Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: Jorinde Berben
I’m having a tough day. In a conversation with a loved one, I was confronted with my own feelings of anger, disappointment, disillusionment and grief. A relationship that I had thought to be really good turned out not to be for the other person. I’m left wondering if there’s something I did, or said, or if it’s just my way of being that rubs them the wrong way… Either way it’s a struggle.
Through being with these feelings and taking them in (instead of taking them out on someone else), I can take a step back and look at myself within this process. I recognize that I feel a great deal, and that there’s a lot of energy coursing through my veins. I notice that my anger is calling for me to act one way whereas my grief is asking for a different response. I see the myriad of different reactions I could display and I realise the opportunity in this. I have the chance to make a choice here.
In ‘Conversations With God’, the author, Neale Donald Walsch (or God, if you’re thus inclined) talks about the way in which we grow into ourselves. It’s in the moment-to-moment choices we make.
In this particular situation, I can be many versions of me. I could decide to let the situation be what it is and not worry about it. I could try to connect to the other person and see what they have to say. I could try to connect in order to express my own pain, anger and disappointment. I could let time decide on things and see what happens if I don’t act at all. My options are countless. I have a lot of freedom here.
In all of these situations, I would be a slightly different version of myself. I would be stronger in one, than the other. I’d be kinder in one, than the other. I’d feel more relaxed in one, versus another.
In this situation, the choice is big and requires thought. That’s why its personality-shaping nature is so blaringly obvious. Yet, there are small, everyday situations in which it might be even more powerful. My day to day responses to my partner, parents and children, or the little things I say to my students, these small but very frequent moments may have a much larger impact on who I become as a person than the big choices do in the end.
I haven’t yet decided which approach to take. I’m going to take my time, do it deliberately, consciously and willingly. And I’ll remember to respect and love myself in whichever approach I take.
I also hope that, in the small moments, I can remember this question of ‘who I want to be’ so that I can respond in the way that reflects my answer to this question.
And that, my dear friends, might just be my prayer of the day.