Have you ever been so engrossed in your own fury – your irritation regarding a situation – YOUR OWN REACTION, that your perception was distorted? When you lose perspective, you lose your power and the ability to deal with the way things reality. Maybe one of these situations has sparked a reaction in you: the plane doors close just as you approach the gate; it rains on your long-awaited-favorite trip; or your leftover meal from your favorite restaurant, the one you were looking forward to all day, has been eaten by someone else.
Surely you’ve heard the phrase “glass-half-empty or glass-half-full.” When you lose “your power”, your capability, and your perspective, you become a slave to your own reaction – a drink from the glass of half-empty.
Things that get in our way:
1 We focus on the “shoulds” instead of the what is. By getting attached to what should have happened instead of reality, we give away our ability to reason and act effectively. “You shouldn’t have rained on my vacation and now my trip is ruined and I’m going to be miserable.”
2 We make a quick exit when the going gets tough. Often when we are in the midst of a situation that is painful, draining, or tough, we make a run for it. We leave the scene so we don’t have to deal with the pain. Emotional maturity is developing and flexing the muscles that allow us to stay, endure, and deal with a situation – to do the “heavy lifting”. Why bother? We’ll get strong, and thus, the opportunity to regain our power, and author our own life.
3 We apply judgment. Suspend the desire and the need, to apply judgment to every situation that doesn’t go our way. For instance, although you may be lamenting how BAD it is that it’s raining on your vacation, it might be GOOD for nature, the trees and wildlife to get the needed water. It’s not all about you. Deal and figure out an alternative strategy…Mother Nature is not listening to you.
4 We let abstractions become our reality. Let’s just say you have “experienced” two back-to-back rainy vacations – your reality becomes “every time we go on vacation it rains”. Wallowing in this kind of thinking paralyzes us, and prevents us from living our lives to the fullest.
By dealing with reality, we are free to find the good in the situation and handle it accordingly. Start by replacing your “but” with an “and”. OLD: “We would have had fun in Sedona, but it was raining…we were miserable.” NEW: “We went to Sedona and it was raining…so we decided to hike through the mountains anyway and see nature at its best – the colors were saturated and lush.”
Resistance to a given situation robs us of our ability to ask the question, “How do I move forward? or “What do I want to happen now?” When we get caught up in blaming and not dealing, we short-change ourselves from enjoying so much life. Acceptance gives us our power back.
By the way, I have been to Sedona in the rain. We hiked 5 miles to our campsite…in the rain. We set up tents…in the rain. We were miserable…in the rain. And then, something happened – well, it did for me anyway, I decided I wanted to have a good time. I accepted the situation for what it was…because, like it or not, it was raining! We swam, went on exploration hikes, played games, laughed at the great stories we would tell at future parties about this crazy weekend, and enjoyed team building by crafting a make-shift awning to protect our fire. Just as we decided to accept our fate, the rain stopped, and the sunshine smiled on us.