I’m sure you’ve heard that expression “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. There’s even a book Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by that name. It is a great message, but like many things, it seems so simple in theory, but the practice of it is another story.
Today I’ve been reflecting on how a lot of people I come into contact with get so caught up in the small stuff that they miss the bigger picture. They forget to be grateful for what they already have. And I can be as guilty of this as anyone else, but due to living with almost constant pain and managing the fatigue of CFS, I’m a lot more grateful for certain things that other people just take for granted – like their health!
I think it’s a natural human thing. It’s all related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If we have no food or drink, all we can focus on is finding food and drink. But when we have plenty of food and drink, we then seek out higher level needs such as relationships and education. When we don’t have our health, we spend a lot of time seeking out health. For those who have their health, they are searching for higher level needs on the hierarchy and forget to be grateful for their health.
I’ve noticed that having dealt with the hardships of illness, pain, divorce and all the things those things have brought with them over the years, certain things that would have once worried me or got me upset just don’t get to me like they used to. I just don’t see the point in getting all offended and angry with certain people or certain things when all it does is cause me unneeded stress. Whether I worry or not, certain things will keep happening, so I try not to worry as much as I used to. Mostly I succeed, but sometimes not. I still cry when I watch the news (so I don’t watch the news), I still get stressed by all the pressures of motherhood, and I still allow some people’s comments to upset me, but I usually bounce back a lot quicker these days.
I have a friend who is a Gulf War veteran. The things that bother most people are barely a blip on his radar. He’s seen stuff I can only imagine, and experienced the absolute worst life has to offer from many angles. It takes him a lot to get upset these days, but boy he lives a full life. He strives constantly to make the most of every day and to make the difference in the world that others only ever talk about – or never even think about. He makes his life count. He fails every day in some way or another, but he bounces back so much quicker than the average person because he knows what life (and death) is about.
Life is about facing your fears, dealing with what life throws at us, and choosing whether we’re going to let it beat us or whether we’re going to soldier on through the battlefield of life. For my friend, his was a real battlefield. Ours, as people with CFS and electrosensitivity is a metaphorical battlefield, but soldier on we do. And the small stuff doesn’t cause us the sweat it maybe once did. And for that, we can thank our illness for teaching us a valuable life lesson.