We humans are, by our very nature, an emotional lot. Just why we were given this capability (where other species apparently weren’t), has been debated for years, if not centuries. Some think it’s a survival mechanism. Still, other people can seemingly drift through life without needing any particularly strong emotional attachment to things. They may not be as happy as those that have a healthy emotional response to life, though.
Sometimes an emotional response is a good thing, like when someone dies, we grieve, we cry..it seems a terrible loss. At other times, an emotional response like anger or jealousy is not a good thing, it only instigates or accelerates a problem..creating bad feelings in the process. You may think it’s better to release your frustration, rather than keeping it bottled up for a long time.
Instead of looking at it that way, you need to ask yourself “Why does it bother me?”. Perhaps you’ve never even thought to ask yourself such a question. Think about it for a minute though..what caused you to place so much importance on something in the first place? We let our emotions control our immediate response to things that happen, all too often. Unfortunately such strong attachment to these things causes us a lot of stress, and peripheral stress on those around us.
Once you realize that everything that exists in this world has no intrinsic value whatsoever..other than the particular value YOU place on it, the answer should become fairly clear. There’s really no need to place so much importance on things. This isn’t to suggest that we ought to become unfeeling, uncaring robots. No..we just need to keep things in the proper perspective.
Letting go of your ego
Another unfortunate side of human nature is the notion of ‘ego’. We seem to want, or even need to massage this ego at all costs. Your ego, if challenged by any imagined opposition, takes up a defensive position. Here again, you need to ask yourself “Why does it bother me? ” “Is everybody wrong, and I’m right, or is my ‘ego’ brain playing tricks with me”? Hint: it’s the latter (even if you are right).
Another question you need to ask yourself is…”What’s the worst that could happen”. I’ll bet if you stepped back from the situation and analyzed it objectively..9 times out of 10, you wouldn't be able to come up with a truly valid response. Why cause yourself such stress in the first place? Chill, man!
[sigh]... If we could only let common sense rule our decision-making at all times. You might think that’s just not possible every time, but that isn’t necessarily so. Besides constantly asking yourself “Why does it bother me? ” and ”What’s the worst that could happen”, you need to lose the unrealistic attachment, or importance your ‘ego’ brain has created for these things. You really need to just ‘let things be’. Why get all hot and bothered about people and situations that have no direct effect on your life at all?
Once you realize that most things are transitory in nature, and they mostly don’t matter to any significant degree, you can relax and let go of all that stress. Life needn’t be a competition. Give your ego a break.
Change is constant, so why not move with it?
There’s also no reason to worry about things you have no control over, either. Especially things from your past. Although it seems obvious, you surely realize..the past is just that..the past. You can’t go back and change it, you can only learn from it..hopefully. You need to constantly move on, and let the past be what it is.
They say the only thing that’s constant is change. In most ways, this is a good thing. Otherwise, we get stuck in an endless cycle of the same-old, same-old. While familiarity frequently breeds content, after a while you may just get bored with the same old things, and find yourself searching for something better..the next bigger and better thing. This can only lead to a viscious cycle of dissatisfaction and stress.
Why not just free yourself from the attachment to such grasping and dissatisfaction. It’s your ego telling you what you want..again, not what you need.
This life is not about you, it’s about your place in it.
Whether you like it or not, your ego is making you do what’s best for you, first. This is unfortunate, since your true happiness depends on doing what’s best for others first, not what’s in it for you. Your ego should be taking a back seat.
You need to cultivate a positive, compassionate, and non-judgemental attitude toward others, whether they are family, friends, current or past enemies, people you’ve never even met, or have yet to meet. Even animals, insects, and the natural world needs your compassion and respect. This is what really matters to you, even if you’ve probably never thought of it that way. Stop listening to your ego. This is your key to true happiness.
Just remember to keep asking yourself “why does it bother me?” Stop being judgemental, or thinking negatively about the world around you. Embrace it in a positive way. You’ll be surprised how it then looks to you, and how relaxed and stress-free your life becomes, and the world around you will respond in kind.
This article ©2012 by timorous
Your comments are always welcome
Mike Ano from Philadelphia on September 13, 2019:
Just want to say that I believe it gets easier to let go of the ego as you get older. At 50 years old, I have just started to be able to let go over the last few years. Definitely glued tighter to youth.
