An Introduction to
A picture of reflections of trees and cattails in a pond's still surface.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.
“Get me this report, now” demands the man standing in front of your desk. Automatically the anger flares up inside of you. “Who does this guy think he is?” punches through your brain. Then, before you know it, your mouth is blurting, “Go blow it out your antler. You’ll get the report when it’s finished”! The thought, (Fill in the name) is such a knothead (or worse) races through your brain. Then you simmer over the exchange for the next thirty-seven minutes, whispering names like jerk or puck-head.
When these thoughts storm through our brains automatically, from where are they coming? Isn’t life hard enough without all this additional noise plowing through our skulls? What can we do about it?
What’s going on in our heads?
First. Our brains are bio-electrical. Thoughts are electrical signals sent via neuro-chemical wires between processing centers of our brains. Furthermore, our brains prefer the path of least resistance. So if we repeat a thought or an action, our brains will grow pathways that allow us to complete that function more efficiently. Thus, if we think or act a certain way repeatedly, our brains will hardwire the route so that it’s easier to use. Our automatic reactions and habits are biological hardwiring.
Second, we are suffering anytime we feel negative.
Thus, if we want to suffer less, the first place to look for solutions is in our automatic way of thinking, speaking, and behaving.
Self-Compassionate Communication is the skill of taking care of ourselves through our thoughts, words, and actions.
Most of us say we care for ourselves well. However, when we get home, we feel exhausted, frequently because we spend our days defending ourselves. From what are we need protecting ourselves, though?
Caring for ourselves begins with noticing how we care for ourselves automatically.
When we felt attacked, were the attacks physical, emotional, or mental? Practicing self-awareness will probably reveal that, generally, we’re fighting to protect our mindset. We fight to preserve our way of thinking, our memories, our beliefs, our usual way of feeling, or our way of doing things. How beneficial to our happiness was our defensiveness?
We suffer defending ourselves. We suffer trying to hold onto beliefs, habits, or feelings. We also suffer learning how to let the defenses go. Which way will we feel a lasting peace? It all comes down to deciding which thoughts and feelings do we genuinely want to invest.
How can we suffer less?
We generate our emotions from our thoughts and beliefs. Feelings are physical sensations to our thoughts. That means that when our emotional reactions are causing us suffering, we can care for ourselves better with a few simple physical actions. The most important step we can take is steady rhythmic breathing. When we become aware that we are suffering, if we take three smooth deep breaths, we will flood our brain with oxygen so that we think better. Smooth means gently transitioning from our inhale to our exhale. After three smooth deep breaths, if we transition into steady rhythmic breathing--breathing like we are relaxed--we will gently calm our emotional reactions down. The negative feelings will subside, and our suffering will diminish.
We also can make this response automatic with practice. If we practice this when we feel good, it’ll be easier to do when we feel bad. Welcome to Self-Compassion in action.
It is my honor to be your guide as you move toward an easier, happier workplace
If you have ever experienced similar situations, and you want to learn ways to navigate these events, please contact me here.
Posted June 5, 2019