A couple days ago, my crossfit gym posted a link to a list called 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. I think overall it’s an interesting list, if utterly bland and generic, with “good advice” on things to do to stop making yourself miserable. Here’s a smattering of points picked more or less at random.
1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you. But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time? Three years? Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
See? Lovely. Heart warming. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.
But now that we’ve identified what not to do, how do you propose that we go about not doing them???? It is very easy to say “Stop worrying so much” but how the hell does one do that? Worrying is an essential component to my personality; telling me not to worry so much is like telling a dog not to sniff another dog’s asshole. Not going to happen. I appreciate that they’ve told us what the perils of worrying are—as if we did not already know that worrying too much is an obstacle—but there are no solutions. I suppose it is foolish to expect someone who is spewing platitudes in list form to provide real answers. I just find it very frustrating to have these sorts of broad, unfocused pieces of “advice” shoved at me as if they are some sort of path to happiness. Yes, following a lot of these steps would make someone happier, sure, but the reasons people do so many of these things (staying in harmful relationships, trying to buy happiness, being jealous, whatever) are so complicated that just saying “Don’t do that!” is so unhelpful that it might actually be doing harm.
“Oh, I can’t just stop hanging out with people who aren’t good for me? What’s wrong with me? Why am I broken?”
“Stop holding on to the past? But it’s all I have! What else is there?”
“Stop getting into relationships for the wrong reasons? What are the right reasons? How do you know what’s best for me, what’s right? Will anyone ever love me?”
It seems there are so many ways for someone’s brain to spiral out of control with shit like this. Trust me, my brain does it to me on the regs and I’m sure many of you reading this little diatribe have had similar experiences. You are having an ok time, then one little thing sets you off for some reason, and the next thing you know you are sliding down the spiral as it feeds into itself forcing you downward.
I guess that’s why I dislike this list so much. It’s a lot like those bullshit phrases you heard in high school which I always thought were the most trite, banal, uninspired pieces of trying-to-feel-good bullshit. The kind of crap some 14 year old girl thinks is really deep. You’ve heard them. “To the world you may be someone, but to someone you may be the world.” “Know God; know peace. No God; no peace.” “Everything happens for a reason.” PUKE. And this list reeks of that sort of seemingly-clever garbage. The worst. It enrages me, hence this bitch session.
Whatever. Read the list. It probably won’t piss you off as bad as it pissed me off.