Use your inconveniences to be happier
by Laura Seldon
Annoyed at your boss for asking you to work on a last-minute project? Irked at that garbage truck for pulling out in front of you? Exasperated by your friend who just flaked on lunch plans for the third time?! Life is consistently throwing inconveniences at us – some big, some small. And in the shuffle of our hectic lives, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s “going wrong.” However, these inconveniences could also become opportunities for a more convenient life.
Consider this: February 27th is Inconvenience Yourself Day. Organizers say it was created to give the world “an opportunity to focus on inconveniencing ourselves, instead of inconveniencing others” in order to make the world a better place. Still wondering how the heck inconveniencing yourself can make for a more convenient life? Here are five ways burdening yourself can turn life’s grievances into gifts!
1. You’ll Relax More
Ever notice how stressed you get when the car next to you is trying to merge in your lane? Stop stewing in your anger and instead go out of your way to help this person. By inconveniencing yourself and letting the car go in front of you, you’ll be helping traffic to flow more fluidly, releasing the anger building up inside you, and doing something nice for someone else.
“This movement is a way to recognize how we can positively change the way we go about our lives,” says Julie Thompson, creator of Inconvenience Yourself Day. Do this enough times and you can’t help but create a more peaceful life for yourself!
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2. You’ll Make More Friends
“Many of our actions seem to say we think we are more significant than the next person,” says Thompson. “That our lives and schedules are more important than some else’s.”
By calling a friend in need during your busy work day, or simply opening a door for someone at work, you’ll be deepening (and possibly even creating new) friendships. Feeling lonely? Go out of your way to do something nice for someone else and see what grows from that one simple action.
3. You’ll Feel More Connected
Volunteering, sharing some of your dessert with a co-worker, or offering to run an errand for a neighbor are all ways to feel more connected to the people around you. In fact, not only will you feel more connected to your family, friends, and community, but you’ll also feel more connected to yourself. Why? Because doing just one small good deed can make you stop and realize that you are just one person on this great big wonderful planet.
4. You’ll Get to Know Yourself Better
Inconveniencing yourself is an easy way to start noticing the futile things that easily anger you, and that’s a great way to see yourself for who you really are.
"Think about the last time you cut someone off in traffic or hurried out the door without holding it for the person behind you,” says Thompson. “It probably wasn’t intentional, nor did you even notice there was anyone so close behind." Still, you were unaware. By inconveniencing yourself, you’ll become more aware of yourself and what you can do to make the world a better place.
5. You’ll Create Miracles
A small acknowledgment, whether it is a nice compliment, a hand-written note or some small token of appreciation, can make a world of a difference (dare I say, a miracle!) for someone else.
Ann of Cleveland, Ohio wrote a note to the organizers of Inconvenience Yourself Day to let them know how the day inspired a neighbor to make her day better: “During a blizzard, Cleveland imposed a parking ban,” Ann wrote. “I had nowhere close to park my car as my house had no garage or even a driveway. My neighbor moved his car into his garage (where he rarely parks) and offered his driveway space to me. This saved me having to trek several blocks in the snow to find another place to park.”
At our core, we all just want to live a happy life, treating those around us with respect and kindness. However, the constant shuffle of life’s day-to-day activities can sometimes be too overwhelming, causing us to forget about those around us. Whether it’s February 27th, or any other day of the year, consider inconveniencing yourself just once to see how it makes you feel. Perhaps the one thing that bothers you most could actually benefit you as well!
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Laura Seldon is a writer and journalist living in Los Angeles. She covered the health beat (as well as many other topics) while working as a television news reporter for both NBC and ABC television affiliates in South Dakota and Minnesota. A fitness fanatic, Seldon now writes about anything and everything that impacts your mind, body and soul.