Don’t Take Everything Personal

When you allow a person’s words to upset you, you’re giving away your power – Dr. Phil

There are times when we, as adults, feel annoyed with one person or another, especially if they have not behaved the way we want them to.   Toddlers who are the purest form of a human never do that.  They live in the moment and make sure adults pay attention to them when needed and then they get busy. 

Perhaps we never fully outgrow our toddler mindset and look at the world from that perspective without being aware of it!  However the difference between a a toddler and an adult is that a toddler after throwing a tantrum would become normal in a few moments.  If we ask them what made them angry the day after their tantrum, they wouldn’t have a clue  about what we are talking about.  But as adults we get stuck in angry or irritated mindset by churning a particular experience for days, weeks and sometimes years after it happened.  We can lose sleep over something that happened once because we keep talking about it until it becomes bigger and bigger and out of hand.  

A friend’s daughter, Regina, was telling me how she was feeling so angry because of a person.  Though she never mentioned the name of the person but I knew it was her aunty with whom her family had strained relationship. 

Regina said, “You know one day the person came and told us how each one of us has wronged her. And the more I think about the event the more it makes me angry because I hadn’t done anything .”

“And?”  I said.

“But…” Regina continued.

“Oh I hear you.  But tell me how long ago was that?”

“A few weeks ago.”

“So how why did it affect you?” I asked.

 “I can’t forget the event,” she replied.

“How many times did you think about the event in that time?”

“In fact, the meanness of the person had been on my mind every day since the event.”

Don’t strangle others in your thoughts

“How many times did you strangle her in your thoughts?”

She smiled and sighed. 

“That rude person said something which you didn’t like or which, according to you, was not fairNow let me guess that the person’s visit must have become the hot topic of discussion between your mother and your other aunty for weeks.  But note that the rude person visited you once and she was rude to you only once How many times did you discuss your anger with your mother or kept visualizing the event? 

Regina blinked her eyes slowly as if seeing my point of view.  I narrated something that I had watched on Dr. Phil’s program years ago.   

A woman on the show was talking about her anger, something she experienced with her in-laws, several years ago.  Dr. Phil after hearing her said, “Your in-laws did this thing to you once.  How many times did you live the event by thinking about it?”  Then he said how we emotionally harm ourselves by  keeping the event alive in our head.

I would add that the woman was not only harming herself emotionally but also physically.  While laughter and good experiences release endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin  and dopamine which make us feel good, negative emotions release stress hormones like norepinephrine and cortisol.  Where do these chemicals go?  They flood every cell in the body.  We know that our body feels different when we are angry and when we are laughing or happy.  Over time our emotions affect our immune system.  Repetitive negative emotions lead to dis-ease in our body.

Then I asked Regina three questions:

  1. How much time did she spend thinking about the person?
  2. How did those few weeks when she was churning her angry thoughts affect her life and other project?
  3. How had it diverted her attention from getting what she wanted? 

The last question was in the light of the fact that Regina had set up time with me because she wanted to discuss something very fun and creative about herself.  She completely forgot to mention that during our half to an hour long conversation because she was so upset with someone.

Many a times we get angry about other’s behavior and then keep thinking about them without realizing that not only we are harming our body but also wasting our time. 

It’s important to act smart and take care of ourselves.  People do things not to us or because of us but because who they are.  So dust their words and tone of voice off of you!

Dust off others behavior!!

 

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Change is always constant

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we create them – Albert Einstein

Preparing workforce to embrace change is one of the biggest challenges at workplace.  Huge sums of money is spent on coaxing and training employees, to come on board, when a corporation changes its culture, brings in a new leader, or even a way of doing things.  Perhaps it’s related to Maslow’s theory where comfort and safety fall under basic human needs.  These needs are food and shelter.  But over time we have become mentally lazy and want to stay in status quo.  However, that doesn’t help with our non-tangible or even physical growth. For instance, in order to stay healthy, we have to exercise, eat right food and so on.

Making changes to change could be like learning to ride monocycle – feels precarious and dangerous!

Changing oneself emotionally and psychologically could be challenging, especially when there is no one to bring us on board, like they do at work, or when we don’t see the reward that change would bring.  A friend was recently told me that she gets angry a lot.  I told her to congratulate herself because awareness is the first step to get onto the healing path.  No matter, how difficult it may be to bring change or to unlearn a habit but rewards could be great.  We develop certain habits that serve us.  But a time comes when they are no longer beneficial.  Over time, the stale habits that don’t serve us make us sick, if we continue on with them.  Anger is associated with high blood pressure, and even heart diseases. 

How can we make a change?

Reason for getting angry –When does anger arise?  Is it because of other’s actions or words? Are you expecting others to please you, uplift you?

Where in the body anger manifest – Chinese say anger affects liver

What or what is the running commentary of your thoughts – Are they about others or about yourself? Are you expecting others to make you happy?

How to make a paradigm shift – Take an action, Watch a funny video, Go for a walk, but being mindful of your feelings of the moment, ump up and down and say: I Feel Good, until you start laughing, Call a good weather friend.

