I called a friend a few weeks ago and left a message. She didn’t call back. I thought, “oh, she must by busy” and let it go.
So, I texted a few days later. No text back. “Oh, she must be really busy. I hope she is ok”.
I waited another week and called again. And again. No calls back in a month now and I start thinking about our last conversation.
Did I say something stupid? Did I offend her in some way? Have I ruined our friendship somehow? Should I have called more? Did I call too much?
I’m racking my brain trying to figure out how I went wrong here. I’m consumed with these thoughts and can’t focus on what I am doing. I feel sad and even physically I start to notice my shoulders drooping, my body (and heart) feels heavy and slow. I don’t want to do anything. Basically, my physical, mental and emotional energy have been totally sapped.
I’ve created my own soap-opera.
Thankfully, within a few minutes, I CAUGHT myself thinking these thoughts and feeling this way. I realized that I started feeling tired when I started taking the situation personally and making it about me.
I took the facts (she didn’t return my call) and attached meaning to it (I did something wrong, I’m not a good friend) and that’s when I started feeling so tired.
I first head this years and years ago in a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I re-read it this year and have been putting the agreements into practice and noticing a whole new level of freedom, happiness and energy.
As I practice, I am getting quicker at turning my energy around. I was able to catch myself taking this personally within a few minutes, acknowledge it without judgement, and release it.
I’ve only been fishing a few times in my life, but I call this the “Catch and Release” technique. In order to change our thought patterns (which effect our physical energy) we have to be able to catch the thoughts as they are happening.
It used to be days and days of being trapped in my own self-inflicted cage, ruminating on what happened, dragging around, tired and unmotivated. Now I can usually catch these thoughts and release them in minutes.
The second part is the “release”. That means to let the thoughts go–without judgement. For a while, I would fall into the trap of thinking something like “Oh, crap, I said I wasn’t going to take things personally and here I go again. Bad, Amber!”.
Then I would beat myself up about beating myself up. See the trap here? 🙂
The way out of that trap is to not attach judgement. Sometimes I will say “Isn’t it interesting, I ‘m taking this personally!” and then I bring my focus onto whatever I am doing at that moment. I don’t try to cram the “bad” thoughts down and bury them under some plastic “Happy thought” like “I’m a great friend”. Instead I just return my focus to whatever I am actually doing at that moment. Imagine that? Paying attention to what you are actually doing! 🙂
It takes time to practice and the Catch and Release, but once you get it, you can radically and rapidly alter the way you feel-mentally, emotionally and physically.
Using this one little nugget of wisdom from The 4 Agreements, I can turn my energy and mood around instantly and you can too.
I’d love to hear your experiences. Have you ever taken things personally and noticed it drains your energy? Comment below and tell me. I would love to hear.
PS- She called me back . She was busy. It had nothing to do with me, of course!
PPS- If this resonates with you and you want to learn more, I’ve written a protocol I think you will love . You can learn more about it here.