Sunday, August 23, 2009

Speaking of labels...


I should clarify my last post a bit. Labels that we love having, that we don't mind living with, are good ones. Thanks for your comments regarding good labels that are positive and help describe our roles.

I have been doing an exercise lately that might be of interest to you. I have been noticing all the labels and accompanying storylines I attach to everything and everyone. Next time you are walking down the street, notice how your mind immediately jumps to label the people you pass. Some are scary, too big, too small, unattractive, and my favorite - annoying.

I cannot believe how I label people I have never met. And I normally think of myself as being open-minded and kind! Training your mind to not jump to conclusions about events and people is not easy, but so necessary if you want to remain in a positive/healthy frame of mind. Keeping in mind the mind/body connection, it's important to be aware of our thoughts and their corresponding effect on our body.

Everything doesn't have to be good or bad. It can just be.

It's amazing how many times I look for trouble. An example: We have have limited parking in our parking lot. Sometimes, during the summer, most of the owners will be using their condos, or guests will be using them, making parking an issue. I find myself immediately worrying that they will park too close to my car, so I can't open my door, or that they will take the spot right across from our condo, which is technically ours. I'll then start a storyline - usually with the other people being wrong or inconsiderate. (Our neighbor does the same thing.)

Why do I do that? The reality is - they probably did not park too close to my car door, in fact they may be gone before I even want to use my car, and so what if I have to park away from our unit? It's a safe place. The point is that I don't need to look for trouble. I don't need to start a storyline. I don't need to put my energy into something that has not, and may not, ever materialize. I should just deal with the issues as they arise, keeping in mind that most people really don't mean to be inconsiderate. They are as puzzled as we are when it comes to parking during peak times.

We have a neighbor that is constantly looking for trouble. He smells strange smells, is worried about our dog, thinks our sprinkling system is making holes on his side, wants the association to move the garbage, wants the association to pay for the tiny scratch on his car from a bear breaking into the garbage he made us move. His list goes on and on. One of the other owners finally suggested to him that maybe he wasn't so happy, and should sell his unit. The guy has been driving everyone a little crazy for a long time, evidently. (We did not live here in the past, only used it a few weeks a year.) He is so annoyed all the time, he has become very annoying.

Anyway, check it out for yourself. Next time you think you are just observing...

29 comments:

Marguerite said...

Love that sign! You are so right about this and I find myself doing this exact same thing, with the parking, at work. I will get myself all worked up about this one girl who always parks in my spot, if she arrives before me. Thanks for the reminder that it's really not that big of a deal.

Jeninacide said...

Don't sweat the small stuff. Why would you EVEN waste mind power on thoughts about PARKING?

Nancy said...

just dont look out that window and you wont worry about it anymore. Look out a more positive window! LOL

Lori ann said...

Hi Nancy,

I've just now caught up with your posts, I still have a lump in my throat looking at your sweet daughter and thinking of the difficulties in her life (my daughter is a single parent too). I'm glad to have the image of her smiling when she came out of the water, I guess those are the pictures we have to keep in our heads...or go crazy! All your posts were sweet and bittersweet (well, parking was just funny!)I think life is heartaching and beautiful, the yin and yang always.

Jeninacide is right, don't sweat the small stuff, but it sure is fun to talk about ;)

love,
lori

lakeviewer said...

Not a big deal indeed. We are type-casting; probably our way to survive the busy lives we lead.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Good point Nancy! I have a wonderful friend, who, when I start doing that out loud, says, "Stories in your head!". And that always brings me back to my senses because she is right. I am concocting a story in my head that may have some truth in it - but upon examination - usually does not.

Nancy said...

Lori - Hi Lori, just to clarify, because my writing needs some of that - my daughter is married, she is just dealing with all the trials and tribulations of young families. Especially in this economy! Thanks for your always kind and gentle words... :-)

Nancy said...

lakeviewer - That's exactly what we are doing.

Marguerite - I think it's how it affects our body when we get worked up that's the problem. Parking shouldn't be one of the things we get worked up about. Right?

Jeninacide - My point, exactly.

Nancy - LOL!

Bonnie - That's my new line - "Stories in your head!" - Perfect.

PeacefulWmn9 said...

I have been known to do these same things, and I think your suggestion to catch ourselves in the act is a good one! I love what you said here:Everything doesn't have to be good or bad. It can just be.

Thank you for the insights.

Karen

Gemel said...

Don't think, that is the ego-mind taking you away from your true essence.
Just Be, with all and with everything, once people realize that they attract all the problem they "think" about, their world transforms pretty much before their eyes.............

