Controlling Our Reaction To Negative Experiences

February 11, 2019

Sometimes in life things happen that we wished didn’t happen.  We can’t control everything we’re exposed to but we CAN control how we react to them.  This is a very common spiritual lesson taught in many different ways:


•    We can’t adjust the wind but we can adjust the sails.

 
•    There is nothing good or bad…thinking makes it so.


•    It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it that matters, etc. etc.


When dealing with a life situation that we don’t like, what we need to do is find a healthy perspective to view it from before we can let it go and move on.  As long as we view it as “bad”, or “shouldn’t have happened”, or “unfair”, it has a negative emotional charge attached to it.  And as long as it has that negative emotional charge, it will affect us negatively.  Saying that we let it go simply means that we stuffed the emotions attached and are attempting not to think of it.  Every time we’re reminded of it, the emotional charge attached will either be triggered, will expand or both.


This is why finding a healthy perspective is so important.  To be clear a healthy perspective doesn’t mean you now agree that the event “should have happened” or was “good” or was “fair”.  It simply means we practice acceptance and accept the reality that it did happen.  It did and resisting that fact is not only futile but is the cause of suffering.  Simply stated - all suffering is resistance to what is.  


Our perspective IS our reality, we see things completely differently dependent on the space we’re in.  So one thing to do is to think back to a similar situation when you handled it well to see what your perspective was like on that day.  Here’s an example:


Good space: I understand that person was rude talking to me however I’m sure I did nothing wrong so it must have been them.  They must be having a bad day and lashed out at me.  It’s okay, it had nothing to do with me and we all have bad days.


Bad space: Who do they think they are?  I was nothing but nice to them and they’re going to treat me like that?  I don’t need this crap.  I’m never talking to them again.


In one scenario you don’t take it personally.  You understand that nothing is personal and whatever someone is doing is an internal reaction to what they’re going through.  In the other scenario, everything is about you, it feels like a personal attack and you begin to defend.


Of course there are times when someone continually treats you poorly and you may need stop interacting with them but even that depends on how you process it.  Example time:


Good space: This person seems to be in a space where they’re incapable of interacting with me in a healthy way.  I’ll distance myself (or let them know by setting a boundary) for a while and hopefully we can interact in a healthier way when and if they get in better space but for now it’s not necessary to subject myself to it any longer.
Bad space: I’m cutting them out of my life.  They’re just a horrible person.  I’m going to tell them where to go and I hope I never see them again.


One scenario is assessing the situation through self-love in a healthy way.  Done this way, you can move on with your life without harboring a resentment.  The other way is assessing through frustration and is filled with resentment.

 
You cannot “let it go” when you’re stuck in the bad space place.  However with the good space place, you have a perspective based in self-love not frustration so there’s nothing to have a resentment towards.  You’re just not subjecting yourself to bad behavior because you love yourself…sort of like how you wouldn’t eat food you don’t like.  It’s simply a non-emotional, fact-based action.  You don’t get “mad” at liver to make yourself not eat it (if you don’t like it of course), you simply don’t eat it.


When we’re in bad space we feel like a victim and everything that everyone else does is about us and our only defense is to lash back out in negativity.  In good space, it’s simply not necessary for our happiness.  We can give people space to be where they are without taking it personally and move on with our lives.


We have much more power over our lives than we think we do.  This is because we keep thinking we can control situations and people to find out that we can’t.  We’re looking for power in the wrong place.  We need to look within, just like for everything else: happiness, abundance, joy, love, etc., it all comes from within.  Our power comes from within, we have the power to assess situations in healthy ways that don’t make us out to be the victim.  Victims are not powerful.  Masters of their own reactions are very powerful!  So become a Master of your own reactions!
 

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