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  Jane Miller


Articles -- You choose

This is it - NOW. It’s all you have. And you can choose to grumble about the past, worry about the future and be miserable OR appreciate and make the most of this moment.

This may sound naïve but unless you are being physically tortured or immediately threatened by a tiger about to pounce on you, it is absolutely true.

You are the only one responsible for your state of being. You may say that some other person is “making you” angry or miserable, but how you react to that person’s actions is your choice.

You may say that your situation is “making you” miserable, but it is you who are choosing to react this way.

Let’s take an example. Say your boss comes over to your desk with a report that you have written, and says, “This is the worst report I’ve ever read!”

Your initial reaction might be to feel upset and defensive, but when you notice those feelings you can decide to see this as a challenge and change to a more productive mindset. Your response might be, “Oh dear! That won’t do. Can we sit down and discuss what is needed to make this an excellent report?”

In that simple statement, you have:

  • Shifted focus off of yourself and to the report. (i.e. staying task focused)
  • Shifted from a negative situation to a positive goal.
  • Found a possible learning resource.
  • Offered your boss the opportunity to be a mentor.

Your biggest enemy is the one inside yourself. Your initial reaction (upset, defensiveness) was caused by your inner critic that says you’re not good enough. It is so important to make peace with this inner critic. That does not mean ‘shutting it down’. Instead, bring it forward and find out what it wants. In truth, it will be satisfied if it knows that you’re doing your best and that you will learn from your failures. And sometimes you learn that you’re simply not good in certain areas and that’s ok. You can’t be good at everything!

By adopting a caring, balanced perspective, you are giving your inner critic the role of pointing out where you could use some improvement, while at the same time saying it’s ok to fail sometimes.

The key principles are simple:

  • self-understanding (know your strengths and weaknesses) and
  • self-love (love yourself exactly as you are).

So, now when your boss criticizes your work, you are ok with not having done a stellar job, and are fully prepared and happy to work on improving. You see it as an opportunity and look for resources that you can use to develop your skills.

The same applies to dealing with situations. Whatever your situation, you can sink into desolation, or you can look around for opportunities to brighten your day. Sometimes you may find joy in sitting with someone and listening with understanding and compassion. Or watching the sunrise. Or simply appreciating what you have.

You can choose to be joyful right now, in this moment. It’s up to you.

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