Knee-Jerk Reactions

October 5, 2014

So, there are different ways we respond to the challenges that come up in life.  Knee-jerk reactions.  This is not necessarily the way we respond to every situation, but how we respond most of the time.

The first type of person’s knee-jerk reaction to something bad that happens in their day is self-blame. “Look at how I messed up here! Why didn’t I just stick with…(fill in the blank with the ‘other plan’; ie take the train -instead of the bus/walk the kids to school - instead of drive/go to the mall - instead of staying in bed?) Now my whole day is messed up!”  Or, it can sound like this: “What did I do to deserve this?”.  There is a lot of self-judgment involved.

The second type of knee-jerk reaction is other-person focused.  “Wow, that person was a real jerk”, “The audacity of that sales clerk!”, “That person just ruined my day/month/year!!!”, “Oh, those rotten kids – look what they did now!”, “My husband’s in a bad mood and now I can’t get anything done…”.  (Sound familiar?)

The last type of reaction is Universe/G-d focused and sounds like this: “Why is the universe doing this to me?!”, “Just look at this world – what a messed up place!”, “This community is deteriorating – I have to find new neighbors/get out of here!”.  Or, “This weather stinks!  What a rotten day!”.

The common thread here is blame-shift, or you can call it disempowerment.  By harshly judging oneself, by blaming others, or by blaming the Universe, one is denying any culpability in the wrongdoing.  They are outshifting the responsibility – either to others/the Universe, or by stating that they are so forgone they can’t even be blamed.  If I can’t do anything right, then I am certainly not to blame for doing something wrong.  By outshifting responsibility, they are not responsible either for what happened, nor the consequences.  Now they can go on in their bad mood and it’s all out of their control.  “It’s not my fault I can’t do anything right/It’s not my fault G-d made this such a lousy day/It’s not my fault my friend was such a jerk.”  Outshifting.

Let’s look deeper here at what is really happening.  By outshifting, this person has now handed over power to the thing they are blaming.  Thus they have disempowered themselves.  They are allowing what is “someone else’s fault” define their behavior/reaction.  They are saying, in essence, “you have done this to me so now you have control over my reaction, and heck – maybe even my whole day!” 

Breathe a minute.  This can be a very uncomfortable insight.  If this resonates with you, take a breath.  It is just a pattern and all patterns, by definition, can be broken or changed. 

You, the true you, is the only one who has real power over how you react or act in any given situation.  If you have gotten used to shifting that power to others, it is always yours to take back.  This is not something you want to be sharing.  Take It Back. 

There is a fourth type of knee-jerk reaction.  And that is “I am really bummed about what just happened.  I recognize, though, that this is exactly the way things should have happened.  So now, let me see what I can learn from this, so I don’t repeat this mistake/so I don’t find myself in this situation again.”.

It can also sound like this: “I recognize that my kids are off the wall/my husband is in a bad mood/that sales clerk was really mean to me/I did not get enough sleep last night staying up late to watch that show - but I am still me.  I am beautiful and I have so much to offer and if I get in a bad mood now, how well will my light be able to shine?  If I allow this to get me down, what good does that do me?”.

Take back the power.  Let your light shine bright onto the world.  Do NOT give anyone the power to dim your radiance.  Do not let anyone or anything get in the way of behaving the way your true self wants to behave.

 

If you do, you only have yourself to blame.

 

Sending love and serenity,

And wishes for a tranquil New Year,

Devorah

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