Alex Hanna from Wilmington on June 01, 2016:
Great piece. I know that for me, the biggest gap is between intellectual understanding and emotional understanding. Always tough to marry the two. I continue to ask myself these questions, and I have answers, just not the emotional response aligned to those answers. Any thoughts from anyone?
Shaloo Walia from India on December 04, 2015:
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on October 17, 2014:
Hi seriouslystressed. It's certainly difficult for many people to stop listening to their ego. You need to become 'present' enough to realize the games your ego plays, which keeps you doing what you always do. Once you realize how pointless your ego's interference in your life really is, you can just let things be, since they really do have no intrinsic meaning or importance. Thanks for your insightful comments, and for sharing this article.
M. Toni from Central NY on October 16, 2014:
Letting go of your ego is a difficult thing to do. It's hard to do this because that little voice in your head feels like you... seems like you. But, how can it be you if you are the one who is observing that voice? I think letting go of your ego helps to quiet that voice.
It also completely changes your perspective on everything. Gives you a chance to breathe, and you start to realize who you actually are- instead of constantly pretending, and constantly judging. I've learned that helping others seems to let other things fall into place. You have a clearer view of what actually matters.. and what never did.
This was a great read. It was nice to have some of these points reinforced and has provided me with fresh, new concepts to think of. Thank you! Voted up and will share!
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on April 26, 2014:
Jmommy; I'm not an expert on psychology, though I've studied mind awareness extensively.
Basically you need to take back control of your mind from your ego. You need to become 'present', not thinking of the past or the future. You can start by recalling a really happy moment in your life, and re-live it in your mind, with as much detail as possible..feel the emotion, while consciously turning off all other mind chatter (this chatter is your ego at work). Try and maintain this for at least 15 seconds..it won't be easy at first. Then practice sustaining this even longer, to the point where you can maintain the thought and feeling at will..anytime you want.
You also need to observe your thoughts..passively and without judgement or emotion. Then ask yourself if that thought is benefiting you in any way. Your ego will try to stop you at every turn, so you need to be vigilant. Just accept every situation as it is, and just let it go if it doesn't serve you. There's a lot more to it than this, of course.
I would like to recommend a very effective book called Creating a Bug-Free Mind, by Andy Shaw. I find this is the best book yet, on re-gaining control of your mind, and totally letting stuff pass right through you. The goal is attaining true happiness..something you can only find inside yourself..no one and nothing else will give that to you, since you've had it all along. You've just lost the ability to access it.
Jmommy on April 22, 2014:
I have a situation that this article and you can really help with. I tend to be a very emotional person. When things upset me I cry and wanna talk about every single thing and act irrationally. My partner is way less sensitive and sometimes does things that I consider wrong or inappropriate. Even though I am right about these behaviors my actions made communications worse because I get angry and jealous and revengeful.Recently, my partner cheated on me and blamed his cheating on my emotinal issues. While I don't see it as an excuse I do know that I have to change. I decided to give him a chance to fix the relationship but he still does the insensitive things. For example he still wants to have a friendship with the person he cheated with. Stuff like this really hurts and makes me get angry complain and nag and we end up in the same circle. but I feel as if I need to take control of the situation. Not to set ultimatums and throw tantrums anymore. But to take my own control. I want to create a peaceful environment and give him a chance to work on the relationship. In the meantime I want to not let those things affect me so much. I want to give him the option to do the right thing without me pushing and nagging. If he doesn't then I will be able to walk away knowing i did my best. How do I be a good partner and give 100% when the other person's selfish acts are so devastating. How do I learn to focus on the bigger picture and not let his stupid actions affect me? How do I let go off my ego when I know I am right and lastly not place so much value on this other person? I don't want to accept anything and be disrespected but I want to learn to control how much effect things have on me.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on February 24, 2014:
Thanks kerlund, I'm glad you found the article enlightening, and perhaps encouraged you to look at how you think about things.
kerlund74 from Sweden on February 22, 2014:
Well written hub that contains very useful reading for me:)
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on May 16, 2013:
I suspect the 'attitude problem' comes from their experience with other guys who have used them for their own egotistical gains. This naturally creates a negative mindset.
With a positive attitude, and just letting things be, a 'good woman' will not necessarily put up such barriers, as long as she gets a sense of respect from the guy. Thanks for commenting.
