Ever wonder why your life is the way it is? Or why it matters how you live and what you do with your life?
What you do matters. In fact, everything you do matters. Why? Because you are connected to everything around you.
Everything that you do has an impact. No matter how big or small, no matter what your intention, actions or beliefs are, everything you do (and don’t do) impacts everything around you. What you do matters — all of it.
Okay, so that’s kind of a lot to take in, let’s break this down a little bit.
There’s a term in psychology called displacement. It occurs when someone shifts their actions from a “desired” target to a substitute one. Here are some examples of what this looks like.
Example 1: Charlie has a bad day at work; his boss was in a horrible mood because he didn’t sleep the night before. When Charlie gets home at the end of the day (stressed), he then argues with his wife, Anna. Anna (frustrated) ends up yelling at their child, who then fights with their sibling, who then stomps off and slams a door.
So maybe this example seems a little extreme to you. Or maybe it’s quite accurate. You get the idea though, right? Charlie’s boss transferred his energy to Charlie, who then passed it along his wife, children, and an innocent bystander door. The point is that Charlie yelling at his wife was really a response to his boss’ actions; the wife became the substitute target.
Example 2: Alice spent all day at work sewing; she makes clothing for her business. Her day was quiet with no one around but her cat, whom she fed, pet and loved. Alice later goes over to her partner Jeff’s house for dinner. Jeff had a bad day at work and is exhausted. Alice sees that Jeff isn’t at his best and offers a hug and cracks a joke to make Jeff smile. Jeff, still exhausted, appreciates the gesture and his mood lightens.
Here you see Alice had a calm, normal day. She worked, loved her pet, and when encountering her frustrated partner, she was able to offer the same calm, caring support. Alice had a pretty good day and it was easy for her to maintain a positive affect despite Jeff’s mood.
Example 3: Alice worked all day sewing; she makes clothing for her business. Throughout the day, her sewing machine stopped working 3 times and her cat threw up all over the items she was working on (but cats are still awesome). After work, Alice goes to her partner Jeff’s house for dinner. Alice is frustrated, a little angry, even, and her bad mood impacts Jeff, who now feels frustrated and goes to sleep in a bad mood. The next morning, Jeff is snappy with his boss (who then goes home and etc. like Example 1).
Alternate ending to example 3: After work, Alice goes to Jeff’s house for dinner. Knowing she is frustrated from her long, disruptive day, she pauses for a moment on his front porch (or in the car on the way over) to acknowledge and reflect. She realizes that she has 2 choices. She can continue to be in a bad mood and potentially affect Jeff; or, she can put her day behind her so she and Jeff can enjoy dinner together.
Had a slight change in any situation been made, the entire situation would be different. In any of the examples, Charlie, his boss, wife or children, Alice or Jeff, could have all chosen to stop, rather than perpetuate the line of disruption.
Here’s another way to look at it. Each time you approach someone — grocery store clerk, teacher, parent, boss, stranger on bus or train — your exchange with them has a direct impact on them and all of the other people they come into contact with.
A friendly hello, a smile, or even just going about your business in a neutral manner, generates a positive or neutral energy – this does not upset the balance. Contrarily, a groan, sigh, frowning face, or active expression of frustration brings negative energy, upsetting to the balance. The balance is the cycle of life. It’s everything that makes up life. It’s the continual exchange and flow of every being’s energy.
The balance always matters and always applies. You, your friends and family, neighbors, even complete strangers — everyone — is a part of the balance. There is no escaping it.
It’s also important to remember that everything doesn’t necessarily have to be positive or negative. It can be neutral. Also, each situation is unique. We just have to use our best judgment to determine what type of energy to give to each situation, remembering what’s best for the common good.
You always have a choice when absorbing another’s energy (positive or negative) and when passing your own energy (positive or negative) along. The energy you give to yourself and how you treat yourself matters just as much as when passing it along to others. How you treat yourself determines how you treat others.
You choose to contribute to the balance, and this gives you power. How you use that power is up to you. Think of the force from Star Wars.
Okay, so obviously it’s not realistic to say that you can always make the choice to perpetuate a positive energy and bring balance to everything. No one is saying that it’s possible (and if they are, they’re lying) and no one is saying that this is what you must do. Things happen. Life happens. No one is perfect. They’re just not.
It IS realistic, though, to say that you should do your damnedest. Try. Try really hard to do your best each day. It might not always be obvious when the moment arises when we should stop and make a choice, but in time, after practicing and observing yourself and others’ actions, it becomes easier to understand.
When others actively displace negative energy onto you, make note of it. Try not to take it personally. Most of the time it’s not even about you. It’s about them. Remember that if you allow it to become about you, you’re absorbing their energy — like a sponge — and you then become that energy.
You are where you are in your life because of every action, intention, choice, you’ve ever made. This is all the result of perpetuation of energy and of the cycle. Every experience you’ve had, place you’ve been, person or situation you’ve encountered. Everything has brought you to where you are right now.
Had anything been done differently, any one thing, where you are right now would not be the same — because no two moments are exactly the same. You are exactly where you are supposed to be in the cycle.
If the point hasn’t already been beaten into your head, here it is summed up:
You have a choice in how you contribute to the balance, or cycle of life.
Your actions impact those around you, and those around them and so on. They impact everyone, somehow, some way.
You are a part of the whole cycle.
What you do matters. Every. Little. Thing. Matters.
If we remain an active contributor to our own role in the cycle, doing our personal best each day, the cycle will function with balance. We do not have control, per se, over others’ lives, but your contribution to the cycle directly impacts theirs. When we do try to control or balance someone else’s cycle, we interrupt not only their cycle, but the cycle as a whole.
I am not more important than you, and you not than me. We are both equal contributors to this cycle that never ends.
Try viewing your whole day, every day, as the cycle of your life. Every moment counts. Every moment is the moment of now in the cycle of your life, just as it should be. The pace, rhythm, and sentiment of your cycle is chosen by you. There is a saying that goes, your life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Choice. Make choices like your cycle only lasts until the end of the day.
May the force be with you.
Oh, and here’s some free yoga 🙂