Years ago I was asked to speak to a gathering of young people, so, after thoughtful consideration, I settled on the topic, “When you’re squeezed, what comes out?”.
That title has come back to ME hundreds of times since then, and so it has again for this particular blog today.
It’s relevance is timeless, and ageless, and it’s pertinence for us today.
Working in retail and interacting with other workers, managers and owners, all have spoken of how high strung, uptight and stressed people today are.
Customers are exploding in anger at the server over the smallest hiccup in their order, sending the server to recompose from tears in the restroom.
Or in my case, berating and accusing me because an item wasn’t made in the USA.
I recently spoke with a dear friend who spoke of their short fuse with their child; a family member “so over all the crap” with another family member; and have dealt myself with the short length of my patience.
What’s happening here?
The last year and a half has taken a toll on all of us. It has put pressure on us that is unbelievable and unexpected. We must accept that. No matter the level of success or failure we have had with the pressure, let’s recognize that we are being squeezed.
The truth is, what comes out of us, our responses comes only from what is inside us. And that’s the humbling part because often what comes out is anger, bitterness, accusations, and blame.
Something has to be in you to get squeezed out. Right?
Consider that lemon, or orange… it can only give the juice of what lies within it.
Psychologists tells us that our auto responses go into effect with stress. Yep, I agree, I’ve seen it in my life. They also tell us that those responses are programmed from our youth, when we are unaware and unable to change them. They are actually hardwired into us by the age of 3! (according to Dr. Christine Bradstreet)
Geesh…. That means your auto response at ______ years old ( your age now) is actually your 3 year old reaction! (Unless you have spent intentional time working on changing it.) Those reactions are as familiar as your face and seem to just be who you are.
Imagine that 3 year old learning responses. Poison and nutrition both have been fed those responses. The poison comes from the wounds, low self esteem, etc. nutrition comes from love, acceptance, boundaries, etc.
So are we stuck there, with our 3 year old responses? You know the answer…. NO.
Our responses can be changed. If you don’t like what you see when you’re squeezed, choose what you want to see instead. The next time the pressure is on, you get to choose your response. It will be awkward and difficult and maybe even silent for a while, but it is possible.
I told you a while back that I have been working on a response of mine, and I am pleased to report, that it has improved greatly! But it took a conscious choice and regular practice to build a new response, one that I was proud of. Like a muscle it grew stronger with persistent practice.
There will be setbacks and screw ups, and in those times we see just how serious we are about reprogramming our auto pilot responses.
We can change our life by changing what’s inside of us. It is totally our choice.
Remember, something has to be in you in order to get squeezed out.
Are you looking for courage, leadership, peacemaking, honesty to come out of you, they have to be in you first.
As you face the pressure of these days, try selecting just one response that you want to change. Focus on it by choosing a different response you want to display. Work on it, practice, exercise that new response muscle, let it become strong and replace your 3 year old response.
You can do it. We can do it. We can become the people we want to be with responses to pressure that we can be proud of.
It all starts with answering the question, “when you’re squeezed what comes out?”.
So happy to be journeying with you in this process of becoming our best self.
Cheers to you,