• drdanedonohue

It's the peas....

Occasionally, I will have an argument with my wife and realize “it’s the peas”. Let me explain. First, my wife and I are complete opposites. Although we enjoy a lot of similar activities and values, our personalities are very different. I used to get frustrated by our polarity at the beginning of our marriage and thought “this is never going to work out”. Now after 28 years of marriage, I realize that our differences and the way we approach life differently are a blessing. The saying goes, “if 2 people are exactly the same, one is unnecessary”. My wife having a different perspective than me, and one that I would never have thought of, is a gift if I can wrestle my ego to the ground. Not ALL the time, but many times, if you can be open (which is a genetic weakness in my family) and look at someone else's perspective, you can come up with solutions to your “issues” that are better than one person could have thought of one their own. Most of the time, 1 + 1 = 3 if you are open to it. One thing that I’ve come to realize that results in a lot of our arguments, and usually results in an “I’m sorry” on my part, is “the peas”. My mom tells the story of her and her boyfriend having dinner one night, which she had taken the time to cook for him. When she asked him “how’s dinner?”, he replied, “the peas are a little mushy”. My mom immediately broke into tears, upon which her boyfriend was shocked. He apologized and asked why the dramatic response to mushy peas? She recognized that it wasn’t “the peas”, it was something else that she was upset with him about and was holding on to and didn’t share her feelings with him. It was building up inside and then “the peas” were the proverbial “straw that broke the camel's back” where the negative emotions came pouring out. Thoughts create emotions and feelings. Many times, we have negative emotions and feelings because of thoughts we are holding on to. It’s like water building behind a dam that eventually breaks and when it does, it usually creates a mess, not just for us, but for those around us. I have what I call “the doorknob test”. I ask myself how I’m feeling before I grab the doorknob to go into the house or my office? If I’m holding onto “baggage” in the form of negative feelings or emotions, I hit “control-alt-delete” in my mind and let them go before I walk through the door. I don’t want to take that negative baggage into my home or office and dump them out on someone who doesn’t deserve it. It still happens from time to time but I know that I am much more aware of my negative feelings and their potential impact on someone else. So next time “the peas” happen and you go off on someone, not for what they did, but for all the rancid emotions that were building up inside you, realize that you have the power to change this. Mindfulness, which is the power to be aware of what you are thinking and change it, has become one of the most powerful forces for good in my life. Mindfulness is tough, which is why most people don't practice it. Mindfulness takes responsibility for your thoughts and the power to change them. Thoughts lead to emotions and emotions lead to actions. What actions are your thoughts and emotions triggering? Who is at the end of the barrel of your negative feelings? David Bornstein said, “Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions”. Best in health, Dr. Dane

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