There is a type of dance human beings in relationships do; self-defense/attack. I’m not referring to romantic relationships only. I’m talking about all kinds of relationships; work, family and friendship.
We feel insecure, we cover up by attacking. We feel hurt, we cover up by attacking.
Most of us are taught and trained to hit back when attacked. But, if we think about it, in most situations, that only leads to more discord. By reacting we fail to understand the attack is coming from hurt and not hatred. That most likely the best response is actually one of understanding.
As we grow as people we understand that sometimes others attack us not because they don’t love us, but because they don’t know what to do with their own hurt. Once we understand that we then start to develop compassion for their behavior. We stop feeling attacked and instead comprehend and forgive.
Not attacking back or not being reactionary is not a sign of weakness, but actually a sign of strength. Only a healthy ego can understand other people’s hurt without having to show off how wise it is.
This state of being is not something easy to master, but something worth while to invest in. What I have learned to do is when attacked by someone I care about instead of reacting, I step aside. I still have to work on the getting hurt part. It takes time to emotionally realize it is not personal. But, when I’m successful in stepping aside, I’m always surprised how the situation turns around without a show down simply because I exercised understanding and compassion.
Don’t take others reactions at face value. If you are in any type of a relationship where from time to time there is an emotional attack out of nowhere, take a moment to think about the motivation. Don’t react. Exercise understanding and compassion. Most situations will work themselves out. And remember; it is a mark of your strength and growth.
I usually go to a spinning class on Saturday mornings. Today, as I was riding and sweat was dripping, I heard an inner-voice that said: “Do I really need this? Why am I doing this to myself?” To which one of my other inner voices responded: “I can do it. I’ll relax and commit. Just watch me.”
No, I’m not turning schizophrenic. I’m just aware of the inner dialogue that ensues when we are faced with challenges. When we are faced with hardship a side of us wants to give up while other parts want to keep going. It is in this tug of war that success or failure is decided. If our cheerleader voice is louder than success is the outcome.
Exercise – either extraneous like spinning or intense like Yoga – is a microcosm of life. If we are to last the whole class or training session we must learn to relax, commit and silence the negative voice. The same happens in life. If we are to succeed in our careers or an undertaking we must learn to pace ourselves and overcome the obstacles without giving up.
Athletes have to learn this from day one. They have to overcome physical difficulties and pain. They have to overcome competition. And they have to do all of that with complete commitment – mental and physical.
We have to learn to approach our dreams like athletes do their sport – with relaxation and commitment. Because for most of us getting what we want means working at it. It means applying ourselves without giving up.
I love exercise – not only for health reasons – but because it helps me understand in an innate way what my posture in life has to be if I am to get what I want.
So, pick an exercise routine that challenges you. Observe what your mind tells you. Turn off the negativity. Relax. Commit. And witness your personal achievement.
I was born without patience. Actually, I was born wanting things to happen instantly. I want it, I take action, I want the result. Unfortunately, I have had to learn that life doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t, simply because while I would like to be the center of the universe, I am not.
Involved in everything we want are others who also have their wants and desires as well as the unexpected because life has its own rhythm. So, rather than live a life of frustrations, I work at cultivating patience.
We need to do it because we are tested on a regular basis. It seems that standing in line or on hold is now a daily occurrence. And so if we don’t practice patience we are going to be buried under a mountain of frustration.
In terms of goals, it seems that achieving what we want now takes more time and more work. There is great competition and many obstacles. So again without practicing patience we will simply self-destruct.
When I know I have to wait long at a doctor’s office or hold a phone to my ear until it feels it’s become part of my being; I talk to myself before it happens. I do it as if talking to a child. I remind myself that losing my “cool” won’t do me any good. It will actually make things worse. I say to myself: “If you want such and such to happen you have to keep calm.” I also make sure to have reading or writing materials so if I can, I’ll make myself busy.
In terms of goals – that’s a tough of one. You really want something, you’ve done all you could, and now you have to wait. But there lies the key to patience. You’ve done all you could. Once I hit that point I tell myself to let go. There is nothing else more to do then to stay busy with other things and let life take its course. The minute I feel the feeling of frustration or impatience creeping in, I turn my attention to something else. I make myself busy. If my mind is engage with living then I have no time to let frustration build up.
Try these techniques and if they don’t work for you, find your own and let me know. Dealing with frustration and impatience is a lifelong commitment. I shall have other suggestions soon.
Having dreams related to work or family is a good thing. But, not enjoying life because we haven’t achieved those dreams yet – is not.
We all have goals in our lives. They can be a better job, a partner, a family, or time. Whatever your goals are, some will happen and some won’t. And some will happen in a different way than you had imagined; that’s called life.
On the path of achieving our dreams sometimes we stop fully enjoying our moments because in the back of our minds our present situation is not perfect. Once that thought takes hold we stop fully being present and experiencing.
I remember when I lived in NYC with my first husband and we would go to a place in the woods by a lake in Pennsylvania called “Promised Land”.
There is nothing like being a writer to test one’s self-confidence and one’s ability to shut off the destructive inner dialogue. It is just the ultimate. Why? You start by staring at a blank computer screen and then you type the first few words. At the end of your work day, you start thinking back to the world you are creating with its characters and situations and most often than not the question “have I lost my mind” pops up. Next, it will be phrases like “this is awful, what was I thinking?, I’ll never work again.”
