around you will respond in kind.
This article ©2012 by timorous