Part IV: Being Present and Filtering Your Emotions

Actions and Consequences

“I think you should take your job seriously but not yourself-that is the best combination.”

Judi Dench

If your mind is in the past, thinking about your mistakes, blaming yourself or others, feeling resentful about things, then you’re NOT in the pilot’s seat. If you are worrying about tomorrow, then you’re NOT in the pilot’s seat. If you’re judging yourself, wondering if you’re good enough for the job, then you are NOT in the pilot’s seat. When you notice yourself slipping out of the pilot’s seat, simply remind yourself to get back into it. One way to do that is to remind yourself to be present, take a slow deep breath, focus on your chest, on the physical sensations of the air going in, and then as you exhale focusing your attention on the sensations of the air coming out. This brings you physically and mentally into the present from wherever you were. Each time you notice yourself leaving the pilot’s seat, and nudge yourself back in, you’re practicing mindfulness.

Now that we’re starting to work on staying in the driver’s seat we can begin to look at the control panel. Reading our emotions properly and responding in healthy ways can help us navigate around obstacles and reach beyond our dreams. Trick is, we can’t always trust the instruments. Sometimes when an alarm goes off, it’s a false alarm. Doing something drastic might get us in trouble. This is how it is with our feelings and impulses. So we have to understand what can get in the way-how beliefs we formed in childhood distort, and stick-how what we think we know, and what we don’t know we don’t know, can blur our view.

Let’s go back to our three important questions.

PAEJO

  • Are my Perceptions Accurate?
  • Emotions Justified?
  • What are the possible Outcomes?

PAEJO. Perceptions Accurate?, Emotions Justified?, Possible Outcomes? I try to remember it as the consequence guy, Jo, waiting to be paid if I don’t carefully consider the outcomes of my actions and reactions.

Let’s talk about consequences. We want to move away from blame, whether it’s blaming others or blaming our self. Instead, the healthier, more effective model is that there are consequences to our actions, and we must accept them, learn, modify our behavior. So accept that we are lifetime students. Blaming and kicking ourselves, or others, only distracts from the learning process by adding hurt, shame, anger, and other negative emotions on top of the original mistake. We can’t change other people who tend to kick themselves or people around them, but we can choose for ourselves to get out of that kind of obsessing and abuse of ourself and of others. Getting rid of blame from your life is related to living nonjudgmentally. You’ll see that this is also the key to dealing with self-esteem problems.

Mind Gem # 4: Blame is a distraction. And
4a: Make a mistake, make a correction.

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