Have you ever asked someone “how are you” and the question opened the floodgates to a venting session? During the first day of yoga teacher training, I found myself to be “that guy.”
Yikes, not very yoga teacher like huh?
On the first day, we did a few icebreaker exercises. Some of the questions included sharing with one another why we decided to sign up for yoga teacher training and what got us into practicing yoga.
Over the course of the next few days, we also discussed and reflected on the yoga philosophy and lifestyle. Throughout the discussions, the theme of my responses centered around yoga being my outlet from a career that I disliked.
Wait. That’s a diplomatic way of putting it. By “disliked”, I really meant, I hated my job. I could not stand my passive aggressive coworkers. And don’t get me started on the micromanaging boss.
But of course, I kept it diplomatic and didn’t use those class discussions to vent in the zen atmosphere of the yoga studio sanctuary. In fact, I put forth every bit of my upbeat personality there was.
During our lunch break on the third day of training, I was eating with a fellow trainee at a cafe. I began the conversation with how I found Sundays to be difficult because I was already dreading Monday. She commented that it sounded like I hated my job very much.
Her observation took me by surprise. Here I thought I was really filtering all the negativity and being cheerful! I didn’t realize my career unhappiness still seethed through my smile and jokes.
So I put pen to paper and wrote out what aspects of my job that I hated so much that led me to carry it everywhere I went. I came to the conclusion that I needed to work on managing my thoughts through understanding my perceptions.
I was ruminating about all the events that occurred during the previous week, weeks ago, and even conversations that happened months ago. It was as if I was a grievance collector!
In my mind, I was replaying to myself: “Back in January of 2014, he made this snide comment that was completely out of line. Then in April, he said this which makes him a hypocrite!”
Even though I didn’t go into much details of my job dissatisfaction during the first days of training, my demeanor, energy, and “vibes” just gave off how unhappy I was at the office.
My idle thoughts kept focusing on the past when I should have said to myself: “Hmm, there is a thought”, recognize that it was my perception of the situation, not necessarily the reality, then let the thought go. I like the visual of putting the thought in a cloud and letting it float on.
Our perception is not always the reality.
Everyone brings their own unique background and experiences to the table. Thus, one person’s interpretation of a particular conversation will not necessarily be the same as the other person in the same conversation.
There are 3 sides to every story. Your side, the other person’s side, and what actually happened. So we are all left with a lot of different perceptions that are neither right or wrong.
With that understanding and putting the “cloud” technique into practice, I developed a calmer mindset. I consciously made an effort to let go of the negative thoughts. This gave me space to focus on the positive aspects of my career: learning more compassion, lessons of forgiveness, opportunities for self-reflection.
So the bottom line is, make at least one conscious effort every day to say something that you are authentically positive about. When people ask “how are you today?”, pause before you complain about the traffic, weather, or the bad cup of coffee. Instead, redirect your attention and replace the thought with a positive statement or compliment.
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