1.) Live in the inquiry: When I’m having a lot of feelings – when I’m angry, scared, or sad in a big way – there is only one thing I know for sure: I can’t fully trust my judgment. It’s too easy to be reactive. My defense mechanisms naturally and reflexively operate to keep me away from perceived threat and can often get in the way of doing what is right. Living in the inquiry means holding only loosely to my own judgments and thoughts. It’s easy for me to think that the guy who just rear-ended me is a total jerk with no regard to others, but it’s important for me to not fully invest in these thoughts. They’re shaped by my anger and fear. Instead of accepting them at face value or completely denying them, I need only accept that I have had a thought and a judgment and try my best to learn about myself and react appropriately.
2.) Stop complaining: Complaining is one of those things that I hate when other people do it, but I probably do it way more than I realize or would like to admit. Odds are you know “that guy” who always complains about work (maybe you ARE that guy). Doesn’t it get old after a while? Have you ever thought about why it gets so annoying? I know for me constant complainers get under my skin because I find myself wanting their situation to change more than they do! Hearing someone complain about their situation without being motivated to action stirs up anger and resentment. Focusing on what you want creates change, while focusing on what you don’t want creates bitterness and resentment. The difference between healthy expression and complaining is the lack of traction. Open and honest expression moves us forward, while complaining keeps us stagnant.
3.) Get support: It’s important to recruit the support of others in times of difficulty, but here’s the catch: If you surround yourself with people who only agree with you and never “get into it” with you or challenge your thoughts and beliefs then you might as well talk to the dog. The entire idea of involving others is to get their unique and valuable points of view. On the flip side of this, it’s important to realize that the most valuable gift someone else can give you is not advice or even a solution. Think about it, if an easy solution existed then these wouldn’t really have qualified for “difficult times” status. The greatest support a friend or family member can give you is exactly that – support. Think of support staff in a legal office. They assist the lawyer in doing what he or she does best. The lawyer doesn’t turn to the support staff and ask them for legal advice. In the same way, seek support to help you be more you!