Friday, January 8, 2016

You can't see yourself reflected in troubled waters

troubled waters

A farmer had many logs to cut but couldn’t find his ax. He ran his yard back and forth, looked in the shed and scoured all the property, but the ax was still missing. No doubt it had been stolen! A new ax he had bought with his last savings!

Anger seized him and painted his mind with a black ink dark as soot. Then he saw his neighbor. It seemed that his gait was that of someone who didn’t have a clear conscience. His face betrayed an expression typical of the guilty with his victim. His greeting was full of the malice of axes’ thieves. And when he opened his mouth to talk about the weather, his voice was that of a thief who had just stolen something!

Unable to contain himself longer, the peasant crossed his porch striding, with the intention of going to quarrel with that thief who had the audacity to mock him. However, his feet tangled in a bunch of dead branches on the roadside. He stumbled noisily, banging on the nose with the handle of his ax, which must have fallen off the wagon yesterday.

Like this farmer, often the story we baste in our mind plays tricks on us, makes us imagine things that don’t exist, leads us to blame others or invent intentions we can’t check. Jump to conclusions isn’t beneficial for anyone.

The rough waters roil the bottom

When we’re victims of intense emotions, such as anger or frustration, we can’t see things clearly. We aren’t able to distance the problem emotionally to appreciate what is happening from a more rational perspective. Our emotions become a veil through which we value what happens. This leads to bad or hasty decisions, which we may regret later.

In fact, these emotions are like a rough sea. When the waves are too strong, drag everything on their path, prevent us from seeing the bottom and, of course, don’t show our reflection. This means that we begin to act in a “reaction mode” and don’t even understand why we behave that way. We fail to realize that our attitude and thoughts aren’t determined solely by the situation but, above all, from our response to what happens.

At that point we stop analyzing what’s happening and begin to react to the facts we’re creating in our mind, as the peasant of the story. Thus, we misinterpret any gesture or word, because we take them as a confirmation of our beliefs. Obviously, losing this way the touch with reality isn’t positive and much less adaptive.

Equanimity: The most useful tool to face life

To address specific situations, it is imperative we let the sea of our emotions get quiet, only then we’ll be able to see clearly the bottom and understand what is the best solution. But even better would be to prevent the sea from getting stirred. About that, equanimity is an excellent tool.

Equanimity is like using the brakes to avoid getting off the curve and adjust the speed of our mind to the conditions of the road of life. But it doesn’t mean throwing the handbrake standing still while life passes by.

How to develop equanimity?

Equanimity means, above all, harmony. Being fair doesn’t mean to be disinterested or adopt a passive attitude, but to provide a proportionate response to the stimuli and always trying to maintain the psychological balance. A sober person is aware that everything is mutable and therefore doesn’t cling to things, but neither rejects them, just accept everything.

Therefore, to develop equanimity is essential to embrace the concept of change and develop a more open attitude which allows us accept what happens. This quality will allow you avoid suffering or get angry for nothing, it will help you react less intensely to negative events, so that you can live intensely the good things.


Keep feeding your neurons

You can't see yourself reflected in troubled waters

Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to string words together. Discover my Books


Psychology as you never heard about...

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