Welcome to another episode of trying not to lose your shit. Since this is a key part of creating a peaceful, happy existence let’s talk about it a bit more. I often explain the same thing in many different ways because thats how I learn and how I believe others do too. And… sometimes we might get it after the millionth time we’ve heard it. So let me break it down for you even more.
We experience, we interpret, we feel, and we act. I’ll break this down for you to a greater degree in hopes that you’ll find the ways to intervene somewhere between where you experience and interpret, where you interpret and where you feel, or where you feel and how or if you decide to act.
My wife and I were eating brunch at a restaurant in Philadelphia last weekend. If you don’t know this about me I’m an introvert. I like quiet places and being alone. If I had it my way I’d love a small, quiet table in a pantry somewhere in the back at restaurants.
This restaurant, that morning was bustling. It was Sunday and prime brunch time. And… the tables were somewhat close together. A young couple were seated next to us about ten or fifteen minutes after we sat down. When they walked in a fella in the couple was on a video call on his phone AND he was on speaker phone with the volume as loud as was possible. This prolonged throughout the entire meal.
You might be starting to interpret this situation the way I was in that I was making up all kinds of unhealthy assumptions about what I was being subjected to. So inconsiderate. So rude. I MUST do something about this.
This interpretation directly fed how I felt which was pissed off, frustrated, violated etc. etc.
I figure you’re like me and you don’t enjoy those feelings and corresponding sensations that were bubbling in my entire being. Without any need to think about it I was naturally driven to make all that go away and to go away as quickly as possible.
The way to make things go away is to take action; directly engage with this man in any of the ways that might be possible, leave the restaurant, maybe do something passive aggressive like start talking really loud or turning on the music app on my phone and turning the volume up as high as it would go, asking someone at the restaurant to intervene. I had options.
Instead I did this. I went into my mind and broke down what my interpretation was of the stimulus. I examined the sensations I was feeling, and I specifically didn’t do anything to get someone or something outside of me to be changed. I chose to, or rather committed to either be in the experience or change how I felt. It worked. I could actually chill out. Those pesky sensations would cycle back but I took the opportunity to use those cycles to take laps through this process and practice.
In a time where you acted out rather than chill out what was the negative consequence?
In a time where you acted out what would have happened if you have left instead?
In a time where you acted out what would have happened if you could have regulated your reaction?