I would like to start this blog post by quoting a paragraph from a book I’m currently reading called “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle.
“The ego cannot distinguish between a situation and it’s interpretation of and reaction to that situation. You might say, “what a dreadful day”, without realizing that the cold, the wind, and the rain or whatever condition you react to are not dreadful. They are as they are. What is dreadful is your reaction, your inner resistance to it, and the emotion that is created by that resistance.”
What causes the discomfort, or frustration, or upset (or any negative) is the difference between the actual outcome, and the EXPECTED or DESIRED outcome that we’ve been conditioned to have or want…and the emotional attachment to that difference.
Now please take a moment to think about what that means and let it sink in. Basically “difficult” or “negative” situations get their power not from the situation itself, but rather how we react to them.
By training ourselves to become more self-aware of our reactions to things, we can, from there, dramatically alter the way we feel about said things.
So the next time you have a negative reaction to a situation, ask yourself…
- How does reacting with negative emotion and resisting the situation change the outcome?
- If your reaction does not have a positive impact on the situation what benefits do you get from holding onto said negative reaction?
- Given this, rather than attaching yourself to some other “preferred” outcome, can you accept the situation simply for what it is?
- What POSITIVE steps can you take that will make you feel better?
By running through this process it can stop the negative cycle that ensues after an undesired event. Every time you perform this, it raises awareness and over time can develop the skill/ability to choose how to react to any given situation. How cool is that!? As with anything, to develop a new habit or skill it takes consistent attention and practice to make it become second nature. Simply increasing one’s self-awareness is in itself a huge gift to have.
An interesting point to make here which I’m also hoping will be an additional motivating factor in putting this technique into practice, are the physiological changes that occur within your body when your mind operates in such negative states. Science has proven that many many bodily functions, including the heart, immune and digestive systems are adversely affected. So simply by changing the way you react to any given situation, not only can you feel better from an emotional standpoint, you will also benefit from a health point of view too.