More Joy and Less Regret

Today’s topic is a life trick I’ve discovered and considered a lot recently; I’m thoroughly convinced it will work well for nearly everyone. It makes me better at life, and life is better.

If your wants and desires by nature always guide you to outcomes you enjoy, then this post isn’t for you. Congratulations! Have a rest while the rest of us catch up. 😉

It is simple… and hard. My anxiety makes it particularly difficult.

So what is it?

It goes like this.

Me: What do I want to do?

Me: I want to do that.

Me: No.

Me: We (also me) are doing the opposite.

That’s it. Nine out of ten times if I will tell myself no and do the opposite I’m much happier for it later. Not to mention I’m a better person for it. Truth be told, most of the things I’m lacking in could/will/hopefully will be resolved using this too. It might seem more complicated on the way there, but ultimately it will just be me saying no to myself.

It’s not really optional for Jesus followers (“must deny themselves…”), but you don’t have to share my beliefs to reap benefits.

I want a cheeseburger… and ice cream. I’m healthier and feel better when I don’t.

I want to not get involved. I sleep better when I do what love requires and share their burden.

I want to stay up. I’m a night owl, but I always feel better the next morning if I get in bed early.

I want to hit snooze. I’m always more tired when I finally do get up after extra snoozes (snoozing? snozedges?).

I want to seclude. We are meant to be in community with one another. Counseling, at its core, is just a healthy relationship. Healthy ones heal all sorts of ailments.

I want to take the easy way. Most of the worthwhile results take hard work.

I want to drive past them. You get the idea.

I want to avoid. Are you still reading?

I want to not take risks. The comfort zone is deadly.

I want to stay home instead of going to Jiu Jitsu. When I get there I want to skip sparring.

I want to keep all the money for myself. I don’t understand the internal reluctance to give when giving feels so good.

I want new clothes. I’ve yet to leave the house naked.

I want other people to figure it out for themselves. This one’s tied closely to arrogance. Whoops.

I want to watch Netflix. I swear I need to cut off all subscriptions and toss the t.v. in my yard. I’d be so much more productive.


Every. Single. Time. that I say no it feels great later. Every time I can think of… I’m sure there’s an exception, but I don’t want to prove myself wrong. I’d prefer to be right. In any case, I believe we can tell the difference as adults between good wants and the ones we need to deny.

Unfortunately, telling me never seems to get easier .

Fortunately, every success adds another to the pattern, to the memory, to the collection reminding me how critical it is to not be ruled by what I want.

What if you and I: turned the t.v. off, never turned it on, ate veggies and lean meat, got in bed reasonably, helped someone struggling, resisted the urge to vent or fight on Facebook, hit the early gym session, made that call, gave that hug, said I love you?

Life is good, better than I deserve.

But what am I (we) leaving on the table?

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