i have a choice in how to respond to difficult situations

there are definitely different ways of looking at the same thing. when things happen in my life, i have to remember that my filter is going to be tainted by my past experiences and conditioned responses.  when i find myself crying and saying, ‘i can’t help it. that’s just who i am’ (as i quickly identify with the little girl who is overly sensitive and sees herself a victim, and cries every time she hears someone raise his voice), i pause. i remember i’m no longer a little girl, that i’m a grown woman who can make mindful choices, i’m able to have the awareness to see that initial reaction as conditioned and learned, i make the choice to detach from those old familiar habits, pause, and try a different way of responding to the situation.

there’s a difference in responding to the outside world with an attitude of ‘why is this happening to me?’  – with this attitude, i want to place blame and make assumptions – vs. an attitude of ‘i wonder what i am supposed to be learning from this situation or person?’

when i look at the situation or person as my teachable moment or opportunity, when i see myself always growing, i no longer enter a place of negativity. instead i experience an openness and willingness to see the blessing.

i focus on the what (am i to be learning) and not the why (is this happening to me). i focus on changing me and not changing you. i focus on understanding you, not on why can’t you understand me. i focus on looking within, and not on wanting to change the outside. i focus on being open to learning, and not closed and stuck in defending. i focus on connecting, and not dividing.

when brian started struggling with his depression, i admit there were times when i wanted  to be somewhere else. i felt trapped and alone. when i stopped wishing for him to change, which only drove me deeper into darkness, i began looking at myself. i realized that there were so many things that i could learn from my situation, and ways in which i could grow. i found new interests, and purpose in my life. and my desire to be with him became renewed and fresh and i wanted to understand his disease through living and listening, instead of judging and resisting.

i began to feel compassion and love without conditions.

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