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Do you ever feel as if you are swimming against the current?

Do you have those days, sometimes weeks, where it feels like you're walking through treacle? Like whatever you try to get accomplished is in vain because the universe has other plans? I'm having a month that feels that way. I want to stay in bed for longer, and find it tougher to motivate myself to keep going. Things that should be easily accomplished; for example: receiving a new sim card that functions, picking up a prescription, or getting monetary funds transferred from one place to another, have been over-complicated and difficult. I've had to expend more energy than I would have liked, retelling stories over the phone and resending documents that have been lost or have a letter in the wrong place.

There was a time when I would have thrown myself a massive pity party, moaned about how these things 'always happen to me,' and wallowed in my own sense of victimisation. See me in that photo above? That's me, wallowing in a gloomy filter of victimisation, whilst trying to look reflective and deep at the same time.

The thing is, I now realise that these situations are just life unfolding. Life can't go the way that I want it to go, one hundred percent of the time. That simply wouldn't work, because then it wouldn't go the way you, or anyone else wants it to go. Just because things feel unduly difficult sometimes, it's not healthy or productive for me to start tallying a list of everything that hasn't gone my way lately, and marking it up to some kind of cosmic scorecard of why the universe is clearly shitting on me. That frame of mind is self-centred as it posits that the reason for everything is because of me. It is also predicated on the idea that events should play out in a certain way, which is nothing more than an expectation. The expression 'unhappiness = expectation - reality' nicely illustrates the way that if we were able to more readily accept the reality of a situation, instead of being hung up on how it should be, or how someone should have behaved, then we would likely be a lot more content, if not happier.

In the past, I used to cling to my expectations about how the world should be, and I was a very unhappy person as a result. When things don't go the way I want, I learned that I have choices. I can get angry, scream, shout, cling to my expectations and cause myself mental and emotional anguish, or I can accept that a situation/person is a certain way, take assertive action, and let go of the outcome. The second way requires more effort, and discernment between aggression and assertiveness. It also requires a level of consciousness that allows me to pause before responding in a reactive, angry way, and evaluate how to ask for what I want in a respectful, patient and mature way without hurting myself or anyone else in the process.

I've managed to get to a point where I can let go of the expectant shoulds most of the time. It's easier than it used to be, though it still requires constant work, such as meditation, correct breathing, and awareness of my emotional reactivity levels. However, this work is more than worth it for me because it means I get to let go of negativity, not allow myself to stew in the toxicity of complaints and gossip, and to live in integrity in the moment, as opposed to losing control of my emotions and lashing out to no avail. I have finally realised that if it feels like you are swimming against the current, the sensible thing to do is just let go, relax and allow the water to carry you to where the river wants you to go. It's the right direction, and the universe is trying to tell you that already. I ended up more content when I finally relaxed and allowed the current to guide me downstream.

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