Great at handling the big things, defeated by the trifles?
You are awakened by the dog whimpering to go outside. You get out of bed to find that he has already had an accident on the kitchen floor.
Once outside, in your robe, the early-bird neighbor already on her brisk, healthy morning walk waves a big wave and a broad smile –she’s fine and you’re cold. The dog runs in the street. Once inside you go to the bathroom and you notice that the faucet is leaking.
That almost does it, but not quite. You reach for the electric toothbrush, drop it, break the new plastic head, and then you lean with both hands on the vanity, look into the mirror, and decide in a single moment that you look like hell and that all of life is on top of you.
You are oppressed by the trifles before you have ever had the chance to show the world how well you deal with the big things –like your job or your very glowing vision for life.
For some people, it’s just the faucet leaking that can ruin their morning.
If traffic is stalled on the way to work, how will you be by 7:30 in the morning?
Here’s the decision we have to make. I OWN my world and my emotional reaction to it.
I will build a muscle of peace so strong that I can flex that muscle as soon as I see the pee on the floor and the neighbor’s cheery smile way too early in my morning. I have decided to use any small negative event as a cue to go to peace. And I pulse it: peace, peace, peace, peace, peace. Rooted in a decision not be controlled by conditions outside of me, I practice this until my positive neuropathways are stronger than my negative ones.
It is not that I repress my negativity. That is not the problem here. It is not that I deny it. It is that I choose to do a different thing with negativity when it happens. I choose to go to peace, peace, peace, peace, and the emotional muscle of going to it with immediacy. I can get to peace as quickly as I can get to anger and anxiety if I practice it.
For me, it is exactly the same as meditation. I learn that I can LET GO of the negative and have a different response. I’m not denying. I’m choosing differently.
It is the cumulative little things that kill us. It is the cumulative little things adding up, one after another, that become the straw that breaks this camel’s back.
And it is all because our negative emotions are undisciplined and our positive emotions are flabby and weak. Worried more about our pecs and butts than our emotional responses to life, we are crushed when the toothbrush breaks, and brought down by a leaky faucet.
There has to be an early decision to live a style of life where the conditions “out there” are not going to have as much control as the muscles of good emotions on the inside of us. But they have to be grown, developed, and exercised.
Try this. Don’t deny negative experiences, but instead make a decision for emotional facility and true emotional agility.
Use a negative event as a cue to practice FEELING a positive feeling, growing it, flexing it, strengthening it. What possible good do you think it does you to get irritated and frustrated and even hopeless over breaking your toothbrush and the fact that your dog pees in the wrong places?
You may think this is normal, and it’s just a matter of accepting yourself and life on life’s terms, but it’s not. That’s just not the truth.
The truth is that it is sloppy management of your emotional life. It is undisciplined negativity and underdeveloped positivity. And what you do before 8:00 in the morning is what you will do all day long.
It takes a decision and it takes practice not to let the little conditions of life OWN you. Changing your thinking is not enough. You have to grow the feelings you want to feel at your quick and easy fingertips.