Don’t Freeze The Board!

I can’t see the future

I haven’t met anyone who could.*

Because of that, to help keep my ideas in perspective, I like to think about life as a game. And like most games, it comes with a board, rules, etc.

One of the most important rules of that game is that the board isn’t frozen, and won’t freeze unless I decide to freeze it.

What I mean by that is that there are multiple moves in any situation.

It helps to remind ourselves that the mind shifts its perception based on how we feel.

Instead of remembering that we can maneuver, our emotions freeze, take a snapshot and tells us to play the game as if the board is locked.

This is the point where we start making a “5-year plan” or saying things like  “forever.” We look at the world as it is now and thinks it was always this way. We stop talking to people we care about because the correspondence hit a lull and we didn’t email back.

Our abilities stay locked like the board, missing the opportunity (and fun) of life.

We make ourselves rigid in a world that rewards the flexible.

Rigid things break.

*If you see the future please tweet at me @thehonorableAT and let’s talk immediately.

Understand Why You Get Defensive

defensive

Being defensive means you already made up what happened in your head and you don’t want to hear another one. What happened becomes set by ego, not circumstance, and instead of understanding you have a bitter peace when the conflict stops.

So, you’ve kept your ego safe, what are the consequences of being defensive?

Since you didn’t hear the other person, now they generally get more defensive. Whatever discussion that happened between both parties is over, and the point is lost. What replaces the point is more yelling and screaming, because when we don’t feel heard, we just get louder. It stops being about the truth, it’s about being right.

That bitter peace feeds into resentment. Resentment is difficult to face because it hides well and shadows every move a person makes. That resentment feeds other things, such as anger and depression, which eventually leak out. The result isn’t good. I’ve held in resentment for a long time,and hurt innocent people with it. That just leaves me with regret.

 

Alright, so my relationship with the other person gets damaged, I get to be alright!

Not so fast. Putting up armor to defend yourself keeps bad stuff out, but it also doesn’t discriminate against the good. Nothing gets to you, and that energy sticks with you. Instead of moving on, you end up resenting things about the fight. This is when you start thinking about good lines, and things that could have said.

So now there is resentment in the moment.  That turns into misery. As much as you think that closing up makes you better, now you’re trapped.

We can’t help getting defensive, but its possible to pay attention to it. Instead of fighting it, listen to your defensiveness. Something around you is hitting on a truth you believe but don’t want to accept.

Stop the discussion and talk about that if you are with people you trust. If you aren’t, take note of it, and try to breathe. Get present.