For being full of grace and understanding toward others, I sure can be hard on myself. When I’m having an “off” day – caught up in thought (aka distracted), frazzled, irritated, or generally blah – in between sessions of bemoaning my humanness, I’ll spend my spare time beating myself up over it. It becomes a real sparring match between me and my snarky side, and it goes a little something like this:
Me: “That’s bothering me.”
The Snark: Get over it.
“No, but really, it’s bothering me.”
Seriously, ignore it. You’re starting to bother me.
“I can’t ignore it. It’s bothering me!”
Well then you’re getting a taste of your own bothersome medicine.
Rather than offering a listening ear or a supportive shoulder to myself as I would for my friends, I become a fervent force of frustration with myself. It’s not much fun having a shitty day while simultaneously getting shit on by myself (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Speaking of metaphors, let’s play with another. In the game Operation, when operating outside of center on Cavity Sam, the indicative BZZZZ!!! sounds. It can be a little jarring at first, but really, its clear boundaries serve as a guideline to promote efficiency.
Imagine, if you will, that we are wired with built-in systems somewhat akin to that of Sam. When I am off center, my own internal BZZZZ!!! sounds, sometimes in the form of the aforementioned irritability.
Historically, my reaction begins with an impatient, Oh my gosh, what is wrong with you THIS time? I’m regarding the buzz as the illness instead of the symptom. Rather than identifying what’s caused my alarm system to sound, I just want the buzz to stop without having to alter my course.
Try as I might to ignore the buzz, it has the patience of time and a never ending backup supply of batteries. Plus, the longer I ignore the buzz, the more my symptoms multiply, including tension spots, anxiety, inability to focus, or uneasiness. Eventually my resistance to the unwavering BZZZZ!!! falters to the point that, in attempt to out shout it, I erupt – SHUT UP! You’re only making matters worse! In other words, I become the buzz: irritated, frustrated, and one big ball of fried nerves. You’ll be able to spot me in a crowd by the bright red light emanating from my nose. Get close enough and you’ll hear me bitching about looking like Rudolph…or, more appropriately, Sam.
I’m in need of a different approach. Namely, I want to simply notice the buzz rather than become it, because, I have realized that I am not the buzz. It is a part of me, but it is not the whole of me, so there is no sense in letting it be consumptive.
That’s the advice that I’d give to a friend while offering a sympathetic ear, and it’s the advice I’m giving myself too. Notice the buzz and then stop. Stop bemoaning it, belittling it, or beating yourself up over it. Take your cues from Operation and become efficient. Notice what is causing the buzz, and then start making the necessary changes in order to regain the peaceful quiet that comes from being centered.
If you really want an extra-strength dose of metaphor, consider this. The more willing you are to take risks and really go for it (whatever “it” might be), the wider the field in which you operate becomes. The expansion of your operating field is in direct proportion to your own personal expansion. That is because you are the operating field. Not the buzz.