But, somehow – if writers are actually to work again – they have to find the discipline, courage and inspiration to keep going. And let me tell you, it is a daily battle. After all, a writer is an absolute creator who has to trust his or hers creativity in order to create. A writer’s work starts with them and its 100% their creation.
So, it is possible to continue to plow forward even though thoughts of I’m not good enough do their best to take over our lives. It is a matter of being more in love with what we want to do then a victim of the evil inner dialogue. It is also a matter of saying: Maybe I’m not good enough, but I’m going to do my best and get to the end of whatever I’m doing and then we’ll see what happens.
Sometimes, I really think I have two brains. One, my lower brain, which gets upset with the small stuff and is often a victim of anxiety, anger and frustration. The other, my higher brain which listens to the lower, but doesn’t get embroiled in any of the issues the lower brain does.
Basically, the lower brain keeps our nose to the ground while the higher brain lets us see the big picture.
Growth comes from listening to the higher brain which has the ability to stop the obsessive inner-dialogue of the lower brain. It understands thoughts like: “he/she didn’t call, I must not be important enough, I didn’t get XXX, I must be really stupid etc.” but it doesn’t become a victim of it. Quite the contrary; it understands the pain and confusion, but instead of letting us be stuck in the muck, it offers us a grander view of our own lives. It asks us to take a step back.
The higher brain is a byproduct of our wisdom. Better yet. It is its pro-active side. But, it takes time and discipline to allow the higher brain to take over, because our lower brain is so busy being compulsive, attached, and resentful, that in the beginning a fierce inner-struggle is certain to happen.
Found the below post by Brad Pilon at www.zenhabits.com
“Here is an experiment I’d like you to try:
Log in to your banking account. Check how much money you have.
Now log out.
Now log back in, check how much money you have.
Now Log out.
Repeat this two to three more times.
I’m willing to bet my money that your money did not change as a result of how many times you checked on it.
The point of this experiment is obsessing about things isn’t actually action. It rarely, if ever changes the circumstance you are obsessing about.”…Continued
Although Brad goes on to connect the above to issues of health and fitness, I think it can be applied to any kind of obsessive behavior.
Often, we believe we can muscle situations into being what we want, but most often than not by doing so we cause the opposite to happen.
In reality, doing our best then letting go is the only healthy approach we can have towards any our undertakings.
For people like me, who believe unless I’m standing on my head and doing cartwheels nothing will happen, letting go of control can be a tough proposition.
After countless breakdowns over why life wasn’t happening the way I wanted and in my own time, I realized I had to change. Obsessing didn’t make anything happen differently. It only made me and others anxious.
So, what I’m learning to do now is to put my best effort forward then ask myself; have I done everything I can and if the answer is “yes” then I let go. Letting go means; moving forward with other thoughts and tasks and letting life take its course.
If you are obsessing over things, don’t let the feelings the behavior create trick you into thinking you’re actually doing something. Remember: all we can do is our best. We don’t control results. So, let go and move on.
People keep going on and on about know thyself. So, why the heck is it so important to do that after all?
For starters if we don’t, we’ll just keep making the same mistakes over and over again. It’s like going to an ice-cream store on a Monday and getting a chocolate ice-cream cone. Then on Tuesday a strawberry. And then on Wednesday a Vanilla. You know what I mean; they are all ice-cream cones just with different flavors.
When we don’t take time for self-reflection, that’s what we do; we repeat the same behavior. If you are thinking that is not you because you can’t identify your current situation with anything else from the past, think again. Is it really different behavior or does it only look different? Now, take your time to reflect on the question before answering. You may surprise yourself with the answer that comes up.
Yesterday, I was on the phone with a friend who was telling me how unhappy he had been. He wasn’t happy with his relationship. He wasn’t happy with his work. Mostly he was just coping.
I told him I didn’t mind talking to him about his issues, but wanted to point out they had been the same for the past five years. Once I said that, he tried to change the subject as he didn’t want to have any responsibility for his current unhappiness.
After we hung up the phone, I thought about how many of us stay stuck in situations that are no longer happy or productive simply because we are used to them.
I was recently reading about Hugh Herr, chief technology officer at iWalk, a company specialized in bionic prosthetics.
Dr. Hugh Herr is a below the knee double-amputee. When he was a teenager, while mountain climbing, he got stuck with others in extreme cold conditions and had to have his lower limbs amputated to stop necropsy from spreading to his whole body.
One of the questions posed to him in the interview was; if he could have his legs back would he want them? His answer was an emphatic no. He explained that being a double-amputee is his identity and what has propelled his life and work. Would he have dedicated his life to creating these amazing bionic prosthetics if he wasn’t an amputee himself? Would he see life as he does today if not for the sum of his experiences?
I thought about how significant it is what he said. What had been a tragedy when it happened was what made him understand and undertake his life in a completely different way.
Often when tragic things happen to us we get stuck in feelings of pity, anger and resentment and we don’t see past the pain. We kick and scream and eventually give up living a life of contentment.
When my husband passed away, I kept thinking there had to be something positive to come out of the greatest loss I had ever experienced. It was impossible for me to conceive that out of the love we had, all it would be left was pain alone. I knew there was no reason for it to have happened, but there had to be something to be gained. And so I embarked on a journey of self-discovery and I learned and changed.