Last weekend, while channel surfing, I came upon a scene in a movie where a group of people were stranded in the jungle. Their boat had crashed, and a giant snake was killing members of the group.
As panic took over, everyone began pointing the finger and blaming others for how they had arrived in their current predicament; all of which was serving no value in solving their problem. It was however, successfully creating more crisis and panic.
Finally, some sanity returns to the group as one member says, "Deal with it!", and reminds the group that arguing about what got them in the situation is not going to get them out.
Basically, his message to the group is accept what has happened; get into the present moment. It is only in dealing with the present that you regain the power required to create solutions.
Whenever you choose to stay invested in what “should have happened”, the more heartache and drama you create.
How many of you can relate to a situation like the movie? Not the giant snake part I hope, but the part about getting caught up in the blame game and not taking responsibility for dealing with what is. I suspect most of us.
The reason you get caught up in these types of conversations is because your brain is wired to try to avoid emotional pain. Facing the reality of a scary situation is uncomfortable, and your brain would like to avoid it if possible.
However, avoiding a scary or difficult reality does not create any less emotional pain. Instead, it just reroutes the pain into self-sabotaging behaviors that drain your time and energy and decreases your motivation to find good solutions to challenges.
To disrupt this cycle, practice being an observer of yourself, especially when upsetting situations occur. Notice the voice in your head and then ask yourself some questions.
1. Am I listening to the voice that wants to tell me how unfair life is?
2. Is this voice helping me solve the current problem and find a solution?
3. If not, what voice do I need to listen to in order to find a solution?
This exercise helps you learn to recognize the voice that keeps you stuck in the past; the “little devil on your shoulder”. Remember, his or her goal is to keep you distracted from the present issue…in the mistaken belief that doing so will help you feel better.
Learn to recognize that there is another voice speaking to you as well. It is the voice of True Self. This voice is soft spoken, gentle, and it reminds you to accept the reality of the situation in which you find yourself. In doing so, you empower yourself to find the solutions you seek.
A client who had been going through a rough time at work, called me. I noticed there was a lightness and energy in his voice I had not heard in a long time. I asked him what had changed, and he said, “The drunk prayer”.
I wasn’t sure what he meant at first, and he explained that it was the prayer that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) organization utilizes. Of course, he was referring to the Serenity Prayer.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Basically, the prayer reminded him he needed to accept where he was in life and quit beating himself up for not being more or better. The prayer tuned him into the voice of his True Self, and the difference in his outlook and energy was very noticeable. He was then able to explore his situation with an entirely new energy and perspective.