First, this is normal.
Second, when we become aware of this self-centered default setting inside us, we’re one step closer to increasing resilience.
Why? Because every person on the planet experiences the ebb and flow of emotion, so when recognize this pattern, it’s our first step in lessening the effects.
Think of a dimmer switch on a light. The lower the dimmer switch, the more difficult it is to maneuver and all we really know and can “see” is ourselves. The higher the dimmer switch, the easier it is to maneuver because we can see everything and turn our focus away from ourselves!
When a step back it taken from thinking/worrying about oneself, there’s an automatically lean in toward stress and suffering and the journey into learning to let go of reactive habits and addictions begins!
But I don’t have addictions.
Oh yes you do.
Addictions don’t have to be to drugs or alcohol, they can be addictions to technology, ourselves, distraction, thinking, and love. Seemingly natural things we do daily trick us into thinking we’ll get a reward and feel better, but they create a wanting. To feel good, there has to be more of that thing which leads to a dependency, creating more catabolic energy. It is a cycle. (And my theory for another day is that our addictions to ourselves and addictions to technology only locks arms and keep us in a perpetual habitual loop. Post, get a reward, feel good, go on with life, ebb of emotion we want to avoid, so post to get a reward, and so on.)
In the face of stress and suffering, if we recognize when to lean in versus grab hold of an addiction or habit, it is then easy to differentiate between a selfish response and a selfless response. We put our arm around stress, buddy up next to it, look it in the eye, and ask it some questions.
First off, “Am I wondering how this is affecting me only?”
A catabolic response to stress feels like a closing down. Our view narrows, our bodies get tight and restrictive, and emotions like fear and anger show up. Self-protection is an exhausting response.
An anabolic response to stress feels expansive. We have a meta-view, our bodies are calm, relaxed and porous – allowing things to move right through us – and emotions like joy, peace, and compassion show up. Loving-kindness is a resilient response.
Just like lifting weights strengthens muscles, creating reps of awareness instead of numbing with a coping mechanism, strengthens our anabolic responses…and resilience abounds.
Reflect: What is your initial response when experiencing stress? What would be different if you leaned into any catabolic energetic response and allowed it to teach you?
Facebook Community: www.facebook.com/leadershipbeginswithin
Learn how to work with Rachel.