I have discovered over the last few years that my reaction to what life throws at me shows me the real truth about my character. It’s so easy to see how crazy other people can act yet sometimes it’s impossible to see it in myself. It took a long time to recognize what bothered me about others, especially how they reacted to and handled particular situations was exactly what I was embarrassed about in myself. I am an over reactor by nature. I grew up that way and for years I have focused on undoing the straight jump to panic mode and doom and gloom. Believe me, I’m not quite there yet but I am much calmer and more collected than I used to be. Thank goodness I guess because this came in very handy last night when I discovered my rabbit Puff was not a female. I do not have two female bunnies after all but rather the unfortunate circumstance of having one of each. What can I possibly do now anyway? It’s much too late to worry about that now. The ongoing Facebook joke is my rabbits are no longer Cocoa and Puff, they are now Cocoa and Puff Daddy. Very funny. The jokes on me .
Some days don’t go as planned. In fact sometimes weeks and months and years don’t go as we planned. It takes time, but eventually we realize it was never really our plan at all. There is such a peacefulness that comes with accepting the truth that we cannot control the world around us. We cannot control people or events or the weather or anything else. The only thing we can control is our own attitude and how we respond to the people and events in our everyday life. Sometimes I believe life hands us a test and we have to take it over and over until we learn to respond the proper way. We have to find a way to stop reacting and take control over the only thing we really do have control over at all, our own words and actions and emotions. It sounds so easy as I type the words on this page but I know how hard I struggle to do a little bit better every day. Some days I throw in the towel and completely fail, but other days I make those small baby steps that lead to bigger steps. One day I hope to run fast enough until I can lift off and fly. That is my goal, to rise above the pettiness that comes from indulging my reactions. Even better, to rise above the pettiness of others reactions.
As a parent and adult, we are forced to wear many hats. Our many rolls often cross and it hard to keep our mind in the right one in the middle of running the marathon of our fast paced lives. I just had a conversation with a woman who seems to have wonderful advice. Every time we speak, I hang on every word. She gave me a fantastic idea. When dealing with my teenage daughter, instead of wearing my mother cap, I am going to, for one full week, wear my counselor cap. I am going to restrain myself from reacting to her words, and instead I am going to try and repeat them back to her so that maybe she feels that 1) she is important, 2) I am listening, 3) what she says matters and hopefully she will feel more loved and validated.
It is so easy to see someone else’s situation clearly. It even allows us the gift of offering the exact advice someone needs at just the right moment. However, when we are the ones personally involved in our own situation, it is easy to miss a point all together because our feelings, our emotions, and that great big ego of ours is busy reacting to the person or situation standing there looking us back in the face. So, I am going to remove the personal by stopping myself from reacting like mom, and improve our relationship and communication by responding like the counselor. I really think it’s worth an honest try. I will let you know how it goes. At least until I learn how and when to productively change those hats without having to give it so much thought.
It’s so frustrating to me that my reaction to a situation is so completely beyond my realm of control. Even when there is absolutely no doubt that my reaction does not serve me well, I just cannot get a good enough grip on my inner instincts to react to the situation a different way.
Just today, I was riding in the car and the second I saw a cop my heart started to race, my legs got heavy and my head started to pound. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, it is just my normal reaction when I see that familiar car.
Is it possible to retrain our minds to interpret a situation in a new way so that our bodies fight or flight process doesn’t jump into overdrive? Is it possible to change our perception of another enough to react to them in a more favorable way? Anyway, I definitely am robbed an answer on this one because I sure haven’t discovered a way. Let me know if you have any thoughts, I’d be interested to hear if anyone has had any luck.