I had just read another chapter out of the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff book and–like the other chapters I have posted on this blog–I think that this is one of the chapters that people should remember, especially with the way most of us live our lives now.
As I continue to read the said book, I couldn’t help but think how much it could benefit a couple of people I know, especially this chapter and the previous chapters that I have shared.
The chapter that I am going to be sharing for today is the twenty-second chapter in the book entitled: Repeat to Yourself, “Life isn’t an Emergency”. This chapter also coincides with what was being said on a previous chapter I had posted (Remind Yourself that When You Die, Your “In Basket” Won’t Be Empty) and this is what Richard Carlson has to say about this chapter:
In some ways, this strategy epitomizes the essential message of this book. Although most people believe otherwise, the truth is, life isn’t an emergency.
I’ve had hundreds of clients over the years who have all but neglected their families as well as their own dreams because of their propensity to believe that life is an emergency. They justify their neurotic behavior by believing that if they don’t work eighty hours a week, they won’t get everything done. Sometimes I remind them that when they die, their “in basket” won’t be empty!
A client who is a homemaker and mother of three children recently said to me, “I just can’t get the house cleaned up the way I like it before everyone leaves in the morning.” She was so upset over her inability to be perfect that her doctor had prescribed her anti-anxiety medicine. She was acting (and feeling) like there was a gun pointed at her head and the sniper was demanding that every dish be put away and every towel folded–or else! Again, the silent assumption was, this is an emergency! The truth was, no one other than she had created the pressure she was experiencing.
I’ve never met anyone (myself included) who hasn’t turned little things into great big emergencies. We take our own goals so seriously that we forget to have fun along the way, and we forget to cut ourselves some slack. We take simple preferences and turn them into conditions for our own happiness. Or, we beat ourselves up if we can’t meet our self-created deadlines. The first step in becoming a more peaceful person is to have the humility to admit that, in most cases, you’re creating your own emergencies. Life will usually go on if things don’t go according to plan. It’s helpful to keep reminding yourself and repeating the sentence, “Life isn’t an emergency.”