I hear many people talking about the suffering they are currently experiencing, regardless of their spiritual or religious tradition. Life continues to throw curve balls at us when we least expect it. Here are 5 ways to stop and move through situations more smoothly, and gain self-awareness in the process. When we are struck with a situation that throws us into pain or discomfort:
1) Stop, and Write. Grab a pen and begin writing all the beliefs about yourself that are arising, i.e., I’m no good; There’s something wrong with me; I’m unloveable. As your start discovering the beliefs about yourself that are evoked, you’ll begin to see that the current situation is connected to similar past hurts and experiences.
2) Notice the body. Focus on what is happening in the body, i.e., stomach is in knots, throat is tight, heat moving through your arms, etc. If you’re so inclined, try and reflect on the first time you felt these similar situations in your body. Many people are able to locate an earlier experience(s) where they felt the same way.
3) Move the energy. Depending on what your lifestyle will permit, find a way to move the charge in the body while thinking about the situation, i.e., hit a punching bag, jogging, lift weights, punch a pillow, screaming, etc. This will disfuse the charge in the body, make it less intense, and more manageable.
4) Find the theme. Discover where you continue to act out the theme going on. For example, is the theme one of you playing the martyr? Is the theme feeling you’re not good enough to ask for what you want? You will begin to locate other experiences where you played a similar role though the context may have been different.
5) Figure out what you need. This is the part of the process where you ask yourself, what do I need here? What are my needs that I’m not communicating? Most of the time when we fall into ourselves, isolate, and start feeling bad it’s due to the fact that we weren’t able to extend out in a way to meet our needs. We weren’t able to ask or place ourselves in a way where we feel heard, loved, appreciated, etc.
6) Respond Differently. Now that you’ve identiLied the above 5 steps, you’re ready to create how you’d like to interact differently. For example, if you figured out that you isolate and feel bad about yourself when people act in certain ways, speak up. Tell the person that you’re feeling sad and hurt and ask for what you need instead. This is the way to break the cycle and theme that you were originally participating in.
Many of us fall into patterns and themes unconsciously. If we follow the steps above, they are no longer mistakes but situations that birth awareness. Experiences that we can learn and grow from. The choice is yours. Do you want to consciously respond to life, or continue to react? Take the time to reflect on all the internal processes that get kicked up within yourself. It is where wisdom is born. If we can step out of blame, and sitting in pain and use the experience then it become fuel to rise.