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Traps

I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere in the world –  Harun Yahya

Some of us are never satisfied with what we have.  We always want change. We want to move onto another thing, another place, another job, another friend.  We may become antsy after living in a place for a few years.  I have had some of these traits. I realized this way we don’t:

  1. have to be intimate with anyone
  2. Instead of facing ourselves, we keep ourselves busy so we don’t have to look within
  3. Our time passes really well
  4. Get close to anyone

This pattern makes us feel that we are trapped in our lives, in our jobs, in our friends or spouse’s presence.  So we think the way to avoid this is to change location, people, events and other experience.  Sometimes we may end up buying new cars or new gadget in order to face our feelings.

Life is very simple.  We don’t need complications to avoid the reality or seeing ourselves!

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Why do you want to rescue others?

You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink!

I was talking to a friend when she lamented about the cold weather of New York.  I heard and thought silently, ‘Of course, it’s the end of October which means the start of winters. It is expected the temperature to drop.’

Then she said how she has been so feeling.  Her nose was congested and she felt irritation in her throat.

“It helped only when I wore warm clothes.  Anti allergic medicine helped unblock my  nose.” she said.

“Use essential oils at the start of the symptoms,” I  immediately chimed in.

“Which oil.  I can get them from Whole Foods,” she said.   Her remark triggered a deja vu feelings and I wondered why?

This time, instead of thinking of rescuing her I  said, “When you were sick last time, I sent you the names of oils and the photos of the oil bottles.”

“I don’t remember,” she said.  But I remembered her condition was extremely bad when I talked to her last winters.  I suggested using oils and she agreed.  I raved about the benefits of the oils and even told her where she would be able to find it.

Then I called her after a week, she said she has become better and doesn’t need it.  I was disappointed and frustrated.  I wasted my time on texting and talking about the oils.  Recently I realized this is our pattern.  She says something and I suggest something to her, and we discuss about it in the light of how it would affect her health or diseases that she has.  Then she agrees to eat or do whatever I suggest.  But when I follow up with her, she says that she didn’t have time, or…

Today I remembered our pattern.  So, instead of immediately attempting to rescue her I told her to look in her old text.  I felt good about it because it’s not my duty to rescue anyone, no matter how much I love them.

 Today’s call triggered a question.

Why do we want to rescue?

  1. To show our love.
  2. To satisfy our ego and feel good that people are listening to us and doing whatever we tell them. It boosts our self-image.

For the first time I realized that the second reason plays a bigger role than the first one.

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Is patience same as acceptance?

Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting – Anonymous

 Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset, the word search from Google revealed.

According to this definition, we need to be patient when we don’t get the results we want, or when others are rude or misbehaving.  It means we need to extend patience not only to others but to ourselves as well, especially when we start a project and want to finish it as quickly as possible, or we want justice in a situation.

The above approach indicates our thought process, which sprouts from our values, that we learn growing up, that others are not adhering to our guidelines.  Similarly, internal impatience is the result of our instant gratification attitude.

Patience, to me, is allowing others to act or behave the way they want.  That doesn’t mean tolerating abuse.  We have to set boundaries in every relationship.  However, when others’ opinion differ from ours, it is then we need patience the most.  Why?  Because our way is not the only way.  Extending patience to ourselves mean we need to create a space, i.e., give ourselves time allowance, to complete the project or achieve the desired results.

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What does a rejection stir in you?

Why do ejections hurt?

We are gregarious animals and by nature we want to be accepted by others.  We equate acceptance with love and rejection with dislike.  No one likes to be disliked.  But the fact is that rejections are not because of us.  A mother may not give a child junk food because she wants the child to be healthy as sugar may cause not only makes a person hyper, but over long time it puts pressure on pancreas which has to produce insulin to absorb sugar. Any type of artificial sweet causes the blood to spike up with energy and after a while and we feel elated.  However, when all the sugar is gone, one feels depressed because of low energy.

As adults we have expectations from others and we want everyone to like us, our work, our opinions, and everything belonging to us.  This is where the problem arises because it shows that our attitude becomes materialist.  We think our inner void would fill with the outer satisfactory moment.  Unfortunately, this can’t be far from truth.

According to Psychology Today, In our hunter/gatherer past, being ostracized from our tribes was akin to a death sentence, as we were unlikely to survive for long alone.” 

We no longer live in those days and the type of rejections have also changed.  Sometimes a rejection can be a blessing in disguise.

What type of rejections affect you the most?  How do you deal with a rejection?

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What do you project onto others?

For it’s only your own sins you see in him – A Course in Miracles

I was comfortably sitting with friend in the foyer of a school waiting for the rain to stop.  Another friend called me.  I picked up the telephone and walked away to the front glass door get some privacy.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a mother carrying a bicycle.  My instinct was to open the door but then I didn’t feel like, so I turned my face away.  As the mother approached the door, my friend who was sitting, said something to me.  I thought she was telling me to open the door for the woman.  I was already feeling guilty because I’m always the first one to help people.  So, I snapped at the friend and said, “I’m at the phone.”  Then I looked outside and saw my other friend who was talking to me on the phone.

I completed the call and apologized to the friend.  I realized that it’s our own feelings we project onto others.

 

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