Perspective – When My Attitude Flares Up, How I Tone It Down, and Why I Should

MOST of the time I *try* to be a decent human being.  I try to reflect on my behaviors Рgood, bad, and ugly Рand to conduct myself in an upstanding way as much as I can.

I ALSO fall short plenty!

As human beings, we are subject to more influences than I think we ever want to admit (hell, even the moon has me all off kilter when it’s full!) We are subject to changes in mood, for so many reasons that it would be nigh impossible to list them all. ¬†But that’s okay.¬† We are allowed to ebb and flow, because that is just the nature of life. ¬†We don’t have to be perfect all the time, and even if we have some grandiose notion that we’d like to be. . .it doesn’t always play out that way.

But the other day a thought came to mind that stopped me right in the middle of my “if-the-car-in-front-of-me-doesn’t-speed-up-I’m-going-to-go-nuts!”¬†rant. ¬†It was such a jarring thought that my attitude shifted. Instantaneously. ¬†

I have the wonderful fortune of volunteering with children with disabilities with two organizations – I’ve never found something that lit my heart quite as much (and that’s saying a LOT, as I am a truly passionate person about my life, my activities, and the careers I have had.) I love the kids, and I love meeting their parents – learning about them, their individualities, and what makes them happy, is an overwhelming joy.

So as I was having this moment of “can’t stand anyone”¬†(and I think it was in reaction to a woman tailgating on the highway and giving me the middle finger, despite that I had no idea what I did to warrant it) I thought to myself. . .

What if the person in that car who I’m getting all flustered because of, or at, was one of the parents of the kids I get to work with? ¬†Would I act the same way?

Resounding NO.

I wasn’t *trying* to give myself a guilt trip, or make myself feel badly. ¬†When my behavior deviates – and I think it’s fair to say, as adults, we generally know when we are being unreasonable and inappropriate with our reactions (should we choose to be honest with ourselves!) – I am aware of it. ¬†I do try to correct myself and in effort to curb poor actions, I have said to myself everything from “you never know who has a weapon!” “you can’t take back what you say,” to¬†“that really doesn’t make me a good person to flip someone off”…!

Doesn’t always seem to calm me down, though! ¬†

But. . .the thought that it *could be* someone in a situation such as the families whose children I work with shut me down pronto.

I would never want to behave that way with one of them. ¬†And when I think about it, I can’t imagine I really want to act that way with ANYone. ¬†What does reacting poorly say about me anyway? Nothing grand, I assure you!

When I think about it, it makes me feel sad that I would allow temporary emotions to overcome me in such a way that I lash out – in any regard. ¬†As a human being, I know it is bound to happen, and that expecting myself to be Miss. Goody Twoshoes is NOT realistic. ¬†But because I don’t know what other people are facing, and because I also know how blessed I am, I appreciated the supernal reminder. . .which stopped me from getting angry, or for the woman who flipped me off to ruin more than the few seconds of my day during which she did so.

I know I’m going to fall short sometimes, but that moment was one I know I will remember. . .

I have the blessing to work with those who have a journey fraught with challenges, and I LOVE the work because I have the opportunity to make lives better. To behave poorly as a result of¬†flared¬†emotions¬†is to contribute in a negative way, and I will suffer personally when I choose that route. ¬†The only thing that would make it worse is to also hurt someone else who didn’t deserve it to begin with…and I’d say I don’t really want to decide that someone deserves any of that.

 

Breathe

You are so much stronger than you think. 

When you are in the throes of despair, frustration, anger. . .take a moment to b r e a t h e.  

Take a moment – at the hardest time at which TO¬†a breath. Feel…allow…the in…and the out.

Remind yourself within that space that you have accomplished so much more than you are giving yourself credit for.  You have surmounted obstacles at one time that seemed impossible.  You are in charge.

Remember you are a survivor and a fighter and that you will get through it just like you have so many times before.

