Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath oh Fresh Air

Go Ahead – Make Your Own Day

on April 10, 2015

I want to talk about vampires.

Not the Lost Boys (or the Twilight) kind; I am talking about those who actually walk among us. The people we (have to) interact with that literally suck the life out of us. We all have these vampires in our lives… whether it’s a boss, a co-worker, or even a friend or family member.

So what can we do about these vampires? In my experience, these people are usually some version of an egotistical adult child whose life is a parade of tantrums marched to a theme song of “that is not my problem”. These are people who will never self-actualize; they don’t have to, because (they think) they are already perfect. Perhaps the truth is they are afraid to dig deeper and see who or what they are really made of; believing instead that they are (some sort of) immortal being is easier for them to drink (says my too trusting, empathetic, optimist self). But I don’t want to analyze them, or even make this about them; they don’t deserve the spotlight here – we do.

In a recent Facebook post, I declared that the day is what we make it into; practicing this is a big part of my journey to be a better version of myself than yesterday. And we already know, sometimes I win the day (find fulfillment), and sometimes I “win-less”, but either way I am entitled to start off with a clean slate and a fair chance (note: never consider a day you get up and live your life without intentionally hurting anyone a loss in any way). These “win-less” days are frustrating; the most recent of which got me wondering who or what I allow to have so much influence over my life that they (I!) prevent me from successfully engaging, enjoying, and cultivating purpose into my day.

This reflection revealed an answer – vampires! Now, I accept that I can’t control or change these vampires. What I was realized, however, was that I can control and change my reaction to them: how I let them affect me, how I interpret their bites, and how I defend my soul’s right to (at least try to) have ALL “win” days.

How?

By Setting Boundaries: Setting boundaries starts with generating a confident mindset. Keeping it simple – channel your inner super hero (practice makes perfect) and be rubber to their glue (seriously!). Other natural boundaries are to smile and to breathe. Smiling is a (spirit) stimulant; breathing, as I have written about previously, creates space for you to respond versus react. These alone or together produce possibly the strongest boundary you can imagine. Like daylight, a genuine smile can cause a vampire to retreat. A smile shows that you are not sweating (this small stuff); that you are not affected by their attempt to attack. Taking YOUR time to respond gives you more control over the conversation. Remember… whatever is happening in this moment that seems SO important is likely just a drop in today’s bucket. So let it drop, let it ripple, and let it go. Keep your sunshine and leave the vampires to own their own darkness.

A level two boundary is choosing not to let these negative interactions spill into your personal space. Meaning, don’t talk about them at the dinner table; there is a lesson out there somewhere about “not inviting people (problems) to dinner”. I am not suggesting you bury any negative emotion or experience; instead, I am saying purge and close the door behind you. Keep your space safe; after all, everybody (who has seen The Lost Boys) knows not to “ever let a vampire into your house…. It renders you powerless”.

By Deploying (the right) Strengths: As for strength deployment… be aware that your go to strengths are not your only strengths. In other words, being authoritative might not be in your top five, but cultivating this (“wax on, wax off”) so you can use it to defend your right to own your own day is worth it. Vampires are crafty; they have come to expect (and likely do not respect, understand, or react well to) your usual tools. Deploying different strengths can change the conversation completely, driving a stake right through these situations.

I am NOT suggesting you to become somebody else; I am recommending that you be (own) all of who you are and have the potential to be.

So Today: Resolve not to let these vampires get into your head and permeate your peace. It is on us to control their access. Win today – make it positive, engaging, and meaningful; in spite of these life leeches and in honor of your own soul.

For Tomorrow: Tomorrow presents a new day, a fresh opportunity to “win”; to live and let yourself live and rediscover (claim!) our own vitality. And

From Now On: Go ahead and make your day(s).

For a fun flashback: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdaaGlyu7EQ.

For more information: (on strength assessment and deployment), http://corestrengths.com/).

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3 responses to “Go Ahead – Make Your Own Day

  1. julie j says:

    I love you Jen. You are right we always have a choice in how we react to the negativity of others. The hardest part is to not let our emotions take over and respond. Keep up the writings.

    Like

  2. Maggie O. says:

    I know this was your Friday post, but I just read today. It a great read for a Monday. It is getting my week off to a good start. Let the light pour in so those vampire cannot such my energy from me this week. Thanks for sharing. It provides a refreshing perspective and outlook.
    Thank you Jen.

    Like

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