Stressed About Little Things That Really Don’t Matter
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”—Lao Tzu
It is not the size of our bank account, nor our status or achievements that matter in the end. What truly matters are our relationships and the lives we touch along the way. Material possessions are vehicles to help us fulfil our life’s purpose, they should not become our life story, since we are likely to be disappointed if we lose them or cease to identify with them. When everything is stripped away, all that is left is our connections with each other. It is our relationships that define how well we have lived. How does this idea appeal to you? Do you value the relationships in your life or take them for granted? We ought to be grateful for them because to assume they will always be there is the greatest folly we can make.
Last week, I lost a dear friend to a debilitating illness that plagued him for much of his life. I’ve known him since childhood and sadly he passed away at a very young age. The news of his death saddened me and I still cannot believe he’s gone. It’s odd because I find myself thinking about the simple things following his passing, like his phone number stored on my phone which I can’t bring myself to look at. I’m trying to make sense of his loss and appreciate how the wounds are still fresh. When I heard of his passing, the words in the title of the article instantly came to mind. Everything we aspire to have or become in life matters little in the final analysis because it’s rarely mentioned at our eulogy.
Knowing this, why do we pursue things of little significance? Why are we so stressed about things that matter little, especially when we won’t be remembered for them? For many, there’s a preoccupation chasing material objects, symbols and status when few will remember them for their achievements. Relationships are foundational because our connections define who we are. In the long run, it is who we become that highlights whether we’ve lived from the level of the soul or the ego. The ego always wants more and is never fulfilled. It constantly tries to satisfy its needs through the desire to be, do or have. The soul on the other hand doesn’t have these needs, all it asks is that we abide by its true nature and follow our heart. The soul’s obligation is vested in love, purity, joy and bliss; this is what makes the soul come alive. It is what the Jungian Analyst James Hollis, Ph.D. means when he writes in What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life: “We do not serve our children, our friends and partners, our society by living partial lives, and being secretly depressed and resentful. We serve the world by finding what feeds us, and, having been fed, then share our gift with others.”
Show Your Appreciation To Those You Love
“Those who love others grandly are those who love themselves grandly. Those who have a high toleration and acceptance of others are those who have a high toleration and acceptance of themselves. You cannot show another a part of you that you cannot show yourself.”—Neale Donald Walsch
Does this makes sense to you that there’s a better way to live instead of being controlled by your egoic needs? Are you willing to let go of what you think will make you happy in order to live from the level of the soul? I assure you living this way will bring you great joy beyond anything found in material objects. When we live this way we are awakened to the truth of our existence. Soulful living nourishes our whole self: the mind, body and spirit and is the pathway to a rich and bountiful life. In contrast, chasing things and status satisfies only the mind and body temporarily and does little to nurture our soul. I must be clear and state this doesn’t mean we mustn’t gain material things that we enjoy. What I’m talking about is chasing material objects believing they are the only source of our happiness. Material items offer us temporary satisfaction until the next thing comes along. In contrast, friendships, family and true connections keep on giving. The value of human connections is something money cannot buy and what really matters are those who will remember us for the times we spent together.
Let’s not take our relationships for granted. We mustn’t think they will always be there since life can change in the blink of an eye. Tell those you love how much they mean to you. Do it randomly with no expectations because it is the feelings that arise within you that mean the most. Show your appreciation to those you love and cherish how they enrich your life. Let’s be honest, not all relationships are a bed of roses and that’s okay because the contrasting states we experience compels us to learn more about ourselves than if the relationship were smooth sailing. Relationship challenges shine a light on our disowned selves. So make it your mission to express love and appreciation often. For there may come a time when you wish you could have told them how much you loved them. It may be too late by then if you don’t value the relationship while they’re still present.