This article was first published on havingtime.com. You can view it here as well.
Every time life gets difficult I blame God. Each and every time. No, internet? God’s fault. Is traffic making me late? “Why are you doing this to me?!” God again. I take it personally. Like he’s attacking me. Punishing me. Why not. I deserve it. Right? Hardly. That’s the way I interpret it. That’s my default.
After the blaming comes the rage. In a blink of an eye. Is the internet down? Why not punch the screen? That’ll help. Followed up by cursing words. Yeah, that should do the trick… Now maybe I should kick the counter? Good. Good. My training for the dark side of the force is almost completed…
For the vast part of my adult life, this is how I’ve reacted. First, blame God. Then throw a temper tantrum. Followed by shame. Lots of shame. Pepper on a little guilt and around and around I went on. By no means am I proud of this kind of behavior.
Great, so stop. Easier said than done. Like I said, it’s my default. My go to. As my therapist likes to say it’s part of my hard wiring. Hard wiring? Yep. During my developmental years, mental that is, my father displayed this type of behavior for me day in and day out. For me. Toward me. You name it. He did it. I learned this behavior from him.
Am I just like my father? No. Do I react to him from time to time? Yes. Am I proud of this? No. Do I want to stop? Yes, please.
How to See 1 Problem From 2 Viewpoints at Once
The way I see it is that I can do one of the two things. I can either continue down this path, this road of destruction, which leads me nowhere… Or I can change my behavior. I can grow.
Which leads us to where I’m at today. The internet is down again. Pause. Deep breath. Acceptance. Acceptance of what I can not change. In this case, the internet is being down. Okay, Zach. The internet is down. Can’t change that. Sucks but I can’t change it.
Immediately followed up by changing what I can. Me. I can change me. I can choose to behave differently in these types of situations and, as a result, grow from the experience. Can’t change the fact that the internet went down or that there’s traffic. But what I can change which takes courage to change is my behavior. My outlook.
Okay, Zach. Getting angry gets us nowhere and punching the computer might lead to more problems. Do I want more problems? Nope. How about kicking the counter? Does that magically turn the internet back on like Fonzie bumping the jukebox? No. Does that hurt your foot and make things worse. Sometimes.
Change the things I can. Me. I can change me. Whether it’s the internet being down or traffic or a long line at the bank I can always take pause. Take a pause and accept that which I can not change. Then look at me and change what I can.
There are so many moments throughout the day that we can choose to be the best person we can be.