We all set out on our journey with the best of intentions, but life inevitably throws the occasional road block, flat tire, or thunderstorm our way. It’s easy to stay positive when everything is going according to plan, but when we find ourselves in difficult situations it can be hard to see beyond our immediate frustrations.
If good experiences bring out the best in us, then negative ones often bring out the worst. The Divine Principle tells us that we all possess these two natures and all have the potential for positive or negative reactions:
“We ﬁnd a great contradiction in every person. Within the self-same individual are two opposing inclinations: the original mind that desires goodness and the evil mind that desires wickedness.”
It’s not always easy to follow our original mind, the part of ourselves that is connected to our divine nature. In fact, it often feels easy and natural to slip into negative patterns. It takes effort and mindfulness to build up our “original mind muscle,” but when we are aware of the contradiction, we can learn to choose our response instead of just reacting to the moment.
When you find yourself in the midst of a breakdown—car related or otherwise—follow these four steps to keep your cool:
1. Pull Over – Give yourself some space to breathe and process. Within this pause, allow yourself to let go of whatever expectations you may have had so that you can deal with the situation as it is, and not how you wish it could be.
2. See the Broader Picture – Try to step outside of your immediate situation. What is the ultimate goal? Getting to your destination safely, or getting there on time? What is the most important thing? Who wins the argument, or the health of your relationship?
3. Ask for Help – If your car breaks down on the road, most of us don’t hesitate to call road-side assistance. If you get into an accident, you may need the police or an ambulance. When life hits you with a metaphorical breakdown, who is on your 911 list? Who is your police officer or fireman, who will drop everything at a moment’s notice to come to your aid? Who is your doctor, the one who will help you patch up and heal your spiritual or emotional wounds? Allow the people in your lives the blessing of coming to your rescue, and let them know you’d be willing to do the same.
4. Practice Gratitude – When you choose to be grateful for what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t, every situation will take on new meaning. When we look for the positive, a traffic jam becomes an opportunity for a deep conversation with our fellow passengers, an unexpected stop a chance to explore a new place. By embracing spontaneity and gratitude, life’s little bumps, though frustrating at first, can lead to valuable lessons and meaningful experiences.
Do you know someone who has fallen upon hard times? Share these tips with them to let them know you care. How do you get over the humps and bumps in life? Help your fellow readers out by sharing in the comments below!