If this grumpy cat can teach us anything, I think it’s that we can’t be perfect all the time. We can’t always do the right thing. We can’t always be selfless and we can’t handle every situation perfectly. We can’t always come from a higher place or be the bigger person. We can’t always trust, we can’t always have faith. We can’t always be happy. We can’t always find the silver lining; there just might not be one. We can’t always have energy, be excited or enthusiastic. We can’t always be good-natured. We definitely can’t always rise above and not sweat the small stuff. Because sometimes the small stuff just needs to be sweated.
Avoid holding yourself to standards that are too high. If you feel frustrated, disappointed, bored, angry or grumpy because your life isn’t turning out the way you wanted it to, or thought it could, then allow yourself to feel that. Life is hard enough already without feeling like you’re a failure because you aren’t able to just take things in your stride, go with the flow or whatever.
Sometimes in practices like yoga we are told that we should practice non-attachment, but this is no easy task. It gets a bit lofty doesn’t it? We are meant to care about ourselves, think about our goals and make thoughtful plans for our lives and then not be attached to the outcome of how things turn out? Excuse me, what? It’s human nature to want, to yearn, to dream. And in our heads we logically will concoct, we naturally plan. We can see that if all these things fall into place then we will get what we want and will feel great, be content and happy. If things don’t go to our plan, aren’t we then naturally going to be frustrated, disappointed, sad?
Yes we can tell ourselves there’s a bigger, broader, more divine plan for us, and that from where we stand with our narrow and limited perspective we just can’t see how everything will work out, but it will. We tell ourselves that everything is meant to be. That our happiness and our self-acceptance shouldn’t depend on the things around us but come from within. So just accept and accept; allow and allow. But I’m disappointed. I’m frustrated and most of all I’m angry at myself for being attached, for having hope in the first place, for not being able to just shrug it off.
We aren’t in control. We don’t know how things will happen. We might try to direct our lives as much as we can but at some point we have to accept that it’s not all up to us. Life is messy and confusing. Sometimes it’s surprisingly good and sometimes it’s surprisingly bad. There’s a lot of pressure on us to be good people, to live to our fullest capacity to decide what we want and then go for it. When we can’t make things happen the way we want we think it’s our fault or because there is something wrong with us. But that’s not true. There’s nothing inherently wrong with you, you just aren’t in control.
We also aren’t in control of the emotions we feel. We can however choose to honour them. We can choose to be honest and authentic about our disappointments, our frustration. We can admit to supportive friends that we are upset, hurt or angry when our lives don’t go the way we want them to or hoped they would. This doesn’t equal failure. It just means we accept our humanness, our tendency to want to control and our disappointment when it doesn’t work out. All of this is ok. It doesn’t make us weak it doesn’t make us less spiritual or enlightened or actualised. It probably just makes us human. Accepting that you are disappointed or disillusioned doesn’t mean you will always feel that way. It’s just a feeling and it will pass, if you allow it to. And then hope will come back, you will hatch new plans, forge new directions, some of which will work out, restoring our faith and our ability to be big, bright and brilliant.