It’s never fun to have your feelings hurt. When someone gets under your skin, whether intentionally or quite by accident, it’s uncomfortable. Our human instinct is to protect ourselves and our emotions. For some of us, that means we want to fight back and for others it means we want to whimper in the corner as we lick our wounds. Neither really works.
There’s only one proven path to maintaining a healthy sense of self in the face of an affront, and that, my friends, is to take the high road. Our goal should be resilience. We need to maintain our sense of self in the face of those who try to break us down.
The only problem is that there’s very little oxygen on the high road.
The air up there is rarified. It’s hard to breathe so we expend a lot of energy trying to stay the course. Faced with this energy depletion, we turn to our vices – we overeat, we shop, we drink, and we rant our way right back down into the muck.
But there are ways to find oxygen for your journey so you can stay on the high road. It’s especially important to remember these ideas as we head into the holidays when we’re prone to having our buttons pushed by well meaning relatives and stressed out sales clerks. Try one or two and see if they help you stay the course.
1) Get your “om” on – I can’t say enough good things about the benefits of yoga. If you haven’t tried it, get yourself to a class or find a video and get on the bandwagon. You’ll breathe and sweat your way to bliss and you’ll leave filled with love for everyone you meet. Trust me.
2) Read – find something that inspires you and read it every day – it can be a magazine, a favorite blog, or the Bible – just make sure that it’s the kind of thing that leaves you with pleasant thoughts to reflect upon when the going gets tough.
3) Pull your friends close – Figure out who lifts you up every time you hear their voice and keep them close. This could be your running buddy, your sister, your long distance childhood friend, or your dog. Just make sure you’re getting lots of love from them to offset any bad energy being thrown your way.
4) Shift the energy – the next time someone does something to offend or upset you, rather than paying it forward, do something fabulous for someone instead. If you’re feeling really generous, you can even do it for the offender! Simply shifting your focus to acts of kindness will take your mind off any slights you’ve experienced. Remember Scrooge’s transformation??
5) Write it out – Journaling can help you vent on paper. Writing down what you’re feeling can help you process the emotion privately and then let it go. (Note: It’s probably best not to vent via FB or Twitter – that’s not exactly the high road!)
It’s never worth losing energy to the tough cookies who cross our path. Take the high road, and remember to breathe…