Shifting to neutrality when hitting everyday bumps

Before a session with a client I always need to meditate and make sure I’m a clean slate mentally and emotionally, creating a non judgmental and receptive atmosphere. I truly wish I could stay in a similar state of being during my leisure time too. By no means am I a pessimist or overly judgmental person.  But I do get caught up in everyday annoyances such as when someone in line is taking too long, my computer starts acting up, while overhearing people speaking loudly on the phone or when passing by rowdy teenagers. The same can also be said when hearing opinions or perspectives different from my own, be it online or in real life. These are relatively minor and temporary irritation moments. It’s not as if these bugging occurrences cause intense negative emotions or linger for long, once out of sight it’s out of mind. What I would claim to be a fact is that the negative responses are far greater and more frequent when hungry (you don’t want to see me hangry). However if it’s not due to a growling stomach, the emotional setback shouldn’t be pinned on anything but myself.

Recently I noticed a change when the automatic frowning to situations as described appear. It’s being followed by guilt. The negative appraisal of fairly innocent everyday bumps (be it situations or people) feels too harsch and repressive (hence the guilt). It’s like a part of me views the negative reaction as  outdated, it simply isn’t an accurate reflection anymore. So would it be possible to dodge initial sour assessments and perhaps replace it with another? 

Well there’s the option to respond to common “annoyances”with neutrality. Being sucked in by a negative judgment or going in the direction of neutrality, is a conscious choice with awareness and determination being key. One approach to the neutral zone is by interrupting the negative snap judgment when it appears. And then focusing on the breath to get past the disapprovement haze and enter the emotional zero point. Focusing on the breath and closing one’s eyes is a great way to detach. And I’ll let you in on something; from this standpoint the path is clear for empathy to peak in together with patience. And how about taking things a step further by putting in the effort to understand and feel compassion by considering alternative explanations/perspectives/reasons to whatever is being faced. This gives empathy an extra push and a sense of inclusion rather than rejection. 

In the beginning, reprogramming ingrained patterns does require effort ( some situations certainly more than others). Even in the midst of differing opinions while convinced our perspective is the “obvious” one, try out neutrality and understanding! Make it a mini challenge for yourself and pick neutrality when facing everyday bumps for 3 days and  observe the difference. Neutrality and detachment isn’t the same as enjoying, agreeing or loosening up boundaries. Choosing neutrality and upwards means selecting to do oneself and others a favour by feeling harmonic inside which in turn translates into positive vibes sent out, it’s a win win!

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