I have recently had a week’s break walking in Devon with my husband. It was a perfect time to slow down, spend time in nature, exercise well and sleep well. I have returned feeling renewed and re-energised and ready to enjoy all the delights that spring will have to offer us.
When we take time out we often get the opportunity to reflect on our life and in particular the areas which are causing us discomfort or pain. I spent time reflecting on how much of my personal suffering is caused by my attachment to always be in control. Whilst not necessarily a perfectionist in all areas of my life, I confess there are areas where I strive extremely hard to achieve the very best results. I am a fixer. If you give me a problem my nature is to want to step in and fix it. Not necessarily a bad thing you might think, but if that fix doesn’t work out the way I planned it, because other people or events upset my plans, my reaction is frustration, irritation and stress – with a dose of self criticism thrown in. I am working very hard at bringing a more mindful approach to this aspect of my life and if this also sounds like you I thought I would share some of my musings over the last 7 days.
- Notice your attachment to a particular outcome. Being aware that this attachment exists is the first step in changing. Try to stay open to seeing what the end result will be.Keep your approach soft and observational and be interested in seeing how things turn out and why that is. Through this open interest there is room to learn and grow.
- Don’t take full responsibility for things that are not your full responsibility.
- Recognise that it is not your responsibility to control how family – parents, children, partners, siblings – and friends behave. We should not helicopter over the people in our lives, trying to ensure that they steer the correct course, instead be available when they require our support or advice.
- Notice a tendency to be self critical when things don’t go the way you planned. Do you view this as a personal failure? Why? Notice that you did your best, with the best intention, and be kind to yourself.
- When things don’t go the way you expected see if you can bring some lightness and humour to the situation. Remember you always have a choice how you respond to what ever happens.
- Remind yourself that life is very fluid. Keep your reflections of life in proportion; life is ever changing with a never ending supply of highs and lows.
- Notice where it is wisest to accept a situation and how beyond this there lies a calm and renewed opportunity.
- In short life won’t always work out the way you planned or want it to. Accepting this with good grace, humour and interest whilst seeing the possibilities beyond is kinder and more freeing than a fruitless striving and self deprivation.
- This approach to life is not about not caring or giving in. It is about being softer, more flexible and ultimately learning, growing and being fulfilled in life.