As I was perusing through Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People I came across a piece of advice:
As humans, we are a response-able people.
The idea really resonated with me. As a human, I have the ability to respond. And I can respond however I please.
I have days where my hair goes in all different directions, I get stuck in a traffic jam, interact with unpleasant company and on top of all that, I don’t get something on the top of my to-do list done that day. Or maybe something else happens. The point is, I get to choose how I respond to my bad hair day.
Of course, I could sulk about my hair not curling. Or I could get frustrated and blame my curling iron or straightener. If I was really upset, I might convince myself that it was time for a new piece of hair styling equipment and head off to do some retail therapy. Or, I could let it go and throw the bad, bad hair into a bun or a ponytail or better yet, find a hat to get lost under.
Life, is all about choices.
Dan Harris, in his book, 10% Happier discusses the benefits of meditation and mindfulness on his life. He goes into great detail regarding how both are done. Mindfulness, per his definition, is the ability to respond and not react.
Initially I looked at this statement and felt like, “hey, aren’t these the same thing?” After some consideration, I came to the conclusion that no, they aren’t.
Responding is acknowledgement. For example, on my previously determined bad hair day, “My hair looks bad today.” And I might decide to put a hat on or put my hair up for the day – but ultimately, I’m letting the bad hair thought go.
Reacting, on the other hand, would result in whining, complaining, or worse yet, letting a little bad hair ruin the entire day. Who wants that!? The answer, no one. Reacting is much more severe, it’s on another level.
So, point is, we, are a response-able people. And we can also react. However, to be responsible, it’s better to simply respond and avoid reaction.
Where am I going with this, you ask?
It’s December! For many of us this time of the year results in increased social outings, visiting long-lost family and ultimately, running around on a never-ending treadmill of lists of to-dos, to-buys and what not. Not only does December come with a long list of events, it’s also accompanied by a mix of feelings. Happiness (or dismay) at the sight of loved ones. Stress over money problems or reflections of the year almost gone. It’s a time for joy because it’s the season of giving, thankfulness, faith and so much more.
December comes along as a roller coaster as it not only travels through a mix of every emotion out there, it also flies by – leaving us with very little time to think clearly.
Of course, as I said before, life is all about choices. 🙂
My brain tends to act as a ball of wire. If one thing happens, then multiple other things could follow. And when I’m stressed and under a time-crunch (causing more stress), my thoughts seem to center on just the negative things that could follow. Know what I mean? Or am I completely alone here? 😉
If you’re like me, we need to take a moment to separate ourselves from the negative responses – and work to find a positive one. We, are a response-able people. And this doesn’t only mean that we need to ensure mindful responses to our own thoughts about ourselves and others, it means that we need to work to have positive or even dismissive responses to those around us. Is someone upsetting you? Did someone say something hurtful? Look for a mental response that allows you to let anyone say whatever they please and then move forward (and no, this isn’t always easy 🙂 ).
So, grab a pair of scissors and go to town cutting out the bad strands of thoughts each day. It takes work, but I guarantee it’s helpful and worth the effort (especially during the holiday season!).
As we head into this holiday season, remember that we are response-able. Remember to act the way you want to feel. Remember to breathe! And above all, remember to make the most of your life – because, you’re in charge of how you respond to all the things thrown at you in life! 🙂
Wishing you all a very wonderfully happy Wednesday!