Sometimes, we need to stop. We just need to dial it down a little. Take a conscious breath, pause, and take a review of the events or circumstances that got us to this severe reaction in the first place. Check yourself. It's important to have a moments of few mindfulness, take a body scan, meditate, exercise-like a walk or a light jog-to cool our negative, anxiety riddled and angst riddled self talk. The pain may leave, or maybe hang around a little. It might be an ache instead of throbbing hurt. But measuring your thoughts, taking stock in a mindful fashion, can help take the hurt down from a ten to a two.
Here's an example: Got a call from my friend Annie. Big player in the Healing Arts. Wants to meet with me and Stan. I got to listen to the conversation. I trust Annie, and she knows the both of us, but she can be...well, "terse" is a word that comes to mind. She spoke to Stan about doing what you can to take care of yourself. Here goes:
A: "Read his post about you yesterday. That's two in about four months. And what's with the "When She Loved Me" at the end? Trying to make me cry?
S: "No, I was trying to make me cry. My heart is broken. It helped. I released a little sadness. So?"
A: "Might I ask a question?
S: "Look, things are fine, and...."
A: (Stirring her coffee) "I'll take that as a "Yes." So, have you looked at what your role has been in all of this? I mean, yesterday you're crying on canned goods feeling badly about how this all unfolded, and I'm not minimizing your pain. But I'm curious: What did you do to cause this stuff?
S: "I...well, look, yesterday was a final blow to me. I thought we'd just wear our rings and walk off into divergent horizons, but instead this process arrived unexpectedly fast, and..."
A: "Yeah. OK, so what did you do to hasten this process? You're not one to let things come at you this quickly without protection. I'm not trying to be unkind, I'm just curious."
S: "She told me she'd wear the rings. She changed her mind. I expected..."
A: "Oh. Oh. Let me stop you there. You did what again...?"
S: "Come on, Annie, this wasn't..."
A: "We can't cover all expectations, but we sure as hell can respond with more ease than what he wrote about your response.
"You could've said a prayer for her, for yourself, sat quietly, talked to God, meditated, forgiven both her and yourself, read any one of the dozen or so spiritual books on your bookshelf, exercised, spoken to a friend. But instead you go shopping. And start crying in the canned good section. And now somebody's taken home soup with your nasty eye juice on it. Did you hear, "Cleanup in aisle fourteen" after you made your mess?"
S: "Wait, you don't..."
A: "And you also said not kind things about the people in the 99 cent store. What if one of them read his essay yesterday? It read like you were surrounded by zombies. I'm not minimizing your pain, honestly. But..."
S: "OK, OK...Yeah, I feel you. You have a point. I didn't calm myself, I stayed hurt, I didn't ask God for help. But I did call that guy. (pointing to me.)"
A: "Not God. Has the looks but not the ability."
S: "Yeah, he came on a little strong with the essay. Kind of a " Oh, poor Stan" thing. But he got it down, though. It was tough, man. But, yeah, I get where you're coming from. I didn't..."
A: "You didn't take care of yourself yesterday. You got hit. Hard. I get that. But you wanted somebody to tell you it was OK. Somebody else, not you. Or especially God."
S: "I get it, Annie. Trust God, Keep your side of the street clean, help others."
A: "Precisely. God didn't say you couldn't be sad, and you're encouraged to talk to somebody else and to get support from those who love you. But keep your Higher Power closer, OK? This experience isn't just about you.
Did you think of how hurt she is? How much pain she's gone through to get to this point that she's so shut off from you? This is where you start. Say a prayer for her. Leave her alone, mind you, but keep her in your prayers and thoughts every day. You have an amends to make to her. She might not be ready for it now. But in time, I hope that you can let her know that you recognize your responsibility, and are making steps to correct it. "
S: "You're right. You're a pain in the ass. You're right though."
A: "I know you love me (she stood up to hug Stan.) You'll get this, sweetie. You were just in shock. Stuff happens. Pull yourself into the moment. Just. This. Moment. Breathe, Pray, and think of what you can do for somebody else."
S: "I do. Thanks for taking the time. What are we going to do with that guy ( pointing to me.)?
A: "Review his work. And tell him to do the same thing I just told you to do. Trust God or a Higher Power bigger than you, Keep your Side of the Street Clean-meaning do the work to focus on your breathing, your faith, and think of others. Focus on somebody else and their issues, and be supportive and available to them. Gets you out of yourself. Now go see your daughter tomorrow."
S: "I'll tell my daughter we hung out."
A: "Good. Focus on her and the grandkids. Don't talk about yourself unless you're asked, and then use words like "I'm wonderful sweetheart, now tell me more about you." She's not your therapist, she's your daughter. Be a Dad to her. Focus only on her and the kids."
S: "Got it."
A: "And Stan?"
S: "Yeah, Annie?"
A: "It's OK. It's painful. Been there. But today, turn this thing over. Breathe. And Believe."
You learned. Good man. Now remember. And stay in Faith. Talk to you soon."
S: "I've got this?"
A: "You. And God. Keep Breathing."
Brought to you by Annie and Stan, two wonderful human beings, just doing their best to help.