I have found that when discussing how to change yourself with others, occasionally there is the voice that says, ‘nice that you’re perfect!’ Were it only to be true. Then we wouldn’t need this process. But fortunately going through these actions only makes us understand our flaws even better. Initial success drives us to delve deeper and expose the smallest of character flaws.
OK, so that was a bit of hyperbole. But truth be told today I look for the effects of the flaws I have identified through my inventory. Those gross defects of self, selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. If I am to continue to grow and change I must have an ongoing process to deal with these things when they crop up in my life.
And crop up they will.
When these things materialize, I do the following. First I acknowledge the defect and say I want it gone. Say it out loud. “I want this anger to go away.” Then I tell someone about it. Now this is usually my mentor in this process. It may work if you just tell some random person in line at Starbucks but certainly its not recommended. By telling your mentor who also does this there may be some insight provided that will help.
Having discussed this with my mentor he will provide one of two directions for my further interaction with that person. Either I amend my action with that person immediately if I am in the wrong, or I forgive that person if no wrongdoing happened on my side of the street. What has happened to me as I continue down this path is that more and more its about forgiveness which is another term for acceptance. I rarely now do things that are the root cause that I need to amend for but people still confound me at times.
Finally I need to change my thinking process, really short circuit it so I do not go back to mulling the situation over. Mulling is dangerous for me. Nothing good ever comes of it in my experience. Instead, I turn my thoughts to someone I can help. It may be a new colleague. Or a stranger behind me at the drive through. But I do an act of kindness, I be of service to another person. In doing this I start think about something other than myself. And the brain as incredible as it is does not have multithread capabilities. It can be considering only one thing at a time. So deliberately choose that to be not me.
In doing this something strange begins to happen. I become calmer, more confident and way less likely to do these things that set me off in the first place. In a nutshell I begin to become the new me.
Driving has always been challenging for me to maintain calm. Other drivers offend me all the time. The worst are the mergents, the mutants of the merge. They are the drivers that drive an inch from the bumper in front so no one can merge into the lane ahead of them. If Its my turn to merge into a lane and one of these bozos won’t let me in I tend to lose my mind. An offensive finger may appear. Off colour words may pass my lips. Or I may just smile and move into the lane anyway. This always creates some fun. A high speed game of chicken usually follows as I have forced the offender into a lane of traffic they had no intention of entering at that time and they are then going to let me know of there displeasure.
Speed dial is then hit on my phone as I call my mentor, sometimes while this is happening. And he reminds me that my job is to be of service to all. That the other person may have just heard really bad news and needs to get somewhere fast. That I am just not that important. And to back off whatever ledge I have walked onto in my head.
So I turn my thoughts to someone I can help. And the anger dissipates almost immediately.
Then the next time I think to myself, I wonder what kind of bad day they are having and just let merge ahead of me. And no call is necessary!