Sarah told me the following story from her childhood and with her permission I’m sharing it with you.
Sarah’s mother, Mary, had prepared one of her usual delicious evening meals and invited the five hungry children to the table to eat. Not long after they sat down, Sarah’s father, Dan (who had made a choice to visit the pub after work rather than coming straight home), entered the kitchen through the back door.
Dan was visibly irritated to discover the family eating without him and started loudly verbalizing his displeasure. Quietly and without comment, Mary began opening the kitchen windows one by one as Dan continued his rant.
Suddenly, as if only just noticing his wife’s activity, Dan shouted, “Why on earth are you opening all the windows?!”
Unfazed, Mary sat back down at the table, casually picked up her fork and replied, “I want to be sure the neighbors know how upset you are!”
Each of us is responsible for our own emotions.
Upsets (“I’m upset because. . . “) only occur inside of us. No one else can ever upset you, or make you angry, or disappoint you, or make you sad, or cause any emotional response in you. That’s all you. Only you. Every single time.
You have a choice every single time you find yourself in an upset:
1. REACT and blame someone or something else and see if that really feels good to you. Does it make you feel any better sitting in that discomfort and pointing a finger, validating all the reasons it’s not possibly your fault?
2. Take a deep breath and look inside yourself first (before you start pointing fingers) and ask yourself what’s really triggering you in this moment? Then RESPOND with awareness of your internal issue that simply wants attention and resolution.
Pema Chodron said,
You are the sky. Everything else — it’s just the weather.
Take back ownership of your emotional well-being. Resolve whatever triggers your upsets. Dance because it’s raining and notice the sun’s refusal to shine has nothing to do with you.