Jamaican sayings have left their stains on the minds of many citizens across the globe. From the locally obsolete “everyting irie,” to the tourist stapled jargon, “Ye mon!”
Of the many sayings heard from our mouths to the ears of the world, this post draws inspiration from the nuance “stop hackle up uself over foolishness;” meaning your making a big deal out of nothing. As a child, I would throw my share of hissy fits when things did not go my way. After some time passed and my mom deemed the sulking had reached it’s time of expiration, she would sternly advise, “you need to stop hackling up yourself over foolishness.”
As adults, we still throw our share of tantrums. We wax and wane over issues that often, in hindsight, appear trivial. We regurgitate how much we can’t believe he or she did ‘that,’ to our friends, then our partners, then the other friends who haven’t heard about since the days the incident occurred. We believing proclaim, “this always happens to me.” There are tons of self-help quips, books, and online guides for dealing with stress and overcoming negative influences. Most are insightful and can lead to change. On the other hand, changing one’s thinking takes time, and is often futile when radical efforts are made.
A big instrument for changing ones attitude comes from knowing your story.
By the age of thirty, you should have some insightful awareness of “your story.” With some reflection, you should have realized that certain things happen to you and time and time again. While it is best to acknowledge these things and make concerted efforts to change your attitude towards them, a lot can be achieved by owning one’s story and making practical accommodations to manage these afflictions. When one accepts their story they are better equipped to deal with these frequent occurrences.
For instance, I have always been inpatient. As such, like a moth to a flame, it seems that any opportunity for delay and/or inefficiency would easily make its way into my hurried day. I would get so worked up. Almost steaming inside, I’d begin to mutter phrases of discontent to myself. The longer I waited, the mutters would get progressively louder, until they escalated into a formal complaint. This would happen so often but time and time the results would be the same. I would be all bothered, and those I considered inefficient would be quite content. After some time, I accepted this as a part of my story. I could either lose my mind because I had bounced from line to line trying to get out of the local supermarket, or I could just stay in line and redirect my thoughts.
Once you’ve accept your story, the next best thing is to change your perspective. As mentioned before, this takes considerable effort. Another viable option is to make accommodations. For example, I’m also a pretty bad procrastinator. Every semester I make a promise to myself. This semester, I am going to prioritize my time better. I am going to do my assignments ahead of time, and I am going to complete every item on my days planner. This never pans out.
Procrastination is a big part of my story. Instead of getting overwhelmed and stressed out by deadlines and encroaching pending items, I’ve come to accept that I need to have confidence in my capabilities. I’ve been a procrastinator all my life and thus far, things have always been submitted and/or addressed when they should. So I’m not the girl who gets things in ahead of time. Who cares? Why have I wasted years and empty promises aspiring to that? Thus far, I’ve been pretty successful doing things my own way.
In terms of accommodations, I’ve cultivated work-arounds. As a procrastinator I sometimes have to force myself to get this done. For example, I change my toothbrush about every 3 months. As you could guess, changing out my toothbrush isn’t on the top of the list of my things to do. Knowing myself and that it could take forever before I get around to buying another brush, if a few weeks have passed and I haven’t gotten around to it, I throw my current toothbrush out. That way I’m forced to get another.
There’s a thin line between self-improvement and working towards being someone you’re not.
This post is not meant to discourage anyone from self-improvement. One should always aspire to be far greater than they presently are (you know, that reach for the stars so you land on a cloud stuff). That said, don’t stress over things that may more or less be a part of your story. Developing a work-around is not a sign of self-defeat. It is the culmination of insight, acknowledgement, and an adapted means of letting things go.
Knowing and owning your story will almost immediately decreases your stress level.