Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage

Years ago, I watched this movie where the lead actor said,”You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” It was from the movie We Bought a Zoo.

Granted, it was the lead actor’s advice to his son about talking to a girl, but this could be used for so many areas of life. If we give ourselves just twenty seconds to try something different, to try something that will better our lives, something great might come of it.

Fear stands in our way of doing things that are better. We get caught up in the same responses, the same thought patterns, and the same old ways. We don’t think that if it isn’t working, then we should try something new.

I’m big on trying the opposite. It has made a huge difference in my life. When my child who has ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder starts reacting badly to discipline, that my other two children who don’t have those issues responded well to, I tried something different, the opposite. I was calm, spoke softly, and looked past his reaction to see what was truly bothering him. He was usually overwhelmed. He needed me to walk him through things to make it easier for him to comply with my demands. He wasn’t trying to disobey. He was overwhelmed.

When we have arguments with our loved ones, we often have them about the same things. We argue using the same words. We react in the same way. What if we stop all that same old, same old and try something different? What if we were calm and asked what is going on with our loved one? We might finally see something totally unexpected. Usually, we feel like we aren’t being heard or totally understood. Our loved ones usually feel the same.

Try twenty seconds of insane courage, and see the greatness that may come of it.

 

 

Negative Encounters

We’ve all had negative encounters with people. Sometimes, they are strangers. Sometimes, they are family members that have grated on us for years. These negative encounters can throw us for a loop. We get caught up in our victim stories that we tell ourselves. We think about how this person always does this, or we think about how this stranger is just like all the others. We get angry or frustrated. We wish we didn’t have to deal with these people.  We wish that they would go away.

We need to embrace these people and realize they are put in our lives to learn. They are a lesson that hasn’t been learned yet, and that is why they are irritating you so much. These irritations are lessons that we haven’t learned the proper skills to yet. Once you learn those skills, they no longer irritate you. At the least, they no longer throw you for a loop.

How do you deal with these people?

That is really hard to answer because there are so many solutions, and it is customized just for you. What lessons you need to learn aren’t always what someone else needs to learn. I know that doesn’t help, but that is a fact.

A few things that might help you are: One, realize that mostly like how you were raised caused this frustration. If you look in your history, you will see maybe a parent has this irritation with these same types of people. Maybe even one of their parents has this irritation. It’s a skill that your generation hasn’t learned how to deal with yet. Second, find the core reason of your issue. Then, seek out knowledge anywhere you can to solve it. There are so many resources out there that can help you. Third, it is usually pretty simple. You know they aren’t being fair, and they don’t truly understand you. They don’t care enough about you to stop hurting you. If these people aren’t there to be supportive, then you don’t need them. If they have to be in your life, limit your exposure. If they are co-workers, find another job, or find a way to distance yourself. Realize you don’t have to let them affect your life.

These negative experiences will always be there, but they don’t have to be curses. They can be blessings for you to learn from.

Fear

Fear can be a debilitating emotion. It can keep you stuck. It can keep paralyzed. It can cause a long list of responses, like anger, frustration, and panic to name a few. It can appear in your life in so many ways, too many to name, and it’s individualized. It changes from person to person.

I recently dealt with this in my life. I was afraid to try a new writing project because I didn’t know how people would response. This fear paralyzed me. I didn’t want to deal with the potential fallout. I didn’t want to hear negatives. I didn’t know what else could appear in my life by doing this particular project. Who would be angry? Who would treat me bad? Who would be hurt? It has held me back for a long time.

How do I move past this paralyzing situation?

I think I’ve figured it out. First, I’m borrowing trouble by worrying about things that actually haven’t happened yet. They may never happen, or my fears could be correct, and it turns into a mess. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I need to focus on the present. I have a dream in my heart, and that usually means there’s a reason. If I concentrate on the task of writing this manuscript and nothing else, then I’m dealing with the only thing that is currently important. Nothing else should interfere. If and when I finish my manuscript and decide to sell it or self-publish, then I worry about that task. What I’ve learned by this process is that other people’s opinions are not my concern. No, I don’t want to hurt anyone, but if I can help other’s maneuver and heal damages that have been done to them, then it’s all worth it. It’s worth it to me to follow my dreams and to help others. Who should stop someone from doing that? No one. No one should stop me if they have my best interest at heart and if they care and love me. If they don’t, then their opinion isn’t my concern.

