Life Lesson: Prisoner or Student?

There are times in everyone’s life where the feelings or thoughts are raw and we feel imprisoned by these feelings or thoughts. We are victimized and we are the one’s doing the torching. What do you do when feeling victimized by someone or a situation? Complain, pout, yell, hit, cuss, sulk, cry, run away, avoid, withdraw, get busy or despair. In other words, control the other person and you won’t feel victimized. Now, at the time of the transaction, it does not feel like we are the one’s doing the torching. We truly believe the other person is doing it to us. But let’s look a little closer.
Scenario 1: Mary comes home from work and finds that her husband is not there after promising her that he would be home right after work. Mary thinks, “As usual I have to take care of everything. I’m the one who does the homework with the kids. I’m the one who does the cooking every night.” Mary feels angry and sad.
Scenario 2: John works from home. He’s an editor for a successful online e-mag. He and his wife have 3 sons, one of whom is a special needs child. John plans his day out and it rarely happens the way he plans it because of their special needs child. John feels angry because he did not sign up for this kind of interruption on a daily basis. When his wife comes home from her job, he feels even more isolated because she does not want to hear how difficult his day has been. John feels used and abused.
Scenario 3: Joan lives alone. She comes home every night to an empty house. She smokes pot or overeats to soothe herself. She complains to anyone who will listen how lonely and sad she feels. She feels totally trapped in a life with no way out.
Scenario 4: Harry lives on the computer. He has no life except online. He drinks when he feels really bad. He has his dog and no one else. Harry feels isolated and depressed.

All of the above scenarios paint a picture of someone who is being victimized or is a prisoner in their own mind because of limiting beliefs. We can only change ourselves, no one else. So let’s look at how each one of these scenarios could be viewed from the perspective of a student rather than as a prisoner.

Scenario 1: Mary could take better care of herself by not repeating the negative thoughts of “doing everything” all by herself. Thoughts are just thoughts and just because you think something doesn’t make it true. Mary could practice letting go of these negative thoughts when she’s aware of them. She would notice she felt better. Does it mean her husband will come home on time? No. When we opt to change our inner dialogue, we begin to see others in a different light as well. Maybe Mary and her husband would begin to have discussions over who does what at home and both would feel better about being at home. One of life’s lessons: Acceptance is the key.

Scenario 2: John has expectations about how his day needs to go and he completely ignores the fact that they have a sick child. Expectations and assumptions cause a lot of pain. John would begin to feel less used and abused by grieving the lost of a healthy child. He would feel better by practicing gratefulness for a loving wife and two healthy children. Practicing wanting what you have instead of wanting what you don’t have would alleviate a lot of his victimization. He would then be a student learning to let go of expectations and assumptions.

Scenario 3: Joan could decide to get more involved in activities by letting go of the negative self talk. She plays in her head critical dialogue about herself and looks for signs from others that they disapprove of her. She usually finds it because she blind to the positive. She believes she deserves this sad lonely life. Learning to let go of the negative feeling is her challenge. A good practice would be to say to self, “Feelings are just feelings and just because I feel something doesn’t make it true.” She could opt to learn by accepting positive comments as being genuine rather than playing her critical dialogue about herself.

Scenario 4: Harry is afraid of interactions with other people. He allows his fear to drive his life. Harry could opt to let go of his fear and go out and meet “real people” rather than settle for online conversations. Letting go of fear is a process of feeling and then going and doing what you are afraid of. Learning to be kind and patient with self is very important. Learning to ask for help or support would be another important step.
It is truly a mind set as to how and why you see the world you do. It does not mean that bad things did not happen to you. It means learning how to accept, release, grieve, forgive and love self once again over and over again.

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