AbsolutelyRight on May 16, 2013:
many women that have such a very serious attitude problem, and play very hard to get. certainly makes it much more difficult for us guys looking for a good woman today.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on April 16, 2013:
Thanks for your comments, help. I think it shows you're mindful of the fact that such behavior is wrong. You just need to distance yourself from that sort of thing, and let things 'be'. It's beyond of your control. Just relax, and be kind to yourself and others.
help on April 15, 2013:
I seem to over think a lot about what other bad people do to others and get afraid i might turn into a bad person i think so much to the point i get panic attacks and depessed
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on April 10, 2013:
Hi Keeley. Yeah, I know it's hard to change something that seems to have come naturally, but in the end you're better off just letting things go. Thanks.
Keeley Shea from Norwich, CT on April 10, 2013:
Excellent hub! I agree with all that you wrote here. Easier to read and think about and know, then actually do, but I try to that is what counts.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on April 08, 2013:
That's wonderful, Al Groves. If only more people could see what a burden having an ego really is, we'd all be much better off. Thanks for stopping by.
Alex from Missouri on April 07, 2013:
This is a wonderful article. As a former addict I had to learn a lot about letting go of ego and learning to give and not get. My life has changed for the better.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on March 21, 2013:
Perhaps your boyfriend likes to be in control, and some aspects of that bug you. You're quite right in thinking many issues are insignificant. It's better to let the little things slide, and be happy with the bigger picture, as long as you feel loved and appreciated, and not taken for granted.
Thanks for the comments.
Rabbit on March 21, 2013:
First time reader and commenter here...
I believe I have some passive aggressive tendencies towards my boyfriend. I feel like most of the times, the things that bother me are SO INSIGNIFICANT, that there is no use in actually bringing it up. I usually just work through the emotions myself, and I am able to be, for the most part, happy. Am I doing the right thing. The bigger question is, like you stated, WHY IS "THIS" BOTHERING ME...
I think it is usually my expectations in a "good boyfriend" or because I am immature and needy.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on March 05, 2013:
You're very welcome, Jamie. I'm glad you manage to keep your head on straight..something a lot of people of enormous difficulty with.
MissJamieD from Minnes-O-ta on March 04, 2013:
Thanks Tim;) always a pleasure! Luckily my negativity doesn't usually last long I just hate myself right after I find myself in that slump. I had a job interview for a new career change today so I'm hoping it all works out. I should know tomorrow if I have the job;) You're very wise Tim, thank you!
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on March 04, 2013:
Well Hello Miss Jamie, lovely to see you again. I know what you mean. It's kind of demoralizing, having to rely on others for support for any length of time. You just have to keep thinking positively..with a little effort, you'll soon find the job you want and deserve.
I'm so glad you found the wisdom to leave the past behind, both for your own sake, and your boyfriend's. Cheers.
MissJamieD from Minnes-O-ta on March 04, 2013:
This is a fantastic hub and subject. In fact it hits a note with me because just today I started an argument with my boyfriend about the past, something he has no control over. And when I finally did ask myself why I was being that way, the answer was because I'm feeling self-concious right now because I don't have a job and I don't feel like I'm giving him enough. Even though he loves me to death and never asks for anything. He always tells me it's fine, I'm a huge help at home and as long as I eventually get a job, there's nothing to stress about right now. I just personally feel too low to the ground right now. I very much dislike being "taken care of" although it's nice that I do have an amazing support system, I spent 16 years of my life married to and reliant upon an abusive jerk so I suppose my instincts sometimes revert to the past. And they shouldn't. And I shouldn't call him out on things that transpired in his past because we're both older and wiser now and we've learned from our mistakes, I guess it's just something I do subconciously when I'm feeling bad about myself. I voted this hub up, it's very insightful!
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on March 02, 2013:
Wonderful, THEmikeLO. Glad you took something useful from reading this. I can see that I've gotten through to many people, and getting them to think about what bothers them so. Feel free to share abundantly.
THEmikeLO on March 01, 2013:
Very insightful and informative hub, I truly enjoyed reading this!
