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Mindful means not being reactive.

Mindful means not being reactive.

Being reactive means one of four things. Deflecting blame, arguing to be right, fleeing from responsibility or freezing someone with the silent treatment. All of these ploys are intended to manipulate others in order to save face with your own identity. To attempt to prove your narratives about yourself and others are true. Whenever we are running narratives or stories in our minds about ourselves or others, it’s probably evidence that you’re not being factual or mindful of the facts in the present moment. Almost all stories or narratives are missing some factual truths. They are shaped from the point of view of one persona inside us that has one job. For example, the blamer doesn’t feel comfortable admitting they might be anything other than good so the job of this persona is to deflect uncomfortable feedback onto others. Just get rid of it. That’s the ego talking and it isn’t as intelligent as our rational self. It overgeneralizes, distorts the facts and makes cognitive errors in reasoning. Our rational self would look at any situation as a combination of many variables. Intelligent reasoning requires us to consider the fundamental attribution error. Placing all of the blame on any other person is just not good reasoning. There are many things that can go wrong along the way in complex situations or relationships. One must look at the facts, tune into what is true right now, and examine the variables carefully. Then find a positive way forward. Escalating reactions is not being mindful. Being mindful means taking responsibility for our own part while at the same time asking others to take responsibility for theirs too.

The simple truth is that we can’t be in a narrative and present to the truth of the present moment at the same time. We’re either in our story or in the present moment being mindful of the facts that we notice right now.

What’s the cost of not being mindful? Loss of relationship. Loss of trust. Loss of energy. It’s all fruitless and a waste of energy to blame, argue, freeze or escape. The only thing that works is to tune into the truth of the present moment to the greatest degree possible. Ask yourself some questions. What are the facts I am not seeing right now?” What else besides my story is also true? What can I learn from this? What is true about my story and what is not really true? What might be missing from my story? Is my story propping up fears in my ego in some way? Or am I committed enough to reality to line up with the facts as I notice them right now? What am I afraid to admit?

If we can see the truth in what is true right in this moment, then we can be honest with ourselves and respond respectfully instead of reacting from the emotions of our story.

When two people get into dynamics of story, it’s even worse. More complex. It requires both to be mindful for both to come out well in the end result. But it can start with only one. Just don’t take the bait and react in return the next time you encounter one of the patterns.

If the mind is full of truth in the moment, it won’t be spinning stories.