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29th Apr


Externalizing vs. Internalizing Thoughts and Behaviors

How often do we feel like we are being slighted?  How often does something happen that we interpret as being directed at us?  Too often we are but an innocent bystander when other things happen around us.  Yet for some reason, we respond as if someone wronged us.  Someone snaps at us and we automatically respond with “what did I do?”

Many of us are often a victim of being a spectator in life, instead of being an active participant.  However, even if you are in the minority of people who are active participants in life, hopefully you have realized that there is very little in life that you can actually control.  In this regard, being passive is quite appropriate.  When someone feels slighted, the automatic response of “what did I do to deserve this?” is quite destructive.  Most likely, the answer to the question is ‘nothing.’  However, that is not the satisfying answer that makes us feel better.

So how do we make ourselves feel better?  Consider the fact that each person is really an island unto him/herself (in certain dynamics in life, not across the board).  You are just an innocent bystander in their event.  You ‘passively participated in’ it, maybe even encroached on their territory and they didn’t like it.  Obviously, it was not purposeful, but essentially, that is a feeling that you triggered in them.  Just continue on your way and behave as if it’s not personal.  It most likely is not personal.  Doing so will lower your blood pressure, your anxiety and almost any other kind of negative emotions and feelings that you experience during this uncomfortable situation.  This can work when dealing with our spouses, our children, other family members and even co-workers.

Try it!  You will thank me!

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