It was a snowy November day when a client of mine was stuck in traffic. He decided to call me since he wasn’t going anywhere fast. After talking a bit about his business, he told me about how much the traffic bugged him. Driving was a big part of his work, and driving around the city was a huge frustration for him.
“What’s causing your stress?”, I asked him
He said it’s the traffic. I need to be somewhere, I need to get this stuff done now, people are waiting for me now. It was around 6pm and he was running late from the snow on the roads.
I said, “so the thought… that you need to be somewhere else is causing you stress?”.
His reply, and little surprised was, “Uh, yeah, well I want to be there”.
Then I asked him what’s his reality? He said, well I’m stuck here.
I explained that anytime our thinking goes against our reality we experience pain. That it’s not the traffic that is causing him pain, but the thinking that he should be somewhere else.
How can you be anywhere else than where you are now?
After a few more questions and some thoughtful insights, he suddenly realized that it was impossible for him to be anywhere else than where he was at that moment. He realized how much stress, frustration, irritation and moodiness he was inflicting on himself, and then, on those around him. He realized the snowball effect of this type of thinking.
We also talked about other implications of this type of thinking, “I should be somewhere else, or I should be someone else, or I should do something else”.
How do you react and feel when you think these thoughts?
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