Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lesson #34: It Is Insane To Argue With The Weather

I can't tell you how often I hear people complain, judge, challenge, condemn, blame, and curse out the third snowiest winter ever.  But rain or shine one thing remains true: Mother Nature doesn't give a s**t what you think. 
weather.  This is especially true in New York City, where we just experienced the snowiest January in recorded history.

Dr. Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, consistently and emphatically stated, "People are not upset by the things around them.  People are upset by what they tell themselves about the things around them."  People don't get upset by the wind and the cold, they get upset about what they tell themselves about the wind and the cold.  The same holds true for the economy, the president, the traffic, a coworker, a spouse, a partner, a canceled soap opera, even a death. Anytime we experience anger or frustration it is because of the automatic messages we are telling ourselves, not the situation itself.

I am not saying I like miserable weather or stock market crashes or losing loved ones.  But I have learned that going to war with reality means I will lose.  I will lose rest, I will lose balance, I will lose focus, I will lose joy.  I am simply not willing to sacrifice these things at age forty the way I did when I was younger. 

So no, I don't fight bad weather. I use all adversities as opportunities to practice these 40 Lessons of 40 years.  I choose to find serenity even in the midst of crappy weather, a bad economy, and a friend's death.  This is a valuable tool that any one of us can apply at any age.

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City. He specializes in issues related to addiction, bullying, caretaking fatigue, grief and loss, gay/lesbian issues, stress management, depression, as well as couples in non-traditional arrangements. He is the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." To have him speak with your group, or to schedule a counseling visit, call 347-227-7707, or email at

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