I ran into a friend the other day at the gym and she started telling me that her and her husband have been renovating their house and they recently bought expensive light fixtures for their kitchen. Once installed, she didn’t like the way the lights looked. She also found herself obsessing about how ugly they were and nagging her husband to take them down. It got to the point that every time she walked into her newly renovated kitchen she was fixated on these eye sores. It even led to a few arguments between them.
After days of dealing with this, her husband gently pointed out that her being bothered by the new expensive light fixtures was a “first world problem.” This was eye opening for her and after hearing that comment, it helped her to let go of the stressful reaction. Instead she switched her focus to the fact that she has the means to renovate her kitchen to begin with.
It’s easy for us to get caught up in the details of our job or how our partner hasn’t emptied out the garage or even how a friend hasn’t gotten back to us yet. We can become obsessed with the little things and allow it to ruin our day or even our week.
My intention is not to minimize what you are going through but to help you change your perspective. The truth is a lot of what we stress about are “first world problems.” What that means is we take for granted how easy our lives actually are. We have clean water, a cold fridge (probably with food in it), access to free healthcare and likely live in safe neighbourhood. Things could be so much worse. Lets remind ourselves of what we do have instead of focusing on what we don’t. Notice how your mood changes, almost instantaneously when you change your focus.