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Master or student – do you really have a choice?

When I got to my car the other day, I found it with a broken exterior mirror. When the day starts like this, you can be angry, send vulgar vocabulary to the unknown rioters inside your head or even better scream them out loudly, and get angry for the rest of the week. My decision was (of course?) Different. Do you know why?

Facts, thoughts, essentials

2019 I have been enrolled in a training as a mental trainer with Thomas Baschap and had my first workshop weekend. Among other things, we investigated the question of why people feel like victims in certain situations. And vice versa: What leads to the experience of self-empowerment? How do we remain masters of the situation and masters of our reality? It was a completely unexpected moment of realization when I discovered that one of my preferred behaviors is based on a recognized psychological model. So far, I could only have said that what I am doing works. Now I understand why.

Which reality would you like to have?

It is one of the topics that I think about strongly and passionately because the impact on our lives is so immense. In addition, all of us are certainly familiar with the feeling of being impressed by something from the outside that we cannot resist. Feelings of powerlessness, anger or sadness are the result. I could list countless situations in which I used to feel powerless. Until at some point I stopped reacting out of motion, but instead consciously designed my reaction to an event. What I did there, I did intuitively. The child had no name yet - until mental training.

The stimulus-response model

Very quickly, we think – because we are socially shaped – in the victim-perpetrator contrast. As if it were a natural law to which we are always subject. However, one should question whether this is the right approach in every life situation. Are we as powerless as we think we are? For example, what happened to my car? There was a stimulus (broken exterior mirror) and this was followed by a spontaneous reaction (anger). Hardly anyone would have gotten excited about a destroyed mirror. No, not even me. But whether the first emotional impulse turns into a whole emotional storm, in the rain of which I stand helplessly soaked, or whether I regain the power of the moment – that is entirely due to a mostly forgotten factor: my own decision.

The linchpin of self-esteem

Without doubt: I was at the mercy of the broken mirror. I couldn't change anything about it, so feeling a brief anger was completely okay. Then I did what I have been doing for a long time in such moments: pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and ask myself what value my existence and lifetime have. Is it so worthless to make it feel bad about an outside mirror that I can get fixed? To let my day, my energy, my strength, my thoughts be stolen from me? Or do I want to remain the master of my life in this very moment and decide that I am worth more than a broken mirror. I'm moving away from the victim's thought "Oh the bad that happened to me here!" To "What can I do to make the situation good and constructive for me?"

Stimulus> decision> reaction: this is the master model

Of course, I know that there are things in life that push us to our limits, where this model may no longer work for us. However, these are the exceptions to the daily rule. We should use it to the fullest where it works, where it gives us the chance to act self-ensured and self-empowered. We consciously decide for ourselves and turn away from an enduring attitude. My favorite question comes up again: how can I behave differently? Which options are out there - in acting, in feeling, in thinking? It is my decision. Every day has ready-life situations for you. Smaller, bigger, easier, more difficult. I see myself as a student every day. A master is whoever remains a student.

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© 2024 Janis McDavid