Crossing paths with an idiot is not an excuse to also act like an idiot.

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Crossing paths with an idiot is not an excuse to also act an idiot.

Crossing paths with an idiot is not an excuse to also act like an idiot.

How you handle yourself is your responsibility. The less you let others control your emotions, the happier you will be.

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Losing your shit

“I get so annoyed when people…”

“If this person [performs annoying action], I’m going to respond by [acting badly]….”

Often, when we think things like this, we’re not only setting ourselves up to harbor negativity and carry unnecessary stress, we create triggers for future negative thoughts & feelings.

“I get so annoyed when people…” not only creates the expectation that we will feel annoyed when something we expect to annoy us happens, we essentially give ourselves permission — in advance — to be annoyed when it happens.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And in the worst cases, we take it a step further and use our annoyance as an excuse to behave badly.

“If customer service doesn’t give me the answer I want, I’m going to lose my shit.”

Remember, crossing paths with an idiot is not an excuse to also act like an idiot.

We often deal with situations on automatic pilot and forget that getting annoyed — or at least staying annoyed — is a choice. We don’t have to let the bad behavior of others affect us as much as we often do.

How much more effective it would be if, instead of creating a negative expectation, we created a positive one:

“The next time I encounter something that annoys me, I’m going to handle it in a positive way.”

It’s much easier to handle the negative situations we encounter in life when we expect — or better yet, train ourselves — to deal with them productively.

We certainly don’t have to let the bad behavior of others cause us to act badly or lose our shit in response.

“That guy cut me off, so I’m going to do the same to him. That’ll teach him!”

The “lessons” we often try to teach people by acting badly are often lost on them. Rarely does the recipient of bad behavior respond with, “Wow, you’re right.”

On the contrary, it often provokes more bad behavior and more negativity.

If you want to teach someone a “lesson”, be a role model and set a good example.

Don’t let the bad behavior of others be an excuse to also act badly.

You’ll know you’re on the right track when, if everyone imitated your actions, the world would be a nicer place.

Lead by example.

“Inner Peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”

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The freedom to be

Are we free if we live our lives in a way that consistently requires the approval of others to be truly happy?

Are we free if we consistently force ourselves to live within the confines of other people’s expectations?

Are we free if we consistently dilute our true selves to make others happy?

Are we free if our emotions and mental state are easily controlled by what others say or do?

Are we free if we cannot consider an opposing point of view without getting emotional or immediately dismissing it because it contradicts our own beliefs?

No.

These are limitations we place on ourselves. They are, quite simply, bad habits.

The good news is that, as habits, we can replace them with better, far more empowering options if we so choose.

It may take work to rewrite years of mental and emotional constraints, but who is in charge of your life?

You are.

When you truly know who you are — and who you are in the process of becoming — you will no longer live in fear of what people say or think about you.”

Whether it’s strong, confident, carefree, independent or all of the above, give yourself the freedom to be as you truly wish to appear to others.

Don’t give power to those who don’t have your best interest in mind. Reclaim the freedom to be your true self by defining your own identity and wrestle back control of your thoughts, feelings, and sense of self-worth from those you have inadvertently given power over you.

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The good, the bad, and the rude

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Don’t attribute to intentional rudeness what can easily be explained by a lack of self-awareness and social skills.

Some people are oblivious to some things or desensitized to others.

We don’t all perceive the world the same way. We don’t all use the same words or type of language when we communicate. We don’t all value the same things equally or have the same priorities. And we especially don’t have the same level of awareness.

Some people simply live in their own world and go about life fulfilling their own needs without regard to others. It isn’t intentional selfishness or self-centeredness as much as a lack of awareness as to how their actions affect others.

Children are often guilty of this because they don’t have enough life experience to know better. They don’t know what they haven’t had the opportunity to learn yet.

Some adults are the same way.

This is often demonstrated by people who stand in busy doorways, get in their cars and back up without looking, or play their own music or youtube videos in cafes and restaurants. They live in a world where other people don’t really exist.

Whether it’s the odd manner in which people deal with things — because it’s the only way they know how — or it’s spinach stuck to one’s teeth, people don’t know what they don’t know.

We are unfamiliar with things we have no direct experience with. We may have an idea that a “path” exists, for example, but don’t truly know the path until we’ve walked it for ourselves.

It takes a personal discovery and life experience to raise one’s level of awareness.

When you treat someone who is rude to you with rudeness, they will often see you as the one who started it because people don’t see themselves as others do.

When you treat or greet people with hostility, expect hostility in return. This is not an effective way to resolve a conflict.

Try to give the people you cross paths with the benefit of the doubt. You don’t have to allow yourself to be treated poorly or abused, but there is a better way to deal with it than to answer rudeness with hostility.

Understanding where a large part of unintentional rudeness it comes from helps.

Not everyone thinks the way you think, knows the things you know, believes the things you believe, nor acts the way you would act. Remember this and you will go a long way in getting along with people.” — Arthur Forman

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Happiness. Contentment. Inner peace.

Excerpt from: my book series

Happiness. contentment. inner peace.  Have you ever gone looking for something, only to realize you had it with you the whole time?   It's like that.

Happiness.
Contentment.
Inner peace.

Have you ever gone looking for something, only to realize you had it with you the whole time?

It’s like that.

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What's the rush?

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

We rush to work.
Rush home.
Rush through our meals without even tasting our food or remembering what we ate.

Even when we’re on vacation, we’re always rushing.

It appears many of us are operating on the belief that we don’t rush, we won’t have time.

But time for what?

Every second that passes is a moment of our lives that we’ll never get back. Time, of all the things one has, is the most valuable.

We can never get more time, we can only manage the time we already have.

And while rushing from one thing to another — to “save time” — may seem like a sensible solution, rushing through our lives — as if it’s only the “highlights” that matter — is to sacrifice the vast majority of the moments that our lives are made up of.

“One day at a time, this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.” — Ida Scott Taylor

Rather than be present in the here and now, aware of our thoughts, our bodies, and our surroundings, we zone out and go through the motions — waiting for the moments that “matter”, not realizing how valuable every one that passes actually is.

Because the truth is, every moment matters when the future is guaranteed to no one.

When we live our lives as if the best things in life are always scheduled at some distant time that we are rushing to get to, we fail to truly experience the here and now.

And as it turns out, staying in the moment tends to yield greater happiness and greater appreciation and gratitude for the individual moments in life than constantly reaching for things that are forever beyond our grasp.

In his Ted Talk, Want to be happier? Stay in the moment (video), Matt Killingsworth says:

“Our ability to focus on something other than the present is an amazing ability it allows us to learn and reason and plan in ways that no other species can.” However, … “People are substantially less happy when their minds wander than when they are not” … “when our minds wander we often think about things which are unpleasant … our worries, our anxieties our regrets.”

Just something to consider the next time you find yourself rushing from one thing to the next without being mindful of the moments already passing.

“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” — Alan Watts

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