Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Change The Channel

Have you ever seen someone alone in front of the television set intently watching something that they were not enjoying at all? Usually what happens is if the person isn't enjoying what is currently being broadcast on that channel, they are quick to change the channel in the hopes of finding another program that is more interesting. In fact, many times there can be lots of channel changing in the hopes of finding something more entertaining.

It's interesting to me that most people will not "change the channel" when they going about their daily lives and notice something that bothers them. Instead of just thinking about something else or trying to see it differently or even just settling on allowing a difference of opinion, the subject is pointed out, dissected, obsessed over, talked about in multiple conversations, and further dramatized. This actually does nothing, except make everyone that is involved feel badly.

I used to do the same thing and what I found was that talking about it and obsessing about all the wrongs and horrific actions only made me feel worse. I only felt better when I eventually forgot about the subject and nothing that I ever did while focusing on it, solved the perceived "problem". What I challenge myself to do now, is to not look at the things I know are going to bother me. Some people are going to think I'm just putting my head into the sand and I'm okay with that because I actually feel much better doing things this way. If there is a "horrific" video posted on Facebook, I won't watch it. If there are articles posted about animal abuse or child abuse or any other emotional triggers, I won't read them. If someone is in trouble or needs support, I will focus on the positives in order to be there for them. I know that there is far more good and positive things out there in the real world, than negative and I try to remain focused on that. And when something negative comes into my life, it will eventually lead to something positive anyway...it always does.

I stopped watching television many years ago because most of what is broadcast is primarily with the intent of  creating drama. Drama tends to draw the "nosy" side of people with emotions about that story. That causes more talk, more finger pointing, more videos, more blogs, and more follow-up stories and discussions, rarely making anyone feel better.

Oh, I still find myself occasionally falling into my own trap of obsessing on something negative, but I am getting better at quickly figuring out a way to "change the channel". Dogs are very good at changing channels as they will focus on something good (good sniffs, running away/doing zoomies, etc) when they find that something is stressing them or bothering them. They are masters at finding positives or reinforcers.

To take this a step further, sometimes drama is personally created by trying to blame or point the finger at someone else for something that has happened that bothers or irritates us. "S/he made me so mad" is a very common statement that precedes a story that has seemingly put us at a disadvantage or in a position of having someone else causing us some kind of negative situation. If you are very honest about it, when you are mad at someone else it is never caused by that person. It's something that you have allowed to bother you and it's just more convenient to put the blame on someone else for that wrong. "He cut me off in traffic, that made me so mad", well why are you mad? He's now in front of you instead of tailgating behind you....or maybe there was an emergency...or even being more honest, have you ever unintentionally done that to someone else when you were in a hurry and then regretted it? Or are you just upset that someone else is just going faster than you are able to go? These are the incidents that can really test your commitment to be empowered to control the way you look at things. People simply can not make you upset, if you just don't allow them to - that is totally under your own control and when you realize that, it is very enlightening.

No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and apply what we've learned to improve our lives. That's what it's all about - it's not our jobs to try and change other people - that is useless wasted negative energy and an impossible task.

What are my goals for 2011? My goals are to continue to allow people the right to have a difference of opinion, continue to find opportunities to "change the channel" when drama appears to be present, and just continue to try and find ways to feel gratitude and enjoyment in 2011. These are goals I know I can achieve and they will bring about endless good things in the year to come.

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