Patience, Calmness, Stillness. Through my meditation practice I haveg grown so much in these areas. Whatever unpleasant or unwnated situation comes up, I try to accept the challenge with the desire to face it with a more relaxed and still attitude. But what if there is this one thing, or worse, this one person that knows how to push your buttons? Challenge accepted! I now see them as opportunity to dive deeper into my practice and grow. Well, at least it inspired me to write this piece on Staying Calm ‘extreme’.
Let’s start at the beginning. A typical stress factor for me is the fear of not being able to follow my daily structure and scheduled appointments. For example, I missed the train after work and had to wait another 20 minutes. This could potentially let me fall behind my time schedule to rush to the post office before it closes, and make it to my yoga class in time.
This is usually enough for me to get stressed and start worrying about the worst case scenario (which most of the time is not even close to any objectively judged worst case scenarios). My mind spins around the hassle I might have to face at the post offices, packed with lots of people waiting in line before me. This then goes on to picturing myself not making it to my yoga class. I mean, the day couldn’t be any worse, right?
You see, real tragedy is happening here… in my mind.This one day, however, I managed to focus on the present moment and lead me to doing the best I could. I waited for the next train, went to the post office, waited in line, biked home, checked the time and well, what can I say: I made it!
This was one of the very first moments that helped me realize that panic, hectic, stress, and frustration would not have changed anything about the outcome of that day. Instead, staying in the very moment saved me a lot of energy and frustration. I actively made the decision to put more awareness onto situations like these. Situations that had the great potential (at least for me) of stress and hectic, but instead I wanted to slow down and have faith, that no matter what the outcome would be, I would be fine and able to deal with it.
Try to listen to what you feel, not to what you think
Throughout conversations and confrontations with people or situations who challenge me the most and did not go all too well in the beginning, I have now taken on the intention to focus and listen to what I feel, not necessarily to what I think. When you are caught up in emotions and are insecure about what the exact issue is, that bothers you or makes you nervous, words are usually not your favourite tool of all. If you try to listen to the intention behind, it might be easier to get to the point.
How to deal with it
Listen to what is really going on.
If you re-encounter situations or people that, no matter what, seem to trigger feelings of frustration, anger, fear, anxiety or even rage, try to listen what it is they bring up inside of you. Most likely they simply touch upon old feelings from your past – unintentionally. Note that at this point, it might even be you who steers the situation or confrontation in a certain and unpleasant direction.
Show compassion, instead of self-pity.
Do not blame or self-pity yourself for being in a certain and most probably unwanted situation, instead take it as it is and be kind. This means that in situations like missing the train, I try not to moan about why I couldn’t have been at the station just three minutes earlier, or not self-pity me: why is this happening to me now? Why me, why today? Expand the compassion and kindness to that one person that is pushing your buttons. This person has their own insecurities and issues to deal with – keep that in mind and meet whatever comes your way with kindness.
Let go of faulty negatives beliefs.
Meaning, let go of experiences, conflicts or arguments that set your mind. Do not expect situations or people to behave in a certain way, rather be open-minded and unburden yourself from old prejudices. You will see that situations and people can surprise you, in a good way!
I try to always keep those three steps in my mind, especially when facing a potential stressful situation or a person that knows exactly how to push my buttons! Let whatever ‘unpleasant’ comes your way, be your guru. What has initially been anger and frustration about a certain something for me, turned out as something pretty good. Solely by sitting down and looking inside, I realized the potential guru in it. Now I am grateful. It helps me grow, even if it can be difficult from time to time.