We All Know This!
I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, but I am asking if you’ve really thought about the effect of stress on you and others.
This blog comes from deeply personal experience. Towards the end of last year I had a very upsetting experience and I was super-aware of the negative impact it had on me. It was probably one of the most unpleasant examples of negative energy thrown at me that I’d ever had.
At Christmas we both caught the cold, and anyone who had it will tell you that it was a particularly vicious bug. Then I got shingles, and then one of our cats died in the most inexplicable accident, that showed us just how powerless you can be to protect those you love. We were devastated.
I have had plenty of stress in my life, but never before has it felt so personal. I can’t really explain that statement in any other way than to say that I felt fully, spiritually awake and very very aware.
I’ve often commented on social media about stress, asking:
Do you believe that stress causes illness? If so:
Why do you stay in stressful situations?
Why do you stress others?
I’ve stayed in stressful situations for two reasons, firstly I’ve felt that it was my fault, and secondly I’ve felt that if I just kept trying ‘things’ would get better. I have also put up with people for whom stressing others out is something of a hobby: family; so-called-friends; ex-husband; bosses who shouldn’t be allowed to be in charge of anything with feelings.
The most important things I’ve learned, which are again obvious, is that if something makes you unhappy give it a reasonable period of time – I would suggest no longer than 3 months – and if it still isn’t working for you run like hell. Yes give up! Quit – be an unapologetic quitter! Walk away and don’t look back! No matter what the situation or who the people involved, if you can’t heal it or beat it, leave it! I literally cannot express this strongly enough.
However, there’s another important cliche we need to bring into this equation – think before you speak. We often think about how others stress us, but we feel that our own reactions and actions are justified. Whether justified or not we shouldn’t cause anyone stress, because if we believe it’s not good for us it certainly isn’t something we should be dishing out.
Why is modern life so stressful?
We live in a world with two new-ish problems that are making stress more likely: continuing dramas (a perfect name for soap operas); and social media.
With recent generations having been raised on a diet of soap operas, where drama is a way of life, and a short time later you’re all good buddies again, I feel that people are buying into the idea of drama without buying into the reality of the consequences.
The same goes for social media, you can be a keyboard warrior, throw around all the insults you wish, and never have to see or even think about the consequences. You can feel completely righteous in your opinion without ever having to know the affect of your words, or even question whether you know the facts.
For me the biggest problem has always been that I’ve wanted to stand up for myself in life, protect myself from stress and stop it affecting me, but not become one of those people who shoots first and asks questions later. Not over-defensive, pre-attack-defensive, or feeling that my feelings are so very important it doesn’t matter whether I crush yours as long as I stay sane.
The Spiritual Answer
As always I worked with my Guide, Amos, on this one, and as always he taught me something so simple, so blindingly obvious, but often unseen by the human mind.
“In your world there is fault and blame. In a disagreement, for one to be hurt the other has to be the cause. The one feels innocent, the other is perceived to be guilty. It isn’t pleasant to feel guilty therefore the angry person will also see that the other person is to blame, maybe having driven them to their words and actions.
If you are in a job you dislike you are taught to carry on and on, why? If you are in an unhappy partnership/marriage you are taught to try, try, try again, and then again? Often that just prolongs the hurt for both partners. If friends betray you over and over again, you are taught to forgive otherwise you are a bad person. If someone is unkind you are taught to look at how they may be feeling, not how you are feeling.
What if you looked at it that no one is to blame, no one has done anything wrong, but you just don’t want to be there. You’ve tried hard but you don’t want to be part of whatever it is anymore.
If asked why you have walked away, simply say “I couldn’t deal with the situation”. If the other person chooses to suggest you’re weak or a quitter, don’t let that concern you. Only be concerned about your mental, emotional, and physical health. Because the only person who can look after you is you.”
Once I had the idea of just walking quietly away with no need to find a reason why, to apportion blame, or to feel stupid in myself because I couldn’t cope – just to evaluate my mental, physical, and emotional health, and act accordingly – I realised how very simple it is to prevent a vast amount of stress and get out of difficult situations with zero guilt at high speed. Just walk.
Well that and avoid social media as much as you can. Make your friends page a friends page!