Someone close to me is in a 12-step program. A saying from AA that I love is, “you don’t have to show up to every fight you are invited to.”
Many of my recent meditations lately have been about focusing on and noticing the pause between breaths. The idea behind this is if you slow down enough, whenever something negative comes into your life, such as an insult from your boss, a tiff with your partner, or something else, you can stop and take a minute to decide how to respond before getting into a fight.
I used to feel a sense of urgency in life. If someone attacked me, I had to retaliate immediately, usually with a terse email. I now wait at least 24-hours, which gives me time to process my immediate emotions and then respond in a much calmer manner.
Recently, I had a sticky situation come up with a new client. I received an email that kind of threw me for a loop. I felt an instant rush of anger, defensiveness, and resentment. However, because I waited one full day before responding, I was then able to draft an email that I felt good about. I terminated the relationship with the client. It was not a good fit, but at least I didn’t make things worse for myself or them by responding in the wrong way.
Negative Only Leads to More Negative
Whether or not you believe in LOA (law of attraction), I think it’s easy to see that negative always leads to more negative. For example, if I wake up in a lousy mood, within a few moments, I will have some type of body ache. That one turns into another, and then I might drop something or get an email that takes me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Negative is like a magnet. It pulls in more of the same if you don’t nip it in the bud.
My boyfriend recently learned a good lesson about just this topic. He tends to like a good debate. However, he got into a discussion with a friend, and it turned very hostile. Then he got into another argument with a different friend. My boyfriend finally realized he felt like he was in a tailspin of negativity, and he felt the “pull” to keep it going. The problem was it was raising his blood pressure and not making him feel very good physically. So, despite his default tendencies, he amicably ended both debates and apologized for his part. He then decided to put space between himself and one of these friends because the friend tends to breed negativity.
You must experience these things for yourself to learn the lesson and finally do what is right for you. I spent years learning how to change who I am, But I am finally doing things the way I want to.
When my sweet, loving boyfriend gets in a mood and wants to debate, I sometimes politely decline because I don’t need to show up for every fight I am invited to.