What does tax day mean to you? Ask most Americans and they’ll confess that they dread April 15th even more than a trip to the dentist (or perhaps even starting a new diet).
There’s something about having to fork over our hard earned funds (on top of sales taxes we already pay when buying something) mid April of every year. And you can count me among the folks who used to grouse about having to pay taxes. Yes, you read that right… Used to.
I recently realized that whenever I broke into a sweat, panic or foul mood as a result of sitting down to write a check out to the IRS, it was actually me making myself feel miserable and not anyone else. After all, I’m the one who earned the income. I’m the one who lives in the country that I live in. And I’m the one running the thoughts of “Oh, man, why do I have to pay taxes?” through my head. Not the IRS. Not my CPA. Not my bank. Me.
I then began to realize that because I was responsible for the negative banter in my head, I could actually be happy while writing out my tax payment check. Now, before you call the loony bin to come pick me up, let me explain.
Just as one day I decided to just stop eating so much and went from over 450 pounds to around 175 pounds in less than a year’s time period, I decided I could just stop feeling sorry for myself and instead just accept that paying taxes is a part of life. And since it’s a part of life, why make myself miserable about it? After all, paying taxes is a sign that I’m earning income. It’s also a requirement of living in my state and in this country (two places that I love). So what’s to complain about?
By thinking negative thoughts, I was only making myself miserable. And this includes joining others when complaining about having to pay taxes. Now, this doesn’t mean that if I heard you complaining about having to pay the IRS I would break into song and cartoon birds would start circling around me (although, quite frankly, I wish they would). It just means that I’m not going to ruin my own day by grousing about things and circumstances I can’t change.
Based on my longterm history, complaining and grousing leads to more and more negativity, which (for me) leads to destructive behavior such as eating the wrong foods, gaining weight and not being able to fit into my skinny jeans. And let me tell you, the cartoon birds would flee for their lives if I wasn’t able to comfortably zip up my skinny jeans.
So as Bobby McFerrin sings, “Don’t worry, be happy.” After all, we might as well accept our present circumstances (regarding paying taxes, our weight, our life situations or whatever) and make the very best of them. This better attitude will sure lead to better things. Even if not to cartoon birds. (But hey… You never know!)
So join me in paying your taxes with gratitude, won’t you? The life you change just might be your own.
Photo Source: southernstudies.org