THE FAMILY TOOLBOX- June 2020
The word “resistance” has been on my mind these past couple weeks. I didn’t realize how much resistance I have in my life – from myself. I resist my own decisions, I resist personality quirks, I resist circumstances, etc. How different would my life be if I didn’t resist! And that doesn’t mean being blown around by circumstances or pushed around by people, rather, choose who I want to be, make the decisions to get me there, then stop resisting what happens along the way – incidental or not. This is something I have really been thinking about. Something I wanted to remind myself about today, in fact.
I think recognizing that feeling of resistance, within my own body, is a really good first step. It’s a tightening, my heart and my chest feel uncomfortable. My eyes squint a bit. And my throat feels constricted.
Is there something I can do at that point, a word or a song or a mantra that will clue me in – something to override the lower brain?
I think worry is a form of resistance.
“Have you ever noticed that most of the things we worry about never seem to happen? Many of us have hundreds of worries traveling through our minds daily.”
Interestingly, my worries do not revolve around the pandemic or the rioting and looting we are now seeing in America (see George Floyd). My worries, I didn’t even realize were worries, per se, until I read this article by Dr Mark Ogletree. A few example to illustrate:
- My son is playing the piano really loud right now. This happens through out any given day. I allow it to really get me worked up. Worry? It’s definitely resistance, right? What could I be worried about? If I stop him from playing, he might lose love for the piano. If I don’t stop him from playing, I am worried that I will react, and probably harshly.
- My children are getting ready to go to Idaho with their grandparents for the week. It keeps me up at night. I worry for their safety, but not much – that’s not what’s keeping me up at night. I worry that I will be judged by the grandparents if the children don’t behave a certain way. I worry that the children won’t want to come home, or will come home grumpy and over-sugared.
“Researchers out of Penn State University recently published some interesting findings. They had their participants write down their specific worries for ten days… Once their worries were recorded, participants were asked to review their list of worries for 30 days to determine if any of them came true. The result—91 percent of the worries were false alarms—they didn’t happen at all. ‘And, of the remaining worries that did come true, the outcome was better than expected about a third of the time. For about one in four participants, exactly zero of their worries materialized.'”
What is more likely to happen in these two examples:
- Even if I lash out at him and asked him to stop playing the piano – even if that is where I am at right now – he may or may not choose to be offended, and I would still sing him to sleep at night, and I would still make him breakfast in the morning, and he would still sit down and play the piano the next day. And I would learn better “coping skills” as I gain more experience.
- Even if the grandparents thought critically of my mothering, that is a neutral circumstance, and I can choose to think what I want to think about their thoughts about me. What does Byron Katie say? “It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine.”
“I’ve learned that most of my fears are never realized. Most of my worries never come to pass. I have learned to ‘never waste a good worry.’”
I can handle this. This doesn’t need to be easier – I’ve got this.
And maybe that, my friends, is the mantra that would serve me best, when my throat starts tightening, and my chest becomes uncomfortable, and my heart is beating, in resistance.
“This doesn’t need to be easier – I’ve got this.”
Benjamin Franklin said:
“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
And when, for whatever reason, I can’t “keep (my mind) in the sunlight”, and that is the ultimate goal, maybe. But when I start feeling that resistance – that worry. I can breathe that mantra.