Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Turd Encounter. The most disgusting post eva.

For my Positive Psychology homework we're supposed to have conversations with a partner to practice discussing what we're learning. Today the conversation was all about, pardon my Russian, kakashki.


For this assignment my partner is supposed to pick an event that activated some negative thoughts. My job is to walk her through a process where she can parse out the facts from her feelings from thinking traps from the consequences of all of the above.

For this session my friend shared a story about how the four guys in her office aren't really clean. After kindly asking them to take better care of the restroom, she walks into the bathroom with a big floater awaiting her.

The thoughts she had: "This is disgusting. I'm embarrassed - what if my clients were to find this? WTF? Are we not adults here? Assholes!"

She was enraged. She immediately snapped a shot with her iphone and wrote a very angry letter to the landlord. At that moment her phone died and it didn't get sent. Thankfully.

Upon reflection here's what we learned from the turd encounter:

1. Shit happens regardless, but it's how you react that matters.

2. Share with a friend.
Talking this event through with me took it from being something that was totally magnified in her mind to something she could laugh at.

3. Life doesn't happen TO you unless you let it. My friend realized this is not about "why me?" Not everything is about her.

4. Balance your attention.
She realized she was diminishing the good stuff, like how much she loved her office, and blowing up the bad stuff.

5. Chill out. It's best to just let at least some time pass for cool-down before reacting to anything that sets you off.

6. Don't mind read. Or like my 4th grade teacher taught: assuming makes an ass-out-of-u-and-me. She was assuming they didn't care. But who knows, maybe the toilet was broken?

7. Avoid overgeneralizing. When my friend met one of her office mates he happened to be eating a Twinkie and downing it with a Slurpie from the gas station. Immediately she generalized that this man doesn't care about anything and IS disgusting. But that was just one snapshot of his life. You can't overgeneralize one behavior to an entire character.

So next time you have a fight or are rubbed the wrong way, do a check-in. Have you examined the fact? Have you analyzed the evidence or jumped to conclusions? Do you need a sec to cool down?

With much love,

PS Resilience by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte provides plenty of insight and tips on how to keep yourself positive and in the game. Karen is one of my professors and is leading the entire US Army through resilience training.

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