Mental Wellness Challenge
Last week I challenged you to be intentionally aware of the good things in your life and to recognize your gratitude for those good things. I hope you were able to see many things to be grateful for every day. Personally, I had many awesome things to be grateful for!
This week I want to share a little bit more about awareness.
Over the past few weeks, as I have piloted my boat through my life, I have been trying to pay attention – to be sincerely aware – of how my actions affect those whom are living their lives in contact with mine, of those who are just trying to get across the water in their way.
While I sincerely believe that I can’t “make anyone happy” etc, my actions certainly do have an impact on the people that I work with, that I teach, that I live with and that I love. No two bodies exist in the same space without some sort of interaction… and so, it is this piece of my life that I want to share a little about today.
I know that if I am in a contrary mood that I tend to be short with people, in my interactions.
I know that if I am exhausted, my patience is limited and I am hard to get along with.
I know too that if I am rested, then even if I am in a poor mood, I tend to not be as abrupt with others.
Further, I know that if I am paying attention that, even if I am exhausted, cranky, pissed off and feeling pukey sick, I can be gentle with those that I interact with.
Of course, I know that if I am in a good mood, well rested, on top of my game, I can still be an ass.
So – I recognize that it’s up to me. It really is up to me to be kind, to be respectful, to be understanding, to be accepting and to perhaps be a little less demanding.
As I move through my life I interact with all sorts of people. Students, clerks, family, friends, service people. The truth is that I have zero knowledge of any of their journeys. I don’t know where they are at, what they are experiencing in their lives, what they are walking in, what burdens or joys they are carrying. I know no more about them than they know about me. (Its funny how I often catch myself expecting others to be gentle because I am feeling ill or off, yet how could they possibly know that of me? The opposite is true of me with them… I have no clue.)
If I am living my life in congruence with my values, I have a responsibility to my “self” to be more aware of how my boat is creating waves for those that are in the same water as me. While I can’t choose how any other person reacts to the presence of my boat in the lake, I have a responsibility to ensure that I am not creating a pile of waves or that I am not “taking early and substantial action” to avoid a collision.
There’s all sorts of “NO WAKE ZONES” on the water. Most people are aware of those areas and are respectful. Those are those social situations where we know that’s its inappropriate to go screaming through causing life to be nasty for others. And yes, I’m certain we’ve all experienced that person that doesn’t pay attention to those zones and “breaks the rules”. I’ll even admit that sometimes I’m guilty of that. When I do break the “NO WAVES” rules, I’m not paying attention to my values. I might be intentionally being a butt head and stirring the pot – so its not an intention piece, it’s a values piece. When that is the case – I pretty much always have negative internal responses to my actions.
Not only are their NO WAKE ZONES, there are all sorts of “Guides to navigation” out there in life. I know I don’t need a book to know when my actions are irresponsible, reckless or inappropriate. I know what’s right and what’s wrong because I have values and those values are MY guides to getting across the water. The hard part is being intentionally aware of my interactions. Sure, there are times when I’m not paying attention and I make a mistake. When I do that – I know straight away. I know because I get that little sick feeling inside that tells me I screwed up. When that happens, I try to make amends as best I can – but often there’s little I can do about it. I’m talking about the times I am discourteous to the clerk in the store because I had to wait in line or perhaps the way I respond to a question in class that has been asked for the 5th time and I lose my patience.
So – hopefully you get the gist of what I am talking about…
My challenge this week:
Take time to be aware of the waves you make as you pilot your vessel across the water. Be intentional about the way you interact with people in your life. Recognize that you likely know nothing about their circumstances and that your actions DO affect their lives.
If you are like me and lean towards being demanding with big big expectations of others, be aware that your expectations of others may be causing a hardship on them. (In the context of my ongoing analogy here – if you are a big tug boat, be aware that your wake and unpredictable changes in direction might be making life really hard to navigate for the row boat that’s trying to do their job in the water beside you or for you.)
I know I need to be more aware of the ripples that I cause to those around me… and my challenge this week is for you to try to do the same.
This isn’t an easy challenge. When I live on autopilot – I tend to not do any paying attention. I often live on autopilot when I am really focused on a specific task and the rest of the world fades away. I know – it is exactly at this time that I MUST be more aware of how my actions are affecting those who’s lives I touch.
So there it is – I challenge you.