I’ve often read about how we have the power to choose how to experience anything and over the years these wise words have caught my attention more often and the meaning has become deeper. One of the most harmful experiences to give control up on is anger – there is so much damage anger can do and the biggest impact is to you, not others.
Lets face it is far easier to simply allow yourself to go with the flow, something happens – is it good or bad – and then react accordingly to what you believe is appropriate to how you have defined it. But hold on, really pause and don’t think but “experience and imagine” it unfold – ahhh, what you are really doing is being reactive, allowing others to control how you feel and ultimately how you will experience your life.
Phew, that is a lot of power to give away to others, objects, people you care about, people you don’t even know or perhaps like. What if you make the choice, in this very moment, to take back control and be accountable for your own experiences? Difficult yes, but something to aspire to, and oh how difficult your life will really be.
Here is how taking back control and choosing to respond and no longer react could look like:
1. Something happens.
2. Listen to your thoughts. Oh you see it as good or bad. Just notice this.
3. Now let it go, don’t do anything with that thought.
4. You might need to count and take quite a few breathes at this point 🙂
5. Now reflect (this doesn’t have to take long at all, a minute can even do it) – but make sure you think about multiple options not just one or your preference.
6. Decide how you will respond – choose the option that is most authentic to yourself.
With practice and repetition, these steps become part of what you do without thinking about them – just like riding a bicycle, the secret is to practice them on everything till it becomes a habit.
And remember, the idea isn’t that you are supposed to do this each and every time and when you don’t you have failed so why bother – its about selecting the times that are important to you where you want to deliberating choose your respond and not just react to the situation.
May your reactions be few 🙂