“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished.”
In The Untethered Soul, Michael J. Singer writes that our tendency to be easily irritated is a remnant of the fight or flight response in a culture that no longer has everyday physical threats. Most of us have met our basic needs, so now our sympathetic nervous system has turned its sensitive trigger toward psychological and emotional threats. When someone says something hateful or derogatory to us, our immediate response is defensive, just as it would be if there were a physical threat. It really doesn't take much to set us off—a turn of phrase, a cynical toss of head, rolled eyes. Many of us wear our sensitivity like a feather in our cap, easily blown by the wind. It's surprising how much energy goes into defending this delicate ego-self.
When we react in this defensive manner, we feel disturbed for some time. Sometimes we keep the anger response boiling away inside by self-talk. “What is her problem!” “She's got a lot of nerve!” Even when the slight we experienced was minor, we build on it with our thoughts, like fanning a flame. Sometimes our reactions to the initial affront become excessive, and that flame bursts into a bush fire. Doors are slammed, words yelled, and sometimes, violence ensues.
We can learn otherwise, if we choose. We can learn to override that system when it comes to mere words or gestures. We can simply blow it off, choose not to shut down, or explode. We can choose to simply let it roll away with no attention given. We can decide that our energy is more precious than that, and there are better uses for it than striking back. We can breathe into our bellies and exhale all that ugliness. Life is a gift. Let's not waste it in a war of angry words.
In the Spirit,