Cavemen Love Pink

Cave Dweller?
Sponsored by Next Step Goals, LLC
Written by Julie O’Keeffe Henzey
Next Step Goals logo brown letters orange circles 200 wide (2)

It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m sorry, but behind all of those boxes of chocolates and bouquets of flowers are some really annoying people! For example, the guy at the check out counter just had a long conversation with the cashier as he paid for long-stemmed roses, even after glancing back to see that I was waiting with my hands full. Those people are so frustrating!

This Valentine’s Day, make it your goal to love and accept everyone (even those people) around you “as is”, even if it kills you. Which it won’t! Read more….

We are wired to label people as either “in our group or “outside of our group” and to treat them accordingly.  To achieve this, we have to look for clues as to whether someone is worthy of membership in our group. Our caveman ancestor would watch a stranger approach his cave and want to know, Is this man going to offer us mastodon meat or steal our children?  If we can’t find any clues, we often assume the worst until proven otherwise.

Fortunately, I don’t have to worry whether the guy in the flower shop is going to take my child.  This gives me a great opportunity to interrupt my normal flow of labeling and give the man a chance.  This also applies to the driver who cuts into our lane, the neighbor who plays their music too loud, and the coworker who constantly interrupts.

And why bother?  The benefit is this:  It feels better not to dole out negative labels.  In the act of labeling, we unleash negative energy in our thoughts.  It’s completely within out control to decide how we are going to think about a situation.  We can let a delay at the flower shop ruin our afternoon. We can ruminate on the rude behavior, label the person as rude, complain how we would never be so rude, and say to ourselves, Next time, I’m going to tell the guy to shut up and leave.  The negative energy races around in our bodies and our heads, tightens our shoulders, and makes it difficult to operate productively.  Negative emotions close us down and restrict our ability to see possible solutions.  We get trapped.

Instead, we can enjoy ourselves, and even our time in the flower shop, by taking a non-judgmental approach.  We can notice the guy is telling a story at length and realize that he’s really into it.  Then, rather than judge him, we can just think, Hey, he’s having fun here AND I need to get going.  Rather than make it a predicament, we can imagine the guy as a harmless Robin Williams or Jamie Foxx and say, Pardon me, while you’re telling your story I need to pay for my items.  Could you slide over and I’ll set these things down?

We can give up the need to label people and situations, if we notice we are doing it.  By paying attention, we can identify when we are on the verge of using our outdated caveman behavior.  Then we can put on the brakes, take a detour in our head, and attend to a situation without going negative.

Stop your caveman instincts in their tracks.  Put a welcome mat at the front of the cave and expect a Hallmark moment, not death!

Julie helps women and seniors successfully take action and navigate challenges through her two businesses Next Step Goals LLC and Peace of Mind Transitions LLC. She herself has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and completed 60 sprint triathlons while divorced with two kids.

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