It's all about resiliency: Be accountable!
This is part of a series of articles discussing various aspects of stress and how we can learn to bounce back from stressful occurrences.
You may or may not have realised it but in all of the articles I’ve written for IamExpat, I’ve subtly and sometimes not so subtly inserted comments about your personal responsibility in how you have created your life.
Making choices, becoming the master of your emotions, not blaming others, and asking supportive questions of yourself are just some of the ideas that have been presented.
What’s to blame?
Take a moment and look around right now where you are, whether you’re at work or at home. Focus on something or someone that is bothering you, causing frustration, setting you on edge and that you are blaming for how you feel in this moment.
What was it? The telephone that never seems to stop ringing? The colleague who isn’t being co-operative? The child that never listens to what you say? The dirty socks left lying on the floor by a lazy partner?
This is what is causing you to feel these "not so feel good emotions," right? Wrong! We do it to ourselves. That is the truth of the matter. We don’t always choose what happens to us but we can always choose how we respond. We make choices. And we’re making them all the time.
Are they choices that support us or not? Are they choices that we’re making consciously or are they programs running unconsciously and causing us to react? These are the real questions you want to ask yourself.
Think of the finger of blame pointed at whatever is bothering you. Try it - point that finger. What happens? Surprised? You have three of your own pointing back at you.
All of this comes down to the simple fact of personal accountability. It’s not your boss, the traffic jam you were in this morning or your partner’s snide remark that made you angry, frustrated or sad. You did it to yourself.
They have triggered you in some way, but the trigger can’t control how you react. Only you can do this yourself. If you don’t control it then you are giving your power away to someone or something else. It’s called victimitis.
We all succumb to this dis-ease at various times in our lives. We feel sorry for ourselves and we look around to see who or what we can blame for how we feel. Being accountable for how we feel is a huge responsibility and not for the faint of heart.
Does this make it right for someone to be a bully or to say and do things with the intention to be hurtful? Of course not. But that’s them, it’s not you. By being able to self-regulate your emotions you remain in charge of how you feel and how you respond.
All emotions are necessary
It’s not that anger, fear, frustration or sadness are "bad" emotions. No emotions are bad. We need them all. They alert us to danger, to the fact that something needs to be addressed. However, if we give them too much significance or harbour them for too long then they become toxic.
So take those deep breaths that I’ve been promoting so much in this series of articles. Allow yourself to calm down and get a different perspective on the situation. Ask yourself supportive questions. When we ask better questions of ourselves we get better results. Choose your response.
Think of one situation in your life that you're not happy with and for which you (partially) blame outside circumstances. Breathe in slowly and deeply for two to three minutes. Then ask yourself in a supportive manner what you can do to change the situation.
Let the transformation take place and see what it does for your relationships, your performance at work, and your health!