How Long Was He Going to Grumble?
My husband asked if I wanted to go for a walk. As we headed out, I asked how things were going for him that morning in his machine shop. I could tell by his scowl that he was in a bad mood. He said he was frustrated because he’d wasted a lot of time trying to find two different tools he needed for a customer’s project, and he still hadn’t found them. I also knew he was dreading this project because it was way behind schedule.
I, on the other hand, was in a decent mood, not great, but OK. As he vented about his search for his tools, I noticed different thoughts going through my mind. One thought empathized with his situation, understanding that wasting time can be very frustrating. Looking back, I believe this thought was from my sage (best self).
Another thought was feeling irritated that his bad mood was going to put a damper on our walk. I wondered how long he was going to grumble. I believe this thought came from my saboteur who was short on empathy and longer on judgment.
Thankfully, my practice with the “pause, notice, choose” approach helped me notice both thoughts and, with a little extra effort, choose the first. I purposefully validated his feelings and agreed it sounded frustrating.
A minute or two later, he was in a significantly better mood and we enjoyed our walk together.
But I know if I had been frustrated or stressed, it would have been harder to shift to my sage. It would have been easy to make a comment that would have made things worse. I’m learning that when my mood is struggling, it’s best to just stay quiet or let others know I’m struggling.
Its soooo much easier to be my best, authentic, loving self when my stress is low and life is easy. How about you? What works best when you’re struggling?
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