Bitchy For A Year
I’ve been irritable for over a year.
There are so many reasons that I could use to legitimize and explain-away my crankiness – the state of the world, starting two new companies, challenges in business and life, moving, buying a house, new relationship, reinvention of self…
But bottom line, I’m just cranky.
And, it’s not how, or who I want to be. I know that stress wreaks absolute havoc on my health, weight (hello 8lbs from nowhere) and immune system, as well as my confidence, motivation and relationships. And most importantly, I don’t like how I feel or the energy I’m giving out. It’s not how I want to experience life – or how I want people to experience me.
So, over the next few blogs, I want to share some of the ways that stress has affected me, and what I’ve been doing about it. Some are little things, some are bigger things. But all are things that move me away from being loving and happy, and result in my being resistant, tense…and, well, bitchy.
Assuming the Worst
One of the things I’ve noticed over this past year is that I assume the worst. I didn’t used to be like that, but I definitely have been lately.
There are many reasons why we assume. I personally think that three of the biggest reasons in today’s world are: (1) we live in an ever-increasing fast paced culture, (2) we have minimal bandwidth and are emotionally raw from being constantly stressed, and (3) our brain tries to help and takes shortcuts (assumes), in an effort to give us more time.
But assuming exacerbates everything and not only creates more work for me (un-doing the damage I create when I assume incorrectly) but it also creates more resistance and tension in my body.
Why? Because typically, I’m not assuming the best case scenario, I’m assuming the worst.
It’s natural, and understandable, but it doesn’t have the effect I want – I end up being even more tense and frustrated, which doesn’t help anything.
And it definitely doesn’t support living a life I love.
I’ve noticed that I assume:
- Anytime I’m rushing. For example – when I speed-read an email on my iPhone, I can completely misinterpret the whole dialogue.
- In conversations, I quickly jump to conclusions, without asking questions and finding out all the facts (and feelings).
- When I’ve had a negative past experience. I’m already tense and resistant state even before I begin a conversation – call centers, banks, business meetings having to do with finances, and things that I feel like I’ve been really clear about, but are showing up again.
Can you relate to any of the above?
So what can we do – besides going to live on an idyllic island in the south pacific with no news, no stress and no challenges?
What I’ve been doing that helps:
I’ve been deliberately slowing down for 1-2 minutes, 3x’s per day so my body can decompress; so I’m not consistently in fight or flight mode. We’ve got to make time to slow down in today’s world. The faster we go, the more information we assault our senses with, the more tension we create in our body. Slowing down helps our body return to it’s natural state of resiliency and resourcefulness. My go to’s: lying down on my bed, putting on music, dancing, going for a quick walk, taking a shower, getting out in nature and hugging my partner and cats.
2. Reading emails and texts slowly
and with my full attention. No speed reading!
3. Asking questions
to understand the whole picture, before speaking. Seeking first to understand (cliches are cliches because they are so true) before judging, deciding or jumping in.
4. Trying to assume the BEST case scenario first
This puts me into a receptive, loving space (where magical things can actually happen!) It doesn’t mean that I’m naive or will step over anything I need to address. But it does mean that I’m in a more receptive place – for the actual reality of what is being said, and a solution.
5. Assuming the person is on my side, is a good person, and/or has had a stressful day
(in that case, extra compassion and kindness from me would actually hugely help them), as it relates to the situation. I remember a mentor once said, “if you get asked a question that seems like someone is attacking you, assume that they are a GOOD person just asking questions, seeking to understand – and respond from that place.
Deeply. A few times. Then I respond.
7. Being Curious
I learned this from a Somatic (body focused) Coach who was all about being curious about everything, rather than making an immediate judgment or decision. (I’m still working on this one as I’m type A and tend to make decisions and judgements quickly, rather than being curious ? ) However when I do it, it works.
8. Keeping my vibration high
Music, dance, exercise, getting outside, pets, connection with my partner, contribution, gratitude are all things that help keep my vibration high and counter-act negativity. They help me assume the best scenario, because I’m happy, not maxed out. The happier I am, the more naturally assume all is good around me. It all, ALL starts with us.
For me, that means quiet time on my own, puttering, shopping at Lululemon (don’t ask me why, but it soothes my soul), making raw food etc. Because, when we’re sourced, everything works better. Oxygen mask on first. Yes, that massage is always necessary.
10. Addressing my own worries, procrastination and personal challenges
so that I’m not projecting my frustrations on someone else (how many times has the poor bank call center rep borne the brunt of my wrath simply b/c I’m frustrated about additional things).
11. Checking in on my feelings
and not judging myself for feeling the way I do. What am I feeling right now? I’m feeling irritated? That’s ok. I’m feeling angry and frustrated? Why is that? Oh, because of “xyz” and it’s okay. This is one of the most therapeutic things we can do – NAME the feeling, ask why we’re feeling that way and tell ourselves it’s okay to feel that way. Usually the feeling dissipates, or at least lessens because I’ve allowed it.
Of course, we can, and should, always remove ourselves from situations and environments that are causing us unnecessary stress or harm. We should speak up and out about what we feel strongly.
But there are times in life that simply are more stressful, situations I don’t want to remove myself from and worldwide events that keep happening, whether I want them to or not. And even when I need to speak up and speak strongly, I can do it from a grounded place of love and strength, not heated anger and frustration.
Finding soulful strategies for those moments, that help us feel sourced, strong and loving, not only help our health, vibration and how we feel, but it also allows for more magic to happen in any given moment. And it makes us feel GOOD – who doesn’t want to feel grounded, strong, loving, clear and calm, and able to respond to life and others in that way?
- Can you relate? Have you experienced this yourself? Have you been more irritable lately, assuming the worst, and jumping to conclusions?
- When do you assume? Are there patterns for you?
- What strategies work for you?
As always, I love, love, love to hear from you. The BEST conversation happens under the blog from your comments, questions and feedback. Comment here.
Love, love, love,
PS I pulled this from some old notes on a book I love – all 4 points are such great reminders and put the body into a non-resistant, more loving state just by reading them, don’t you think?
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Always do your best.