Do You Flow…Or Fester? (Episode 210)
Last week we talked about toxic behavior we all navigate in our lives. This week we take it a step further - if everything around you stinks...maybe it's time to check under your own nose first!
There are often three ways we can approach life - fight, flight, or freeze. Yet I believe there are two others we often do - flow, or fester. Let's dig into our different approaches, and why it may be important to check ourselves before we get too frustrated with others!
In this episode, Nathan and I go super informal, sharing about our interactions as State Park volunteers in the Florida Keys and how we don't let things fester.
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Do You Fester?
Wow, as Nathan and I talk about how we create a life of ease and flow, it has come to my attention how little time we spend letting things fester and stewing on what has happened in the past. I saw this quote today at a store and thought it was incredibly fitting here -
It just flat isn't worth going back to try and make sense of things sometimes. That's a big reason as to why I'm a coach and not a counselor. Sometimes sitting in the past prevents us from moving forward. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our unmet expectations of others that we forget who we are really responsible for.
Yes, the biggest thing that people will stew on and let fester are all of those unmet expectations. It's coming at someone with an agenda - whether conscious or not - that thing are going to flow a certain way. And, when they don't, sometimes we can get completely trapped in a downward spiral of trying to go back and make sense of something that may simply be two different perspectives.
Shift Your Expectation
With our volunteering, we oftentimes have to enforce rules of the park. There are so many ways we can approach people - and if our expectation is simply compliance, we can play a risky game of who has the stronger force. There is clearly a win-lose scenario.
We flat choose to not see life as win-lose. We want to approach things as a growth opportunity, period. It's not about winning and losing, it's how you play the game, right?
So instead of coming to a park patron with the expectation of enforcing a rule, we approach each person with only one expectation - coming to an agreement or understanding.
There are many times where our "seek to understand" approach has diffused a tense situation of two people not seeing eye to eye. So, when we are approaching someone where we know a conversation could be taken on the defensive, we're going to first establish a bit of rapport. Be friendly! Never discount the power of kindness - force is not the only way to make people pay attention. And, in an increasingly volatile world right now, the thing that really does make people perk up is oftentimes that kind word or deed that was out of the norm in our "rush and get out of my way" approach.
No matter who you are, the more I can educate you on the "why" behind any request or comment I have, the better you will understand my perspective. We so often get frustrated that someone else doesn't think like we do - and that's just a flat waste of time. They aren't us!
So instead of getting frustrated at those who don't "get" you - pay attention to these three things -
- Does it really matter? Are they someone who needs to know exactly how you think, or a random altercation you can let go of?
- Do they really understand the "why" behind it? Have you taken the time to explain a why, or simply made a demand, assuming they carry the same passion as you?
- How often has force/demand/negativity made you embrace something positive? How often has a bad interaction of someone demanding something of you made you flip a switch to give it graciously?
If you are passionate about something, don't simply focus on the pain points. What is a solution? Where do you see the light? How does it add to your life?
A key ingredient we discuss in sales is simply reframing sales as "shared enthusiasm". Just like negativity, positivity can also be contagious, and oftentimes what gets someone excited about something is when they feed off the passion of another sharing their discovery.
There is so much information out there. Oftentimes those passions are the deep holes you go down to learn more about a subject many others will have missed. And then, like the news, we can become a big dump of all the negativity around the big mess of world we have created. We can highlight how many ignorant people there are out there and focus on all those who don't respect what we do, and how hopeless and frustrating it can be.
Yes - there will be people out there ready to piss on your parade, regardless of how fancy your float is. So why do you give them so much attention?
Who do you surround yourself with?
Do they lift you up or bring you down?
Determine how you are going to receive and perceive the feedback from others. When things become personal to you, you tend to find more of it in your life - it's the reticular activator. What impact it will have on your life is entirely up to you.
When you feel you're braving the wilderness alone, it can be a lonely, dark and scary path. It is important to know that you are a valuable, important part of this world, in your own way. Yes, the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. And that means there will be some of us who carry completely different passions. And...others who may be the fuel for where those passions come from.
Where do you want your focus?
Which will make the maximum impact?
You might have set up an expectation of what that relationship is supposed to look like and you are frustrated because they didn't meet that expectation that was only in your own head. Recognize toxicity at face value. It is what it is. It is simply one perspective, and it doesn't have to be embraced by you.
Focus Your Energy
You want to be very clear on what you want to be your focus. If you chameleon to the energy of others around you, be prepared to be sucked down. If you want to stay in an atmosphere of positivity, just ensure it maintains with you.
How can you take whatever you are passionate about and inspire others? How much do you personally love a fear-based approach? Remember those "fire and brimstone" pastors that would speak doom and gloom and threaten you into Christianity so you don't get thrown into hell? Wow - that doesn't sounds like a healthy relationship with anyone, and definitely not how I want to make a decision on my faith.
Living in fear and threats of what can happen is just toxic, through and through. And I have seen way too many people with health diagnosis that are a direct result of the stress and drama they have added into their lives and allowed to fester and stew on vs. letting them go.
Be The Change
So, instead of getting frustrated at all those who don't "get" you, shift your approach. Be joy-filled. Be grateful. Be generous with your knowledge and the positive shift you personally are doing.
Be. the. change. Be who you want others to be. And, when you see something that is on the right path, FOCUS on it - highlight the good. Thank others for stepping up and joining you - show appreciation! Celebrate together. Grow with the goodness, even if it's a tiny win. Shifting your focus to any tiny thing that is going right is such a game-changer, and gives you eyes to see more of the same.
Your Weekly Challenge:
So be the change you want to see...and focus on the positive shifts you experience as you're living your best life. Let go of trying to ensure everyone else lives their best life, and start by simply setting the example.
You will get way more of what you want in life if you lace it with education and appreciation vs. force and attack.
I believe in delight-led learning.
People see life from behind so many different sets of eyes - it's not our job to make them all see the same. That's the beauty of diversity, and how we can progress so much as humans - it's the different skill sets we all bring to the table. And when we can recognize those strengths and what motivates us, the more we can come back to how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
- How to Eliminate Toxicity and Thrive with Organic Relationships
- Are Your Relationships Organic…or Toxic?
- Toxic Mama, Toxic Home: How To Reduce Reaction And Give Your Children Wings
- TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM (EPISODE 57)
- 5 Tips for Difficult Conversations You Want to Avoid (Episode 82)
- When Routines Are Off And Expectations Are High (Episode 83)
- Here Come The Holidays…and the Relationship Drama (Episode 27)
- Bonus Parents, Step Parents, and Blended Families
- 6 Tips on Navigating Criticism (Episode 146)
- Navigating Family Culture with Jodi Chaffee (episode 174)
- Navigating toxic behavior (Episode 176)
- Dealing With “Prickly” People and Toxicity (Episode 209)
- Fighting Toward a Win-Win (Episode 9)
- Welcome to the Fight Club - Choose Wisely (Episode 34)
- Parenting Decisions (Episode 204)
Questions or comments?
Personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, minimalism or travel - what is pressing on your mind?
Or, hop on over to the Unschooling Families FB group and ask your question there!