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You are being ridiculous! – Stop obsessively sweating the small stuff, it’s only a trash can!

sweat small stuffI let a trash can ruin my morning.  When you do something, or don’t do something, and it begins to eat away at you you must learn how to mentally let it go, stop obsessing, and move on.

Especially the stupid small stuff that you mentally turn into a big deal and it ruins your day.

I walked to my floor trash chute this morning to toss out my trash. Somebody on my floor stuffed a garbage bag that was too big for the trash chute, so the garbage was wedged in right in the opening.  I’ve stuffed overlarge trash in the chute before, but made sure it flew down the chute to the trash can at the bottom of the building.

This person just left it half in and half out, leaving me with a dilemma.  Do I push someone else’s dirty trash they inconsiderately left down the chute?  Who knows what’s living in there. But I was running late and had no time to run back to my place and leave it there for later and why should I have to do that.  So, I started to push the bag hard and tried to maneuver it and shape it in a way that it would drop down the chute but it wouldn’t budge.  I felt the angry sweat start to scream out of pours as I felt someone else’s squashy trash through the bag and decided not to let someone else’s party foul start my day off on an angry trash rampage. All I had was a small box to dispose of and contemplated leaving it on the floor beside the trash chute cause I was beyond PO’d at the situation and through this is not my fault so I’m just gonna leave it there. I walked away then came back.  Despite the bubbling emotions that screamed ‘this is not fair’ I couldn’t take the angst. The hypocritical guilt started to irk me. To be honest, out of frustration, I probably would have left the box on the floor but then it would become someone else’s mess.  Plus the fact that the box had my apartment number on it so it could be traced back to me and I’D be the jerk that left my trash outside the already too stuffed bin so I gave up and decided to use the communal trash can in my buildings lobby instead.

When I got downstairs my trash also barely fit in the can and I couldn’t take it anymore, “it” meaning my bipolar chute of irritability that I often have to slowly talk my way out of, so like that jerk that I mentally cursed just moments before, I ended up leaving it half in and half out of the garbage can, probably causing annoyance to ALL the building residents that periodically use that trash can here and there.  Even though the box had my apartment number on it, at that point, I didn’t care.

I didn’t care for about 30 seconds then the next terrible emotion set in: Guilt.  I was caught in-between heightened frustration mixed with guilt but didn’t have another option to dispose of my trash at that point so walked away.

I spent my entire car ride to work mad and guilty.  I went from one bipolar emotion to another and couldn’t let either of them go.  I was persecuting myself throughout my drive, pulling myself down, worried the doorman would see the box that had my apartment number on it and my mind started to worry about getting some email later that day from the building manager to please fully dispose of your trash when using the communal trash can.

Guilt, anger, and worry turned into regret and I couldn’t shake any of my emotional obsessions with what is truly silly when I really thought about it.

Please Erica, l e t i t g oooo.  What was I going to do?  Turn around, drive back, remove the box and be late to work?  Angry at myself for even doing that, angry at my floor mate that started all this to begin with?  It was all so overwhelming at that point, so verbally tried to talk to myself into peace in my car.  “Deep breath, it’s just trash, this isn’t totally your fault cause some inconsiderate person started the whole thing and you turned around and managed to do that same thing to the entire building but please let it go.”

It sounds ridiculous to have so much mental trauma and drama in the first ten minutes of my day all over a box that didn’t totally fit in the lobby trash can and realized the key to helping myself coup.

What can you do about it now?  You already did it.  You can’t turn back now so why are you obsessing over what you should have done or could have done when you have to simply accept what you have done and MOVE ON.

No.  I couldn’t.  I had to do something to make myself feel better.  I thought about posting a note on my floor by the trash asking people to make sure they get all their junk down the trap and thought maybe that would appease my anger and free me from my own guilt so once again, my mind still obsessed ever the whole debacle when it was time to let it go.

In times of sweating the small stuff you have to ask yourself: What can I do now about this now?  Nothing.  So don’t spend your precious time thinking otherwise.

Next time I’ll just walk down the stairs to another floors trash chute and be done with it.  There. A solution to stop my obsession of sweating the small stuff.

And as we speak, I am still talking about it.

Life can be hard when you sweat the small stuff and often times a mental illness only exacerbate the situation so know you have to make an extra effort to not let that mental aspect of your illness get the best of you.

Upwards and onwards folks!  Next!

Trash photo available from Shutterstock

You are being ridiculous! – Stop obsessively sweating the small stuff, it’s only a trash can!

Erica Loberg

Erica Loberg was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She attended Columbia University in New York and graduated with a BA in English. She is a published poet and author of Inside the Insane, Screaming at the Void, What Men Should Know About Women, What Women Should Know About Men, Diamonds From The Rough , Undressed, and I'm Not Playing.

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APA Reference
Loberg, E. (2012). You are being ridiculous! – Stop obsessively sweating the small stuff, it’s only a trash can!. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 Sep 2012
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