If you have ever been a commercial airline flight, you’ve heard the pre-flight safety instructions:
“Please secure your own oxygen mask first, before helping someone else with theirs…”
Taking care of ourselves first, is NOT selfish, or self-centered. If you want to be capable of giving love… you have to give love to yourself first. If you want to be patient, and compassionate towards other people… you must first be patient and compassionate with yourself. If you want to show respect and appreciation to others… you must first be respectful and appreciative towards yourself. So, taking care of ourselves first, is not selfish or self-centered… it is essential, to our capacity to truly care for other people.
“The Joys of Holiday Stress”
The holidays can be an interesting time…quite a departure from our “normal” routines. So many things to do, so many people to see… it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. Most of the JOY we experience during the holidays has to do with how we relate to other people. Coincidentally, most of the STRESS we experience also has to do with how we relate to other people.
An extremely important skill to possess, especially during this time of the year, is the skill of establishing and maintaining HEALTHY boundaries. Establishing healthy boundaries is critical to maintaining control over our own health and happiness… it is a matter of self-preservation.
What I am specifically talking about here is establishing and maintaining clear boundaries between EXTERNAL events (what other’s do, or say, to us), and INTERNAL events (how we react… through our thoughts and feelings). If we don’t do this, it can lead us to wonder “Who is really in charge? ME… or external events? We need to be in charge of who we let in, and how we LET them affect us.
We all have buttons, or triggers, that can start powerful thought and feeling sequences. This can be a good thing if a healthy and happy emotional state is triggered. Most of us have the good fortune to associate with people that bring out the best in us. If you LOVE someone, just the sound of their name can trigger emotions of joy and gratitude.
However, most of us also have the misfortune of associating with someone that brings out the worst in us… and we may run into some of these people during the holidays
- Are there certain people who just “rub” you the wrong way?
- Are there certain phrases, or expressions, that trigger a negative emotional reaction from you?
- Is there a certain person, who uses certain phrases, that really just “pushes your buttons”?
How do the people that know us best, know exactly which buttons to push? Through experience… they may have “accidentally” pushed one of our buttons, and we responded or reacted in a particular way. If they want the same reaction again, they have learned which buttons to push… (we teach them about our buttons).
Do people push our buttons to CONTROL our behavior? Of course they do… we ALL do this. “Button pushing” is at the core of advertising, persuasion and influence. The problem arises when we LET people push our buttons, when they don’t have our best interest in mind. If our responses to their pushing are predictable, they can use those buttons over and over again to control our behavior.
If your “BUTTONS” are wide open for anyone to push, that leaves you in a rather vulnerable position… doesn’t it?
We need to be in charge of those buttons, with the best “Button-Operator” being ourselves. PUSH YOUR OWN BUTTONS!
Pushing your own buttons, to get what you want
Can we really push our own buttons to get what we want out of life? Absolutely…take a moment to consider the following questions and comments:
- What do you have in your life that you are grateful for… what do you have that triggers an “ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE”?
- Think about ALL of the great things you have in your life…
- Think about the people in your life, who bring out the BEST in you…
- Think about a “special” person (spouse/partner, son/daughter, grandchildren, or best friend), that brings happiness and joy to you.
Think well on these… do you feel better now than you did when we discussed the people that get on your nerves?
Practice pushing YOUR own “Attitude of Gratitude” button. Practice this often, so the skill becomes well developed, and you can easily call on this… when you need it the most.
When you find yourself in need of an “attitude adjustment”, your mood is not ideal, or you are just having a “BAD” day… you can put yourself in a better place. Practice pushing your “positive” buttons, so that you can control and direct your reactions. One of the things that you will notice, as you get better at pushing your own positive buttons, is that you are less likely to LET other people get on your nerves.
Oh by the way… don’t be surprised, if the people that USED to push you buttons… are surprised by the fact that you are NO LONGER responding, and reacting to their attempts.
Mark E. Poisall, MS, CSCS
Medifast Nutrition Support Team