This approach will work with almost every conceivable issue. Don’t borrow trouble. Work on the task that is before you. Don’t worry about the problems that could happen. They haven’t happened yet. When and if they do, think about this: are they mad or angry because they are living in their own fear? Most likely. Do they have your best interest at heart? Most likely no. Will you do good by following through with your plans? If the answer is yes, I would suggest to go ahead and do it. Most likely, the people that hold you back are at fault for the trauma/abuse that you live with everyday. You may not wish them harm but if your story or your tasks helps others, then it’s worth it. You’ll bring in the right people into your life and keep the ones that cause you harm out.

 

 

Walking Meditation

A walking meditation is one where you walk with your head up and no distractions from phones or your own thoughts. Walk along, and notice every little detail you can only thinking about that detail. Nothing else can interfere. If it does, flick it away and refocus.

The purpose of this is to quiet the mind, to learn to focus on what’s right before you, and to help reduce stress.

Try doing this sometime today. It doesn’t have to be long. Every bit of time away from your negative thoughts will be a great benefit.

I hope it gives you another technique you can use to find a moment of peace from all the chaos in your world.

Finding a new perspective

If something I’m dealing with feels negative, one thing that helps me is to find a new perspective. Also, if you can only see one or two options in handling a situation, then you’re in a middle of an emotional response to the situation. This is when you need to pull back and try to figure out another option.

For example, when we deal with people, we will often feel like they slighted us or were mean for no reason. I used to believe that they were just mean. Then, I started asking them why they said or did what they said or did. I found that more times than not they didn’t mean what I thought they meant. I realized that people communicate differently. They say things differently. Sometimes, it was an honest mistake. Other times, they really meant what they said or did. When that happens, you’ve called them out. They will most likely stop. Or it’s a golden opportunity to really talk and work through issues, even though that’s not always comfortable. It really is for the best.

When you are having to make a decision to handle a situation, we sometimes feel we only have two options. That usually is a big red flag that you are in an emotional situation and you need to find a way to pull yourself out of the situation. It means that you will be unable to see it clearly.

This is just two examples of ways to find a different perspective that will improve your life. There are numerous ways to change your perspective. Consciously looking for opportunities to change you perspective is a great habit to get into.

Gratitude

Gratitude can be a hard behavior to learn, but the benefits can be so rewarding. When we get so deep into the routine of our daily lives, we don’t always consciously look for the positives. Maybe some feel there isn’t anything to be grateful for. It can be hard to see sometimes.

One way is to look for just three things, and don’t stop looking until you find them. Maybe they aren’t big, at first. Maybe they are just little things, like a roof over your head or a job. If you begin to look for things to be grateful for, you will see more and more.

Work toward finding a few more each day. Before long it will be a new behavior that will give you big benefits. You’ll start to see that even though things are rough, there are still things to be happy about.

Journaling

I have had several experiences with journaling. At first, it may feel uncomfortable because you should be writing down everything that’s private, the stuff you never let anyone know. We can give our deepest thoughts voice. We right them out and we don’t stuff them down.

Stuffing down our feelings or thoughts makes them bubble up somewhere else and usually not in a positive way.

Have you ever got mad at someone and lashed out and it wasn’t even directed toward the person that did it in the first place?

Most of us have. We yell at our kids because our boss embarrassed us. We eat junk food because it’s the only thing we feel we have control over. We throw things because we don’t know how to voice our hurt.

Journaling helps us to see what is really bothering us, that’s if you write without fear and without censoring yourself. Just write. It clears out all the negativity, and sometimes, once it’s out on paper or in a computer file, the anger or frustration doesn’t feel as big. It doesn’t feel overwhelming.

Journaling will lead you to see what’s really bothering you, which will help you learn to articulate that to the proper person. You will learn that when your boss calls you out in front of others, you know it’s because he’s shaming you. You might already know that information, but journaling will give you strength to go to your boss or someone else in the company that will give you guidance and explain to him that behaviors is unacceptable and that you deserve better treatment.

Journaling can teach you what’s really bothering you. That is good because now you have information that will help you move forward instead of being stuck in the situation. You get to the core of the issue.

When journaling, I suggest to just write whatever comes to mind and not to censor yourself during that time. Once you’ve got out a chunk of that, ask why is that important/matter to you. Begin to write again. Once you’ve written that out, ask it again. Eventually, you’ll get to the heart of the matter.

Trying something new

When we live with depression or we have become stuck in a rut, we can’t see past it all. I found one way that may feel difficult, but if you try, it will result in a positive step forward: trying something new.

