A Life Filled With Tension
You had a horrible night sleep because your baby is really colicky right now. You’re in a bad mood, and you’re about to take it out on the rest of the family, especially your spouse.
You just stepped on to the elliptical machine at the gym. You’re only a couple of minutes into your workout routine and you’re just not feeling this exercise thing, today. You’re about to step off the machine and find something easier to do or maybe even just go home.
You just picked up the kids from childcare on your way home from work. They’re being obnoxious in the back seat of your car. You’re exhausted from a long day of work. You’re on a tight family budget. You are also trying to eat healthy meals at home, but then out of the corner of your eye, you see a fast food restaurant at the next intersection.
What do all these scenarios have in common? They all contain a point of tension. A point when you need to make a decision on where you are going to allow this tension to lead you. In that very moment, you can make a good choice or a poor choice. In some points of tension, there may not even be a decision to be reached. You may just need to hold on to your tension for the time being.
I have come to the conclusion that we as human beings do not enjoy these points of tension. We will do almost anything to avoid them. And, it’s just too easy to slip into our default mode and make a poor decision as a result of the tension.
In the examples above, our default response is to be grumpy with our families and take it out on them when we haven’t had a good night’s sleep.
Our default reaction is to seek pleasure and comfort over a strenuous workout.
Our default reflex is to save time, energy, and the hassle factor for dinner by going through a fast food drive thru on our way home from work.
In the majority of situations, our default response is to take the easy way out in order to resolve our point of tension.
Living With Tension
So, what should we do with these points of tension?
First, be aware that they occur in your life multiple times during the day. Simple awareness that this is going on can help you in deciding on what to do with the tension.
Second, recognize what your default response is in any of these situations. Everyone’s default is pressing the easy button to get out of the tension as fast as possible.
Third, establish a compelling vision of your ultimate life. Compare your default reaction to these points of tension and the life you ultimately desire.
Fourth, embrace the tension. Recognize the tension for what it is. Realize that you don’t always need to seek comfort by resolving your point of tension as quickly as possible.
Fifth, make the BEST choice that lines up with your life vision. You DO have a choice in these tension-filled situations. Plan ahead what your reaction will be in order to avoid hitting your default key. Decide in advance what the best choice is for you.
Questions: So, how aware are you of these points of tension and your natural default reaction to resolving these tensions in your life? Now that you’re at least a little more aware of them, what is your plan in order to deal with them from this point forward?