I was sitting at the dinner table when the waiter put a few cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions in the bottom of my bowl, then poured red gazpacho over it.
As he poured my friend’s soup, however, I noticed that while he gave her a liberal amount, there was barely enough liquid in my bowl to cover the cucumbers.
Both annoyed and amused, I looked at my friend, pointed to my soup, and whispered, “Look how little I got!”
To which she replied, “You can ask for more.”
Be the Cause
There are many ways we are the causes of our experiences.
For years I didn’t fully understand the implications of this.
Sure, I knew that focusing on what I wanted was the key to manifestation, but I didn’t understand the various ways I kept myself stuck in needless disappointment.
Like not asking for more soup. I wanted more. I was really hungry! But it never even occurred to me to ask.
It never occurred to me because I somehow learned to accept what I got and not ask for more.
Without realizing it, I was “being” the cause of my frustration.
Our “Beingness” and the Ancestral Wound
We get used to a path, a way of being, of thinking, of acting, of feeling, and in many situations, it never occurs us that we could behave differently or do something else.
We learn, via observation or education, to be, think, feel, and act a certain way, and we subconsciously assume that’s the way to be in all situations. These qualities and characteristics become ingrained in our identity unless we consciously rebel against it or shift.
The problem is that these assumptions aren’t always useful and they can wreak havoc on our lives. Our love lives. Our wealth. Our health. Our life in general.
And sometimes, instead of redirecting our frustration into a productive statement or question that helps us get what we need, something as simple as, “I’d like more soup”, we talk about the problem, roll our eyes at it, fight the injustice, and wish it were different.
When we do that, we’re being the cause of our bad experience.
Who or What You’re “Being” Affects Your Situation
The waiter wasn’t the cause of my frustration. I was. I reacted with annoyance and because of this I felt annoyed. But I didn’t have to react with annoyance. I chose it.
I could have reacted with curiosity instead, and said, “Is there any reason why I got this amount and she got that amount?”
I could have reacted with indifference.
I could have reacted with gratitude.
But I reacted with annoyance and then I became annoyed. I started to focus on how hungry I was, how I needed more food to get through the day, and in a split second I cascaded into an abyss of “poor me” thoughts.
So ridiculously unnecessary.
Fortunately my friend said something and I snapped out of it.
Recognizing the Origin of Your Cause
Although one incident like this seems inconsequential, living a lifetime of them can add up to a lot of frustration.
For example, when you need your partner to be a certain way and s/he isn’t, it’s easy to get frustrated about it because your needs aren’t being met.
When your doctor doesn’t practice the holistic medicine you desire, it’s easy to become frustrated because you aren’t getting the type of help you want.
When colleagues expect you to work 18 hour days and you don’t want to, it’s easy to get frustrated and feel trapped in a system that sucks the life out of you.
But your partner, your doctor, and your colleague are not the cause of your frustration. It’s the way you are being in response to your situation that causes your frustration. It’s easy to blame the annoyance on them, but that will just keep you stuck in a never ending loop of negativity.
Be the Cause that Nurtures Your Soul
To create a happier, more fulfilling life, it’s often necessary to begin by recognizing where you are being a cause that is unproductive, yet this can be a challenge because we are usually blind to our own shortcomings, and let’s face it, it’s much easier to blame someone else. Since traits like “never asking for help” become an integral part of how we navigate life, it can take a dramatic situation, or a good friend, to draw our attention to what’s amiss.
The first step is to focus on how you can meet your needs without trying to change someone else’s personality.
I’m not suggesting you not ask for help or discuss problems with your partner, doctor, or colleague. Asking a waiter for more soup is fine. That’s his job. Asking the waiter to change his personality to appease you is not.
Since you can only control yourself, focusing on how your partner, doctor, or colleague isn’t properly caring for you will likely leave you feeling frustrated.
So you need to get clear about what you want and why it’s important to you. Then take a solution-oriented step toward creating what you desire. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t, and go from there. You can ask your partner for more help, but if s/he isn’t willing or able to give it, look for another solution. There is always a way.