Thankful – adj \ feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative

Sometimes I annoy people with my positive outlook. ¬†Other times, I flat-out frustrate. ¬†Maybe they aren’t internalizing that I have days where I feel down, discouraged, angry, and disappointed too – trust me, there are plenty! ¬†Maybe they just don’t¬†understand why,¬†in spite of the ugliness Life can occasionally dish out,¬†I even want to focus on the good. ¬†

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For me, energy is everything – I view the world in energetic terms, and (again – for me) it matters what I put out, and what I focus on. ¬†I have witnessed¬†“unfairness” at it’s finest – whether in suffering, death, abuse, misfortune, or debilitating pain… I’ll never gloss over the “tough” without tears, reflection, acknowledgment, and sometimes despair… ¬†But I will try – my damnedest – to find the lesson, the blessing, and the good in everything. ¬†There have been times I’m not sure I’ve actually found the “good”…but I try to at least go in that direction knowing that in doing the opposite, I may as well surrender my own wellbeing.

Whenever this “Thanksgiving” holiday rolls around, I feel like I actually become a little bit annoyed myself. ¬†I’m not on board with the idea that we have one day of “thanksgiving” but I guess if that’s what gets people together, and in a positive mind frame, why not. ¬†That said, thanksgiving is something I personally try to make room for each day.

I’ve had a lot handed to me – neither will there be a day that I am not acutely aware of the sacrifices made to make that happen, nor that I am not¬†immensely grateful. ¬†There is also a lot I had to work my ASS off to have, and lot I’ve had to work through. ¬†There might be only a small handful of people who fully understand the “work” I’ve put in, and just how far I’ve come, but I’m okay with that. ¬†I’m thankful for my own journey – the good, the bad, and the downright horrifying.

I don’t always remember to write out those things for which I am thankful¬†– generally I think them, or say them to myself. ¬†Writing, though, is a phenomenal exercise – not only in mindfulness, but in self-learning. ¬†When we take the time to sit down, peel back the layers, delve deeply and feel, we come up with a lot more than we might have expected.

You can be thankful for little things as much as the substantial.

What you feel thankful for is never “wrong” because it is what feels right to you.

Gratitude goes a looooong way energetically, sharing with the Universe what other “good” should come your way.

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I’m thankful for so much I think I could fill a book…but¬†why not, after all? ¬†The more, especially in this case, the merrier. ‚̧

Humor – On A Cruise To Nowhere

I don’t drive recklessly, let me make that clear from the outset (because I don’t agree with reckless driving!)

While I do have a lead foot and love going fast…I DON’T, actually. ¬†I don’t have any interest in being stopped and slammed with a ¬†monster ticket, nor do I want to endanger myself or anyone else. ¬†I DO have a courtesy card, compliments of a best buddy Lieutenant, but I don’t like to pull it out because I feel like “that guy” if I do. ¬†Let me also point out that I have a red car.

That said, I’m positively¬†guilty of mumbling under my breath when someone is in the left lane who really shouldn’t be – generally speaking I have somewhere to be (hence being in the car and driving to begin with. ¬†Seems like common sense, right?)

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I find it incredibly frustrating because really…it’s no one’s right to manage anyone else’s speed (UNLESS you are in the car with that person – then you absolutely do have a right to speak up. ¬†It’s never about breaking the speed of light, last I checked. ¬†At least not on a main road (vs. dragstrip, for example!)) ¬† ¬†

If you are in the left lane, presumably you are passing, or just cruising along. ¬†You aren’t on-the-button with the speed limit, and you definitely aren’t under. ¬†Or…maybe I should say…”shouldn’t be.” ¬†It’s a given that if you are over to the left you are – indeed – maintaining a speed generally higher than the limit…by more than 2 miles over, by the way.

