If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgement of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgement now.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
I’ve been doing a lot of internal work this year, to understand myself at a deep level; my drives, my limiting beliefs, my conditioned framework, or as @Vishen says, the #Brules. You may have seen some of my book reviews on Twitter (or on this site) so have an idea of the breadth of material I have been absorbing.
One thing I have understood is that our reaction to external events is our choice. I exclude grief here as it’s hard to shut out the loss of a loved one, though even that’s not impossible. But that’s a topic for another day.
A Moment of Peace
There is a moment after an event happens where we get to choose our reaction, our emotion. At that moment choose a positive one. Smile. You’re alive #FFS and how amazing is that!
I do not say this is easy. It takes practice, and a willingness to be your own observer. Anger is your reaction to an external event, not something that is given to you by that event. It is your brain’s choice of how to react. Breathe. Pause for a moment. Ask yourself why you need to be angry, why that event made you angry. Ask yourself if there is a better response. It all happens in a fraction of a second, but it can make the difference between an unnecessary destructive argument, or a constructive resolution to an external stimulus over which you have no control that works for both parties.
For example, if a co-worker really pisses you off, don’t get mad or even. Put yourself in their shoes and address the situation with maturity. If they are behaving like an asshat, there’s no need for you to lower yourself and be the same. Nobody benefits. Elevate your mood, elevate your tone, elevate your behaviour and you will elevate those around you. We’ll all grow together.
The other destructive consequence of negative emotions is that they fester in your subconscious and influence other decisions and actions you take. They become part of you, without you even knowing it and create a ‘personality gap’ (see Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself book review on this topic) which limits your success in all areas and can also lead to detrimental behaviours like addiction.
You don’t (always) need to win an argument, and there is a better way to “win” at life that is found in the briefest pauses between action and response. These moments of stillness we choose for ourselves lead to a better life for us and those around us. To be honest, people who like to argue, or trigger us and push our buttons, are generally toxic and not people we really want to be around.
If the discoveries on my journey help you, leave a comment below and I will post more updates from my path of self-discovery and self-mastery or try to answer some of your burning questions.
A person either has a heart at war or a heart at peace. True peace comes from living a life in alignment with one’s inspired vision. This peace comes from orienting our hearts in such a way that external factors (people, norms, events) no longer dictate the direction of our internal path. Sadly, most people’s hearts are at war.
The Anatomy of Peace
This content was originally posted to Instagram in May and has been edited here for more clarity. The original post is here.