Why Your Brain Thinks It’s Late When You Are Actually Early

When we are busy or busy ourselves, it is difficult to see another person in the moment. We miss the small details, the little things—how they smile, look, act—that make the other person. Sometimes, we forget to be present with another person all day long in order to make our own mental priorities.

It’s a natural human tendency to think that if you don’t like something or someone, you’ll change it or move on. Unfortunately, a constant desire to be different—to stand out—over time robs us of our ability to live our lives with happiness, balance, and integrity. It’s not surprising, then, that when we encounter challenges in our personal lives, that we often become resentful. Instead of being grateful for what we already have and moving into our “new” normal, we grow even more frustrated and anxious until the old problem becomes a problem again.

We tend to become resentful when we have to move in another direction. When our normal path doesn’t make us happy, we feel helpless and depressed. While we certainly have the right to choose how we feel about others, we also have the right to accept our feelings without judgment. However, without realizing or acknowledging how we have internalized negative thoughts, thoughts such as I’m not smart enough to have good work, I’m not good enough to have a relationship, I don’t know what I want to be, and I can’t be happy without money, then we are bound to experience even more feelings of frustration—with ourselves and others.

The Solution: 

If you are a perfectionist, you are likely going to think that you are not good enough. If you are more of a realistic person, you realize that you don’t have to go back to the “old” path because something was working beautifully when you chose to do the “new” thing. You realize that just like life, your feelings don’t have to be perfect. We can still feel the same way we did when we were younger and we can always move forward. With that realization, you realize that nothing is going to change how you feel; you are more just in “survival mode” instead. It doesn’t matter whether you have been depressed for a day or ten years and have been feeling a million different emotions; you can still move forward.

In addition to accepting your feelings and thinking things through, you can do an experiment. You will need the following supplies:

• One empty wine bottle (or empty Coke bottle) • Small wooden block. If you have an urn or a picture of Jesus holding one, you can use it. • Picture of yourself as a child (or picture of you as an adult) • Picture of yourself from a previous relationship that went terribly and that caused you a lot of resentment (you can use a picture of a former lover from years gone by) • Picture of yourself in your current relationship as a newly married couple. (The trick is to imagine the image of your husband and wife with their kids in the background–but without their kids, of course, because no husband would EVER leave his wife after the kids are in school!)

• A few sheets of paper with blank spaces for your feelings to stand on and write on

If you can’t do any of this at your work or home, just do it at your computer.

Step One: Set the scene.

Take a picture of yourself as a child. For example, if you are 3, take the picture of you holding an urn. In the middle of the urn is the word “Happy.” You do not have to be a “happy child” to take this picture. Take a picture of your face. In the picture, say “I want to be happy.” You do not have to be a “happy person,” nor do you have to be someone who has always been happy. What does it mean to you to be “happy”? Now create a picture of the old you—a picture that represents the past you. You may want to picture your parents smiling and holding their baby.