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does this bring me joy?

I’ve talked about simplifying and downsizing and eliminating things before, but I have recently adopted this new motto for even more things in my life.

I have a rather lengthy commute to and from work each day. I’m not complaining about it. I chose it. I like what I do for work. So, it is worth it. That said, I have a lot of time in my car alone five days a week. I will listen to the news, talk radio, one of my playlists or an audiobook to help break up the monotony of the daily commute. I often find my mind drifting to one thing or another based on what comes over my speakers.

I will find myself angry, or sad, or happy or any other of a number of emotions. That’s all well and good, but I have found myself thinking lately, “does this bring me joy?”

Sometimes the negative emotions are valid and I allow them—temporarily. Then I remind myself to move on. Lingering on the negativity does me no good. It brings me no joy. Therefore… next. I have found this approach very refreshing. I tend to overthink things and play out as many possibilities as I can imagine—good and bad. None of these possibilities are going to happen while I’m driving in my car, and none of them are actually realistic because of all the influencing variables I cannot control. It does me no good to play these all out to some imaginary end when, likely, none of them will be the eventual outcome.

Like the other things in my life, accumulating these “potentialities” is frivolous, unnecessary and potentially harmful. I shouldn’t hang onto any of these thoughts and “self conversations.” More than that, I shouldn’t gather them in the first place, if they aren’t things that bring me joy.

Just like looking in my closet to downsize my wardrobe, I need to look at my thoughts like the shirt in front of me. Does it bring me joy? Am I happy when I put it on? Do I feel good in it? Does it look good on me? Do I benefit from it?

If the answer is no, let it go.

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