Patience: waiting for the right time

Being patient is not easy.  In fact for many of us, when we want something we want it right away and waiting does not see to be an option.  But as we get older we soon understand that is not the way things work in reality and waiting for the right time to do something, say something or expect things to happen is an important thing to learn.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “One moment of patience may ward off a great disaster.  One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.”  Judging the right time to say or do something in your life can have an impact.  From a child’s point of view playing loud music in a house when others are trying to sleep is not a wise thing to do.  From an adults point of view, waiting to speak to someone you are in a relationship with till the right time, is important if we expect to be heard the way we wish to be heard.

However we should never mistaken putting things off that require action as patience.  Teaching our children the difference will help them to have a more successful life dealing with friends, employers and personal relationships.

Anger management: #3 The Blame Game

We have all seen the child or the adult that sees others as the cause of their anger.  Someone, or something provokes them, and their anger is the “reasonable response”, from their point of view.  Its not their fault if they loss their temper because…  This is a way of sidestepping the responsibility for their feelings and reactions and the damage that they may cause. 

One of the reasons they take this position is because of feeling out of control over their lives.  They may feel like their is very little they can do about a situation and in fact the pain that they are feeling and they are upset at those they they believe caused that pain.  They feel like they cannot stop what is happening and so they go into the fight or flight mode – and they choose to fight.  This lack of power they are feeling is brought on by not knowing that there may be a solution to the issue.  The more they blame others the more they believe it and the more angry they become.

Some of the favorite methods they might use, actually brings more trouble to them and you will probably recognize some of these.  They may speak in a sarcastic manner, criticize others, get in your face because of not knowing when to back off, or nag until the other persons patience is gone. Here is what we want to remember though:  Even if there is a reason for the reaction and the anger, it does not absolve one of the responsibility.  There is a difference from explanation and excuses, but that is hard for a child or an adult to see, especially if they have used these tactics for a period of time.

Even when children or adults continue to find a way of not taking responsibility and blaming others, we must recognize they are still feeling the pain and would very much like to get rid of the pain.  One nine year old said, “One part of my brain tells me to stay calm and another part tells me to by angry.  I can’t help it if the angry side wins.”  What you hear in this is a cry for help, a desire for understanding from others and to feel like they are in control of their feelings.  They don’t want to feel powerless.

What can we do to help a child or an adult who feels like this?  We must teach them to recognize the causes of the anger and suggest alternative resolutions to the problems.   This takes time and patience.  My personal example I think is a good one for that.  Every year at the beginning of November I became a bear to be around.  I was short with everyone and took nothing from nobody.  After looking at this deeply I realized that this was the time of the year that my father passed away when I was very young and subconciously I was still reacting to this.  I was 32 years old when I figured that out.  It takes patience.  But please remember that patience is part of the lesson of problem solving. 

Like in most things you will not solve problems by using the same thing against the problem.  Do not shout, blame or have pointless discussions that the person deserved what they got.  It solves nothing.  Find a way to suggest that even if someone else is to blame that we need to find a solution to handle this that benefits you.  This will be very helpful to the angry child or adult.

Self control: dealing with temptations

Lets look at how we can use our self control when we are tempted by something that may be appealing to us.  From the simple point of view if we look at something in the store or at something that belongs to someone else, while we may want it or something like it we would not steal it.  We know that taking something that does not belong to us, no matter how much we want it would be the wrong thing to do and would have very bad consequences.  We know that when that trust has been broken between individuals it is very hard to get back and using our self control is how we can maintain a high level of trust with our parents, friends, teachers, and employees / employers.

But this is not the only kind of temptations around us.  We may be tempted to not tell the truth, especially if we are scared or think we are about to get into trouble.  It takes a great deal of character and self control to stop ourselves from stealing or lying to others.  But there are temptations all around us.  For each one of us they are going to be different.  For some temptations may come in the form of food, intimacy, drugs, alcohol, gambling. For some we find ourselves lying to ourselves, the greatest form of deception, about whatever it is that is tempting to us.   So how do we guard ourselves from these sorts of things?

