Updated: Sep 29, 2022
What's covered: What to do when things don't go as planned; How to deal with disappointment & relinquish control; PLUS, the "S" word you really need to avoid
Things didn't go quite as I planned...
How many times has this happened to you?
You have a mental image, a future projection of how things are going to look, feel or play out - and then, quite simply, they don't.
For me, this happened only recently.
As you might remember, I stood down from my part-time work in December 2021. (You can catch up here.)
My partner and I found ourselves in a unique position of so many possibilities; we weren't tied to any set structure or calendar - we could explore, escape, shift and change as we pleased.
For this free heart, the prospect made me feel giddy!
And so we did; from waterfall hunting to open-window road surfing, we played, shared and recharged.
Then, very soon afterwards, we found ourselves in a familiar place that doesn't show up on any Google map: facing ourselves.
Initially, I wanted to reject these inner growth experiences, because I wanted more of what I thought this time should be: freedom and fun from convention or constraints. (Yep, my inner child had really taken the reins.)
I had become attached to "my story" and it was hiding the absolute gold of what was happening right in front of me, such as: healing relationships, bonding with my blended family, clearing out old baggage (metaphorically and physically - you're welcome St Vinnies!) and confronting new layers of myself that made me want to cringe and cry.
My life details may totally differ from you at the moment: You might be embarking on an exciting new adventure, stuck in an old crusty rut, looking for new relationships and friendship, or not knowing what the [BEEP] you're doing!
But the thing is, if you're lying awake at night, shallow breathing during the day, feeling heavy in your body or scattered in your head, then you've fallen into the oh-so common mental trap of rejecting what is.
6 ways to stay calm in the face of disappointment & how to avoid the mind trap of rejecting what is - Memo to Self:
1. Be your own detective: Observe your thoughts, mental images, outward reactions and speech to others, so you clearly know when you're NOT accepting what is. Are you acknowledging what's right in front of you (i.e. the meal, tree, person, place or situation completely as it is)? Or, are stuck in a fantasy reality where things should look, feel and be as YOU imagine them to be?
2. Beware the "S" word: I'm not talking about sh*t, although you will feel exceptionally sh*tty when you reject what is. When you let the following two words slip from your mouth - should or shouldn't - then you know you've wandered into Reject Reality Land. They may sound harmless enough, but they're loaded with expectation, obligation and conditions: He shouldn't have said that! She should be more respectful of me.
3. Know your stories & STOP reading them to yourself! We all have stories - those mental manuscripts that pour forth when we're challenged, tired, overwhelmed, mad or sad: I'm not getting anywhere. I'm all alone. I'm always the odd one out. Just because you've been reading it over and over, doesn't mean it's true. Name and know your story, and poke a bit of fun at it too: Wow, thank you mind, how helpful, here's the "I'm Never Good Enough Story."
4. Change your camera lens: If what's happening in your life right now feels unacceptable, or you feel like everything is completely askew, then re-frame your perception of reality. Instead of thinking, This isn't happening the way I want it to... Look at what is happening and what you're learning from the situation. This also works with the phrase I haven't done... Instead, look at what you have done!
5. Want vs. Willing: You don't have to like, love or agree with the reality of what is. Let's face it, often you won't. But shifting your focus from I don't want this to be happening to I'm willing for this to be happening is a life-changer and situation-neutraliser.
Remember, if you argue with what is, then you'll always be on the losing side of life.
6. Catch your future self before you start to RUN! Being in the future rather than in the now is like riding a mental freight train. Learn how to pull on the brakes, otherwise it will take you to places you don't want to go. Your future imaginings will rarely - if ever - exactly match up to the reality of what is.
Why is all this so important? Because rejecting the reality of what is (i.e. what's happening right here, right now) is as pointless as arguing with the weather, or telling the sun to rise at a time of your choosing. And yet we do it - like ALL THE TIME.
I truly know how tempting it is to read about handy tools, and then quickly move on to something else.
Take a different approach today: Choose one of the above techniques and use it as much as you do your mobile phone! ;-)
Keep listening to your body and trusting your wise self,
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