For most of us ‘losing it’ means getting angry, flying off the handle, losing control. Yes to all of that and there’s more.
Losing it is about losing your center, losing your connection to who you are. We can be thrown off by people we don’t even know- like the person next to us in yoga or the guy in the SUV using the bike lane to pass us on a busy road. And we can be thrown off by people we know and love-our kids, our partners, our neighbors. It’s interesting to notice what hooks us, or triggers us. It can be useful to name it. Oh, here is ‘comparing myself to others’ or here’s ‘judgment’, here’s’ not being heard’. What is really not useful is to allow ourselves to be taken over by what triggers us. There is nothing to gain from losing our center, there is nothing to gain from sacrificing equanimity. And there is so much to loose. The more intimate we are with our authentic selves, the worse it feels to ‘loose it’.
Even here, in the aftermath of loosing it, there is something to celebrate. The dissoncance you feel after loosing it may be in direct proportion to how far you’ve come on your evolutionary path. In the coaching world we talk a lot about resonance and dissonance. I coach people toward a more resonant vision for their lives, toward more resonant choices, toward resonant action that propels them into what’s possible. There is also something very powerful about feeling dissonance. In the space of dissonance we can be sure that if we look around a bit we will discover a core value of ours that is not being honored, either by us or by someone else. There is an opportunity to reframe the situation, an opportunity to shift the focus from blame to taking reponsiblity for creating condtions that support our values and who we are. Blame is one of the the most corrosive habits in any relationship (along with criticism, contempt, and stonewalling). See John Gottman’s seminal book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Blame is an easy place to go, it’s a convenient way to deflect negative feelings and responsibility. In the end blaming does little to serve us, it’s disempowering. The alternative to blame is often responsibility-response-ability. How can I best respond, being true to myself and in right relationship with myself and my fellow human beings?
The next time your feel triggered, the next time you lose it, notice what’s happening and name it. Just name it and move on. If you want the advanced track I urge your to take a look under the grievance and discover the beautiful jewel hiding underneath. Buried under there, usually not too deeply, is a value that you hold dear, one of the values that define your unique magnificence. See if you can name that value. take a moment and be present to that value. Just breath it in. And notice how this value enriches your life.