Three Questions and Two Statements

By Sandy Wiener

Let’s say I am getting into an argument with Sarah, or confronting a stupid and aggressive driver, or becoming aggravated at any number of situations.

Then I am becoming worked up and ready to respond in various (unhelpful) ways.

Here are three questions and two suggestions that have helped a lot in these situations.

The Questions:

How important is what’s going on, really?

Is my reaction being kind, both to myself and to the other party?

What does my heart say about this situation, and what does my ego say?

The Statements:

Don’t take things personally.

Stop and breathe.

3 comments on Three Questions and Two Suggestions

  • Kent Hackmann

    I noticed your posting. I am not clear whether you just put it out there for everyone to read or whether you are inviting responses. I hope it the latter.

    Your scenario points up a very common human experience and raises the question of how one responds to life. I suggest that, perhaps, each of us wants to be in mastery of our feelings (especially anger, or judgment about what someone is doing) rather than reactive (getting worked up) in ways that are not helpful for relations with those we love or those who are simply in the situation (the aggressive driver).

    You first question beings to mind the title of a classic of a few years ago, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and Everything is Small Stuff.”

    The second question suggests further questions, which I personalize, “How am I holding myself?” “Am I being judgmental or discerning?” “What is my mind saying to me about the situation and the person or persons in the situation?”

    The third question, which I again personalize, suggests something fundamental: “Do I have a kind, loving heart or do I have a hard heart?”

    As for your statements, both make sense to me and ring true to my own life experiences.

  • sandy wiener

    Kent, I do appreciate your reactions.

    Yes, I made the observation, partly to get things started, and mainly to write/elicit responses. The hope/expectation is that others will then react as well (actually, kind of like I am doing now).

    I like the way you have rephrased the points I was making.

    I particularly like your reference to “small stuff.” I asked a great friend from Yale once about how he remained so easy going, calm, in the face of various things happening in his life. He replied that he doesn’t sweat the small stuff.

    So I did a Google of the book you referred to and have copied a bunch of quotes from it (via goodreads) that I’ll take with me on the plane East — I’m going partly for our Class Council meeting this Saturday morning where I’ll promote our new website and hopefully get more people participating!

    To be continued, Sandy

  • Kent Hackmann

    The website is in early days, and it may take our classmates time to discover it and recognize its value.

    How did your promotional effort go at the Class Council?

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