Everyone has buttons.
They are the switches in our brain that trigger our fight/flight reaction to situations, people and circumstances.
Some buttons are great! Like the "There's a tiger loose and running towards you" button that encourages your body to move as fast as it can to get out of danger.
Than there are the other buttons.
The buttons that aren't going to make us run faster, or lift something really heavy... these are the buttons that hurt our feelings or make us angry or make us frustrated.
These buttons are in place... because we put them there.
I watch my kids interact.
I see that my kids work each other as if they are carrying remote controls, with buttons and toggle switches... I can practically time the cry for , "Moooommmm!!!!" as soon as I hear the first button pushed.
I realized 2 things.
#1) You can't just hide your buttons, you need to get rid of them.
#2) You need to be constantly vigilant against new buttons cropping up.
Can't Hide Your Buttons
I always thought that people who seemed unruffled and untouchable were just very good at hiding what I would feel in their situation, until I learned non-judgement.
Deepak Chopra really explains a benefit of non judgement as follows:
"To judge is to constantly evaluate and classify things as right and wrong, good and bad. When you are constantly evaluating classifying, labeling, analyzing this creates a lot of turbulence in your internal dialog. And when you create a lot of turbulence in your internal dialog you restrict the flow of energy between you and the field of pure potentiality. You literally squeeze the gap between thoughts. The gap is your connection to field pure potentiality. It is that silent space between thoughts. It is that inner stillness that connects you to true power. And when you squeeze the gap you squeeze your connection to pure potentiality and infinite creativity"
OK... Ready? I'm going to tell you how to practice non-judgement AND I'm going to tell you the other benefit... it basically evaporates your buttons!
Make a commitment to take some time each day to ...be. If you are like me, this will take a great deal of practice. Every time I tried to just sit and be... my brain revolted and I would just keep thinking about things... for example:
Me: ... breathing... concentrating on my breathe
My brain: Hey! Remember that time you in 3rd grade you were with your friends and you were talking about another kid and that kid was right behind you, Boy did you feel like an ass.
Me: ... Oh yeah, I felt terrible about that I just can't keep my big mouth shut... hey wait a second, that was 35 years ago and I'm supposed to concentrating on my breathe... deep fulfilling breath..
My brain: Hey! remember that time...
Me: ... Yes, that was then... I'm concentrating on my breathing now.... it is really making me feel relaxed.... breath coming in...... breath going out.....
My brain: ... ah... hello!
Me: ... later .... breath coming in...... breath going out.....
Honestly... it took me a week of daily practice to quiet my brain. The more I practiced, the easier it became and now, when I realize that I am feeling anything other than happiness, contentedness joy... I simply pause to concentrate on my breathing and I am restored.
The best part about all of this is the self-awareness and recognition of my power to behave differently. I can literally turn the button off, by not feeling and behaving in the expected manner. Keeping in mind that regardless of the situation my intention is happiness, contentedness and joy. I'm changing my behavior ... I am letting it go.
Constant Button Vigilance
Isn't it funny, that it seems like some people don't like to see us happy? I say that... and I need to point something else out: We can't read their minds. My hope is that people who don't like to see other people happy will one day be able to look at themselves and find the peace and inner happiness that needed to allow them to see joy in other people's good fortune.
Since we can't read each other's minds, I can only guess why someone would want to make another person feel bad... and it's because somehow that act makes them feel better. That is sad.
Can you imagine, living your life wanting to hurt someone else because it makes you feel better... I mean, it is sort of what I would imagine a bully would think. But, like I said, I can't read minds so I wouldn't know.
There is someone in my life, whom I have as little contact as possible, but through family ties I actually have to interact with on a weekly basis. This person is constantly trying to push my buttons and for a long time it worked. In fact it seemed easy for this person.
Then, I recognized it. Then I realized. Then I thought about it and interceded when my fight/flight brain started down that path. I saw what everyone else on the planet (who didn't have my buttons) saw... the person was just being mean and saying things to hurt me ....and like a miracle the buttons slowly disappeared.
(Isn't it funny how hard it is for us to really recognize things that other people see right away!?! That's another benefit of mindfulness and giving yourself that silent time each day... I have literally worn a new path for my brain to follow. It no longer automatically goes down the same negative, anxious road... but pauses... and that's just long enough for me to THINK. )
Each week, this person tries a new tact and now it makes me smile that it has no effect, because I remember my heart pounding in panic at the threats as my brain started along the "what if it happens that way" line of thought.
Smile... be thankful for the moment. This moment of hot coffee... green grass... rainy sunrise... warm house... winter coat... electricity... fresh water...
Someone's attempt to ruin this moment by saying things about the past (I'll let it go) or something negative about the future (I'll work towards a positive outcome) and I will enjoy... this moment.
I literally give that person no more thought after I am no longer in their company. I have so many other wonderful things to experience and my achievements and friendships speak louder to my soul than a single negative individual.
Wow, I guess I had a lot to say about this topic.
My hope for today is that someone will read this post and recognizes that they are the champion of their moments and they are bright, happy and filled with joy!
Have an Amazing Day!