I was thinking today about the many ways in which we frustrate ourselves as human beings. I wondered if there was a common cause of the hell we put ourselves through. So, I asked the question and waited for my mind to speak up.
It came to me that much of our frustration can be traced to trying to change things or people that are not ready to change or feel no need to. Without realizing it many times, I think we expect others to consider our way of doing things or our way of thinking as obvious brilliance. If they don’t comply we call them names or distance ourselves or worse gather other people together to “hate” them too. Sometimes that anger turns inward and becomes depression, especially when we take their behavior as a sign of our failure or inadequacy.
Sometimes, in fact I think more often than we realize, we have to accept things as they are in the present. We cannot force our way or change someone else. Trust me, just like you I wish I could too. That annoying, undermining co-worker, the self-centered family member, the careless friend, and so on and so forth. Trust me. I get it. Why do you think I spend so much time trying to noodle my way into alternative pathways of thinking?? I struggle with these issues and I want you to know you’re not alone because we all do. Heck sometimes WE are these people for others.
What I’m beginning to learn is that while we are on the path to accepting others “as is”, we are going to have a lot of stress and frustration to manage. Acceptance is waaaaaay harder than hate. Acceptance asks us to let go of our own egos for the chance to be a great leader. Acceptance isn’t being passive. It is an active process and the greatest opportunity to eventually create real lasting change.
Most people don’t change or collaborate or compromise, because they feel threatened and defend their ego or their position. If you play into this, which most of us do, you end up with a stalemate. Everybody is positive they are right and each one digs in their heels.
In order to become the change you want to see in this world, you must release the obsessive thoughts that have become your focus in order to make room for more constructive energy to enter.
Personally, I do this by engaging in some form of physical activity during which I push myself past my own mind and out of my thoughts. Then, I keep going until I find myself laughing or smiling. Let me give you an example, yesterday I went for a long bike ride with a lot of changes in elevation. My lungs and my legs were really feeling it. To keep going I had to stay completely focused on believing that I could get up that next hill. So, that meant I had to get rid of thoughts that weren’t helping me achieve that goal. That means those obsessive thoughts had to take a hike while I was on the bike 🙂 When I made it up the hill, I was feeling like my lungs and legs would explode but it also felt good to show myself I could do it.
At my half way point, I saw a park with swings. A mother and child were swinging together and they looked so happy. Next to them was another empty swing. I stared at it for awhile remembering the joy I felt swinging as a child. I wondered if it would be foolish to do it again at my age and whether my hips would even fit! I said the heck with it and got on the swing and began to push myself higher and higher just like I did when I was a kid. I found myself spontaneously screaming Weeeeeeeeee!!! and smiling and laughing with such joy that I forgot all the negativity I started out with at the beginning of my ride. I was playing with the child inside that was always there waiting for me.
The point is this: Find a way to smile more everyday. Let go of the tension everyday. Don’t let it build up. If it takes an intense walk, run, bike ride, etc. to reset, then DO THAT. Everyday grant yourself peace of heart and mind by choosing to find your smile. Choose to play with that child inside. Reconnect. Remember who you are – you are not a reflection of other people’s behavior. You don’t need to change anyone or anything to feel good about yourself and your life right now. Just be.