“The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.”

Have you ever noticed that sometimes something bad, or at least undesirable, happens and you let it roll right off, as if it doesn’t seem to have any effect on you? And then sometimes something undesirable happens, and it stays with you and ruins your day (and your mood, and your outcomes)? What’s the difference? Is it only that at one time you choose to let it go, and at another you stew in it? Is it that simple?

I think sometimes it is. I’ve noticed it in my own experience, as well as that of my clients, friends, and family – when we find the ability to let go of our misfortunes, to not dwell on them, they generally have less negative impact in our lives. When we hold our misfortunes dear, when we revisit them and tell others about them and dwell on them endlessly, we are more affected. It’s as if we hand over our power to them.

I think that might be what it is – that we give away our power. And then we feel powerless. When often the truth is that we have a choice as to whether or not we allow our misfortunes to have such power over us. We have a choice, as always, about what we focus on, what we notice, what we tell ourselves, and where we put our attention.

Just today I had something unwanted happen to me. Something really unwanted. I can feel it drain my energy and joy – as if there’s nothing left to be excited about or to feel good about. And even as my mind shouts out that there’s so much else going on, so many other things to focus on, so many better places to place my thoughts, I feel myself drawn to this negative thing. I could spend many hours there, lamenting my luck and wondering if it will “ever get better.”

Or, I can listen to the words of wisdom my mind is shouting and think about something else. Look for the things that are working well. And find a way to enjoy my day and the work in front of me (and the people and things I appreciate). I have the choice. To dwell less on my misfortune and thereby give it less power to harm me.

In what ways do you keep from dwelling on your misfortunes?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in dwelling someplace else, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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