When “Ann” emailed me this question, I knew it had to be our first “STAYING COOL IN CRAZYTOWN” post. I have so many clients who Find their inner-peace to be fragile and easily rocked By others. Here’s what she ASKED:
I have been consciously walking along a more spiritual path and am trying to do things everyday that make me feel more peaceful. I meditate, get some exercise in, and read a lot of self-help books…and generally feel good. But sometimes when I come home and see my husband it’s like it all goes out the window. Don’t get me wrong- I love him and am glad to be married. But it seems like it’s hard to stay in that peaceful place when he is grumpy, doesn’t listen to a word I say, or pushes my buttons. I get mad easily and just keep reacting to him.
I don’t know what I am doing wrong, but it doesn’t seem like I am very good at being happy when I have to deal with difficult people. This makes me feel bad about my progress. Do you have any advice about how I can be centered and happy even when my husband is being a jerk?”
Ann’s dilemma is a common one, and the problem isn’t just A “jerky” husband. We ALl GEt Triggered by People in Our lives…
A lot of people experience the evaporation of their inner peace when they encounter a particular co-worker, get a phone message from an in-law, or have a tenuous interaction with a neighbor. It seems like inner peace is so fragile, like it collapses too easily.
The goal of this article is to give you very practical tools you can use to stay happy, even when your partner/coworker/boss/ neighbor is activating a defensive reaction in you. If you try these suggestions, you are more likely to stay cool even when your environment is crazytown:
1) Observe Your Own Inner Space: The first thing you want to develop is the ability to observe what is happening within your body, mind, and emotions. When the other person starts to trigger you, activate the Observer within you: observe how you are getting tense in your chest, feeling constricted, getting angry, thinking negative thoughts.
2) Watch The Situation Like A TV Show: Now start watching the other person like you are watching TV- with distance and as if they are separate from you. See their words and behaviors as if you are not caught up in the situation with them, but are actually witnessing them.
3) Breathe: Deeply breathe into your belly a few times. This will reduce your adrenaline-fueled stress response (making you less likely to react) and give your inner space.
4) Ask Yourself “Should I React The Same Way I Always Do?”: How many times are you going to have the same kind of reaction to the same triggers? In other words, if your typical way of reacting hasn’t changed the other person or your relationship, it’s time to choose a different tactic.
5) Realize Their CRAZYTOWN Isn’t Yours: It’s essential to become aware that when someone is in crisis or angry or moody, you do not have to join them. Just because they are off-center, you don’t have to be angry or moody too. Let them have their crazytown. You can choose to stay peaceful or happy anyway.
6) Compassionately Let Them Stay On “Misery Island”: You need to know that it’s ok to let the other person to stay angry or sad or grumpy while you take care of your own reality. My advice is to let them stay on “Misery Island” as long as they need to, while you row back to the mainland where your life and happiness live. Don’t try to control or change them. When people are being “jerks” they are often unaware of it or are dealing with something internally. Compassioantly ask them once “Are you ok? What can I do to help?”, hear and help them if they are willing, but then move on to step # 8 .
7) Go Find Your Own Happy: You ultimate goal is to connect with your own most centered, peaceful, wise, happy self. Nothing good comes from connecting with the lower and more reactive versions of you. Walk away from any tense situations and do whatever it takes to feel good within yourself: take a walk, fold laundry, call a friend (but don’t complain to them about the situation), meditate, think of a positive memory, dive into your hobby. Get right within yourself , do not feed your inner victim, focus on your strengths, and stop thinking about them. Find your way back to peace and love by being and doing peaceful and loving things.
Beth Miller, LCSW-R, CEC, CAHC is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Life Coach, energy healer, meditation teacher, and spiritual counselor in private practice in Bayport, Long Island, New York, USA. She is the owner of the group practice POSITIVE ENERGY Holistic Counseling & Institute where she and her fabulous team of therapists use the breakthrough model Advanced Holistic Counseling & Coaching™ to create transformational change in their clients. Beth is the creator of the trademarked Advanced Holistic Counseling & Coaching™: Modern therapy that combines the very best of traditional psychotherapy with life coaching, energy healing, science, and spirituality. Now, Licensed Therapists, Healers, and Coaches can learn how to experience huge transformation in themselves, their clients, and their careers by becoming Certified in Advanced Holistic Counseling & Coaching™. For free holistic and psychotherapy tools, visit the POSITIVE ENERGY Holistic Counseling & Institute YouTube channel, or contact us directly via phone at 631-533-0708 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.