How To Be OK When Others Around You Are Flipping Out.

I got an excellent call recently.  A woman was witnessing chaos in a loved one and was miserable.

So many times, we are miserable because:

1.We feel like we are responsible
2.We are afraid of how someone else’s ungraceful behavior reflects on our image

3.We simply cannot deal with chaos or change

The problem is that there will always be chaos and change and just because we don’t like it, does not mean that it is “bad.”

We get caught in the dualistic thinking that discomfort equals bad and comfort equals good. When we are caught in this thinking, then we try to control our environments and out outcomes, which turns into a real mess.

From destruction comes growth.  Autumn and winter allow for the new growth of spring and summer.  Our lives cycle in a similar way.

I know of no illuminated people who arrived there easily.  Our most painful moments are often our best teachers.  A simple example is from my film school days. 

Our first year of film school, we each prepared all year to shoot our films.  Each of us had a crew of people to help us execute our plans.  The first person who shot her project had an easy time; everything went so smoothly.  I worked on that film and while it was fun, I learned very little from the experience.

Then it was my turn to shoot my film.  We lost our location and our cinematographer at the last moment.  We had other crewmembers who become sick or temperamental.  I had to think on my feet, remain calm, and be very flexible.  As it turned out, I learned so much more from that experience.  My experience was far closer to what can actually happen in the larger world of film so I was more prepared to be flexible and adaptable when I later worked in Hollywood.

This is a simplistic example of a larger theme.  We do not need to stand by when others are harming themselves or others.  However, sometimes we do not know the larger picture and therefore, cannot see that one person’s misery may also be their opportunity to shine and grow.

Your Assignment:

Can you watch someone be ungraceful and start to shift your thinking to: “Wow, I wonder what his or her lesson is?”  When we can approach people from a place of curiosity, we are better able to release self-righteousness and judgment.   A tiny shift in our perception today can allow the space someone may need to learn and grow.



2 Responses to “How To Be OK When Others Around You Are Flipping Out.”
  1. franticmommy says:

    WOW! Found you on Linked-In and what and excellent (and timely) article this is. Good job :)

  2. Kay Lorraine says:

    Nice article. I had no idea that you used to be in the film business, too. Lots of stress there. You learn how to roll with changes and mistakes or you go home. Fast.

    Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. Sometimes experience is painful and not pretty to watch. Especially if YOU’RE the person getting the unwanted experience.

    Your comment #1 has reminded me to repeat my mantra more often:

    “It’s not always your fault.”
    “It’s not always your fault.”
    “Sometimes sh*t happens and it’s not always your fault.”

    Rinse & repeat….

    Warmest aloha,
    Kay Lorraine
    Honolulu, Hawaii

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