GYPSYWOMAN said...

oh, girl - just remember - like jeninacide said - don't sweat the small stuff - and - my own personal favorite part, it's ALL SMALL STUFF!!! have a betterbetter day! -
:)

Celeste Maia said...

Borges has a wonderful poem where one of the lines says "stop having unnecessary problems..." and I think he is so right. Smell the flowers instead.

robert said...

With nearly the whole month of August without work, I spend most of the day with my son.
As he isn't already two years of age, has a different perspective of life and the way he sees it.
Guess that it helped me as well, to spend this time with him, being taught by him.
Please have a nice new week.

luksky said...

Too funny..and so true! My husband always tells me how I will make up scenarios in my head about things, people, or situations and act on them as if they have happened or are going to happen. Great eye-opening post.

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

Oh my, I have to write a blog about this. It's been happening to me EVERY DAY! I think everyone is out to get me!

Okay, okay, I'm writing.

Now. :)

DJan said...

I am reading a book called "The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself" by Michael Singer. It's interesting you wrote this, because in Chapter 1, part 2, he writes about your "inner roommate" -- that voice that constantly judges and talks to you. That's who is talking here, and it's not you, but your inner roommate who has judgments about everything. I'll let you know what I find out during my journey through this book. But first of all, he mentions labels, just as your write two posts about it. Synchronicity?

Nancy said...

Karen - It's so easy to get caught up in a storyline!

Gemel - If we could just remember that!

Gypsy - You are right about that.

Celeste - Beautifully said -

robert - Oh yeah, those two-year-olds have much to teach! :-) Patience comes to mind...

luksky - You really have to watch for that storyline, it's sneaky!

Phoebe - Will visit to see what you write...

DJ - Very synchronistic, I would say! Do let me know what you think about that book, and whether or not it is worth recommending. We seem to be on the same wavelength lately.

TheChicGeek said...

Great post and so true. I try not to put labels on people. Have you ever seen the play Wicked? In that play the roles are all reversed the bad witch is bad because she has had a tough life, etc. When people annoy me I try to say to myself, gee, they must be having a bad day to be so irritable...it does help to view them with more loving eyes and it is amazing how a little love can turn things around.
Great to be here. I've missed you!
Oh, and Love, love, love that sign...too perfect! LOL

Have a Happy Day!

Cloudia said...

Nancy: You are at an amazing place of self awareness!!

Aloha-

Comfort Spiral

Deborah said...

Nice post! A few years ago I heard about the Ladder of Inference (http://www.systems-thinking.org/loi/loi.htm)and your post fits with that pretty well. Eventually we form a belief system out of what we have assumed....but there's hope if we're aware, like you.

Dave King said...

Mmm, that post made me stop and think. There's more there than at first appears.

Shrinky said...

Oh, the scraps I used to get into over parking! In London, we only had on-street parking. I had four children under five, and was granted a disabled bay outside my door for my second eldest. At least three or four times a day, arriving back with the kids and shopping, I chased people out of it. I had friendly builders working on the site opposite, they BOUNCED peoples cars out of the spot for me (grin). But every fight drained my soul.

The sleepy island I live on is bliss, my blood pressure is way under control now. I think it is so hard to let things go when everyone has to compete for space, it takes the worst out in us. You as so right, life is far too short..

willow said...

Life is too short. Some people will never be happy. I grew up in a family like that. Ick.

ellen abbott said...

I don't look for trouble, there's plenty of it out there as it is. Husband, though, when I come up with an idea will tell me all the ways it won't work. Frustrating. And when we are on the freeway, he is certain the car in front of him is purposely slowing down or the guy beside him is purposely speeding up just to annoy him. Drives me nuts.

Brian Miller said...

ha. great sign. the thing with labels is in defining what is behind them...i have let my past experience create labels...sometimes they keep me from the best things...

Nancy said...

Chic - Great attitude. Glad you are back!

Cloudia - Thank you, I wish it was always that way.

Deborah - Thanks for the link - I'll check it out.

Dave - Tell me what you think!

Shrinky - I know exactly what you mean. It has been many years since parking was an issue for me. We have always lived in single-family homes. Quite an adjustment!

willow - Well your family didn't rub off on you - you are very positive!

Ellen - That drives me crazy, too. I tell my husband I don't need "the voice of reason" right now.

Brian - Labels should be revisitied on a regular basis, don't you think?

Hilary said...

I sure have the tendency to do that too.. a lot. Thanks for bringing that kind of thinking out into the light. Much easier to change what you can see.

Pat said...

I think your new point of view is a healthy point of view. Good for you for wanting to change, and make things better.

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