Especially, how do you deal with inconvenience you're responsible for?
How do you deal with inconvenience? When something reaaaaally doesn’t go your way? What about if you caused or contributed to creating the situation you’re in? How do you deal with it then?
Last night I spent a good few hours sat waiting for a tow truck on the side of the freeway here in Melbourne. I had a flat tyre after driving through a surprise pothole, and didn’t have the right equipment to change the tyre myself. I was driving the car that I share with my partner, and it’s his pride and joy. So, not only were our Friday night plans out the window, but I’d also hurt my partner’s car, and cost us money in the process, as we ended up having to replace the tyre, in addition to getting the car towed home…
Driving through a surprise pothole that I couldn’t steer around because of the wet roads is an honest mistake. It’s the kind of thing that could happen to anyone at any time, but despite that fact, I see women respond to themselves in these kinds of situations in a range of pretty unsupportive ways…
So, what do you do? Collapse? Get lost in a swamp of distressed emotion and have a bit of a pity party, or go right into trying to imagine how you’ll hide this from the people in your life because the embarrassment feels a bit overwhelming?
Do you flip into anger? Seething, clenched teeth, perhaps silently punishing yourself for your stupidity and raging away at the fact that the right equipment isn’t stored in the car?
Maybe you go right into over functioning, being hyper-competent and rushing to fix the problem as quickly as you can, completely ignoring the parts of you that are feeling vulnerable?
Life is full of inconveniences, and you’re going to make mistakes. Problem-solving and tyre changing skills are great, though what’s even better is the ability to stay present with yourself – AND be kind to yourself! – through a shitty situation that you’re caught up in and may have even contributed to creating.
Do I feel a bit bad about damaging the car, disappointed that our Friday night plans went out the window and generally a bit despondent about spending a few hours sitting under an overpass by myself in the cold and rain? OF COURSE! I’m human!
But instead of collapsing into guilt and shame, beating myself up, overriding myself and trying to fix it or some combination of all of the above, I took care of what needed to be done to get the car and myself home, while noticing what was going on in my inner world and bringing presence and compassion there.
The flexibility, resilience, softness and capacity of your nervous system is what will determine whether you can show up for yourself like this or not.
Regardless of how your system responds to these kinds of situations right now, you CAN create a new system that will enable you to show up in totally different ways.