I’ve recently had a bit of a breakthrough.
Granted it’s at the end of a week long vacation at Disney world, the happiest place on Earth, but I really do think it’s a revelation that I’ve been trying to grasp for quite some time.
I’ve been taking some anxiety medication for the last several years and I’ve recently cut down on the dosage in an effort to get off the prescription medication and use mindfulness more effectively to handle my stress and anxiety. Well, it has proved to be quite an effort as my tendencies to over think, over react and get way too bent out of shape by everything crept back into my daily habits and generally drove everyone crazy, including me most of all.
This experience, however, has given me some valuable struggle time. It has me revisiting some old patterns and allowed me to learn to deal with them in a new, mindful way. And one of the lessons of mindfulness that I’ve put to use is that I cannot control others, but I can control the way that the actions of others affect me. I’m the one who is going to let events or thoughts affect me, and I choose how to let them impact my mood, thought patterns and actions.
I….me…choose what is best for me.
Others can choose to lay guilt or stress or their own choices at my feet and I choose whether to take them up and carry their burden or walk away and take a different path.
I am also beginning to understand the depths to which people are truly screwed up and dominated and controlled by their emotions and instincts. This lends new insight into the responsibility I have to bear those burdens that others place at my feet. Burdens of guilt or shame or stress or fear are so driven by environmental, emotional, cultural and societal influences that none of the thoughts and feelings we experience are real or fundamental truth. When you step back and truly evaluate the situation, you tend to find that, all things being equal, everything and everyone is basically just feeding off one another’s individual interpretation of the world around them. And the world you allow yourself to accept is the one that you bind yourself to.
So with each new day, each new emotional struggle, and each new experience, I am making new choices about how I will react, how I will feel and how much baggage I will carry around with me. I will look at how the opinions, ambitions and personal hang ups of each individual affects the way they project their influence on me.
And, I will choose how to let them affect me.