I hate it when things like this happen. It makes me feel helpless because there is no recourse; I am at the mercy of the internet company since I really don’t want to do without the service. And feeling helpless reminds me of how it feels to be in the depths of depression. It’s so easy to begin shifting gears and letting myself get sucked down into a foul mood, but that is something I can’t afford to
A therapist used to tell me I couldn’t afford the luxury of feeling sorry for myself. I later found out she was paraphrasing the title of a book by Peter McWilliams, You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought: A Book for People with Any Life-Threatening Illness – Including Life. I haven’t read the book, but my understanding of the premise is that negative thinking is expensive; it robs us of our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing (I would add spiritual wellbeing to that list as well). And since we can’t afford that expense, we can’t afford the indulgence of negative thoughts.
The solution according to McWilliams is threefold: spend more time thinking about positive things, spend less time thinking about negative things, and enjoy every moment you can. I presume the book proceeds to tell us how to do that. But I don’t have a copy and I’m still stewing about the internet service.
I guess I am aware of some things I can do. I can put the matter in
perspective. There are more pressing issues in the world than whether I like my internet service provider. I can be appreciative. I am fortunate to have access to the internet. I can choose to switch my thoughts to something else, like deciding what I am going to eat for dinner tonight (maybe I’m this grouchy because I am hungry, too). I can be pragmatic. What good is it doing me to sit here and grumble? There, I’m feeling better already.
With more serious concerns it is not so easy to retrain our thinking. But we have to try. Negative thinking feeds on itself. It just continues to grow and magnify until our helplessness turns into despair. That doesn’t do anybody any good. And I definitely don’t want to go there. I can’t afford to.
So maybe I shouldn’t have been so offended when my therapist suggested that self-pity was a luxury. Maybe I could have saved myself a lot of pain had I been able to grasp what she was saying. Hopefully I am learning that lesson now. And next week when my twice as expensive modem arrives, I will put away my customer service rep voodoo doll, and calmly accept what is.
If I go offline next week, you’ll know that something didn’t go quite right.
Let’s hope we stay connected.