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on February 22, 2013:
Thank you very much, consilia. I'm glad it's given you some food for thought. For many people, all it takes is a couple of steps back, taking a deep breath, and asking themselves 'why does it bother me'. Other people need a change of mindset, and some ongoing therapy (anger management).
consilia from United Kingdom on February 21, 2013:
This is a very interesting hub.....so much anger exists these days. Perhaps if we took a little more time to think about why stuff bothered us so much, we might understand it better and be less angry.....thanks. Great article.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on January 30, 2013:
Hi meloncauli. One thing you must remember: nothing that exists has any intrinsic meaning, value, or importance. These are all part of one's mindset. Which also means that you can train your mind to just let things be. In other words, that someone is NOT necessarily causing you emotional pain, you are letting their actions affect you.
But you're right..you do have to stand up for yourself, without losing control. Negativity only promotes more negativity.
Thanks for your insightful comments.
meloncauli from UK on January 30, 2013:
I really enjoyed reading this hub and found it interesting.
I almost totally agree with the concept, but there are times in your life when someone is causing you emotional pain and you have to draw a line.
There's an element of judgement as you have said.
Whilst your theory is brilliant for a healthy mind, so is becoming assertive.
It wasn't until I learned the art of assertiveness that I could lead a happier life.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on September 08, 2012:
Greetings g-girl11. Yes, it can be a difficult question to answer, but it does reveal something of your mindset if you consider it carefully. This realization can often lead to a change of that mindset. Thanks for your comments.
g-girl11 on September 08, 2012:
I will definitely keep this question in my mind when confronted with difficult people in my life. I've asked this question, but never really tried to answer it. Thanks for reminding me that it's all about my ego. I needed that reminder!
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on September 07, 2012:
Ahh..the noisy neighbor. Thanks for bringing this up, kafkajames. Unfortunately, there's very little you can do with inconsiderate people, who feel they're entitled to 'enjoy themselves' any old way they please. Almost any kind of provocation will only escalate the situation. It would be difficult to make such people feel guilty about their actions, sorry to say. His parents never gave this person any limits or responsibilities, or he's never been denied anything in his life (spoiled brat).
While you're just as entitled to your peace and quiet (if not more so), you still need to ask yourself just how 'important' this is to you, or the desire to 'get even'. You either have to let it be (if the loud music is temporary), or move away from this thoughtless person.
kafkajames on September 07, 2012:
ok...I understand all of it...and still...there are thing that bother me.....for example, it is 3 pm, i would really like to take a nap, i am tired but my next door neighboor is playng the music so loud it is imposible to even think about rest.......so.......i try to understand HIS position, he is happy......but.....he is crossing the line into my life....i can't rest because of him and it bothers me!!!!!....how do i fix that?
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on May 29, 2012:
Thanks very much, Angela. Yes, unfortunately many people are afraid of what others will think, depending on what you do or say. As long as you respect others, and take responsibility for your own words and actions, you'll be fine. The only way of overcoming fear is to face it head-on.
Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on May 28, 2012:
Such great information for happiness. We can ask ourselves if we are lacking humility or if we are just afraid of change (change has been rated the biggest fear the next being divorce and then death) that is constant! Also an emotional reaction can tell us it time for change! GREAT HUB! Thank you!
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on May 08, 2012:
Yes, I don't suppose too many people stop themselves in mid-thought, and question their motives. It's a good habit to get into though. It teaches you self-control, as well as motivating you to just let things be.
Thanks for your insightful comments, lanakern.
larakern from Georgia on May 07, 2012:
Thank you so much for this! It brings up one question that I do not believe the mast majority of people ask their selves on a daily basis: "why does this bother me?" Typically when I get really angry or upset I take a few deep breaths and really think about the best way to solve the situation. Because honestly it does no good to be angry or upset.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on February 19, 2012:
Thanks so much for your astute observations, suzettenaples. True..it's easier said than done, but that's because everyone lets their ego get in the way. It's very hard to change people that are that caught up in themselves and their strongly-held (but mistaken) beliefs. Yes, you should walk away, if they can't see reason.
I totally agree with you...manners are a rarity these days. Many people act like the world owes them something, rather than doing what is right for others.
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on February 18, 2012:
Very pertinent hub and I agree with you, however, it is easier said than done. When others treat me with disrespect and are judgmental I can just consider the source. However, I want nothing to do with someone who treats me this way so I get rid of the toxic people in my life. Life is too short to put up with these kind of people.
I also get rid of the screamers in my life. Anyone who cannot take the time to speak to me kindly and softly, no matter how wrong they think I am at the moment, is immediately dropped from my life. There is no reason to raise our voices at one another.
