Years ago I went through a period where I was stuck in a negative reaction cycle. I’d let someone’s opinion of me, or a perceived slight, get under my skin, or I’d get annoyed by actions and mistakes people made. My brain would endlessly chew on the “slight” or behavior and spin around and around it. It was driving me crazy! Probably literally. I didn’t enjoy this cycle, to say the least.
Maybe you knew me during that period of my life.
To break the cycle I recognized I needed to dig deep to explore where that anger came from. I sensed I had to process and resolve my anger first and strive to become the source of my change. That recognition didn’t in itself give me any answers or help, but it was the first step.
The process of digging deep started with self-help groups. You’ve heard that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. That’s what happened to me. At the county’s health fair there was a table for the local Al-Anon group. Since I came from a background of an alcoholic father and ex-husband, I suspected I’d find some help in that group, so I started attending.
I went in all the way. I made my Al-anon experience a daily practice of reading the daily reader, journaling questions from a self-help book that went along with my intentions, and started working the 12 steps. What a great step that was for me! Action can lead to all kinds of good things! I was content with the results I was observing. The angry cycles were losing intensity and frequency. Ah, what a relief!
As I neared the end of my year of working my 12 steps I joined a meditation school. It took my work to a different level of growth. The two self-help groups, which overlapped for several months, were so aligned in philosophy that I’d have to double-check to see which daily reader I had picked up to help me stay on track. And the journaling continued. The progress was palpable. The black monster that seemed to have lived inside me hardly ever reared its angry head!
And I’m back
I was loving the new me. No, a better way to say that is that I loved having the “real me”, the me I remembered from my childhood, the me I knew lived inside me somewhere, shining her love and respect on the world.
Finding the peace within me to allow respect and empathy for myself was a valuable part of my growth.
I’d noticed that my husband had minimal patience for technology issues while I had minimal patience for people issues. I could let frustrations at technology roll off my back with ease, but frustrations with people got to me. I was really out of balance. I wanted to be as calm and accepting of people’s foibles as of technologies’.
But Wait, There’s More!
Another “layer of my onion”, or another step in my growth, has recently come to my attention. Ouch! It hurts to see how I’ve been treating people from the position of my passion for growth, and it’s good to address the issue now before more damage is done.
I came up with a couple of mantras to repeat to myself during the day to help me remember that my ideas and solutions aren’t right for everyone and that many people don’t want help with their growth — even when they ask for it. My coach gave me some pointers to help me, too. “I am enough.”, “Let it go.”, and “Tend your own garden.” are the statements I’m using right now. It’ll be interesting to see how that evolves.
How do you approach growth, especially negative cycles that can take over your life? I hope you’ll get help. It’s easier that way. Books can help, but we have blind spots that we don’t see without the aid of others — be it a self-help group, a counselor, or a coach.