By taking the STEP.  STOP and take a deep breath or two.  Count to ten get away from the situation for a minute to give yourself time to THINK up some solutions.  Write them down, think about each way you could deal with the situation.  The EVALUATE all the possible solutions with 3 questions; Will this solution work, Is it safe and Is it fair?  When all 3 of those questions can be answered in a positive way then we can choose from the solution options that meet that criteria for what is best for us and immediately PROCEED with the plan.

Now while this is harder to do than it is to say, the way we get ourselves strong enough to use our self control at our command is to practice it on little things.  For instance I know that I need to do physical activity every day.  So have I set a time to do that?  When that time comes do I make excuses to refrain or do I make a personal victory by carrying out my plan?  When you have the little victories on a daily basis, when there is a bigger temptation we will have grown that muscle strong enough to demonstrate our self control. 

As a parent we can set the example and show our children when we are using our self control, and point out what and why we are doing it.  We can encourage them to do the same and celebrate with them when they display self control.  Talking and using the words on a consistent basis will be a great reminder for both parent and child.

Emapthy and anger control

Developing empathy is a major anger control tool because it is more diffiuclt to stay angry at people once you understand things from their point of view. The skill of empathy also involves increased sensitivity to how you yourself are coming across to others.

open-mindedness: overcoming fear of meeting new people

As we talk about the idea of open-mindedness we do not need to lose our convictions or preferences, but being open to new approaches or new way of doing things will help us to grow.  One way of doing this is to meet new people and be willing to listen to them and their story.  

One of my instructors talks to us on a regular basis about “who do you hang out with?”  If we are choosing to only be with people that think the same way as we do then our ability to grow and expand our thinking and creativity will be limited.  But this is hard at times to do because of the fear we have inside us.

I have that fear.  When going into a room of people I do not know, all kinds of questions run through my mind.  Will I meet anyone I know?  Will the people I meet like me?  Will I say something stupid?  But here is what I have learned.  Be open to meeting new people with the idea in your mind of – What can I do to help you?  Yes, what can I do for you?  Not what can I get from this person.  
Once you have this point of reference the conversations flow easier and it really puts us at ease.  Just as important, you will listen more closely to the person speaking so you can hear their point of view.  When that happens is when being openminded will really pay off, with increased knowledge and awareness of other ways of thinking.

Creating peace at Thanksgiving gatherings

This time of the year we have many gatherings to go to and many of them involve family members and those close to us in other areas of our life.  Now I don’t know about you, but my guess is that you are much like me in that many of the occasions we go to, we do so with certain expectations.

We know ahead of time who is going to annoy us, who is going to brag, be outrageous or argue with us.  We think in our minds that we are going to do everything we can to stay away from certain subjects and sometimes people to try to keep the peace.  In fact the reason I am writing this is because from a ‘self-defense’ point of view, the things we do that harm us the most, come from our thoughts and mouth.

So what can we do to have peaceful gatherings?  For us to have the peace we are looking for we need to go to a place that may not seem to make sense at first.  If we are to change the relationships that we have, we must choose to be at peace with everyone in our life – and this time of the year especially with our relatives.

How can this possibly be true?  Because if the focus of our inner dialogue about our family members is on what they are doing wrong or how annoying they are, then that is exactly how your relationship is going to play out.  If what we notice about them is how annoying they are, then we are more likely to blame them for our annoyance.  But in reality the annoyance we are feeling is actually coming from our own thoughts.

In our mind we need to redirect our thinking to “My intention is to be authentic and peaceful with this person (relative)”, and that is the experience we will have.  I know this is true, I have seen it with myself and I am sure you have too.

Have you ever had a good relationship with someone and everything is going along very well and then they do something that hurts you really in a bad way?  What happens?  I have noticed that many times the very things that had been cute and appealing to me now begin to annoy me and they are very easily criticized.  We have all done this at some time. 

Our relationships are what we think they are.  I am going to talk about this more in the future, but for now just  know that,  No one is capable of making you upset without your consent.  When we decide to connect to peace, and bring peace to our relatives and relationships, we immediately gain the power to change the energy of the gathering that we attend in this season of thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!