The point is that in three seconds, you can get over upsets, move on, and make wise choices.
Mary was stuck
Her company is in trouble. Life was one piece of bad news after another. She feels tired and sour. Happy events are quickly replaced by upsets. She wants good things to happen but too often, something gets in the way, big or small, and in an instant, she is upset. With the upset, she is afraid. Part of her wants to run away. She is angry, sad, frustrated, suppressed, helpless, trapped, and focused only on the problem, all at the same time.
Then, in almost the same moment, she explains the situation to herself. Her thoughts are, “What’s wrong? Who is to blame? What’s a nice girl like me doing in a place like this. I’ve got to fix it. Is there no help?.” She feels worse. No possibility. Wise choices cloaked in bad thoughts.
Mary asked me what to do.
I told her that show stopping upsets like this happened with everyone I had ever worked with, in little and big ways. When we are very young, there is always an event, an incident, a moment of extreme upset, that stays with us for our whole life. Forevermore, It affects how you see things and react and what upsets you when anything reminds you of it even, when the reminder is subtle, a look, a tone of voice a similar surrounding.
She thought for a moment and said that when she was young, maybe five or seven years old, she went to a local supermarket and for 25 cents, bought a small book because she liked the cover. On the way home, her mother saw her on the street and asked what she had done. Mary told her, and for a long time her mother yelled at her and ranted she was no good with money, and was ruining her future. She was thoughtless and stupid. Mary shriveled. She stopped breathing, felt small and couldn’t talk. She wanted to run away and couldn’t move.
The event stayed with Mary her whole life. Anything that was or might be an insult or unavoidable obstacle or criticism would remind her of the event, and instantly mobilize the same debilitating feelings and thoughts. This happened a lot with her husband, with employees and friends. It was for her part of many broken relationships and failed business partnerships.