How often do you give people the benefit of the doubt?
You might believe there are people or groups of people in your life who ‘don’t deserve it’. We make assumptions. Our brains naturally want to sort and classify all the other humans and we choose to believe generalizations and that allow us to see how we differ on a superficial level.
You might have people in your life where you have assumed you know ‘where they are coming from’ based on past actions or words. Your brain likes to create rules about the other humans, even if those rules are based on our interpretation of their behavior. Offering the benefit of the doubt to those people would mean having to re-think our rules and your brain has an innate resistance to the extra credit work.
Consider the person who cuts you off in traffic or who is driving too slow in the left lane. You assume he is an asshole and that he has no respect. Or that he is too self-centered to care about anyone else.
What are the life skills you practice when no one is watching?
A strange question perhaps, but we all know that if you want to get better at something, you need to practice, right?
Look at the basketball players that shoot 500 free throws each day or the hours a baseball player might spend in a batting cage.
But what if you wanted to get better at general life skills. Skills like the ability to respond as opposed to react.
Let’s pretend you deal with anger as a regular emotion. Let’s also assume you would like to learn how to not get triggered. You could force yourself to spend time with someone who pisses you off and see how long you last without exploding… but I wouldn’t suggest it.
So how do you do it?
One way I practice is through meditation. Stay with me….
I have meditated daily for over 7 years, but my goals have never been about reaching nirvana. Or being able to sit for hours at a time.
What would your life be like if you actually did all the things you ‘planned on’ or ‘wanted’ to do?
Perhaps you have lofty thoughts like, “Someday I would like to clean out the garage” or “I’ve always wanted to get more proficient with Excel” or “I know I would feel better I could just stretch more”.
Or more pressing things like, “I keep forgetting to make an appointment with my doctor” or “the check engine light has been on in my car for weeks now” or “I have a presentation at work next month and I have nothing prepped yet”.
And we think – maybe this weekend I will find time to do (fill in the blank). Except the weekend comes and goes, and (as per usual) your closet still looks the same.
It’s not that we are lazy. So often it is because other things come up that feel as though you should do them right away. They feel urgent in the moment and since you don’t really have anything else specifically planned for that time, you dive in.
My husband and I have recently dealt with some issues in one of our businesses. There were some personal conflicts within the partnership and our value in the resolution of the problem, was to act as Switzerland.
Whether you are helping to mediate a situation between other people or whether you are attempting to mediate your own actions, stepping forward with strategy and intention is always wise.
Just for the heck of it, I have compiled a list of 6 things I think are extremely effect for when conflict exists.
1. Strive to have the lowest heart-rate in the room. It isn’t always easy, but it will always help you to see things with more clarity.
2. Listen carefully to what is being said. Be curious instead of judgemental. Seek to discover not only what a person is saying, but also how they are saying it. The trick is to listen without allowing your brain to go to what YOU want to say in response.
How do you experience joy?
Joy, at first glance, seems to be a lot like happy. But there are many differences.
We are told that happiness is something we need to chase, where joy appears to be a state of being. Merriam Webster tells us that joy is an expression of happiness, but I would argue against that being the only way to experience joy.
If you compare the words technically, joy can be used as both a noun and a verb, whereas happy is an adjective. (so there lol)
And why am I going down this rabbit hole?
Because in a few traditions, joy (along with love) is thought to be a state that exists fully in each of us, 24/7. I could get a little woowoo and describe it as our essence.
So, stay with me and just pretend.
How often do you compare yourself to others?
Perhaps you have inspiring people in your life, and you have encouraging thoughts of wanting to emulate their positive attributes.
Or… maybe you look at others and all you can see is how they are clearly doing life better than you are.
The buzz word(s) these days are ‘compare and despair’.
Comparison was so much a part of my life, I thought it was normal.
Something everyone did.
Sadly, that is likely an accurate statement.
I still might argue that in small and heavily regulated doses it can be worthwhile. I remember as a new mom, trying to figure out if I was doing okay. There were many times where I looked to and learned from other moms. And comparing my kids progress to what their experience was seemed helpful at the time.
Until of course when I would find myself in a panic because my kid seemed to be not measuring up to others. Or when other moms seemed to be handling things so much better.
The year we have been pining for has almost arrived! We have crawled our way through the desert, but should we be expecting a miracle?
It is human nature to envision the future in a way that outshines our current state. We call it hope and there are many times where it is the fuel that keeps us going. But can it also set us up for disappointment?
So often we ‘arrive’ at whatever place we imagined, and we are shocked to find that all our habitual, negative programming came along for the ride.
Better-than-here is possible! But a new calendar year won’t change the way we feel, the way we think or what we do. That part of the deal is completely up to us.
Pandemic aside, if you believe 2021 is going to be the year where you lose the Covid 19-pounds or cut back on your recently acquired drinking protocol or refine your family/work/healthcare routine, I believe there are a few things you will need to consider.
Is your past a good predictor of your future?
I mean, if you have always been a certain way or you have never been good at something, does that mean your future will be the same?
Consider some of the following thoughts.
• I have never been good at meeting people because we moved a lot growing up.
• I’m not good at staying organized because my life has always been too chaotic.
• I don’t like to take risks because my parents always struggled with money.
Holidays are so magical.
Getting together with friends and family.
The uncomfortable political discussions where you want to leap across the table and stuff your napkin in the mouth of your Uncle Jack.
Fun, right? Especially this year.
I have worked with a lot of people lately on the concept of getting triggered, and I think it is an important thing to think about, before you enter the lion’s den.
I believe other people are not responsible for our triggers. And although that flies in the face of the everyone-gets-a-trophy mentality we have created for our kids, I think we have seen enough to know the downside.
When we take responsibility for our triggers then WE have the power to control them and make them go away.
Most triggers feel like a knee-jerk reaction because they were formed by us as toddlers and have been playing in the back of our minds for a long time.
I always used to say I was good at forgiving, but forgetting? Yeah, maybe not so much. Sure, there is wisdom in being wary of a person after they have acted in a questionable or unfavorable way towards us. But I now believe being able to let things go is necessary as a part of our emotional well-being.
So often we think if we forgive someone, it means we have somehow condoned their behavior. We hang onto their wrongdoing, so we can hold that person accountable. It feels righteous and we carry it like a torch. We believe justice needs to be served.
So here is my question. Don’t you ever get tired? Tired of telling the story. Tired of working so hard to keep the flame alive. Tired of feeling hard done by. Tired of feeling like the victim of someone else’s actions. Tired of still feeling at their mercy after all this time.
Last year I was involved in a situation where I felt horribly wronged by another person who I am close to.