Those of us who are into the self-help, self-improvement, personal growth, coaching, energy work realm are often bombarded with the concepts of being in the now, releasing negativity, forgiving, looking on the bright side, and letting go.
All fantastic concepts that once you become aware of certainly help with the constant battle of finding and maintaining balance and peace in your life. But if you are human, and live here on earth, these concepts are hard to maintain consistently.
If you are a monk or a recluse or something, this would probably be easy peasey! But it is more likely that you are in the great majority of the human race, you have schedules, deadlines, responsibilities, and may feel a certain measure of guilt when you read about all these concepts and techniques and how other people are (seemingly) just totally rocking living in the now and letting go of bothersome shit in their lives.
You on the other hand are just trying to keep your cool getting the kids off to school in the morning.
Well, I’m going to share with you a little secret. It’s ok to be human! It is totally acceptable to be yelling in your car at the idiot that just cut you off, to stress out over finances, and to get frustrated when your kids don’t do their homework.
Being human means that you experience feelings. You are influenced by people, situations and events around you. It is totally ok to acknowledge and accept that. In fact, it is a critical piece in creating the balance you seek in your life. If you are only focused on being that calm and positive person, you know, that person on Xanax, you are really doing yourself a disservice. You are actually most likely bottling up the real feelings you are experiencing.
Mark my words, those feelings will find a way to express themselves through you one way or another and you most likely will not like it.
The important thing in being human is to BE human.
I get fucking pissed when I drive. I hate people who can’t find the gas pedal, or who drive the speed limit in the passing lane (yeah, I know). Or how about the assholes who cut you off or who drive the same damn route every day and still get in the wrong lane to turn and then expect you to let them in. I could go on but I think you get the idea.
What I have noticed is that in catching my reactions, I have learned through some self-improvement techniques that I actually can shift how I feel about a situation and reduce the stress factor much quicker than I used to be able to. The key is recognizing the response as it is happening. Because our subconscious takes over and old habits are always the first action or reaction, we often find that we do still have a trigger that causes us to jump to a response that may not be the one that we wish we would have if we took the time to think about it.
Another thing that has helped me to recognize my road rage is having a boyfriend with a much worse case of it! I don’t even like being a passenger in the car if he’s driving. Needless to say, I do 99% of the driving.
So I guess this would be an exaggerated case of someone reflecting something back to me that I don’t like but that I actually do. When I’m in the car with him I feel stressed and want to get out of the car as quickly as possible. I really want to shove some fucking calm and peace right into his head! So the feelings that I experience when he is driving makes me think about how others may feel who drive with me even though my rage is waaaaaay less than his. I’m not just saying that, it really is. Ask my kids.
Where am I going with this? Let’s see, we are human and need to recognize and acknowledge how our feelings and those of others affect us. It is A-OK to get pissed, irritable, sad, or depressed about something. A good thing to consider when these feelings are at a high is to take a look at what caused the reaction. Does it reflect back to you something that you do? If so is this something you can work on changing? More importantly are you willing to change it?
If it is something out of your control like an event that makes you feel a certain way, this is a good time to ask yourself some questions in order to put it into perspective. How does this REALLY affect you? Do you have a dog in this fight or are you just reacting to something you have no control over and it really has nothing to do with you?
A good example of this is negative news stories. You can simply stop reading or listening to this type of news. Then the trigger is removed and stress over situations that don’t directly affect you is eliminated.
I often find I have to go on a news diet. It really does help.
So when you are just having one of those days, try your best to take a time out to do something you enjoy. I find that reading a good book or spending time outdoors helps to soothe the irritation I may have felt over something. For you it may be music, writing, or playing a sport. Whatever it is do it and dissipate the stress. You will often find that in being human you can experience the shit that happens, take yourself out of it, and come back with a calmer and slightly shifted perspective.
Acknowledge that you are human.
Recognize your responses.
Take yourself out of a situation (if possible) or at least observe yourself having the reaction.
Shift your perspective.
Rinse and repeat.
Change yourself for the better.
And you know what? If you have trouble with this there are ALWAYS totally awesome people around who are willing to help. Because helping others helps us too.