Don't let projections mess up your relationships!
How has your week progressed so far? Have you felt on your game? I’m not sure whether it’s hearing about Luongo’s trade yesterday, or whether it is the Vancouver rain, but this has been a 'luongo' week for me. It is an interesting phenomenon that when the weather is bleak, more conflict shows up in my office. In rainy weeks clients tend to feel less resourced and less resilient. I have to admit though, there is nothing more satisfying than guiding clients into more insight orientation and heart minded living.
Maybe it is because people don’t tend to get outside in the natural light as much when it rains. Living in Vancouver you pretty much have to learn how to puddle jump and keep a stash of umbrellas close on hand. I always remember loving the rain when I was young. I still love running up the Capilano Dam and getting soaked on days like the ones we’ve been having lately. How about you?
The truth is, research on mood effects from weather have been mixed over time, correlating time spent outside and mood affects (Contingent Effects of Weather on Mood, 2005) and (Examining a Climatoeconomic Contextualization of Generalized Social Trust Mediated by Uncertainlty Avoidance, 2013). I have a thesis that there is probably more innovation and productivity coming out of sunny climates though… hold on Luongo, maybe we should all be moving to Florida!
Considering that life is short and we want to stay young and live as long as possible, why do we create such conflict and drama every day? It takes a huge amount of energy to maintain conflict and very little energy to spread good will. Ellen DeGeneres, our host of this year’s Oscars this past Sunday night, played with this idea as she talked about Hollywood “I’m not saying movies are the most important thing in the world because we all know that the most important thing in the world is youth… But really, we know that the most important thing in life is love and friendship and family. And if people don’t have those things, they usually go into show business! We (in Hollywood) are all one big frightened family!”
In all seriousness, you don’t want to be cutting off from the family and friends that matter the most to you just because of a little misunderstanding do you? Fear and feelings of inadequacy can project in moments of confusion, to start a movie (or nightmare) going and totally distract you and others for weeks… and take you so far away from being your creative loving best. Resiliency, by the way is your ability to bounce back from conflict. Resiliency is measured in the time it takes you to get back into homeostasis. No it is not good to hold a grudge and chronic conflict is not good for your immune system.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone did their own personal work to understand themselves better? It would be so helpful if there was an emotional ‘Projectormeter App’ with which we could scan moments of conflict. You are upset with me?...just one second… out comes your phone with your palm scanner. Place your hand here…Is this really about me or a hyper-sensitivity from your past? Lets talk about that. If you have been wounded in your past, you will have told yourself something from that experience. You have an opportunity to run that story for the very last time right now in this moment, simply by asking questions rather than reacting. When you truly hear the other person, you actually have an opportunity to shift your movie reel into more connection and higher trust.
We could preload this emotional tool with a firewall that prevents defensive reactions, and with storage of appropriate powerful questions we could have at the ready. “What is important about this?” “What can I do to make this go better for you?” “What do I/you need more of right now?” “How will that change things for the better for you, for us?” “What is happening in your world right now?” What do you need?” “What is under that anger right now?” “How is that story serving you?”
Just imagine if there was an App like this? This App could scan all conflicts for projections that come from us, or our significant other. We wouldn’t load up negative energy to build cases against each other. We could stay in the present dealing with the one issue that has the potential to help us to develop. We would be guided towards more intimacy and integrate more caring behaviors, rather than hold onto defensive behaviors that frustrate or exhaust, lead us to ridicule or otherwise diminish others. Imagine, no more bonk! Honk if you agree. This would be another way to move our world from Me to We! The world could use a little more trust. Trust in self. Trust that others are doing their best, even when it hurts. Imagine all the positive energy that would open up for you.
Be yourself and trust your instincts in all your relationships. Relax, pay attention to whatever moment you are in right now as children do when they are young. (That is before we tell them not to feel what they naturally feel. Check out my last blog). All feelings are important. And the rain makes our grass grow, our air clean..and of course, the sun is always there even when it is raining all day. It is just hard to take the rain for so many weeks in a row! And there are times when even with the greatest of intentions, it is just plain hard to hear how we have let someone else down in a less than thoughtful moment over and over again. And by the way, if after the other person has shared their upset, if you don’t do anything to correct it, it is as if you are saying you don’t love them.
As Miguel Ruiz suggested in his book “The Four Agreements”: Be impeccable with your word, Don’t take anything personally, Don’t make assumptions, Always do your best.
You don’t need to button down your emotion.. bring it on. Give him or her something to love. Try not to bonk your other over the head with your fear though. Consider what you are feeling. Develop your emotional intelligence by being really present in the moment. Love all of you and practice capacity. Really hear the feelings underlying the story you’ve been telling yourself and the one the other is sharing with you too.
You are one hundred percent free to be yourself for the good, the bad or the grey. And sometimes if you just keep coming up against the same old story again and again, having talked those themes through over and over, you may just need to let it go. This is your life and you deserve to be happy. Be yourself today. I don’t have a projecto-meter-ap on the market as of yet, but if you come across a complicated moment at work or home today, just hold your hand out…
Here are some ingredients for resilience:
1. Open hands
4. Capacity for imperfection
5. Time spent outside