Stress and Ease
We have so long become used to feeling bad in one way or another, or feeling some form of emotional stress, that we often come to take it for granted. We tell ourselves this is just built into being human; it’s just the way it is; there is no way out. So, we do our best to avoid anything external that might be anticipated as unpleasant, or we simply endure.
What we rarely do is begin to question whether feeling bad or anxious or stressed out is mandatory, or whether these states might be something we can look more deeply into in order to find relief. For whatever reason, most of us would rather feel stressed out or just plain feel bad rather than undertake the effort to look more deeply at what is going on with an eye toward understanding whether how we feel is actually mandatory. Unfortunately, to ignore these states can result in taking a physical toll on our bodies that shortens out lives, compromises our immune system and makes us sick.
Were we to actually look more closely at what is going on when we feel bad or when stress is running us, the first (and only) place to make a beeline would be our head. What is the story in our head about the situation? Take, for example, an encounter with a spouse or a friend or even an acquaintance, where a level of honesty is the only approach that will bring relief. Why is it that for one person this encounter is a breeze, just part of what they do and who they are ; and, for another, it is fraught with fear and trepidation and keeps them up at night anticipating what will occur. Could it be that the difference between the two people is exactly this: what story is each telling themselves about the encounter, what story does each believe, if any, about it?
The mind of the first person might be saying that the encounter will be a way to get emotionally closer, or that honesty, being of such a high value for them, such an encounter will only enhance their well being. More likely, however, they have no story running about the encounter. It will just be what it is. Here, the point is not so much what the person without stress is telling themselves or not, for it really does not matter. What matters is that whatever it is, there is no stress attached. This then points to the one who is stressed out about the encounter.
One might imagine what this person is telling themselves. It could be anything,, but some likely stories that might be running through their head are: they won’t like me; they will be angry with me; I have to make them feel ok; They won’t listen to me; They’ll think I’m weird; I’ll mess it up; I’ll forget what I want to say; and on and on and on. Of course such an encounter will be highly stressful for the one who is saying these kinds of things. It would be for anyone who had similar beliefs are running the(ir) show. But, do such beliefs really need to run the(ir) show? Only if they are assumed and not questioned.
A simple question asked of any of these clearly stressful beliefs can help one take a closer look at them and get underneath their apparent veracity. That question would be: IS IT TRUE? Ask this question of any of the stressful beliefs noted in the example, look deeply at the answer and allow it to come on its own. Invariably, when it does the answer that comes back as NO. IT IS NOT TRUE. In fact, if any of these stressful beliefs are turned around to their opposite, one can find this opposite statement is at least as true, if not truer than the original stressful story. Try it yourself. Such a process, if diligently undertaken when stressful beliefs arise, can lead to far greater ease.