"Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." — Anonymous
A few days ago, my wife said something that stirred an immediate flash of anger. Perhaps you can remember being at a similar crossroads? You can:
- Express your anger. How did that work out for you the last time you did?
- Stuff your anger and silently rehearse your grievance. Again, your relationship will suffer.
- Choose a better way.
That day, I chose a better way. In almost the same moment my anger arose, I noticed the story forming in my mind justifying the anger. I realized anger was pre-existing in my mind and the story I was constructing was a made-up narrative designed to help me drop responsibility. In that moment of realization, the anger was gone; not stuffed, gone.
Path 3 is unnatural to our ego and requires mental discipline and practice, but the rewards are immense.
This realization happened without intellectual processing. In other words, I didn't do a number on myself.
An hour later, I couldn't have told you what I thought I was angry about. Something can no longer be a cause (what my wife said) if it has no effects. If the false cause is removed, so are the effects.
I would like to tell you I always choose path 3. I don't. Path 3 is unnatural to our ego and requires mental discipline and practice, but the rewards are immense.
The process I'm describing can apply to any upset: fear, anxiety, worry, etc.
This is just one idea I will present in my workshop: "Has Your Life Become a Sitcom About Nothing? How to Exit Your Show" at FEEcon in Atlanta this June. More than 120 speakers will participate in this 3-day event; early-bird registration is now available.