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To Exercise or to Exorcise? Monday February 9, 2015

I basically only have one form of exercise in my regime: jumping... conclusions!

Yes, it’s the truth that the more disappointed I become with life, the more irritable and hyper-sensitive I seem to become too! And the hyper-sensitivity brings along its unwelcome best mate: Mr Hyper-Critical.

Suffice to say, jumping to conclusions is hazardous for your health, it’s hazardous for your state-of-mind, and it is hazardous for your relationships. It disturbs your sleep too.

Last week I misread a friend’s comment – and jumped to a conclusion – the wrong one. In fact it was so wrong, it was 180 degrees opposite to their intention. I was very embarrassed and I’m sure they weren’t too thrilled either when I discovered my error of judgment. It might take a while to heal that relationship.

Just in case what I am saying is resonating with you, is there a defence that could moderate this tendency to jump to the (wrong) conclusion when we are feeling low?

I’d like to share with you my ABC Rescue Remedy.

“A” stands for “Assume the best”. This is a great position to default to. After all, if it turns out that the negative conclusion we would have jumped to was actually the right conclusion, we can still strike them off our Christmas list! Looking at the issue, what is the best possible intention the other party could have had? Think the best of them.

“B” is for “Breathe...” Breathe for a l-o-n-g time. My Grandma encouraged me to count to ten. In fact, a second is a long time. In music, we might count 1-e-and-a for just one beat of a bar representing a second. So ten seconds can be long enough for you or me to press pause and take a breather. If there’s an email or a phone call to be made to respond to the imagined offence, I’d suggest a long breather! Insert a gap between stimulus and response! Overnight works well... if you can sleep.

And finally, “C” is for “Check!” In 90% of situations, it’s been possible for me to check out my understanding before throwing my toys out of the pram!

So, perhaps it’s time to exorcise Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms Hyper-Critical – and to cease getting all my exercise by jumping to conclusions.

There is a better way.

A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 6:17am

Hi Lex- Thanks for suggesting that very useful circuit breaker.It gets us to respond rather than react.My problem is remembering all those acronyms!

Rupert Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 8:31am

Good post Lex. I am so envious of those who only see the good in people even if it is bleeding obvious that some people my not be so good! Even at university I remember feeling bad becasue one of my friends was so upbeat about not just other people but also his own situation when all I felt was negativity which pervaded everything.So good for you for adopting the ABC!

Anonymous Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 8:35am

Really interested in this. Good tool to have by me.

Bunnykins Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 8:54am

Thank you Lex, I'm going to try this approach! x

Anonymous Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 8:55am

Brilliant Lex, simply brilliant - thank-you so much. Really useful. The world would be a much happier place if everyone did this. Frankie

Karen Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 10:14am

Funny, funny blog, Lex...resonate? Oh yes, resonates, bounces around and hits me on the back of the head...see? I can exercise too!
And a good thought for the day at the end!

Julia Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 10:20am

You could look at it like this Lex. It would be unusual, in fact impossible for anyone in their right mind to behave towards you in an unfriendly manner because you are so kind to everyone and so nice. Why would they?

Anonymous Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 10:27am

Lex, this one is being printed out and kept close by for reference! Your timing is impeccable also. Very many thanks. susan xx

crafty wee midden Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 10:58am

Sorry to be the downer, but.....

<<<<<“A” stands for “Assume the best”. This is a great position to default to. After all, if it turns out that the negative conclusion we would have jumped to was actually the right conclusion, we can still strike them off our Christmas list! Looking at the issue, what is the best possible intention the other party could have had? Think the best of them.>>>>>

In theory, yes. In practice, for me, no. Decades of assuming the best and not facing what was an impossible, manipulative situation, resulted in huge anxiety and other health problems for me. Until I managed to summon the strength to cut myself off( and it was not something I did lightly, and is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it was necessary for my sanity)

The Peanuts cartoon of Lucy and the football pretty much sums it up for me.....


Anonymous Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 12:36pm

A very good post - so true and so neatly succinct with excellent suggestions! Breathing - deep and with control I use already. Sometimes to it helps to recognise what is me and what is them - and to remember that we cannot change others.

Anonymous Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 1:18pm

Thanks for the useful reminders. I go there too and then get involved in long circular conversations with the offender in my head and wallow in the perceived injustice. It's not good for me and it doesn't help. I've learnt not to fire off an email immediately. If I find it important for my peace of mind to state my truth, I re-read the email the next day to see if I really want to send it off.

However, Crafty has a point. I guess assuming the best applies to people who we value and who have already proved their support for us. For the rest, I have also stayed in a destructive relationship far too long because I really believe at heart that everyone wants to change for the best (I know, I know...). I saw all the signs very early on, but didn't leave and got more and more damaged by staying. I'm grappling with what lesson to learn from this. Head for the hills at the first bad incident (assuming the reality that most people don't change), be tolerant (we are all human and make mistakes). ????

Sorry to be anonymous - I must work out how to give myself a name for the posting.

Julia Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 1:58pm

I think I can relate to this Alex in the sense that I too preferred to see the nicer side of a previous relationship rather than the side that was slowly destroying my sense of self and my health both physical and mental. I got out just in time. Do you think though that Lex is writing about less serious encounters and throw away remarks and comments which can hurt if we are down but if we are feeling great, we don't feel so upset by them? My brain is not working so well today and I think your comment actually could be seen in the same context Lex is writing about. Anyway suffice to say I am so glad you are no longer in that damaging relationship. Well done for dealing with it so well and so finally. You deserve a huge pat on the back. Must look at the Peanuts cartoon.

The Entertrainer Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 2:49pm

Hi Folks, thanks for all your comments today - whether agreeing or tweaking.
I am concerned merely for our own mental health... and I know that if I assume the worst as my default position, I do not function well. Assuming the best is a great place to start, but it doesn't have to last long if the evidence points to the other party being one of those people who really shouldn't stay in our circle of influence.
I have made some disastrous relationship choices that I should have exited long before I did... However, assuming the best, even in these cases, would have helped me while I tested my assumptions!
There are some bad people out there folks... but perhaps not as many baddies as I first thought.
My Best to You All

Mary Blackhurst Hill Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 3:21pm

Hi Lex. I loved this post. We're all a bit sensitive sometimes. But - that C is important, because sometimes people are really being nasty and then, as is said above, it's time to make a quick exit.

Anonymous Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 8:34pm

None of us know each other, so just call yourself by your given name...or be flamboyant and call yourself the name you wish you'd been called!!
Karen :)

crafty wee midden Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 5:27am

Thank you....Im so glad you replied.

Lex McKee Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 5:54am

That's a great response, Karen.
Shall we do an exercise DVD together and give old Jane Fonda some competition? lol

Lex McKee Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 5:55am

That's a lovely observation, Julia... and warmed my heart xx

Lex McKee Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 5:57am

Actually I agree with you both, and thank you Julia for supporting Alex faster than I did. As mentioned below, I'm more concerned with our own resourcefulness in the initial moments. I agree that some people really do need to be out of our lives.

Lex McKee Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 5:58am

Such wisdom in those words, "we cannot change others"!!!

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