Every day we have surprising experiences that can flip us into a reactive story of hurt, anger, resentment, and then ruminate about it in what can become an internal elaborate story. Usually a negative emotional experience in present time activates an old belief that defines us as less than who we want to be in some way. In those moments we have amnesia for contradictory learnings that defined us as the person we desired to be.
Ruth had an experience where she spoke to a colleague in her office, and the response she received sounded angry and annoyed. In fact, the other person wouldn’t even look at her. Ruth asked herself if she had done something to warrant that kind of reaction, and she couldn’t think of anything. And there wasn’t time to ask her colleague about it at the time so she decided to wait until the time was right to bring it up if it seemed appropriate later. But she still felt disturbed and upset that her colleague pulled emotionally away from her without explanation. It reminded her of the similar dynamics in her family that led her to believe that something was wrong with her.
Many years of martial arts and meditation training allowed Ruth to emotionally take a step back and rather than spend wasted time in a fictional story about some office conspiracy that had everyone making plans against her, she took a deep breath and kindly said to herself, “I wonder what is going on with her?” She reviewed some times in her past when she felt great about interactions that left her feeling confidant and self-assured.
Ruth appreciated the mind training she had received that allowed her to quickly return to a calm state rather than lingering in a version of herself that belied a fearful state to which was attached her vulnerable dominant belief from early childhood, that something was inherently wrong with her. Instead she shifted into the best version of herself who was kind, understanding, empathic, confident, and used self-awareness tools to maintain a sense of emotional stability.