Thursday, July 15, 2010

Being at Peace with What Is

There are times where I find myself frustrated with someone. I expect them to be or do something different than their current actions. At first, I blame them with all kinds of reasons why they have failed to meet my expectations. I'll say "they're not trying hard enough", or "they don't really care". "They don't see things like I see them." After a few minutes of really feeling like the victim and helpless, I become aware that this is just a story that keeps me in the loop of frustration and prevents me from changing the situation and becoming the person I really want to be. (certainly not a powerless victim).

The definition of Frustration is a feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems. Frustration is particularly heightened when it's believed these issues can be resolved, but the solutions are unknown.

This definition is important to me because it clarifies, that when I am particularly frustrated it's because I know it can be resolved. Now, instead of feeling powerless, I have control of the situation. I know I need to ask for help, learn something new, or grow a little more in this direction. I need to seek out a solution to my problem - especially if it's one that keeps coming up for me over and over.

Once we get ourselves out of victim mode, we can then ask some great questions...
-What is it that I really want from this person/situation?
-Why is this so important to me?
-Where might I find a solution to this problem?
-How might my mentor (or the person I want to be) handle this problem?
-What can I do today to move me closer to my intended outcome?

Sometimes there are no solutions to your problems. So instead, one keeps complaining, expecting, and being disappointed - over and over again! How could you possibly be at peace with that?

I remind myself of a few things:
-The more I focus on what I don't want the more I get of it.
-Changing the way I look at this can help to resolve it.
-This person I'm upset with is acting out of there own best interest and doing the best they can do.
-My view is not the only view (my view is not the full truth of the matter).
-If I have a problem with someone, it's my emotional connection to the problem that needs changing, not the other person.

After reasoning with myself, considering that I have control of how I feel and I can change this situation just by looking at it differently, I make progress with being at peace.

Next, I consider how not changing my thinking keeps me stuck and how painful that idea is. I know I must change this.

Then, I consider who I really want to be. How would someone with the skill set I desire feel, speak and act in this situation? I can do that too!

One of the most powerful statements that I use to bring peace to situations that are out of my control is from Byron Katie's The Work. She asks "Who would you be without that thought?" Without these thoughts, I wouldn't be a victim, I wouldn't have expectations of the people around me needing to act a certain way for me to be happy, I wouldn't be without solutions, I wouldn't be frustrated.

For example, if you believe your father always puts you down, what is your relationship like with him? What would the relationship be if you didn't believe that to be true? If I didn't get upset about my friend always being late, would I enjoy meeting her more often?

Sometimes, we need to take stock of the habits of others. For example, my wife always leaves the dishes on the counter (which I do :)) If you could let go of the frustration, of the idea that this issue needs to change, and just state it as a fact, there would be peace with what is. Nagging and complaining rarely change another's habits, and almost always decrease the level of closeness or intimacy in that relationship.

Being at Peace means first acknowledging frustration. Quickly get out of victim mode and ask yourself: Is this something I can change or not? If the answer is yet then ask and act. If it can't be changed ask yourself "Who would I be without this thought?" Then remind yourself to let it go, until you do.

Who would you be if you didn't get frustrated - if you were at peace with what is?

1 comment:

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