Stress doesn’t kill us, our reaction to it does.
We suffer because we let other people’s emergencies become our crisis.
And not to be uncompassionate to their struggle. Everybody hurts, to quote the classic nineties song, but at some point, we have to set a boundary, so their stuff doesn’t become ours. Otherwise we’ll drench our nervous system with a cocktail of frustration and pay the price long after whatever the original event was.
Buddhist monks use the term equanimity, which is the ability to stay calm amid a distressful situation. What’s interesting is, there’s no mention of avoiding feelings. We practice acknowledging and being with our agitation and stress, but we make the choice not to react with anger because of it.
Have you ever had a coworker who challenged your equanimity? Someone who regularly whined about a world that gets more perfect all the time? Someone who took every opportunity to start inane conversations that wasted the team’s time?
It’s quite hard not to give yourself over to that vortex of drama. Hypnotizing ourselves with all these small things is so tempting. Plus, the fear of not being included on those work conversations is strong.
But standing your ground is ultimately healthier for your heart. Not participating in people’s tornado of nonsense is much more life giving. Staying calm when you’re in the blast radius of their distress is satisfying in a way that piling onto the misery heap isn’t.
Besides, anytime we can prove to ourselves that we don’t have to react every time we are annoyed or disappointed, it’s a victory. It’s another reminder that we can take aim at what we want out of life, without allowing the reaction to distraction to interfere.
For it is not the stress we should fear, but the aftershock of it in our bodies.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What if you quit every activity that stole time away without contributing to the important goals that grow and enrich your life?