‘Tis the season for assumptions -Fa la la la la la la la! And with assumptions come old patterns of behavior that don’t serve us anymore. You may be dreading a certain holiday gathering because you know Uncle Bob is going to make a racist remark that is going to make you bristle. You may be dreading the end-of-year holiday party at work because it feels so phony.
One of the best gifts you can give to yourself and your family is being your authentic self mixed with some kindness. It takes much less energy than being on guard and assuming you have to act in a certain way, and it gives others permission to be authentic as well. You might just change a destructive dynamic
Here’s today’s letting go exercise ~ Let go of assumptions:
1. Calm your nervous system by taking some deep, even breaths. Make sure the exhale is at least as long as the inhale. This will activate the relaxation response.
2. Think of a relative, friend of co-worker that you expect to have difficulty with over the next month.
3. Picture yourself approaching this person with an open mind, as if it is the first time you have spoken with them.
4. If this person does act in a habitual way that hurts or irritates you, picture yourself staying calm, and responding in a loving way, communicating with this person as if they are a fragile child.
** Note: this exercise is not about letting yourself take abuse from somebody who habitually treats you poorly. Rather it is about you taking back power by choosing to respond in a present moment way. You may choose to walk away from an abusive person – just try to do it in calm, mindful way.
It never feels good to revert to a younger, less centered version of ourselves when a relative, friend, or co-worker picks at an old wound. Using mindfulness, particularly the skill of beginner’s mind can keep you from being held hostage by old, outdated assumptions, and will remind you that you have power in the present moment, even if you didn’t in the past. Every encounter with a problematic person is a chance to be the change you want to see.
We wish twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!