What are you paying attention to?

‘Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.’ Jose Ortega y Gassett

Have you ever caught yourself dwelling on something completely ridiculous or insignificant for WAY TOO LONG?

Maybe something happened during your day that caught you off guard or someone said something mildly offensive to you. Whatever it was, you knew that in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a big deal YET you felt a need to mentally rehash it over and over in your head and heart all day long.

Sound familiar?

I’ve done this so many times! I know it’s draining and pointless but at the time, it seems like a good way to fix something that somehow felt wrong.

I suspect it’s also a way for me to reinforce the idea that I am right and didn’t deserve to be snubbed or whatever! I thrash over and over again the whole woulda, coulda, shoulda mentality of what I would do should that happen again!

But you know what I realised, every time I give power to the little things that might seem irritating, like when someone doesn’t let me change lanes in traffic or the bus doesn’t stop when I’ve got your hand out, or someone is a bit rude to me—I’m actually choosing to be that unproductive, irritated, anxious energy.

Every time I feel that I have been unfairly treated or ignored or whatever, even if it’s something slight- if I get caught up in that then I am choosing to bring that pointless emotion into my day.

The thoughts that we have and the emotion we feel as a result really does influences our state of being. It can alter our mood which then can impact on everything and everyone that we come into contact with during the day

As the Buddha said ‘what we think, we become.’

Now I’m not for one second suggesting we should repress our feelings when we feel pissed off or annoyed but I am suggesting that we question the thoughts that create our feelings so that we don’t let them consume us! (Especially when we’re creating drama and unease over something we won’t even remember in a few days’ time.)

You see, we tend to create ‘meaning’ for certain situations which may not be the case at all and can lead us down a slippery slope! For example, if your partner is a bit grumpy or out of sorts- we think ‘what have I done?… He/she must be pissed off with me etc’ If your hours get cut back in work, we think ‘They don’t think I do a good job… I’m not good enough…etc’. Then your happiness, confidence and self esteem takes a beating!

We spend so much of our time focusing our attention on things that don’t really serve us and on what we don’t want in our lives. This takes up a hell of a lot of our time and energy! Time and energy that would be better focused on proactively going after the things that we do want for ourselves in our lives!

But if we can observe and understand how our thoughts are impacting us, we can change how we are experiencing the world on a day to day basis. So try this as an experiment this week and have some fun with it!

If something happens that pisses you off or annoys you- try to catch yourself before it spirals and then challenge your initial reaction! Ask yourself:

1.Is thinking this way going to add to my day or take  away from my day?

2. Am I attaching my own created negative meaning to this situation?

3. Then choose to release the little worries that stand in the way of your happiness in any given moment!

Life will seem much sweeter when you do!

take thatHere’s a real life example of how this can help! Saturday night, myself and my two buddies had a yummy meal out and were all excited to relive our childhood and go see Take That! Got the tickets in February! We arrived at the venue only to find out that we actually had tickets for the night before! D’oh!!!!!!

Take That wasn’t happening! Our night that we’d been looking forward to for months wasn’t happening! What did we pay attention to??

We were together, it was early and we were gonna have fun regardless! We ended up in the laughter lounge (even though it was full, the staff went out and got another table and set it up especially for us- we did of course tell them the story and they had a good chuckle!). I was so proud of us that night. It could have been easy to spiral into pity and disappointment but we didn’t and life was much sweeter!

I hope you enjoyed this weeks issue of Progress!

P x