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I can’t STAND mediocrity generally…but when I’m driving, I’m okay in the middle lane most of the time. ¬†At least that way I’m not having to flash my lights at the slow poke in front, and I’m not having to speed beyond what I’m comfortable doing. ¬†The left and exit lanes are always there when I need them (and it would be awfully nice if other people got the gist of what they are for too. ¬†Wishful thinking? ¬†Maybe. ¬†But a girl (in a red car!)¬†can dream.)

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Fitness Humor – The Cardio Conundrum

To do

Or

Not to do…

I try – really, my damnedest – to find ways NOT to do cardio. ¬†I’m a pro at excuses on the topic, and a pro at fighting with myself (maybe not tooth and nail, but pajamas and gym for sure.)

I tell myself that a caloric deficit is a deficit, who cares how I come by it. ¬†But the reality is. . .cardiovascular activity is super important. ¬†And scarcely reliant upon my preferences! ¬†(Ah, but the world would be such a better place, wouldn’t it!?) I would do well to slow it down a bit, personally – and I have (*gleefully patting myself on the back!*)¬†But. . .I should be doing it. ¬†

The benefits are countless, forget that whole bipedalism situation!  Still, you are not alone if you struggle to get it done.

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I go through waves – some days (and they are more the exception than the rule) I feel great, and ready to sprint like the wind. LETS GOOOoOoo, LEGS!!! But it happens that I’ve been overtraining myself lately (I SO know better!) and there’s a severe DRAG going on… ¬†A lot of the time I wake up and think to myself “welllll, I don’t really HAVE to. ¬†Right? . . . Right?!”

Then I get really irritated because I know damn well that I need to do something. From there I work on my “I just need to do a little bit” strategy – that¬†can offer a little boost every so often.

As for depression, it can rear its ugly head around now, absolutely – “But you HAVE to do it, and you know when you do, you’re going to push yourself. ¬†So really even though you’re saying you’ll do less, it’s going to be horrible!” ¬†(~sarcastic tone, laden with frustration~) THANKS, BRAIN!¬†

An enormous sigh belongs at this stage, followed by the unhappy ceremony of struggling into a sports bra, donning my shorts, lacing my sneaks, and grabbing A.) my iPod, and B.) some bubblegum.  

Whatever it takes!

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Whoever came up with the meme above? ¬†They hit it on the head – the cycle I go through is very much in that order but – most of the time – I manage to squeeze the cardio in. ¬†I’m not wholly proud of the shorter bouts but right now it is about maintenance and keeping in the habit. ¬†That last part – keeping in the habit? ¬†That’s THE biggest key of all – a little DOES go a long way!

And then there’s The Oatmeal – Matthew, from Seattle, his two dogs…and the hilarity of his brain!¬† Cardio ISN’T just good for your body, but it’s also incredibly helpful in regulating the rest of you, brain and emotions very much included!

I laughed myself silly over this cartoon – gosh he’s really got it down.

Are my sneakers quite so magical? ¬†Mehhh…

But the feeling of having actually run and kicked some ass – even if only a little? ¬†Yeah…it’s something like panel two. ūüėČ

Choose A Good Mood

We really DO have the choice…

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Some days it takes a deep breath and a reminder.  Other, it just comes naturally Рa good mood is contagious, after all.  What I have learned, both in grace, and through hardship, is that we do have the power to make that decision.  As an Empath, there are moments that feel so suffocating that the prospect of morphing my mood from ill to cheery seems nigh impossible.

But...it ISN’T. ¬†

Deep breaths and an internal reminder that I have a choice really CAN help.  

It didn’t matter that the person in front of me cut me off, or stood around while my groceries piled up as they took their time moving to the side. ¬†

It didn’t matter that the rain-soaked my clothes, or that the cat knocked over my glass, or that the person I held the door for didn’t say “thank you.”

I don’t have to have a perpetually bad day, or one which spirals downwards, because of any frustration. ¬†

I have a choice to be in a positive mood, and find the good in everything.

I may fall short from time to time but I’ve set it as my default – I’d rather be laughing, or encouraging smiles ‘ere I go, than walk about adding to a rainy day.