An eighteenth century French prisoner. Who cares what happened to them on a Tuesday? Nothing matters, except life.
Two people arguing about something. About what? It does not matter. Neither will remember the details of the conversation in a few days. So why persist with the argument? How often does an argument result in one person saying, “Oh, yes. You are right and I am wrong. I will now change my opinion”? What is the point of arguing? That you need to be right?
A group of people gossiping about someone. Why? Do the gossip-sessions from 20 years ago, or 200 years ago matter? No. It’s a waste of life.
I suggest that any time negative situations arrive, we look at the big picture: nothing matters — all is fleeting. All will be forgotten, all will die.
Somebody makes a bad driving mistake that inconveniences you. Do you use up the next 20 minutes of your life honking your horn and fuming about it? Is that the best use of your limited time as a miraculously sentient being on this stunningly beautiful planet?
Instead, use the precious, wondrous time we have in life to love ourselves and each other unconditionally. Work on freeing ourselves from the traps of ego and as we do, connect more substantially and authentically to each other and to all of creation.
I regret all of the hours and hours I spent trapped in meaningless OCD rituals — sometimes walking in circles, alone in a basement, making sure I stepped in exactly right places while repeating lists of actors, or elementary school friends, or bands … ad nauseam. That was a waste of life energy and time. But I had very little control over my OCD. In other circumstances, we have choices we can make. We may, at first, begin to fall into a bad habit, such as joining in on a session piling up with complaints about a coworker. Without thinking, there we are, trying to build ourselves up by putting someone else down. But, as soon as we realize what is happening, we have a choice. Is this how we want to spend the next ten minutes, possibly the last ten minutes of our life?
We have a lot more agency than we may give ourselves credit for. We can, in every instance, choose to honor our brief and beautiful life by living heart-outward instead of ego-forward.
As for the time wasted in OCD, we can forgive ourselves for things that have been beyond our control, and work on ways to pre-empt those OCD traps by creating alternate responses to stress and anxiety.
When you find yourself falling into an argument, stop, step back, affirm the other person’s opinion, “It sounds like you feel strongly that.…” Then you can just say, “I feel differently, and I respect you.”
Check out my new book, OCD-Free!