Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rejecting the Ugly-Self

It doesn’t matter which ugly-self comes to mind, but I am willing to bet many of us have a few things about ourselves we would rather not have others see let alone know about. Just because historical bad behavior follows you like stinky cheese, it doesn’t mean you can’t start changing the aroma a bit.

I was talking to Kay the other day as she was in the aftermath of yet another confrontation with her ugly-self. We talked about what brought this particular battle on and why she thinks she responds the way she does. Many times it involves other people⎯you know, the ones that push your buttons. Then again, it may involve no one else but little old stinky you. Your ugly-self pops up when you least expect it. It’s sneaky that way⎯hmm, sneaky and stinky are not words I want following me around.

I was already familiar with other aspects of Kay’s life and how many things SEEM to be out of control. The more out of control our life SEEMS, the more ugly-selves we have staring back at us in the mirror. Kay mentioned she really did not want to act the way she does, and it only makes her feel worse about everything in her life. I pointed out that her past behavior had not served her well and there was only one way to address it. STOP!

The ugly-self usually reacts immediately in any given situation, so I have found in order to make a change:
  • I must become aware of the moments I want to change.
  • I need to STOP in those moments!
  • I need to take a breath, or two or three…
  • I need to make a choice (do nothing, respond in a positive way with no lingering aroma, or let the stink fly and deal with the consequences).
Simple⎯STOP, take a moment, take a breath and you decide in that moment how you will respond. In that moment you can take control and make a difference in your life right now. You see it really is up to you. Other people may set you off, but you are the one allowing ugly-self to respond. In my life I find it much easier to make a change if I start out by keeping it simple. Thus, by taking a pause, I have a moment to do a quick analysis of why I am feeling anger, stress or whatever the negative emotion is, and because I am making a real concerted effort to change ugly-self behavior, I change.

DO NOT let your stinking history foul up what is happening now. The more you pause and become aware of your thoughts, feelings and emotions of that space in time you can change. Kay listened and in an absolutely confident voice she said, “I can do that!” There is a big learning curve here for everyone, and we will all experience a whiff of stinky cheese every once in awhile, but the more you STOP and take control of the moment, it becomes a habit. Now that is the sweet smell of success I can live with.

Photo courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt
© Copyright 2011 Michelle Clark