These days, it seems that almost all of us are too serious. I heard recently that there really is a statistic out there that says that people who laugh longer, live longer.
I wish more people knew about this statistic, because in general, people are frustrated and angry about virtually everything these days – being five minutes late, having someone else show up five minutes late, being stuck in traffic, someone looking at them the wrong way or saying the wrong thing, paying bills, waiting in line, their meal being overcooked in a restaurant, someone making an honest mistake – you name it, and people these days lose perspective over it.
The root of all of us being so frustrated and angry is our unwillingness to accept life as being different, in any way, from our expectations. Simply put, we want things to be a certain way, but they’re not a certain way. Life is simply just “as it is.” I think Benjamin Franklin said it best: “Our limited perspective, our hopes and fears become our measure of life, and when circumstances don’t fit our ideas, they become our difficulties.” In other words, we spend our lives wanting people, things, and circumstances to be just as we want them to be – and when they’re not, we fight and we suffer.
The first step in recovering from being too serious is to admit that you have a problem. You have to want to change, to become more easygoing. You have to see that your own frustration and anger is largely of your own making – it’s composed of the way you’ve set up your life and the way you react to it.
The next step is to understand the link between your expectations and your frustration level. Whenever you expect something to be a certain way and it isn’t, you get upset and you suffer. On the other hand, when you let go of your expectations, and when you accept life just as it is (instead of how you want it to be), you’re free! Of course, being able to do this is no easy task (I never
said it would be easy). To hold on is to be frustrated and angry, to let go is to lighten up.
I know a lot of you are thinking, “Boy, that’s easy for him to say, he doesn’t have to deal with bipolar disorder all the time like I do.” Don’t forget, I’m also a supporter – remember what started all this for me – having a mom who has bipolar disorder. So when I’m talking to you, I’m just as much talking to myself! I may not know your particular situation, but I do know about being a supporter of a loved one with bipolar disorder.
In my courses/systems, one of the things I teach about is how to have realistic expectations. That’s how you can get over these frustrations and anger about things not going the way you want/expect them to:
SUPPORTING AN ADULT WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER?
SUPPORTING A CHILD/TEEN WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER?
HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER?
Here’s a good exercise for you:
Try to approach a single day without any expectations at all. Don’t expect people to be friendly. Then when they’re not friendly, you won’t be disappointed. And if they are, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Don’t expect your day to be problem-free. You still need to be realistic. Instead, as problems come up, say to yourself, “Oh well, another obstacle to overcome.” As you approach your day in this manner, you’ll notice how different your attitude toward your day can be. Rather than fighting against life, you’ll be more accepting of it. Pretty soon, with practice, you’ll lighten up your entire life. And when you lighten up, life is a lot more fun!
It’s still your choice, of course. You can continue to be serious. You can continue to have a negative view of life. You have the right – of course you do, because you’re having to deal with bipolar disorder! Everyone should understand that.
But you also have the choice to take the seriousness out of it. Oh, I’m not saying that bipolar disorder is not serious disorder, so don’t get me wrong. Remember, I deal with it, too, so I know how serious it is. All I’m saying is give the seriousness a day off once in a while, and enjoy your life!
Just because you’re dealing with bipolar disorder does NOT mean you’re dealing with a death sentence! Life can still be enjoyable. You can still have fun.
I know a couple where they BOTH have bipolar disorder! They’re married, and yet every Friday night, they go out on “Date Night.” It’s nothing expensive or extravagant, but they go out alone, and enjoy themselves. Even if it’s just a movie. Just something that gets them out of the house, and something they enjoy together. Sometimes they just go to the mall, eat something at the food court and watch all the people.
Having bipolar disorder doesn’t have to make you serious all the time.
Lighten up, don’t be so serious, and put some fun back in your life!
David Oliver is the author of the shocking guide “Bipolar Disorder—The REAL Silent Killer.” Click Here to get FREE Information sent via email on how and why bipolar disorder kills.