In one of my previous posts (“Transmuting the destructive into constructive”), I suggest that observing my breath may be a good way to consciously make known to myself the things, people, or situations which trigger me to react in ways I refer to as destructive. A destructive response in my view is worry, tension, jealousy, anger, aggression, depression, and many others which lead to general unwellness and disharmony in body or mind.
Once the triggers are known to the conscious mind, then it is easier to work on letting go of destructive reactions. I view stressful triggers as thorns on a rose. I don’t suggest cutting off the thorns, or cutting down the roses. My approach instead is to go inside and change the way I perceive the trigger as well as the way I react to the trigger.
So I’ve got myself some thorns out there that are making me react with anger, frustration, or aggression. Please note that the topic of intentionally inflicted emotional, mental, or physical pain is beyond my scope. I focus here on my reactions to everyday stressors which may in time contribute to feelings of generalized anxiety.
How do I change my perception of the thorn? This is the key because changing my perception will automatically change my reaction. Well, I can avoid interacting with the thorn. This is my go-to solution – avoidance – but not the best solution because I have not changed anything about how I view the thorn.
Again, how do I change my perception? Actually, the thorn doesn’t know it’s a thorn. Its name is ‘thorn’ – I’ve named it so and I have made it a thorn in my side, haven’t I? It doesn’t mean it has to prick. It doesn’t exist to cause me pain. And I don’t have to get hurt. So, the thorn doesn’t exist? Maybe.
Let’s take the focus away from the thorn. The thorn is not the cause of my anger, aggression or depression. We human beings have an amazing range of emotion. We are capable of reactions ranging from most destructive to most beautifully creative. Which emotion we channel is up to us. The question then becomes, why am I allowing myself to react in an adverse way?
I have a choice. For example, I can let go of worrying about a future outcome because maybe it is out of my control. I can stop jealously comparing myself and find myself worthy just the way I am. I can react by laughing off a tense situation, or by not reacting at all. Yet, I know there are times that I just won’t allow myself to let go of my angry and explosive ways . . . because the ego is a maniac. (Click here for the related “Ego is a maniac” post.)
I can do what I’m told – pay that fine – jump that hoop – without throwing a fit so that I can find my peace of mind as quickly as I can, and get on with doing what I enjoy. I can focus on what brings me joy. I can change my focus. I can transmute my destructive reaction into constructive action. Change of focus is magic but no hocus pocus. Until next time, friend.