When All Else Fails

We've all been there, you just can't seem to pull it together, or something went terribly wrong and you are having a horrible day. Those times when it seems like you are not going to recover from this issue for a very long time. Yep, we can all relate.

But, it is how long you allow yourself to brood over the issue that will determine the effect of it on your life. The best-case scenario is that this is a learning situation, no matter how painful, and you can look at it with some objectivity and be able to see your own contribution as well as others, and you have a well-formed take-away from having been through it. That is, in fact, the best-case scenario for just about every situation known to humankind because every situation should be one that we can learn and grow from, no matter how painful it is. But, humankind being humankind and all, most of us don't want to learn from a situation, instead, most choose to brood, pout, be angry, nasty and literally waste a perfectly good lesson.

Have you ever heard that belief that if you die before you learned the right lessons then you will have to come back and do it again? Well, while that may not be a point that we can discuss because we really have no facts on that statement we can discuss the situation that is very close to that - when you do not learn for an experience you will keep having a similar experience until you learn whatever it is that you should be learning.

That is a Spiritual Law, so I know that it is true. And you do not have to look very far away from your own life, or that of your family members to see that it is true. When people don't look at a situation with an effort to learn and grow from it, then that same type of situation is going to keep coming back again and again until they do actually learn the lesson. Sadly, there are people who have been stuck for their entire life, and they are in their golden years, and they are still reliving those things that they should have learned from as a teenager.

Nobody enjoys these situations, they hurt, they cause emotional turmoil and they are difficult to look at and be able to see your own contribution. But, if you don't then you will have made that belief that we mentioned earlier be absolutely true, but you didn't have to die first to make it happen. If you refuse to do the work that it takes to learn and grow from life's experiences then you will find yourself stuck in similar experiences for the rest of your life, until you do. Meaning that you do not get to move on, develop new skills and experiences because you are stuck in an endless loop of those same old ones that you refuse to see.

My advice to you who may be feeling like you are stuck in an endless loop of circumstances is to look at what you are choosing when these situations come up. Do you brush them off, do you want to point blame to someone else? Do you just ignore it and move on? Do you just get angry and blow-up at the situation?

None of those are appropriate, instead:

- Look at the situation and try to see it as though you are watching a movie that you are not involved in, can you see how each player contributed to the outcome? What was your contribution? Are you proud of your contribution, or could you have handled it better (if this is a repeat thing then you most certainly could have handled it better)?

- What could you do differently to have everyone involved have a different outcome? This is usually the hardest part of analyzing because it is really easy to say if that person hadn't done X then it wouldn't have happened. But you need to put yourself in that situation and ask if you hadn't done X could it have avoided the situation from being what it was. Usually, the answer is yes, and you need to find those pieces that create that answer.

- Then, you need to work to re-program your emotional responses to situations so that next time a similar situation comes up you create a different outcome.

It isn't easy, but it is very much worth the work and the effort to re-program your usual responses to situations. Because, after all, you are really just reliving things over and over again because you have yet to learn and move on to bigger and better things.

So, when all else fails, look at yourself for the answers to how you are going to change it in the near future.

How does one go about re-programming themselves to avoid the same old responses?

Great question - and the first way is to make a decision on how you would have preferred to respond to a given situation. Then write down your new way of responding along with a description of the old way and also include WHY you choose to change this response. I have been asked by clients many times why I tell them to write this down and include all of that detail, and the answer is that by writing it down you are committing to it more completely. Not only is your consciousness doing some thinking but now you had to spell it all out, and you had to form those thoughts into sentences and you had to describe why it is important. That is a far greater and more impactful decision because now it has had the contribution of many other components of your thought processes. Studies have shown that if you write something down and fully describe it then you are much more likely to remember it in the future.

After you write it down then you have to commit it to conscious memory and you most importantly need to remember to use it when a situation comes up. So, for at least 30 days read your commitment statement to yourself at least once per day. And at a separate time, each day say a mantra to yourself that you have created surrounding this new commitment.

Here's how to write that mantra: Let's say your commitment is to not blow up instantly when someone does something you don't like, and instead you want to stop, think, listen and respond in a well thought out manner. So a suggestion of a mantra to that would be:

When I feel the blow-up response rise within me, I quiet down, stop, listen, think and respond with care and concern for all involved.

A mantra is a quick summary of your new response that can be fairly easily remembered so that it can be repeated over and over again, even in moments of anger when you are trying to regulate your response. By creating an easy to remember the mantra that you repeat to yourself at least once per day, more often is even better, you will be far more likely to be successful in a situation where the old programming is trying to run the usual program and your choice is to present a new response.

It is work to change your life-long programming, but, it can be done, especially if you use the system laid out here. It is worth doing the work to create a better response in situations that used to be stressful. You may not be able to do it perfectly the first time after making these changes, but, I guarantee that you will remember the failure and it will become a wonderful learning tool that will turn into a growth opportunity. It will be less likely to fail in the future because you will be even more aware and present in your desire to change.

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