Reality Check

You know how you find yourself ruminating about something and you can’t seem to let it go?  It’s that time when someone says or does something and you keep replaying it in your head and thinking “How could they have said that?” or “Why did they treat me like that?”  You know you are really in the thick of it when you start playing the whole thing over and you come up with about 4 different ‘comebacks’ or other things you wish you had said or done.

Recently, I seem to have gotten caught up in a plethora of experiences/interactions that left me shaking my head, wondering what the hell I did wrong, and questioning everything. Then I finally figured out that I needed a serious reality check.  I was getting caught up in my fears, insecurities, and doubts.  It’s one thing to have my own doubts, fears, and such. But when a combination of my own stuff is going on and then I get healthy doses of other people projecting their own jacked up stuff in the form of criticism, judgment, impatience and lack of understanding…well it becomes one heck of a downward spiral.

So the thing is, I like peace in my life.  I like ease and understanding.  When those things are lacking, I immediately look inward to figure out what is going on and what I can change.  What I have found is that sometimes all I need is a basic reality check.  Think about it like an insurance claim.  Stick to the fact, nothing but the facts.  Leave out all emotions, assumptions, and impact.  What actually happened?

An example could be:  “This person said something that hurt my feelings.”

The reality check?  Someone made a statement.  It’s not about denying feelings were in fact hurt, it’s about the fact that the only thing that happened in that moment was someone made a statement.  Can you take that statement, interpret it, internalize it, then experience in a variety of ways?  Sure.  And that is the exact stuff to let go for a true reality check. When you start to play it out in your head and determine that the statement was right or wrong, that it was given with disrespect, that it somehow reflects your value; you are including assumptions and judgement.  But it’s not about making assumptions OR judgement.  It’s about looking at the facts.  A statement was made.  An action was taken.   It does not have to define everything you are or represent the whole world.

The reality check doesn’t make a hurtful interaction go away, it doesn’t make a feeling not be present. It simply allows an opportunity to gain some objectivity and practice some self compassion and kindness.  When we release our emotional attachments and judgments we can allow more room for understanding which ultimately can create a path of love through the form of forgiveness (whether it be for ourselves or someone else).

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What’s on your ‘to-do’ list today?

Here’s the deal, we have a ton of stuff that is expected of us each and every day.  Some times it comes from our own internal ‘to-do’ lists and often it’s a mixture of responsibilities that come from work, family, and this thing we call life.  As I was working through my own tedious tasks today I couldn’t help but notice that none of my important items had to do with me, my well-being, or pretty much anything that made me feel light inside.  So I paused for a minute, jotted down a few things that I could (and would) do before my head hit the pillow tonight.

I list 21 items below but the idea is not to do them ALL today or maybe even all this week, but it’s a great start.  I simply wanted to write them down so I could work through a little every day.  It’s not an exhaustive list and I encourage you to add or adapt your own actions, but hopefully it will give you a nudge (if you need it) of inspiration to pause and pay special attention to your best resource, YOU!

Pick 1 or 2 or however many you think you can realistically do today and feel free to repeat the same list for tomorrow.  I truly hope and believe that any one of these actions would improve your overall sense of well-being, feeling of peace, or even relief (even for a just a moment).  I do offer a bit of explanation with a few of the items, but mostly that is for comical benefit.  I tend to use humor as a primary coping mechanism (hence, all the smiley faces all the time)!

  1. Smile. 🙂  See…it’s already working!
  2. Forgive yourself for something (could be for getting frustrated easily or maybe it’s just easing up some of that negative talk within your own head…)
  3. Hug yourself (or someone else). If you need instructions on hugging yourself:  take your left arm and place it on your right shoulder.  Then take your right arm, place it on your left shoulder.  Now squeeze.  I know, sounds silly, but works every time!
  4. Trust yourself.  If this seems too daunting, then start by asking yourself what it means to ‘trust yourself’.
  5. Write out a gratitude note.
  6. Replace a complaint with a positive statement.  Note:  the more you practice this one, the more you notice those around you who could use the practice!
  7. Slow down (yes, this is vague…it is supposed to be as only you know what that means for yourself.  Take it as literal as you like 🙂
  8. Hold the door open for the person behind you or perform any other random act of kindness.
  9. Say good morning (to everyone)!
  10. Tell someone you love them (this could be yourself as well….if you choose self, I recommend saying it in front of a mirror.  It has more impact when you see yourself saying it).
  11. Choose to be happy today (the whole day).
  12. Sit quietly for 5 minutes.  No talking, just listening.  Can be done with eyes open or closed, your choice.
  13. Embrace change.  Again, figure out what that means for you to ’embrace change’.
  14. Let go of something that no longer serves you.
  15. State a dream of yours out loud (doesn’t matter if anyone else hears it).
  16. Write out a definition of ‘love’ without using a dictionary.  Describe what it feels like, looks like, and how you know it exists.
  17. Practice patience.
  18. Stretch your body (arms, legs, whatever makes sense for you).
  19. Listen to your body (instead of a clock) to tell you when you are hungry and tired.
  20. Take 5 deep breaths.
  21. Smile.  Listed twice because it’s just that awesome!

Will these things change your life?  Probably not.  Will they lighten your heart? I surely hope so.  Be intentional today and move yourself and your well-being to the number one item on any of your ‘to-do’ lists!