We all have them. Obstacles, walls, never-ending bridges or even gaps that keep us stuck where we are. Where do they come from? Why do we experience them? What is their purpose??
I have come to a place of general understanding, a place of acceptance, if you will. After hitting my head against several walls, I realized I needed to look at my obstacles from a different perspective. I needed to look at them from the inside out.
What I used to do was point the finger. You ever do that? I’d say or feel things like, "What is that idiot doing?" or "Why can’t my boss just listen to what I say because I know I’m totally right?" After years of witnessing my thoughts shift stealthily from rationalization to justification and then confirmation (by way of sharing it with those who I knew would side with me), I took a step back and realized that if I was truly OK with the thoughts in the first place, there would be no need to rationalize, justify or confirm. All the answers would be there. Inside. I also realized this because I realized that my words could potentially get back to the original scapegoat – and that would lead to a lot of hurt. What if they actually were standing next to me while I sat there telling my buddy what a jerk I thought they were? I knew I needed to change. Stat.
SO, after years of work, reading, inner searching, studying, I learned that when I am upset with someone or something where I feel justified, I have to put a label on it. What DOES justification feel like? To me, it feels like anger, irritation. I literally see an image of me with my hands on my hips and nose in the air – might be something different for you. But, the first thing to realize is that I am feeling justified in my thoughts and that is a potentially hazardous place to be.
From there, I have to remind myself that I am not the one to judge what is right or wrong. Not my job. Phew!
Then comes the hard part: figuring out what I am so upset about in the first place. Where does my anger and finger pointing come from? I need to STOP. Breathe. Say nothing. If I am really upset, I have to consider if it is something that is worth sharing. And, if I do share, will it be with someone who is brutally honest or do I want to share with someone who will merely tell me what I want to hear? I consider the latter, and realize that I will learn absolutely nothing.
My personal next step? Write. I do much better in writing. An added bonus is that I know that, unless someone reads my journal, that my negative thought patterns will not spread because, and here’s another thing (that I mentioned in the post on boundaries): the more negative thoughts we share, the more they spread. When I write, I ask myself questions, such as:
What happened?Has this same experience – with the same person or even someone else – occurred before?What is going on beneath this shield of anger?What is the part that I played – because we all play a role?
Once I finish writing or contemplating, I decide if I want to communicate with the other person. The tough part here is that I cannot expect them to nod their head and say, "You know what? You’re right. I will completely change for you. Thank you for sharing. Your insight is amazing." It just doesn’t work that way. Whenever I share my side, it is merely to do so with love and no expectations – just to clean my slate. Again, easier said than done. We are conditioned to receive what we give, which means "I forgive you, and you forgive me, and we’re all happy now! Yay! Let’s go play jump rope!"
In other words, there isn’t always a "dream ending." Be OK with that. If you are OK with accepting a clean slate, you are OK with YOU, and that is the true obstacle to embrace.
So, what’s the benefit? There are more than can be listed here. Let’s just start with peace.