As I was enjoying a warm Miami break from the NYC freeze last week, I saw someone next to me at the beach freaking out—over a sarcastic Instagram comment. She called her mum. Then she called a friend. They talked it out for more than 45 minutes. She then huffed up and down the beach in anger. And then she packed up and left.
Fun day at the beach much?!
I wanted to reach out, hug her, and say, “It’s OK! Don’t worry about it! This isn’t even about you.” Because any shade thrown is always about the thrower, not the receiver. I couldn’t help but think about the misused energy and squandered time (on a beautiful morning, no less).
Could you be doing this too? Wasting your limited energy and time on nonsense? Here are some things that don’t have to bother you:
1. A Callous Comment
There’s an old meme I once liked on Instagram. It read, “You thought that was offensive? I thought it was funny! Maybe that’s why I’m happier than you.”
Think about it: How much time and energy would you have back if you weren’t easily offended and/or reactive to stuff? I say it might the world’s biggest time-saver.
2. A Copycat
A successful writer friend of mine was recently put off by someone copying her website (pretty much to the letter). She asked me if she should bring it up to the copycat. A lot of people would say yes. But my advice was not to bother (unless it was affecting her business). As Oscar Wilde said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
It can be annoying, yes. But it can be touching to know you’re worth copying. Would you copy someone you didn’t look up to—their website, their Lululemon threads, their penchant for an aperol spritz? I’d take the (extremely authentic) compliment over a fired-up confrontation any day of the week.
3. The Winter Chill
The holidays are over. New Year jubilance is dead. And yet… the cold persists! It’s a form of madness to hate what you cannot change. Given the 10 degree temps in New York right now, it’s near impossible, I know. But what’s the upside?
More time indoors? Using that dutch oven for chili or a one-pot lasagna? An opportunity to be more productive than usual and Marie Kondo the heck outta your home? A chance to rock leg warmers? (I’m in love with mine)! Seasons pass. If we’re lighter about them, they pass faster too. Or would you rather be miserable ’til April?
4. The News
This can be tricky, I realize. But think: What can you limit? No news consumption at all until after lunch? And strictly none before bed? You want to be informed, yes. But is an undercurrent of anxiety and stress going to help you be a great human all day?
Instead of getting worked up over the news all the time, consider taking action even in small ways—getting involved in local politics or giving to a cause that calls to you are both far more helpful than ranting, posting hate, or fighting with someone with a different POV. Think action over words. Imagine if we all did this!
5. Being Ghosted
Sorry, but that person is a loser. Don’t waste a single second worrying about it!
6. The Space Between Where You Are and Where You Wanna Be
If you could be inspired by the space instead of frustrated by it, how could your life be different? The thing is, there will always be a space of some kind. Because as soon as one desire is met (a weight-loss goal, a promotion, the arrival of a rockin’ new romance), another desire is born. It’s why we’re all alive. Desire keeps us alive—and it maintains our forward motion.
We are all in that gap, all the time. Think—what do you have now that you really wanted once? Your own apartment? An incredible jacket? A relationship that’s so much better than you expected? What would you go back and tell that pre-space you? To relax a little? Like, “Chill! It’s all comin’!”
Your energy matters. Save it for something that matters: you.
Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!