Feel Happier Improve Your Life Personal Growth By Mary Jaksch Hurtful words can sting. Once said, they cannot be unsaid. My belly sinks. I feel deflated and exhausted. Sometimes, my mind replays a heated discussion. And I can’t get it out of my mind, it bothers me too much. Have you ever felt this way? Is there a way to clear your mind and feel peace? You bet there is (and it’s probably not what you think)… Are you taking things personally? A sinking feeling in your belly is a good indicator that you may be taking it personally. Trouble is, feelings are not a switch that can be turned on and off. It would be great if it were that easy, but it’s not. Not until you understand what the root of the problem is. beware of labeling yourself How do you see yourself? Caring? Compassionate? Nurturing? Go ahead, fill in the blank: I am __________. Do you take it personally when someone misjudges you? shift your perspective—use the power of three The solution to this is to look at it from a different point of view. Instead of there being just the two of you, imagine that there are three entities: me, you, and the relationship that we co-create. This is the power of three. Let’s take our relationship, for example. There is myself, the writer of this post. You are the reader. And there is our relationship. I am in relationship with you right now. (How cool is that, I’m using the power of three!) Our relationship has the potential to grow if we cultivate it. It also has the potential to diminish. Like a garden, our relationship is a separate entity, and its properties (size, quality, feeling) depend on what we bring to it. In a garden, I could bring seeds and you could bring water. The garden will grow depending on what we bring to it. Relationships work similarly. As I write, I bring thoughtfulness, insight, and my experience to my relationship with you. As a reader, you might bring attention to the post or share insights in the comments field. how does this bring peace when someone complains? From this model, notice: the complaints are not about you. They are about what you bring to the relationship. Use the power of three to shift the target of the complaint. Make the target the relationship, not you. The power of three allows us to look at the situation more objectively without getting so absorbed in it. 1. be mindful of what you bring to any relationship What do you bring to a relationship? Encouragement? Support? Neglect? How often do you bring this to the relationship? What does (s)he bring to the relationship? You can always choose to bring something else to change the relationship. 2. the relationship is a co-created entity that is separate from you Your relationship is not the same as you. Once you realize that any relationship is separate from who you really are, you can consider hurtful comments from a different perspective. The comments did not target you, they targeted something separate from you. This makes it easier not to take things personally. 3. stalk your thoughts When a thought leads to a sinking feeling in your belly, use the power of three to imagine yourself, the other person, and your relationship. Breathe deeply and say, “I choose not to take this personally,” out loud. And that means your mind does not even get to think about it. No replays. No “what if’s”. Nada. You must stalk your thoughts. Every thought matters. At first, it may seem as though you are doing it several times a day. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. In time, this practice can become second nature. How does this shift in perspective affect how you view your relationships? I’d love to hear from you. About the author: Angela Berenstein (@EnergyBudget) is a certified black belt teacher of the Nia Technique of energy management. Angela is on a mission to help people find more pep and vigor in their life by learning how to manage their energy levels. Check out her site at The Energy Budget.