My wife and I live a drama-free life with stable friends because we both thrive off of peaceful environments. But this summer we had a horrible month where everything went wrong. Basically we had to move twice and lost a lot of money in the process.
I know this is a zero on the human tragedy scale, but I’m fortunate to consider it a bad event in my life. I’ve struggled to move on because a part of me still wants to sue everyone possible. I know that isn’t the answer, so here are some ideas that helped me move on and find closure.
Do you want happiness or justice? I’m upset because I still feel wronged, but justice isn’t happiness. I could challenge a lot of this in court and potentially get some money back — but would that money bring me happiness? Probably not. The money feels important now but it’s just small change compared to a lifetime of working. Plus, a court case would draw everything out and rob me of time with my family (which is far more valuable).
How does the adversity affect you now? All of this was hard at the time and made for a stressful month, but it doesn’t affect me now. I can choose to be happy now. I still have a lovely family, friends, job, roof over my head, etc.
What do you love to do? What dreams do you have? What excites you? What makes your life feel fulfilled? When I think about these questions, each of them becomes a concrete path to long-term happiness. Whenever I feel myself dwelling on last month, I try to focus on my dreams instead.
What “unhappiness triggers” are around you? I had letters, bills, documents, notes pertaining to that month and every time I walked passed them they reminded me of the whole ordeal and my mind jumped into an endless loop of despair… so I buried them deep in a box. I don’t want to be constantly reminded of that month. I replaced that stack of papers with a picture my wife had drawn for me.
I hope these ideas can help because they were useful to me. But mostly, I hope the adversity in your life is as painless and fleeting as mine was.