“Find a place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell
It always starts the same, with disappointment.
It seems so innocence, so small at first glance. In hindsight, it is. We all can attest to times when we made something out of nothing, I know I can. I tend to look back on something and think, what was I thinking, it wasn’t that serious, right?
For me, it was something as simple as letting someone in front of me in the grocery store. I realized later that she was holding the spot for someone else who came with a cart full of groceries.
In all my disappointment my face and my body language showed disgust. The little old lady took advantage of me when I was most vulnerable. This small action had the power to weave a tapestry of how my vulnerability had been abused in the past.
Isn’t that something, how the mind can find so many different scenarios to get us to lash out? Only if we could always use that power to always stay conscious of the tricks of the mind. I have fallen for these tricks too often and in this situation the effect of feeding the disappointment went unnoticed and soon ignited a small but still manageable fire inside of me.
No going back
The more I watched in disgust as they unloaded the groceries, the more upset I became. I gave in to my ego, just feeding it more and more until I got myself worked up. My mood went from, help the little old lady to, I am a sucker for letting this old lady take advantage of me! I was full of rage and at that point there was no going back.
Then it happened. For all the happiness I had, it went out the door. I was no longer in the mood to do much of anything for the rest of the day. I’m sure I told a few people about the situation using colorful language, of course. My cup runneth over!
In these situation where rage and anger overtake us we tend to take it out on others. That’s why remembering our own experiences with the snowball effect should teach us that when people do rude things that are unwarranted, not to take offense. (It’s not me, it’s them.)
There are still times when my ego gets the best of me. The snowball effect, something that starts so small and then it takes on a life of its own. A habitual beast of this cycle can create chaos.
I have learned that taking responsibility for what I think is paramount and the best extinguisher for me, is asking myself the right questions:
- Who is responsible for your happiness, failures, success, etc.?
ME! At the end of the day, I am responsible for my own happiness, sadness, failures, and accomplishments, all of it.
- Who can stop the snowball effect in your head?
ME! In this case, instead of thinking about all the instances where people disappointed me, I could have chosen to think about all the times people have not.
- Who is responsible for making things happen in your life?
ME! If self-talk alone doesn’t work, I do what makes me happy by partaking in immediate gratifying activities. For me it’s going outside and just sitting in the sun, going to the beach, talking with someone who understands, wrapping my hands around a warm cup of tea or laughing a lot!
In the situation with the old lady, I could have just left the grocery store. I wouldn’t be able to point her out in a line-up but I am a witness to how a small act can leave lasting impressions.
In the end, I have learned how to exercise my right to choose righting thinking and to stop things before the “BAM! Moment.” I always do the 3 things above and I have pulled myself up & out of disappointment a lot. It’s hard being the victim because victims don’t have control of the outcome. So when I find myself trying to play the role of the victim, I think about the IRS.
If I/you answered “ME” to any of the questions, I am/you are – not entitled to a refund or a pity party!