Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Essential and Necessary...

Sometimes when I get frustrated, I ask myself... "Is this essential? Is this necessary?" Surprisingly, the answer is almost always a resounding, "NO!" Though, the answer isn't always clear at first. The human mind can be a trickster and invent a thousand scenarios where that which is causing internal conflict can be validated and assumed to be unshakable. In these cases, where it appears to be necessary, but there is a linger doubt, I ask myself again: "Is this essential? Is this necessary?" The purpose of this exercise is not one of redundancy, but one of finding the truth.

While we may never condone lying to others, I have found that it is deceptively simple and very easy to lie to ourselves. This is especially problematic for those who are naturally more empathetic. For instance, if someone is cruel to me, I am a master of rationalization. I think to myself, "Maybe they're having a bad day? Maybe I did something to offend them? Maybe there was a miscommunication? Maybe they got stuck in traffic... maybe they lost their keys... got a flat tire... woke up on the wrong side of the bed... etc. etc. etc." But at the end of the day, this does not change nor negate that they were cruel to me. And so I circle back to... "Is this essential? Is this necessary?" When it comes to cruelty or frustration, rarely is it ever essential or necessary.

So you've identified that the situation is not essential nor is it necessary. What then? Once true honesty is reached, it can seem like things are locked in a standstill. You've fought valiantly to arrive at this personal epiphany... and then? Then comes action. When you have determined that is or isn't needed in your life, you give yourself permission to make decisions about how to handle your dilemma. Usually after rigorously questioning yourself, there is a sense of perspective that is achieved and the answers fall into place. The answers aren't always pretty and the consequences to your actions can seem scarier and more difficult than the original problem, but if that which is causing you anxiety or apprehension is truly unessential and unnecessary, then it makes doing what is essential and necessary somehow easier with the comfort of this knowledge.  That knowledge gives us courage to do what needs to be done to be happier, healthier, and more productive.

1 comment:

Ann Schroeder said...

I've been thinking along these lines lately about work. Is this my responsibility? Am I in charge of this and should I be? Does anyone want me to be or am I putting this on myself? I'm working to let go of things that are not essential and necessary, and I'm becoming less stressed and crabby - which benefits me and everyone else. It can be difficult to let go, but I think this phrase "essential and necessary" can be a quick reminder. Thanks.