GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


May 2, 2008

Upset

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:23 am

My problem is with me; your problem is with you and when we meet, the blame shifts to the other. Isn’t this how it really works?

It is so common to blame another for our emotions. This is a very shortsighted practice that leaves the most important person out of the equation – Us. There are so many things or people we can blame. It’s a veritable smorgasbord – circumstances, the economy, my job, my boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, doctor, boss, co-worker, friend, family member, Pilates instructor.

The thinking goes like this: If I’m upset, someone is responsible and that someone certainly couldn’t be me. Reminds me of a story . . .

I was invited to dinner last November. There were many people there I had never met before. One of the family members arrived late and everything was pleasant on the surface. Yet, within a matter of minutes, this person’s upsetness rose up for all to witness. To hear her tell it, it was the fault of some of the people who arrived before her. Little did she realize that she arrived upset. Over the years, I have become finely attuned to the built in radar that we all have for peoples’ states. It shows up in my body and I can feel it before it materializes. When I first saw this person, my spider sense started to tingle. I only wish I had the popcorn concession for the drama that we all were soon to witness.

We all own many experiences like this one. The key is not to get sucked into playing a role in this movie. If we respond in kind, that leads to escalation which never works on mitigating the feelings of being upset. When we begin to engage in the blame game, no real communication happens. My made up self (ego) engages with your made up self (ego) and we argue about illusionary causes.

We all get upset. It’s part of human conditioning. The secret to keep it from spreading is to notice the feeling within yourself and be with it. Don’t try and chase it away or assign its cause to someone else. Those strategies never work. What works is allowing yourself to feel the feeling without judgement, recrimination or blame. Just observe the upsetness residing in you. I’ll admit it feels temporarily wonderful to lash out at someone and make it their fault, but it’s a sugar high that retreats quickly and leaves you in the same place – upset.

One of my favorite expressions is, “You’re never upset for the reason you think.” The conscious mind is a perpetual, reasoning machine and it never runs out of reasons or people to assess blame to. When you observe and feel your upsetness, no reasons are necessary. Reasons continue to fuel the fire. Observing and being with the feeling allows the mind to quiet and the process of transmutation to happen. The quickest and most effective way to have upsetness dissipate is to be with the feeling.

This does not mean that you cannot have a discussion about issues that are bothering you with another and address them. This is very healthy and productive if you avoid the assigning of your feeling to another. They are your feelings and as G. Michael Durst asks in his wonderful book, Napkin Notes: On the Art of Living, “When did you make the decision that these would be your favorite emotions?”

Some people live their whole lives upset. When you talk with one of these folks, pay careful attention to where the finger points regarding them being upset. There is a cure but you have to give up your addiction to making others to blame for your feelings. It’s like my 4th grade teacher, Miss Wagner said,

“You can have what you want or your reasons why not.”

If you continue to justify being upset, your life will be one, continual regret.

All the best,

John



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