One of the great things about being on vacation is that being cranky is such a contrast to where you want to be that those moments really stand out. Because they are so vivid, it’s easy to shift your thoughts and choose a different response.
It surprised me that I had a few cranky moments last week while my husband and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary on a five-day cruise. If there is ever a time to enjoy the ease and flow of life it’s when there is no cooking, no cleaning, no chores, no responsibilities, and an abundance of time, food, and fun things to do. What in the world is there to be cranky about?
The peaceful view in Jamaica
The good news is that observing myself having a cross-reaction under those ideal circumstances made me realize how often I must be doing that on a day-to-day basis without even being aware of it. It’s like I’m so used to the negative undertow that I don’t even realize I’m being carried along in its current.
I love having that awareness because now I can look for the subtle signs and can proactively shift to a more positive, anabolic energy.
Being late was one of my catabolic triggers. If there was a time we were supposed to be somewhere, my chances of crankiness increased. It didn’t matter if the threat was being late to dinner or missing the curfew for returning to the ship, my anxiety level was the same.
The reality is that I’m often late. I typically see this as my husband’s fault, but it’s just as likely that I’m the one who gets sidetracked or takes too long to get ready. This is not a characteristic I like in myself, so I’m quick to jump on David when I see the behavior in him.
And there absolutely should be a reactionary difference between being late to dinner and missing our ride home. One may have serious consequences, but the other does not, and shouldn’t be treated as a big deal.
Another cranky moment stemmed from David bringing a minimum of cash and no credit card ashore, which limited our options. Now did I take responsibility and pack some monetary means? Nope. I didn’t have a cent on me. It was much easier to criticize David for his lack of foresight rather than acknowledge my own culpability.
Paying attention to where you have a less-than-stellar reaction is a great way to rethink the situation and choose a different response in the future—and sometimes even in the moment.
Amazingly, when I let go of the money issue, David found an extra $10 in his pocket that was just the amount we needed.
My mantra for the remainder of the trip; “Everything is always working out for us.” And you know what? It was, and always is.
For me, it all boils down to letting go of control and trusting the experience and process, while at the same taking appropriate responsibility for my foibles, actions, and responses. My intention is to take this awareness forward and to be much more conscious of when I’m in a catabolic current, and choose a different response.
You get to decide how to react to everything that is happening around you. How can you respond a little differently today?
Together we can do it!