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What Really Matters?

What really matters? This is a big question. How often do you get the answer correct? If you are like me, it is probably not often enough. We tend to focus on the things that are not that important and take our focus off that which is important.

When Things Go Awry

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Let's use me for an example. When there is a big emergency or crisis, I tend to do well in those situations. I am able to remain calm and focus on completing tasks that need to get done. I am also able to manage time well where that emergency/crisis does not distract me from my family more than it should. That sounds great, right? But what about when there is a small issue or something that should be easy to complete takes much longer than expected? Well, that is when things do not go so well. I get angry and frustrated. I get hyper-focused on that task and completing it to the expense of those around me.

Why Do We Act This Way?

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We act this way because we care about things that do not really matter and we have the wrong idea(s) in those situations. What might the wrong idea(s) be? Is there a sense of entitlement present? Is our focus on what really matters or on something much more trivial? Let's go back to my example to make this clear. I really like efficiency. I want to complete tasks in a timely manner with the least amount of wasted energy. In essence, I already have a vision for how long the task should take, how many steps and how easy it will be. There are expectations present and a sense of entitlement in this case. I expect it to go according to my vision and think I am entitled to it going according to my vision. Neither of which is true! Realizing that my expectations were incorrect in the first place and that I am not entitled to everything going according to my plan frees me from responding in the same way. Now I can be loving and kind to my family. I can focus on them instead of focusing on my plan and wrong thoughts.

Why is it different with a big emergency or crisis? When there is a big issue present, I don't know how things will turn out and I realize that I am not in control. Control is another reason why the small things trip me up. I have this delusional thought that I am in control of the small things. Since I am in control, I don't need help from anyone and things will be accomplished according to my plan without any deviation from that plan. (As you can see, I may be a little stubborn.) When I know that I am not in control, then I readily seek help from others and will try different plans. For me, the big issues provide me with clarity on what is truly important and where my focus needs to be.

So...What Really Matters?

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I have alluded to one thing that matters already. That is family or more broadly community. We need to be with people that we love and that love us. We need to be with people we care about and that care about us. We will not look back on our life and think, I really should have spent less time with my family and friends and more time completing small tasks that could have waited.

We are currently in the middle of the holiday season and most of us will be spending a lot of time with our family and friends. (If you are reading this at a different time, it is still important to spend time with those you love and you will have to make a concerted effort to do so.) Let's focus on what really matters and let go of the wrong thoughts and motives we have while we are with those we love. This way we can truly be present with them and avoid the conflict and stress that our wrong thoughts and beliefs create.

What Matters To You?

Family, and community as a whole, is important and matters in our life. But this is only one example. What else really matters to you? What thoughts or beliefs are keeping you from focusing on what is really important? There are only so many things that we can care about. Let's start focusing on those that are actually important and stop wasting our time and our health on those that are not.

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