January 7th, 2015
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Let It Go

“Mom. You don’t have to react to everything.”

These pearls of incredible wisdom came out of the mouth of my son when he was very young, maybe ten or eleven years old.  We were in the car driving to some sports activity and I was trying to squeeze in an errand or two before practice started.  The tight schedule led me to comment (read rant) about the lack of driving skills of those sharing the road with me and a few other hot buttons issues that we were talking about while I was driving.

“Mom.  You don’t have to react to everything.”

He said it so quietly.  Yet so simply and so directly.

Of course I looked over at this wise little buddha in the passenger seat and started to laugh.

“You’re right, you’re right.  I know you’re right.  Why do I do that?”

I didn’t expect an answer which was good because I’m sure I would not have liked my son’s answer.  But his remark that day had the effect of slamming the brakes on my behavior and made me act differently for the rest of the day.

I am always a work in progress and constantly trying to be mindful and aware.  Changing my behavior is part of developing resilience within myself.  I am always reminding myself that I am capable of choosing which emotions I allow to affect my life.

My son’s remark is always with me but it came to mind yesterday when I was in the midst of a casual conversation.  I thought it was about nothing when it took a turn and things were said that I wanted to react to.  Not important things, but I felt the tone of the conversation was becoming challenging.

Instead of going with my first reaction of defending my point of view, I mentally pinched myself and kept my thoughts to myself.  “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” I thought to myself.  “If you don’t say anything, then you don’t have anything to take back or try to explain.”

I find it hard to practice restraint but the practicing of restraint and resisting a reaction to something that feels negative is also what it’s all about when I write about giving each day our best shot and developing our best selves.

We have the power.  We have choices.

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