So when things happen in our lives – little things, like you reaching out to someone who completely ignores you – do you immediately jump to the conclusion that they must be upset with you? Do you immediately start to ask yourself questions like, ‘what could I have done that they don’t want to talk to me?” “Is it possible I upset this person without even knowing it?” “There has to be a reason why they don’t contact me back!”
We all have this little voice inside our head – you know what I’m talking about – those internal conversations that take place. And when something happens that feels unfathomable to us, we are quick to jump to the blame game. We question ourselves at every turn. We fall so easily into the trap of the stories that we tell ourselves and in those stories, we are almost always the one who has done something wrong! Is it because when we were young children, we lived in fear of always being caught doing something that was considered to be wrong and we lived through the trauma of disappointing our parents or care-givers, or teachers – those authority figures who we looked up to? I’m not 100% sure, perhaps to some degree. However, it doesn’t really matter because it is something we can control.
Some friendly advice? Hit the pause button! Find out the facts! When you reached out to that person and they didn’t respond, did you try again? Was it possible that they just weren’t available at that point and genuinely forgot to get back to you? Perhaps they were dealing with something really traumatic at the time. There could be a hundred different explanations for why they didn’t respond immediately and I am willing to bet that at the very bottom of their list was you!
There is great teaching in Hinduism where it is of utmost importance to practise the pause. Pause before you say something. Pause before you think something. Pause before you eat. Pause before you take action. Pause before you make any life-changing decisions. Pause. Pause. Pause.
Hitting the pause button allows you the time that you need to change gears. To change the way you feel about a situation. To change the way that you would deal with a situation. It gives you time to gather all the facts and to take it from there. Essentially what it does is it gives you an opportunity to not make rash decisions and to not have knee-jerk reactions and at the end of the day to not make a complete idiot of yourself!
I recently received this inspiration in a newsletter that I subscribe to : “Practice making generous assumptions, as often as you can in as many situations as you can. Assume the best, not the worst, as a mental health practice. It’s the only path to sanity until you’re able to connect, communicate with an open heart, and understand what’s really going on with someone you care about. Please do not waste time hurting yourself with made up stories. Stop using your imagination to harm yourself and make yourself feel like poo.”
I absolutely love that message and just had to share with everyone. Let’s start making it our business to always make generous assumptions and when we find ourselves reverting to the negative, pause and change gears. Communicate with and open heart and magnanimous understanding. Practise correcting the path of your thoughts to focus on controlling your internal conversations. Redirect those internal conversations to only embrace positive and beautiful content. Visibly pack the negative responses and self-harming conversations in a neatly tied up parcel and send them to where they arose with love.