“The primary cause of happiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it.” – Eckhart Tolle
Our lives are full of uncomfortable moments, some impact us a lot and some only for a short period of time. I often talk to my clients about being aware of how we “should” ourselves and how to shift that mindset but the other part is the way we judge how situations and our environment should be.
I was flying on a plane a few months ago and during take off and landing the pressure in my ears was really uncomfortable. I felt as if my head was disconnected from my body which is not an experience I have ever had before. I found myself stuck in a cycle of thoughts around why it happened that particular time and that it was incredibly uncomfortable. I put a lot of energy into how my body should present on an airplane.
If you have children or work with children you know that they go through growth spurts and growing pains can happen during those times. I’m referring to physical growth and emotional growth. When my oldest son was little, I was sharing with my sister in law that he was being particularly mischievous and not listening lately. She told me that her daughter went through those period of times too and that it was often when she was going through a growth spurt. It was one of my favorite pieces of insight because I found myself able to be more patient when my kids went through, and continue to go through, these phases.
One of my boys, recently, was experiencing big emotions over about a month. He needed me to lay with him for a little while at night, his head was busy with lots of thoughts that he needed to process, on several occasions he cried hard over things that usually wouldn’t impact him. During that time, because I was aware that this was just how it was for now, I was able to have a lot of patience through it. I could sit with him as he cried big tears and connect with him. I could lay with him for a few minutes at night and give him the opportunity to talk about his thoughts. We introduced a guided meditation as he fell asleep. And then one day, he didn’t ask me to lay with him and told me that he didn’t need his meditation. I encouraged him to keep that meditation habit but no luck!
The interesting thing is that I could be really patient through a month of big emotions from my child and more energy that I needed to give to him, but I was annoyed over a much shorter period of time in which I experienced the physical discomfort on the airplane. It’s because I moved through one of those situations with acceptance and in the other I wanted to figure it out and change it.
When do you find yourself uncomfortable and focused on changing the situation? Try shifting to acceptance and see how that works for you!