Have you ever had that one small thing that didn’t go as you wanted? I say ‘small thing’ but of course, I mean that thing that becomes the only thing that happened that day!! Somehow, no matter how much goes right in a day, the one thing that doesn’t is the one that takes over your thoughts, your view of yourself and others, and your mood. We know, logically, that it is a minor part of our life and that we will probably forget it eventually, but emotionally, it fills our world.
So how do we regain our perspective when something catches us like this?
The first task is to distract ourselves. Our thoughts are busy reinforcing that we are wrong, or were wronged, and finding more and more reasons for being upset or angry, so we need to get out of the spiral. What makes you forget everything else that is going on? Is it music, a jigsaw, a good film, a hobby you love, playing with your children? We need a repertoire of these distractions to call on when this happens, so as to create a space that allows our mind to begin to regain perspective.
Secondly, we need to recognise that the reason something can take over our world like this is that it is linked to something important to us emotionally: maybe someone made you feel small, or stupid, and that hurts; or you made a mistake, and you always want to get things right. There are lots of possibilities, but most times it does link into some breach of our core values in some way. So, what was it about the event that upset or angered you? Now consciously find at least ten counter-examples of when this core value was supported: people liked what you did; you were thoughtful, etc. This is to remind yourself that your world really isn’t not working all the time!!
Thirdly, we need to forgive. If others were at fault, see them as children who don’t know any better and let it go. If you were at fault, remember you are only human, and if you got it right every time, you would be divine!!
By now, you will be beginning to regain perspective, so take a breath, and reward yourself with a treat! You’ve just put yourself through the mill and started working to put yourself together again, so you need a little pampering! Be kind to yourself, as you would to a friend who had been through the same thing.
Finally, it’s important to do what you can to avoid a similar battering in the future, so ask yourself: ‘What will I do differently in this sort of situation in the future?’ And, for a moment, see yourself using the alternative approach.
Above all, remember: most of the time, your life works pretty well!