We have lost all sense of decorum in this nation and it is sad that we are becoming such a coarse and vulgar country. Manners seem to be a thing of the past.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on February 06, 2012:
I'm so glad you found some good value in this article, Diana..and thanks for the votes and the follow.
Diana Mendes on February 05, 2012:
Great hub. Very valid points here. Really loved reading it & learnt a lot too. Thanks for sharing. Voted up & awesome.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on January 16, 2012:
You're welcome Vern. I'm glad you took it in the light-hearted vein intended. Cheers.
Vernon Bradley from Yucaipa, California on January 15, 2012:
Thank you for the feedback, Tim. I am chuckling--at myself!
Again good hub!
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on January 15, 2012:
Hey Vern, thanks for the lengthy treatise. I can see by your dissertation, that your ‘ego’ brain is in full control of your thoughts. Congratulations, you’ve beautifully illustrated why the ego can be problematic. Fortunately, the attention span of the average web surfer is not as long as your psycho-meanderings, and they’re likely to move on to the more concise, and carefully considered observations of my fellow readers..and in fairly short order.
Have a nice day :)
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on January 15, 2012:
Hello sofs. Wonderful to see you here. Yes, I totally agree with you..the world would be beautiful, if everyone could (or would) get a proper perspective on their ego and their emotions. The question posed is not an insignificant one... Thank you so much for your comments.
Sophie on January 14, 2012:
Hi there Tim, what a wonderful hub! Why does it bother me? The answers could be interesting pointers for action.. Loved every bit of this hub, especially the bit about ego, being judgmental and negative.. Oh Tim what a beautiful place this world of ours would be if we could make things easy for ourselves. Great hub, my friend and I am glad that you found the time to write it. God Bless!!
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on January 14, 2012:
Yes, letting go of the ego is a real problem with most people..it's so ingrained in our psyche, it's hard to think otherwise. Thanks for reading the article, BlissfulWriter.
Tim Nichol (author) from Me to You on January 14, 2012:
Thanks very much Christina, I'm very touched that it struck a chord with you. Yes, that quote is very apt, thanks.
BlissfulWriter on January 14, 2012:
The ego often gets us into trouble. Letting go of the ego is a good idea.
Christina L on January 14, 2012:
Thank you so much for this article. It's really helped me. I'm definitely bookmarking this article and will read it evey day until I overcome this, and even afterwards. You hit the nail on the head with this article. There's a quote that really opened my eyes as well. It's "Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's an experience." by Victoria Holt. Once again, thanks for the article :)
Vernon Bradley from Yucaipa, California on January 14, 2012:
Lots of good information here to THINK about and put into practice. Not sure where we come up with the idea of the ego or that emotions are good or bad or even problematic. I don't think the ego exists neurologically. Not even sure it exists spiritually.
The "problem" with emotions is we are taught at a very early age to deny what triggers our emotions, and so we stop expressing them appropriately. Then these intense emotional experiences that do not get expressed appropriately remain "stuck" in our amygdala, waiting to be fired off in response to anything that even resembles the original experience. The problem is our natural or supernatural, our God given ability to integrate our experience, both emotionally and thoughtfully, gets hijacked at a very early age. We tell someone when we are three years old that something hurts or that we are afraid or we ask our parent why he or she is angry and we are quickly told that our perception and experience is totally off when, in fact, it is not. So that is the beginning of the split between our emotions and our thinking. The problem is not the ego, it is the split between the thinking brain and the emotional brain, the God-designed integration gets "thrashed." Anywho, I could go on and on. When we practice reintegrating our thinking brain with our emotional brain, our emotions will always serve us well, no matter how intense. We will know to check in to see what it is we are needing. We will also check in to see if an automatic survival response fits what is actually happening in the moment or if it's a response left over from something in the past. This is how our brain is supposed to work from the get go. Anywho, I like what you say about coming to terms with the fact that we are not the center of the universe. It is a developmental stage that can naturally occur between 18 to 36 months. We are only selfish because the big folks in our life did not walk us through this stage and support our little self getting to the other side of seeing where we fit in the big scheme of things. Sorry for going on and on. This is one of my favorite topics and have posted quite a few hubs about it.
THANKS FOR YOUR INSIGHTS