To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it. Confucius.
2018 is drawing to a close. Winter. Short days and long nights. A time of reflection. A time to draw in to ourselves. My year has had some unusual ups and downs. My Mum died. My cat died. I started a new business. I went to Australia for the first time. A relationship ended. A relationship began.
And in many of those events, there were conversations where I felt I had been wronged. Or let down. Sometimes my internal response was angry. If I could describe it to you, it would look like Miss Piggy wearing a feather boa, leaving a room on her trotters and slamming the door on her way out. It was rarely my external response (it would have got laughs rather than the response I desired at the time!)
I’ve noticed this year with some of the bigger challenges how my inner child wants to stamp her feet when she’s wronged. She is desperate to be heard, recognised.
And I know the theory here. I know that it’s important to take time, take the deep breath, reflect on the positive intention of the other person and move to a space of acceptance. I am also human which means I don’t always get it right myself!!
This quote from Confucius reminded me today, as I write this blog, what wrongs I am holding onto. And the futility of it. They just take up space in my head and stop me from being me. When I accept I can’t change them, but I CAN let them go, my mind and my body is able to unwind. And relax the contortion it has been experiencing.
This year, a dear friend introduced me to the philosophy of Stoicism, and I bought The Daily Stoic Journal. Stoicism has a few central teachings. It sets out to remind us how unpredictable the world can be. How brief our moment of life is. How to be steadfast and strong and in control of ourselves. And finally that the source of our dissatisfaction lies in our impulsive dependency, our reflex response.
I find that my clients often feel the most frustrated by what’s outside of their control. I draw two circles on a page. One larger one and one smaller one inside the larger one. The smaller one is the sphere of control and the larger one is the sphere of interest. The vast majority of what bothers us is outside of our control. It’s in our sphere of interest. Being wronged by someone else is a great example of that. The only element you can control is how you respond to what happens to you.
Ask yourself what you are choosing to hang onto that is unhelpful? What could you achieve in 2019 and beyond with that free headspace and heartspace and release from the negative emotion?
Take a deep breath and release.