Pause….for a change

23 Nov

Ever reacted to something and wonder what the heck just happened. Like an out of  body experience, suddenly you were behaving in a manner that looking back brings a sense of guilt, maybe shame, and even awe?

I’m one of the least patient people  you will meet. Well, maybe my lack of patience isn’t that severe. But it’s a skill I continue to work on developing. I used to struggle with a bit of road rage. Never did I do anything crazy or dangerous, but internally I would fume with anger when I would get cut off, when I’d see a driver talking on a cell phone and not paying attention, or when I was expected to yield when it was the other driver’s obligation to do so. I’d use some choice expletives, call the other driver names, and yes, I’m guilty of using my middle finger.  The horn is my favorite. There’s a reason we have a horn!  A lot of energy was expended unnecessarily.

I’ve been in situations with others, directly, where I have spoken without taking into consideration my motivation. Blurting something out, later I’ve recognized my inclinations were driven by a deep hurt, fear, or action I’d learned early on as a way of protecting myself.  I’ve hurt others because of my automatic reactions designed to avoid hurt!

Stories are sent to me constantly detailing such behaviors. In therapy, and I see it most often with couples, I don’t find it to be true that a partner is always acting from the best he or she has to offer, or what he/she knows and understands “at the time.” Yes, folks, we act a lot of times to hurt- purposefully. It’s not until each partner can confront these not so pretty parts of themselves, however, that they can begin to heal. Step outside of the couple relationship, and look at how you react to people around you. In any sort of relationship, there is often a motive. But we may not recognize it at the time until something blows up, there is discord, and we’re butting heads.

We have to learn take time to step outside of the emotion and assess what is happening from a less judgmental place. While we are a product of what we grew  up with and how we were raised, we all need to take a breath to identify our motivations. We often react out of fear and self protection, but do others need to be at the receiving end of this?

We need to pause for a change….and to give ourselves time to implement a change!  Confront the reasons for your behavior and learn the valuable skill of self-monitoring to live more harmoniously with yourself and with others!

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2 Responses to “Pause….for a change”

  1. jamikotera November 23, 2011 at 7:44 AM #

    Just the tip of the iceberg, Kori, but point well taken – particularly for this time of year when stress levels tend to be a little elevated and are completely self-induced! No one is forcing me to decorate the house for the holidays, or wrap those presents with perfection, or make myself craxy trying to find the perfect gift! But, I do all of these things year after year and will be more cognizant (hopefully) of my behavior while pushing to get all these things done! You’ve given me things to think about again, and that’s all good! Thanks for another helpful post!!

    • kpropst November 28, 2011 at 7:59 AM #

      Yes! Stress is off the charts for many during this time of year. We do so many things out of obligation and fear of being perceived a certain way if we don’t. The gift wrapping– what would happen if you threw it in a pretty gift bag? What would happen if you donated to a charity and sent your friend or family member a note about the “gift”?
      What is the season about? It has become commercialized and superficial. You’re right about the self-induction. We bring this stress upon ourselves. What would happen if we treated ourselves like we’d treat an old friend– with love, compassion, and ease?

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