How to Get the Long Straw Every Time
Woe is me
Do you ever feel that you are always getting the raw deal, the messy end of the stick, the short straw? Have you ever grumbled, It's alright for them...? Do you sometimes indulge in a 'Woe is me' moment?
If you answered yes to any of the above, it could be time to look for the long straw.
Raindrops on roses
Time to go from the sobs of self-pity to The Sounds of Music... and think of a few of your favorite things! Think of the things in your life that make you feel good, that you feel fortunate to experience. Call to mind the best bits about you. Just stop for a moment and try it. No, really, do it now...
Found something? Excellent! That's your long straw. These are the rewards you get in this bargain you've struck with life. We often get so wound up about what's not working, we forget to notice what is. So it can be reassuring to recall these blessing, to redress the balance if you feel that the world is against you.
This exercise works on two levels. Firstly, the fact that you can't focus on two things simultaneously means that by considering the nicer aspects of your life, you automatically stop dwelling on the negatives. This alone will relieve a good deal of your angst.
Secondly, when you turn your attention to your long straws, you magically feel less resentful of the downsides. It's hard to feel badly-done-to when you begin cataloging all the wonderful things you have. As a result, your attitude shifts, and you go from down to up.
It's Just Not Fair
Allow me to illustrate with a personal example. When I was housebound with a new baby, I would become enraged that my husband could casually nip into the golf club as the whim struck, whereas. I had to plan my outgoings like a military operation. 'it's just not fair!' I would stomp and pout, focusing on my short straw the temporary restriction. But after a concerted effort, I began to acknowledge certain advantages to my stay-at-home routine - coffee with a friend, a spot of gardening, pram-pushing on a sunny day, leisurely breakfast as my husband would rush off to an early meeting.
These were my long straws which I had begun to take for granted. In considering them, I was forced to admit that my life wasn't so bad after all. It was quite a humbling experience and one that put paid to any stroppy resentments.
Acknowledging the plus-sides put the occasional downside into perspective and made them much easier to bear. In fact, it turned out that my husband actually considered me to be the one who had it easy! Perhaps you and your partner have had similar 'discussions'. Many of us have a tendency to believe we are the most unfortunate. But instead of competing for who's getting the worst deal, we'd all be better off of we shifted the focus away from the flaws and towards the fabulous.
Once you start this process, you may be pleasantly surprised at how many long straws can think of. Happily, the rule of 'whatever you focus on expands' applies to the good stuff just as much as the dross. Simply by seeking out your 'diamonds in the dust-heap', you'll unearth more and more of them.
'Count your blessing' - Proverb
So the next time you are enjoying yourself, doing something you love, whatever that may be, register it as a long straw. Acknowledge that you have that good in your life. And don't forget, whenever you come across these joys, give yourself a pat on the back. If you are going to take responsibility for whatever is going wrong, you also get to take credit for anything your are doing right! So, if you have maneuvered your life to include these little snippets of pleasure, delight in that too.
The more regularly you seek and find your long straws, the more ammunition you will have when your woes threaten to send you into a downward spiral. But happily, when the attitude of counting your blessing becomes automatic, you will find fewer occasions when you need to use it to find off the blues.
Heart for Sale [Original Song and Video]
Music & Lyrics: Bryarly Bishop