Today a client of mine was complaining about the fact her husband works long hours. When I questioned her further it turns out that he has a corporate job and earns mega bucks. Moreover, he loves his job and can talk about it for hours.
My client has been having mild anxiety lately which causes her to feel faint. She wants her husband to be available whenever she needs him but he says it is impossible owing to work commitments. My client feels stressed by his role and wishes she had a more stay at home husband.
Yesterday another client of mine was stressing over her financial worries. Her husband has a nine to five job and earns a low salary. This means she has to work too and, even so, they are not flush with money. She is trying to motivate her husband to be more driven and to get a better job.
These scenarios are not uncommon. They demonstrate the old but true cliché that perhaps we always want we cannot have. Maybe it is the unattainable that is enchanting and what we have is boring or not good enough.
What would help each of these women is the tool of realism: “I choose realism over romanticism.” Simply put it means that I accept the reality of my life and give up the futile romanticising of other options which are not going to be possible.
Another amazing tool is to practice gratitude. Gratitude means appreciating what I do have rather than wishing it were different. Therefore, client number one could be grateful her husband is happy and energetic and enjoys his job. She could also value the income he brings home enabling her to have a lovely home and to access all the support she needs. Moreover, she could be thankful that she does not have day to day stress about paying bills.
Client number two has lots to be grateful for too. She has a loving husband who is home a lot. He prioritises the family and is there to offer love and support whenever she needs it. They share the load and have an equal partnership.
Neither of these clients is better off than the other. They each have unique life situations that they need to cope with and accept. Practicing realism and gratitude will help them enjoy their lives.
Realism means understanding that whatever your life situation, you can have stress. It all depends on how you interpret it. Give up the romantic idea that if you change your job, or partner or city you will suddenly be stress free. Reducing stress will only come about if you change your thoughts and improve your outlook by utilising tools like realism and gratitude.