Why Do We Wallow?

Why do we wallow in our misfortunes? Have you noticed how a lot of people will wallow in their misfortunes? Why does that happen? For example, a very common misfortune these days is financial trouble.  The typical person has a good job, a mortgage and a family to take care of. Then they loose their job, they’re not making enough money to pay the bills and their mortgage.  They are down to the last dollar and they’re about to loose their house.  You bump in to his person and try to catch up on how they’re doing.  The first thing they’ll do is to start wallowing in their horrible situation, and they want you to wallow with them.  They’ll tell you, “My life is horrible right now, I can’t make the mortgage payments, I’m going into foreclosure, I don’t know when I’m going to find my next job.”  Wallow, wallow, wallow.  I’m sure you would empathize with the person, but I bet if you meet them again in a few weeks it would be the same story.

I can’t say I’m any better than the person in the example, because I’ve done it myself plenty of times.  When I was struggling with my first business it was always the same wallowing whenever anybody would ask me how my business was doing. It’s like I was a broken record, wallow, wallow, wallow-business is bad, people are moving out, I’ll probably have to close down, on and on it went.

I believe life is like a journey you have decided to take. Imagine walking down the path we call life.  You might have to go up steep hills, or through hot deserts, or maybe through lush green forests.  Now imagine that there are big pools along the way. Some of these pools are filled with fresh, crystal clear waters, they’re filled with happiness, joy, fulfillment, love, and all that’s good in life-you can drink those waters and they help you live a good life. Now imagine pools filled with the most horrible substances-sadness, hate, pain and depression.  What would you do if you fell in one of these nasty pools? Obviously you would try to get out as quickly as possible, get to the edge and pull yourself out right?   Then you would want to clean yourself and get rid of all those foul substances that are all over you.  All these bad situations we face in life are just like those nasty pools. We fall into them and instead of trying to get out as quickly as possible and cleaning ourselves we like to wallow in their putrid substances.  When our friends and family pass us by this bad point in our life, we invite them into the nasty pool with us.  It’s as if we pull them in with us and we wash them with the putrid mud that’s in our pool. And then what do some of our friends do? They tell us, “If you think this pool is bad, wait ‘til you see the one I was in.”  And then it’s as if they’re inviting us to go visit them in their pool, we get there and we take a dip in there with them.  Talking about our misfortunes, thinking about them, giving attention to them is the exact same thing as taking a dip in a pool that’s filled with murky, bacteria-infested, water.  If you would take a dip in such pool you would probably get sick, you would get some kind of infection, you would smell really bad when you finally got out, and you could suffer a wealth of other negative effects.  And it would take a lot of washing to get clean again. So why do we keep wallowing away through our lives? One thing is venting with someone and letting out your feelings and emotions, another is wallowing.  You obviously don’t want to bottle up pent up feelings, you do want to let them out.  Going to through this journey we call life we are bound to fall into some of these nasty pools, that’s just how it is. However, even though life is like this, it doesn’t mean we have to remain in the pools for any amount of time, we can get out as quickly as possible.

The next time you fall into one of these pools, decide right away that you will only tell one person about the situation, and that you will tell this one person only so that you can vent and let out your emotions.  Decide that you will not give any more attention to this nasty pool, other than venting about it to only ONE person.  As soon as you fall in there, intend to get out of the pool as soon as possible; intend to move on right away.  Swim to the edge, get out, clean yourself, dry yourself, and appreciate the fact that you had to swim through that pool.  After all, having to go through these nasty pools makes swimming through the clean pools all the more enjoyable.  If all the pools in life were good ones then they would all be normal, they wouldn’t be great since we wouldn’t have bad pools to compare the good ones to.  Let’s stop the wallowing.

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