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Recently, I paid my taxes for the year. Like most people, I can get grumpy about paying taxes. It feels bad to have a big chunk of my paycheck disappear each month. But as much as I might dislike paying my taxes, it’s a part of life. Because I choose to live in this country, and partake in all the benefits that come along with living in the country (e.g., driving on paved roads, having a fire department to call, etc.), taxes are part of the deal. I may not like paying my taxes, but I have to do it.

2 Reactions to Paying Your Taxes

I can have one of two reactions to paying my taxes: One—I could complain, moan, and groan on and on about paying taxes. I could get together with my friends and we could all complain together. I could get upset every time I get my paycheck and see the money taken out. I could get angry and depressed and let taxes ruin my day.

Or two: I could shrug my shoulders, and acknowledge that even though I don’t like to pay taxes, it’s a part of life and it isn’t going to change. I could let it go and move on with my day. I don’t have to let taxes influence my emotions and experience in a negative way.

Taxes in Other Areas of Life

I was reading an article by Ryan Holiday, who noted that we face a similar “tax” in other areas of our lives as well. What he meant was that in many areas of life, things happen that are just “part of the deal.” We may not like them, but if we want to engage in that part of life (and get the benefits of the engagement), we have to pay the taxes as well.

The Tax on Traveling

Here are a couple of examples from my own life: I was traveling home from a conference not too long ago, and my flight was delayed. It had something to do with the crew not getting to the plane on time, and so we didn’t board the plane on time. Then, once we got on the runway, the airport was busy, so we were delayed on the runway before we were able to leave.

If you want to travel, flight delays are part of the deal. You can think of a flight delay as a tax you pay for traveling a lot. You can get really angry about the tax, and let it ruin your day. Or you can shrug your shoulders, and acknowledge that even though you don’t like the delay, it’s a part of traveling that you need to accept.

The Tax on Being Active

Second example: Over the last several months, I’ve been dealing with an injury that has been frustrating for me. I’ve been in quite a bit of pain, and I haven’t been able to work out or be as active as I want to be. It’s been annoying and tough to deal with.

Here again, if you want to be active and participate in sports, injuries are part of the deal. You can think of an injury as a tax you pay for being active. You can get really angry about the tax, and let it ruin your day. Or you can shrug your shoulders, and acknowledge that even though you don’t like the injury, it’s a part of being active that you need to accept.

Discussion: What frustrating thing are you dealing with in your life right now that is a “tax”? It’s not fun, but it’s a normal part of whatever it is you are participating in. How could you “pay your taxes” and move on with your life, rather than letting the tax ruin your day?

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