Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Not Just for Teachers: Conflicts & Resentment

As noted in my last post, some of my coworkers and I are reading the book Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching by Angela Watson. There's also an amazing devotional that goes along with it! They're both written for teachers, but it could apply to every profession!

Replaying and rehearsing conflicts

"Rather than dismissing her criticism as the over-reaction of a woman projecting some bigger issue onto me, I gave her words credence. I questioned my competence as a teacher.
Each time this happened, the root of shame grew deeper. Repeatedly replaying critical thoughts in my mind and rehearsing what I could have done differently weakened me mentally and even physically at times. I was recreating my last stress thought my thinking.

Constructive reframing:
What I eventually learned to do was reframe negative experiences and problems. Then anytime they popped into my head, I'd have a constructive framework through which to view them.

After you reframe a troubling incident, you become free to simply dismiss it anytime it reoccurs. You empower yourself to say, Just because a thought comes into my head doesn't mean I have an obligation to think it. I'm not going there. Everything is fine in this moment and there's nothing to stress about.

I accept that I made the best choice I could make under pressure. I also knew that I made all conceivable amends afterward. I'm choosing to leave what happened behind me. I will not punish myself by revisiting the past and imagining how I could have responded better. I do not expect myself to respond perfectly in every situation. I forgive myself."

Holding onto past resentment

"With enough replying and rehearsing of conflicts, a little bit of resentment os bound to surface. Many of us deal with this by thinking about it even more (trying to work through the offense logically) and talking about it to other people (in the form of gossiping and complaining.) Unfortunately, these behaviors create even more problems, and we find ourselves holding on to a permanent grudge.

Your perceptions are repeated in your mind through your automatic thoughts, creating an imprint in your neural circuitry and establishing your emotional habits. In other words, your perception of the past creates unwanted thoughts and emotions during present day situations.

The only healing approach for me has been to stop living in the past, stop thinking about myself so much, and focus on making the present reality the best it can possibly be. Most of my problems were ultimately a result of my current negative, destructive thought patterns. Breaking free from those thoughts by renewing my mind was the single most important thing I could do.

 The past no longer exists, except in your thoughts. Only your memories keep it "alive" and allow it to have any influence on your life. Thought incidents in your past may have been upsetting then, you don't have to upset yourself in this moment by about them now. Your past cannot create pain in the present- but the way you think about your past can.

Most of your unwanted thoughts are the result of allowing negative to remain in your mind and influence your feelings and behaviors. Don't worry about why you're thinking a certain way and how that ties to your past. Just take control of what you're thinking in this moment. I promise you will be amazed at how many problems this takes care of and how quickly you feel better.

Here are some phrases I've found helpful that you might want to use in your own reframing of troublesome past events, whether they happened this morning or years ago:
This incident is over. The other person is probably not thinking about me or what happened, and I'm not going to think about it, either. Why should I be burdened with this issue while they're out enjoying life? 
I refuse to create pain in myself moment by reliving events from my past. I can choose what I want to think about, and I don't want to think about THAT.
I'm choosing only to ruminate on things that I have control over. This situation is in the past. I can't change what I said or did back then. I CAN change how I'm thinking about it now, and shift my focus to something productive.
Whatever already happened is done. I'm okay. My life is moving on and my thoughts will catch up with it.
I am not defined by what happened in my past. I'ave learned and grown since them. I choose not to let the past interfere with my present, my future, and my destiny. I believe there are wonderful things ahead for me.  


Sidenote: As I was typing this, the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" came on my Spotify station. Totally hit home with what these two chapters are about! 

"Ain't got no cash, ain't got no style
Ain't got no girl to make you smile
But don't worry, be happy
'Cause when you worry, your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down
So don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy now"

My two-cents: I have never been aware of how my negative thoughts influence others. When I say negative things out loud, it can put another person in that negative state of mind, and then they start saying negative things and put another person in that negative mindset and so-forth. Before I know it, we're all cranky hateraide filled people! Ah! All from me saying one negative thought! My mind was just blown! 

*steps down off soapbox and goes and takes a nap from all this thinking* 

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