If you love music but haven’t listened to it in a while, find your stash of music you love and just listen. It can bring back better memories. It can lift you up. If you haven’t picked up your camera, taken a walk, seen a movie, visited a friend or relative, or other favorite task, go do it. Even five minutes could make a difference on your outlook. It can keep you going when things are rough.

I watched as family members cared for a loved one that was dying. It was all they did. They didn’t take a break. They were just there hoping they wouldn’t miss a lucid moment or the last memories they would share. It was wearing them down. I feared they would become ill themselves. One took off for a few hours, and it made a difference. He was able to get back in there and be there until the end.

I watched someone I love work all the time. There wasn’t any time for fun. Work was all he did. He had a lot of pressure on him from everywhere. He was getting burned out. He took off for a weekend, and things changed. He realized that all he was doing was working. He realized that he wanted something more. He started to make changes in life to support fun things and to enjoy life more. He still has a ways to go, but he’s working on it.

Think back before things got crazy. What did you like to do? What do you wish you could try? Try something different to enjoy life again.

Making changes

Before we can make changes, we typically have to be in the position of severe discomfort. We no longer feel that our bad habit is worth the price we pay. We are no longer happy with where we’re at and want it to change.

The biggest problem is deciding what changes you want to make. Sometimes, we don’t know where to start to make positive changes. We don’t know how to begin.

I would take a chunk of your problem and start there. If you take on too much, it might lead you to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes, our problems are too big to take on all at once.

Maybe if you want less stress, you can learn how to meditate or do breathing exercises. Maybe if you snap at your children or loved ones, you can learn to become aware. Maybe if you drink, you can get into a program to help you stop. Sometimes working on your problems means you have to let other people help you. It may feel uncomfortable, but they’ve been there, or they have the skills to help you get out of that trap.

If you have too many problems and don’t know where to start, I suggest something small or moderate. Work your way to the “big stuff.” If the “big stuff” is dangerous, like drugs, it needs to be addressed before worrying about anything else. You can’t properly fix anything unless you are sober.

If you are brave and strong enough (trust me, you really do need to be strong), you can ask your loved ones what traits or habits that you do that are the hardest to be around. When they tell you, because you asked, you can’t yell or become defensive. You need to listen and take it in.

If some of you like to pray, then I’d suggest that. If you don’t like to pray, I suggest you simply give it voice somehow, like journaling or saying it out loud. “I want a different life. Where do I start?” Then, go from there, one step at a time, seeking out knowledge everywhere. You might even start to see answers showing up from different sources and presenting themselves with ease into your life.

These are just a few suggestions that I hope will get you started.

Are you aware?

When I started college ages ago, I took a class that taught behavioral awareness, which is basically how and why people do the things they do. It wasn’t a very detailed class but more of an overview. I learned that there were five levels of competency. Most people live their lives in the first level, which basically is that you don’t know, and you don’t know that you don’t know. You are unaware that there is another way of life, a life that you can make changes to and learn new skills creating a better life for yourself.

Consciously competent is the 4th level, and it’s when you learn and develop skills and determine appropriate behaviors and actions for success. It needs the added bonus of using this knowledge and skills to be most effective.

This information made me realize that I was living my life, plodding along, and knowing it wasn’t great, but I didn’t know that something could be done to change it. I knew that my life was stuck in misery. I didn’t have a good self-worth. I knew that I felt horrible. People made me feel horrible about myself. I didn’t like how I treated others either. This class showed me that there is hope. I can make changes, even baby steps, to creating a “normal” life. I can correct behaviors, see my value, and shift my life in a better direction.

The hardest part is learning to be consciously aware of your behaviors, actions, reactions, thoughts, and words. It’s taking a pause before you move forward. It’s assessing a situation before you knee-jerk react to something or someone.

In the previous post, I shared a breathing exercise. That exercise helps quiet the brain but it can also teach you how to become aware of your thoughts. If you can learn that skill, it can open you up to fixing “issues” that weigh you down and changing negative behaviors to positive ones. You can become aware. In the spiritual realm, this is basically presence.

The exercise I would suggest is start to become aware of what the voice in your head is saying when you do your breathing exercises. Are they negative? Are they mean?  Are they judgmental? Are they loving? Are they encouraging?

In a future post, I’ll explain what that voice is and why it’s saying the things it says.

Until then, I encourage you to continue the breathing exercises and start to become aware of what thoughts you have. It’s the beginning that could change your life!