Saturday, July 2, 2011

Note to Self: Let's Stress Compassion

In my last post I wrote about stress, and how constantly hearing about other people's 'little' problems can try one's patience. Questioning my annoyance, I realized that it was unfair to judge how others deal with stress. This because the only way we can learn how to deal with stress is, unfortunately, to experience it ourselves. Stress is a global human problem, but also a very personal one that can only be truly relevant to the person experiencing it.

In this post I wanted to get to the core reason of writing about this topic. As I contemplated the issue, one of the most obvious conclusions was that it is all relative. I thought of all the people in my life who have been under intense pressure, and my thoughts rested on my Mom, who was so strong while my Dad was in the hospital with a serious condition. Yes, it was difficult for me as a ten year old kid, but as I thought of her, dealing with it herself, I was overcome with compassion. She not only dealt with the overwhelming amount of stress, but she protected me from it. Throughout my childhood, my parents instilled a 'roll with the punches' attitude. If they had not done this, I may not have dealt with the stresses I later experienced in a constructive manner. I thank both of them for their excellent guidance.

So over the past few days I have explored three ideas about stress: 
1) Judging others for how they react to stress is not only unfair, it is impossible. Anything felt by someone else is beyond our experience. I had to take my self and feelings out of the equation to respond to other people's stress more respectfully.   
2) Removing myself from the situation made me especially open to how relative stress is. This reinforced the notion that what I have experienced in my life may seem like a cakewalk to someone else, which in turn helped me generate compassion for others.
3) Attitude is everything in how one deals with stress, regardless of prior experience. Often, we have someone else to thank for helping us develop a positive attitude. I owe that thanks to my parents.

Did this post benefit you? How? Is there anything you would like to add?

May all beings be happy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Note to Self: Stress is a Human Problem

The other day I was a little out of sorts as I felt everyone around me was making mountains out of their own personal molehills ('white whine', anyone?). Plagued by annoyance, I decided to step back a bit and think about why I was reacting. I revisited the various sources of stress that had been in my life since childhood. Despite an otherwise happy life, the effects of some have only partially subsided.

Still, I felt that I needed to get off my high horse. I can roll my eyes about people's whining, but I should not judge how 'well' others deal with stress. Unfortunately, learning how to live with stress can only come from experience, and that is really not something I would want to go around wishing on people. It is impossible to project how others 'should' deal with stress, since all stress a person's life is relative to what they alone have experienced. All anyone can expect another human being to do is to react accordingly.

So, as 'good' as I have become in dealing with stress, it does not mean that I am prepared for anything. In fact, not even close. I have encountered high levels of stress, and know that I will probably continue to do so. But in order to correct my lack of understanding of others' stress I had to take myself out of the equation and focus on seeing stress (in its myriad forms) as a truly global human problem. 

What do you think? Would thinking less about your own emotions and more about the overall picture help you? What suggestions do you have?
May all beings be happy!

Short and Sweet

Hello Everyone! I just wanted to acknowledge that my past few posts have been kind of lengthy. Although I recognize the value of sometimes just letting the thoughts flow into the keyboard, I also know that short posts can be the most powerful. Just as the realm of scientific papers and Haiku poetry uphold succinctness, I will make writing concise, well-written posts my new goal. After all, there are people who make a living with poetry, short stories, and scientific writing. (I think they might be on to something!!! * wink *)

May all beings be happy!!