When I introduce forgiveness as a practice, I emphasize that forgiveness is something we do for ourselves and not for other people. We live in a culture that likes to hold onto hurt. The difficulty with that is that holding onto past hurts can keep us stuck in the past. It can compound the damage of past negative events and experiences by adding additional suffering on top of the original pain.
The things that you do every day to make yourself happy or bring yourself joy are part of the ways you care for yourself. They also keep your stress levels lower so that when events hit or your emotional triggers are pushed, you can deal with things in a more manageable way.
Even a morning cup of tea or coffee with some quiet time can be an important daily ritual that keeps your stress levels reduced. We often create these daily routines for ourselves without realizing why we have added them into our schedules or why they are so important to us. It's when we miss or skip them that we can really feel the effects of having our routine disrupted.
Mirror Principle (n.) The idea that your life is a reflection of who you are and what you believe is called the Mirror Principle. Each decision, how you respond to conflict and difficult events, how you encode the world, what you think about yourself, and what you are willing to accept have all merged together to create the life you are currently living. The mirror principle is often talked about when discussing thoughts and ways of thinking that get in the way of living the life you want.
He smiled and said all the right things but he knew internally that it was going to be a long day. Each customer brought a new complaint and somehow knew just what to say to push his buttons. I mean where did some of these people’s opinions come from? And, worse, why did they think he must surely agree with them? And, what kind of vibe was he giving off to attract so many simply crazy people? But he smiled, rang them up, and sent them on their way – always smiling and always asking polite questions. You must always be nice after all. And, he really didn’t have a choice – his boss required it.
Title: Why We Laugh
Featured: Sophie Scott
Publication Date: 2015
TED Description: "Did you know that you're 30 times more likely to laugh if you're with somebody else than if you're alone? Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares this and other surprising facts about laughter in this fast-paced, action-packed and, yes, hilarious dash through the science of cracking up."
Primary Role Set (n.) - In Role Theory, the 5 to 8 people you spend the most time with are referred to as your primary role set. These 5-8 people fulfill set roles in your life and you fulfill a set role in theirs. These roles can be consciously or unconsciously chosen.
This week's practice is something you already know and have heard hundreds of times. The difficulty is that though you may hear it constantly, your understanding of it may be quite surface. When you hear people say, "The person you have the most conflict with is your best teacher," you will agree. Most people do. But how is that informing your practice?
Have you reached the point where you see conflict and difficult people as the key to your growth or do you still see these things as obstacles? When you tell stories of conflict does your retelling paint you as innocent and describe the other person as completely in the wrong?
Title: Stress: Portrait of a Killer
Featured: John Heminway
Publication Date: 2008
Selection Reason: This documentary examines how our sense of personal control and our feelings of choice impact our stress levels. When bad things come, when we have to deal with difficulty, or sometimes just difficult people how does the power dynamic impact the effects? More importantly, what can we do about it?
He looked at me with that stare that said he was clearly questioning whether or not I could do the task he had just asked me to do. He paused and then said, “So, walk me through how you plan on doing this one.” I walked him through it, he added a few things, and I was off to the races to get things done. This interaction could have gone the way of micromanagement very easily but it didn’t. With adults, and I would argue even with children, we have to respect people’s prior knowledge. Assuming people already know upfront what they need to do and how to do it is the most respectful way to go. We can certainly ask to be sure but asking first wins us the respect that simply telling does not.
Title: University of the Arts Commencement Speech
Featured: Neil Gaiman
Publication Date: 2012
Synopsis: Neil Gaiman talks about launching into the world without a career plan. He, instead, just had an extensive list of the things he wanted to do in this life. Goal setting and career goals aren't always what we think they should be. Often times, it's a matter of aiming toward what we want, doing the work, trusting life, and learning to pay attention to the signs that help us along.
My Writing and Other Resources for Students
A growing collection of writing and other resources for students to use to continue their growth.