I watched my kids locked in a sibling battle the other day “You always do that!” “He never has to…”… on and on. Pretty strong viewpoints for kids. I realized a couple of things.. the ‘always’ and ‘never’ standpoints are a state of mind, and a young state of mind. In this case, it was a tired, hungry state of mind.
Rarely, if ever, is anything ‘always’ or ‘never’. Even in the most extreme circumstances or personalities, there is usually an exception. And, everything we ‘always’ and ‘never’ about other people, we also do ourselves.
Why should you care? Because our judgements can leave us quite stressed in a story about life and other people.
But then I don’t have to be around them. Yes, that is true. However, your judgements will then rise in other places and in other circumstances and you will then have to make a box for them as well. Now that is stress!
Emotional agility is a key factor in success, relationships and happiness. This is the ability to be flexible, see other viewpoints and see that everything is fluid and changing, even the most stubborn among us. There is always another side to it.
Do this: When you are stressed or anxious, notice your thoughts. Try dropping the story you are telling yourself. See if you can simply make it less important. Notice the emotions behind it. Usually these emotions are related to many things. Feel the complexity of emotions behind the stress: anger, helplessness, fear, frustration, impatience… breathe and let it pass through you. You are also not fixed one ‘way’ or another. After this pause, then decide to respond, or not, or is it time to walk away?
(Please note that if you are triggered very strongly, it is much harder to ‘let go of a story’ when there is trauma behind it. This might require some support.)
What would life be like without that story you are telling yourself? Imagine yourself in the same situation without believing that story.
Have a great week everyone,