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The problem is me, not others.

The problem is me, not others.

5 ways to understand our reactions

written by Ignacio de Grado

You may have at times experienced the feeling of not being understood by others. Thinking that people don't treat you the way you treat them. That you are not appreciated enough. That people often don't respect you

You have a lot of problems going on around you, your family doesn't always understand you, and your partner never listens to you. These are just a few examples of a state of mind entirely controlled by the ego.

The reality is different, but we often don't want to see it. Most of the time, we react to others, but the problem is usually with ourselves, not with the people involved in the situation.

1    Identify the trigger

There is always a cause for every reaction we have. Often, something not so important happens that makes us react negatively. When this situation occurs with a family member, our ego has memories of past events and makes us very sensitive to an attitude that may manifest in front of us. 

From a mindfulness point of view, analyzing the past is not recommended. Still, we can make an exception here because our goal is nothing more than to understand why we are reacting and to identify what our inner - often hidden - problem is. So in your mind, objectively review your negative reactions: what happened around you to trigger that response? Maybe it was a gesture or a specific comment from a person, and evaluate how disproportionate your reaction was. Often the ego of others knows perfectly how to strike our ego's weak points and trigger those reactions. It's important to be mindful that what happens when you react is a manifestation of some unbalanced issue within you. Find out what this issue is and observe it. Soon, you will discover the answers in front of you.


2   Have healthy habits 

Our bodies have a strong influence over our minds. Just think about the day after you have drunk excessively, how reactive you are, how lazy and unbalanced. We may be tempted to engage in unhealthy activities because of the instant pleasures they bring to our lives, but in the long run, the consequences are far worse. Drinking, for example, can upset your balance and that of all those around you - friends, colleagues, or family. A healthy life with healthy routines brings with it a healthy mind as a consequence. By eating properly, sleeping well, and exercising, we become more balanced and less reactive..

3   Observe more and talk less

Sometimes we live in a dormant way. When we are focused on distractions, social media, TV, shopping, etc., our ego keeps us occupied with often unproductive matters. In this way, we are not aware of what is really happening around us. We don't pay attention to nature, to the present moment, to simple things like the sound of a bird or the wind blowing. In order to have a calmer state of mind and be less susceptible to every situation that happens around us, an excellent exercise is to force ourselves to observe more from a present moment perspective and talk less. Pay attention when you talk, and be objective about the message you are producing: Are you gossiping? Talking about others? Not listening to other opinions? Observing more and talking less will make us more present, more aware, less affected by everything around us, and therefore less reactive.

4   Meditate 

 The next step to lowering our reaction level is to create a calmer environment within ourselves. Reinforce the connection with our true self and make our ego less powerful. There is no better practice for this purpose than meditating. If you don't meditate often, don't be overly ambitious in the beginning because initially, you may find it challenging to sit and relax. Your ego will make it difficult by developing defense mechanisms, such as reminding you that you have many things to do. Maybe you can watch a movie, cook dinner, do anything other than sit and try to keep your mind blank. Make an effort, maybe just 5-10 minutes in the beginning. Meditation is something that should be trained and practiced often. It should be part of our healthy daily routines. If meditation becomes difficult for you, try doing awareness exercises, such as sitting relaxed somewhere and looking at everything around you, making an effort not to produce any thoughts. Just witness the reality around you without judging. The more you practice meditation, the better and calmer your true self will be, and the fewer reactions you will have.

5    Become aware

The most important part of recognizing where the problem lies when our ego makes us react emotionally in a negative way is to increase our awareness. Being more aware makes you pay closer attention to the present, diminishing your ego's ability to produce emotions. 

Our Inspirational cards are an excellent tool for learning to manage your emotions and become productive. Use them to become more aware, more awakened, and avoid living out a reality partly created by your ego.

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