Friday, May 21, 2021

Mountain Out Of A Molehill (MY Eng #14)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold' and 'putting the cart before the horse'.

Previously, I touched on work-life balance, by way of example. The larger point was about how people are prone to looking at problems the wrong way around. Problems that wouldn't arise - or at least, wouldn't spiral out of control - if only they had thought things through carefully.

Since we're on topic, and in keeping with theme, I'll expand further from a different angle.

Why do we get stressed out easily at work or school? What are we doing wrong? How can we make our lives easier?

Once again, the solution isn't so much a cure, but a painkiller.

* * *

Truth be told, most of the 'problems' we face aren't real problems to begin with. We're stressing over something that just isn't worth stressing about. Simply put, we're making a mountain out of a molehill.

Let's run through scome scenarios, shall we?

You just got into a relationship. The first few weeks have been absolutely magical. He calls you every night. You and him talk for hours. You just can't get enough of each other voices and faces. Suddenly, one night, you didn't get a call. Panicking, you keep calling him, but to no avail. You can only reach his voicemail. Did he forget all about you? Is he seeing someone else? Anger builds, and you spill a rage-filled rant on social media. Whoops. Next morning, you get a text from him, apologising profusely for having dozed off early after a long day at work...

You're late for work. All because you couldn't sleep last night overthinking about your boyfriend's absence and bitching about him with your besties. Eventually, you cry yourself to sleep, and missed your alarm clock. As you rushed into office slightly pass 11, you bumped into your big boss. He doesn't look happy. It's only your first month. As you meekly mumbled your apologies, he snarls and sets off on a long lecture about the fragility of millennials. He stalks off to a meeting, where he proceeds to yell at the unfortunate attendees...

Okay, the scenarios may seem rather silly. But we've been all there, haven't we? Both as the victim and perpetrator. And after all the drama has died down, we're left feeling remorseful and embarrassed.

* * *

Why make life more complicated than it really is? Why do we keep making mountains out of molehills?

Maybe deep inside, we secretly enjoy the drama, the heartache, the pain. Maybe life isn't fun if there are only molehills to tip-toe by everyday. Maybe we enjoy climbing mountains and jumping off the peak.

Which is fine, if mountains are what we want. There's always a choice. Life is what you make out of it.

And if so, then just bite the bullet (another idiom!). You can't have your cake and eat it too (got this idiom covered already). There's no sense complaining about problems of our own making.

But if life is really stressing you out, there's probably something fundamentally wrong about how you perceive things that happen to you, and how you react towards them. Chances are, the mountain that seems to be blocking your way is really a tiny, tiny molehill...


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