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Thursday, January 24, 2008

How Do You React To Things?

Romanian Countryside
Your reactions say a lot about you and your chances for living a content and satisfied life. Your reactions have little or nothing to do with what actually happens and all or almost everything to do with your choices.

In order to come to a place inside of you where you are capable of choosing a reaction rather than being reactive, or reacting blindly, it is of prime importance to be aware of yourself. Without awareness, it is almost impossible to be in a position to choose.

Imagine for a moment leaving your home 10 minutes later than you should have, and so reacting by becoming more and more stressed. Your commute is on a crowded freeway, you are obviously in a hurry to get to work, and some asinine idiot in front of you almost provokes an accident. Add now to your already stressed frame of mind, your anger at this person's carelessness...your logical reaction to a typical driving situation.

So, stressed and angry, you now head for the Starbuck's just around the corner from your place of employment to get the large lowfat latte so that at least with that you have a moment of respite, but a new employee is being trained, and so your wait time is double what it normally is, and your impatience bubbles up as you pay and make a less than polite comment about the lack of efficiency of the management of the place to be training new personnel at such a time of day.

Stressed, angry, and impatient, you now arrive in your office, and your secretary tells you that your immediate superior has been asking for you for ten minutes...and of course, you are ten minutes late due to all of the above. As it is the second time you've been late this week, and as unfortunately your supervisor became a witness to it the last time as well, you now add worry to your list of reactions that are causing your day to go rapidly downhill.

And it's only 8:40 in the morning.

How could this scenario - this very common scenario - look different with some awareness? (Remember, awareness allows choice).

As you leave the house ten late minutes and feel the stress rising, you could have a brief mental conversation with yourself. You could tell yourself that becoming stressed might put you into greater danger on the crowded freeway, that becoming stressed would simply raise your adrenaline levels and make you feel even worse, and that you do, in fact, have a choice about it. That you can choose an alternative to stress, and that is to accept the fact that you have left 10 minutes too late and that all you can do is go with the ride (apart from determining not to do this again tomorrow), listen to some soothing music, or a motivational CD by one of your favorite speakers (as I advocate in many of my articles), and get yourself to work as safely and in an as expedited manner as possible.

As the careless driver almost causes an accident, you again can choose your reaction. Is it necessary to get angry? Will things be better if you get angry? No, but wouldn't you get angry if someone were so careless on such a busy road? Isn't it natural to get angry? Well, it may be natural simply because that is the reaction of most people who are unaware, but it is not your best choice. And this article is about showing you how your choices make up your morning, your day, your week, your year, your life, and so if you can choose alternatives that contribute to your well-being rather than feeling awful, then wouldn't you say that those choices are wise and eminently effective? So in this case of getting angry, choose rather to be grateful that nothing did indeed happen, and that you can continue on your way to the office. Or choose to simply ignore the incident, saying to yourself that it is not worth losing your state of well-being over someone so careless. You see how this works?

Your impatience with the new employee (or the training personnel) who is valiently trying to get you your latte could be shelved in a similar way: what do I gain by becoming impatient? I feel worse and worse. Will it get me to my office more quickly? Obviously not. So what is the point? I might just as well be peaceful within myself and wait. (Careful - I am not advocating allowing others to trespass your boundaries. If something unacceptable happens, you will need to speak up. But speaking up still does not imply going to a place inside of you where you no longer feel good...it simply means respecting yourself enough to speak up about the situation...for more on this see articles about boundaries on my website as well as here on the blog).

Finally, your worry about your supervisor's potential reaction to your tardy arrival at the office is also not productive. It will put you into a more negative frame of mind prior to your meeting with this person, and therefore your reactions in conversation with him or her may be less effective than if you continued to be in a positive frame of mind. So again, have a conversation with yourself. Is the worry of any use? No. (It might be useful to wake up a bit earlier every morning in order not to have this escalation of circumstances). Therefore the best attitude will be to face the potential music, have a plan in mind to indicate how you will ensure this will not happen in future, and you may be surprised to note that when you do meet with your supervisor in this more positive frame of mind that you have deliberately chosen from a menu of choices, that the conversation is not about your late arrival at all, but about a new advertising campaign you will be working on...

Your reactions to things, events, words, actions of others, etc., determine the quality of your life. iFrom a position of self-awareness choose those alternatives that contribute to your well-being, and that will therefore raise your energetic frequency, and improve the overall quality of your life.

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