We all do it. Something doesn’t quite go the way we want it to, and we get frustrated. Frustration then leads to the next opportunity to complain to a friend, siblings, then even a stranger…
Stoic philosophy says that negative emotions arise from expectations not being met. For example, you’re heading to work today as usual and traffic is awful. This happens often (probably once every couple of days), but you EXPECT to be able to waltz in to work with no delays. So, you sit there, frustrated, then head in to work and tell people that you hit bad traffic on the way there. That you wish you could live closer to work because you hate traffic.
If you dissect this scenario, you could find so many other ones in your every day life that leads you to … incessant complaining about your expectations not aligning with real life facts. The best thing to do, would be to acknowledge the reality: there is traffic, I’m in it, and what I could control is my REACTION to this unchangeable situation.
For this week, we decided to make it a week long challenge of controlling our negative emotions and refraining from complaining/feeling insulted. If we do end up doing either, we must (1) in the moment rationalize what expectations of ours has been let down, and (2) add it to the tally so we could compare our scores at the end of the week.
Want to try the challenge with us? Let us know how you get along next week and challenges you come across along the way!