HOW TO HANDLE THE MUD OF LIFE
‘Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Great question … um … sometimes? Maybe? Not really? Yes?
It depends right? Are you in a burning building? If so then hell no you’re not going to wait for shit to settle down! You’re going to get the F out of there. But what if your partner, friend, child, employee, or family member does something you don’t like? Are you going to fly off the handle and toss around F bombs like a salty sailor? Because Lord knows I’ve been there…but I was always too chicken to react directly to your face so I did it behind your back (unless you are my kids when I use my Almighty Mom Power). I bottled up all that toxicity inside and held onto it like a shaken can of Moxie until it was ready to explode.
You see I have an advanced degree from the Institute of Life where I specialized in playing the defensive victim. But a few days after Christmas in 2015, I broke down, and that can of Moxie blew up. My journey into “graduate school” began. I learned, through therapy and coaching, how we all spend most of our lives in reaction to others and the events around us. We often react without thinking based on the fears and insecurities we carry. And where do we find ourself when that happens? Swearing and seasick, slumped over the port side like that salty sailor. It’s an icky, yucky place. A place often filled with regret.
But if we come from a place of kindness, a place of mindfulness, we can learn to respond instead of react.
Choosing to respond to someone or something requires conscious thought where we must override our unconscious initial gut reaction. It sounds as easy as waltzing into Crossfit for the first time doesn’t it? Or perhaps as easy as resisting the leftover Halloween candy that’s laying around. We can hear the voices, “This is going to suck. It’s going to be too hard.” Or, “You know you want to eat that Snicker’s bar. Just do it.”
We must pause. Pay attention and watch. And then consider what the most kind, compassionate, and intelligent response might be. Because we as humans are smart and we possess a high degree of emotional intelligence. The problem is we either aren’t taught about our capacity to be aware of, control, and express our emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically or we lose the strength to do so because of lack of self-care or self-awareness.
How can we respond in a way that will help our relationships, model kindness for our children, foster a sense of community, build a better team, and make the situation better for others and ourselves? Be mindful. Pause before you speak, send the email, or reply to a text. Choose to respond, not react. You will mess up, but keep practicing it. You will still find me using the Almighty Mom Power to flip out on my kids when they break or ruin something around the house. They are my biggest teachers in my life. The ones closest to us usually are. But the more you can work your conscious mind the easier it does get. Just like Crossfit – I think … (I confess I’ve never tried it, but I do know the more you keep lifting, the stronger your become).
Keep choosing kind.
Practice the pause.
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