Squeeze an apple, and apple juice comes out, not orange juice, right?
That’s true for us too.
Life can’t squeeze anything out of us that isn’t already on the inside.
Sure, we have different parts and many facets. Some are desirable, and others not so much.
But something has to be in you if it’s going to get squeezed out by the stress of life.
When the stress of life squeezes you, what comes out?
Courage? Leadership? Honesty? Love?
Anger? Jealousy? Defensiveness? Hate?
Probably some of those all come out at different times.
When we’re stressed, our auto-responses go into action to try to handle the situation.
The trouble with this is that most of our auto-responses were programmed when we were too young to examine them.
They were well rooted by the time we were three years old.
So when life really squeezes us, we basically react as great big versions of our three-year old selves.
My default response to stress used to be anger. It took a lot of reflection and intentional choices to change that, but I did it.
We learned our patterns when we were too young to know anything or do anything about them.
Because we learned at such an early age, they’re as familiar to us as our hands and our face.
It seems to just be who we are.
But it’s not.
Our responses can be changed.
We can choose our responses once we’re aware of them.
That’s great news because it puts us in control!
It’s not the situation that makes us act a certain way.
It’s what comes out when we get squeezed.
If you don’t like what you see, choose today what you want to see instead.
“People who add value to others do so intentionally. I say that because to add value, leaders must give of themselves, and that rarely occurs by accident.” John C. Maxwell
You get to choose what will come out of you the next time the pressure is on.
At first it’s going to feel really awkward, maybe even difficult. Maybe nearly impossible!
But you can do it.
Exercise the traits you want to see, so they can fill up more of you.
Make them get stronger.
Build them up the same way you would build up a weak muscle: little by little, persistently, and consistently.
This is living life with intention.
You are going to screw up along the way, but stick with it!
You are going to have setbacks.
“Setbacks motivate me.” Lindsey Vonn
Apologize for your behavior and do what you need to do to fix the situation.
Then dust yourself off, pick yourself up and determine to do better the next time.
I know good things are inside of you. Shine some light on them. Let them grow. They’ll eventually overgrow the parts you don’t want to see.
As always, I wish you all the best!
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Originally published at medium.com