4 Characteristics of Totally Chill People

Susan Kelley
5 min readAug 29, 2021

Or, Not Letting Disappointment Harsh Your Mellow

Photo by Letícia Pelissari on Unsplash

If you are a human, you will inevitably face disappointment and frustration, that’s just a simple fact. Whether you let it derail you is less a fact and more a choice.

Have you noticed the people in your life who are completely rattled when things go awry compared with the people who roll with it, and simply shift gears? It’s not that difficult to be the second type of person if you identify the ways to do it. That is, of course, if you prefer leading a less chaotic and more zen-like life. I am firmly in category 2. So join me, and try out these 4 ways of handling shifting sands embraced by totally chill people.

1. They recognize that they control their thoughts, but not their feelings.

There’s a fairness in understanding that directly trying to make yourself feel more happy is a recipe for failure. If your response is to just “be happy,” you simply can’t. You are not a happiness factory.

  • Trying to force emotions like happiness is like force-feeding a baby a tasteless vegetable. It will end in disaster. You will feel more unhappy.
  • Trying to artificially find your way out of anger typically leads to — you guessed it — more anger, either at yourself, or misdirected at others
  • There is no way to fake your way out of anxiety. You can focus on not having anxious thoughts, but not out of having anxiety as an emotion.

So totally chill people separate thought from emotion. Own your emotions, and understand that you can direct your thoughts, but your feelings are real. It’s okay to feel disappointment or anger or anxiety, but not to let that feeling overwhelm and own your day, week, month, etc. Your disappointment has a place, sure, but that place is not at the head of the table.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

2. They own their actions, not their outcomes.

We are all of course responsible for the things we do, but after we pitch the ball, it has a trajectory over which we have little control. It’s important to remember…

Susan Kelley

Susan is a runner, a mom of 3 grown children, and an avid traveler. She writes about humans, and wrote a book about false accusations of sexual assault.