How we deal with, manage and react to what happens in our life will very much determine our progress and development. In extreme cases a momentary reaction can influence, if not shape, the next ten (twenty, fifty) years of our life. For good or bad. Yet many of our reactions will be unconscious, caused by our emotions.
You now have visual impairment and physically there is nothing you can do about it. Your Doctor has more than likely told you that your sight is unrecoverable and you now will have to make do with only having partial sight.
For many the worst problem is caused by the our emotions because of the emotional trauma you’re going through. Your sight loss has hit you hard, and every time you do something that is made awkward by your vision loss you get down on yourself. You can never completely get away from it.
Take me as an example. Yesterday having listened to my football team, Arsenal getting beaten by Chelsea I was a little down, ok I was actually ‘pissed off.’ You have to be a sports fanatic to realise the pain that comes with your teams defeat. Anyway like a typical Englishman to console myself I went off to make a cup of tea. That’s something I handle well now. I only use white mugs, not black. I can’t see the water in a black cup. I also only use big cups so I no longer pour lots of water or my milk over the work surface. I’m not professing to be the world’s best tea maker but for a while after my vision loss this simple task caused me so many problems.
Walking in to the kitchen I heard a strange noise, like a constant banging. As I turned the cold water tap on to fill the kettle the noise intensified. Turning the water off immediately I began investigating. I pulled the washing machine out and as I did, a flood of water drenched my trousers as I was sitting on the floor. I needed to turn the water off, knew the stop tap was somewhere around this area but as it was a little dark I couldn’t see a thing. It took me about 10 minutes sitting in a pool of water as more leaked out, fumbling around in the dark, before I could locate it. Eventually my hand found it and I managed to close it off.
I was more upset by my struggles caused by my vision loss rather than the problem with the leak and not having any water. It was another thing that demonstrated to me my limitations, and added to the frustrations I feel when so challenged by such simple things. But as normal I only allowed this negativity to last about 10 seconds. This is a key to my coping with visual impairment.
We all want life to be a certain way. We want the conditions to be just so, and life doesn’t always cooperate. When things don’t go the way we want, often we react by blaming ourselves or others or the situation. We might become aggressive or perhaps we feel victimized and down. As you find difficulties caused by your lack of vision you immediately get down on yourself, and will often result in a myriad of negative emotions. One thing I know you’ll agree with is this doesn’t do you any good. But there is a simple solution, and yet can be life changing.
What if you paused right at the point of the event happening, and took a moment to be quiet. Just shut your brain off for a few seconds. Refusing to process any information. Then say these words to yourself:
“It doesn’t matter what happens to us. What matters is how we respond.”
In life, we cannot change events or their outcome. We can, however, choose the emotion and meaning we attach to them.
We are setting about here to reprogram your brain which will create a more pleasurable, abundant and loving reality that will allow you to experience the life you truly want to be living. No longer will you keep pushing yourself down. Instead you will be reacting to each troubling situation in a positive way and realizing that “it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to whats happened, the way you respond..
With me sitting in a pool of water I should have been elated that I sorted the problem, particularly as my DIY skills are so non-existent. Not wasting time either feeling sorry for myself or getting myself down for my limits. If I was going to get upset by anything it should have been that I couldn’t have a cup of tea later having no water. Within 10 seconds I smiled, congratulated myself for sorting it, and went off to buy a few bottles of water.
It wasn’t like this in the beginning . At first it was really hard. What’s interesting about control is that we so often feel like we’re not in control, so we spend most of our lives fighting to get it back. But every event that demonstrates our limits knocks us back and causes emotional trauma within us. Now using this such simple technique my anger, sadness and hopelessness has subsided and I’m in control of my life.
So using this yourself you’ll feel calmer, more in control over your emotions, happier, more fulfilled with far less, things that would have normally upset you now not affecting you at all. In fact now you’ll laugh at things that would have made you cry or get angry.
So in conclusion we are quick to believe that we are the victims of our circumstances, when in fact we are the creators of them. We create our circumstances by the filters through which we view them. From now on when you are troubled by your vision repeat the statement, “It’s not what happens to me, it’s how I choose to react to it.” Do this a few time if needed until you’re ready to choose a more positive emotion and response.
I’m going to leave the last words to José Mourinho the victorious Chelsea Manager:
“I played my first derby in September 2000,” he explained afterwards. “Benfica against Sporting. And I told my players before the game that to win derbies you need emotional control. Without emotional control, forget it, you won’t win. It’s a basic thing of the game.
Get your emotions in check!