Most of us have got two different personalities living in the same body. I too felt having two different people in me. I used to be calm and quiet in the yoga class, but as soon as I went behind the wheel, the road rage took on, and I felt like yelling at everyone. I used to be full of ideas and wanted to implement them, but I never ever managed to do it. Sometimes it just happened that I said one thing and did the exact opposite of that. I used to preach the virtues of being patient and calm, but that didn’t prevent me from losing my control every now and then.
This puzzled me because I didn’t like this ‘other self’ that made life difficult for myself and my family. And I wanted to turn things around. I knew I wasn’t inherently bad. There were times when I was good – really good. But then there were also times when I was bad – really bad.
Like everybody else, I also wanted to be a better version of myself. I wanted to stay calm, compassionate, kind, and positive all the time. It took me years to even get closer to that ideal, but today I am a more patient person. I am happier and more balanced and I don’t get angry that easily. My outlook towards life has also changed.
How did this happen? I have written some techniques I used to bring out the best in me.
I have always tried to find self improvement happiness. I knew I would be a better husband and a better father if I could control my temper. I know I would make a successful entrepreneur if I could sustain the motivation required to work on my projects. I believed in the Zen way of living life.
I never enjoyed yelling at people although I used to do it all the time. I always wanted to be a patient person who could be calm even in difficult situations. It was this need to control my temper that encouraged me to introspect. I wanted to find out the things that brought out the best and the worst in me.
I realized that things that made me happy – music, yoga, reading, dancing, gardening, and meditation – also brought out the best in me. And when I was happy, I was good, kind, playful, calm, and lighthearted. I loved this me. So did others.
But I would get irritable, angry and impatient when I was overwhelmed with work or house chores. I would get impatient when I was running late. A little bit of soul searching helped me realize that if I could avoid these situations that made me impatient and angry, I would be able to find self improvement happiness.
Of course, there are several things that are way beyond our control. There are also several things that we can control. For example, good time management skills can tackle overwhelm. I learned to say ‘no’ – I learned to delegate and I began to plan my days in advance.
I planned my schedule. I made it a point to lay out my clothes the night before so that I could save precious time in the morning when every second counts. And when I started organizing my life, the better version of me began to come out more often.
Now I prepare a checklist of things I have to do. And I make sure that the most important things are done first. This has made me feel less rushed. Instead of spending hours watching TV or surfing the internet, now I go to bed earlier. I get up early in the morning and make it a point to meditate for at least 5-10 minutes in the morning. This has made me less cranky.
To turn thing around I only had to identify the triggers that made me lose control over the situation. I didn’t manage to gain control overnight. It took me quite some time. But by taking several baby steps I have finally reached where I wanted to be. You too can do this. There are endless possibilities for the Zen mind.
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