Image shows cartoon of a man with a red open shirt and grey shirt standing slightly away from a set of hooks on a wall his eyes are closed and he is smiling. Caption reads: Let yourself off the hook. Picture by Molly Hahn at Buddha Doodles.
One of the things that I have learnt through mindfulness is that it is not necessarily how you feel about something that causes the problem, but the story that you build around it that causes you to feel worse.
The best example I can give of this is when I get caught in the rain, sure getting rained on isn’t great, but it’s the extra layer of me thinking ‘this is horrible’ ‘this sucks’ that makes it worse and spins the situation into something so much bigger in my head. Especially if I then add another layer of resistance by telling myself that I shouldn’t think negatively. It’s easy to see how a small inconvenience can become a big deal if you overthink it.
It’s the same with being irritated, if you can manage to acknowledge it and step back then great, but sometimes you can be in the middle of the story before you realise it. This is another situation where awareness can help, by not creating more resistance, by at least being aware enough not to become irritated about being irritated.
This can also sometimes be applied to discomfort in the body, the more I can sit with an ache or pain and be aware of it rather than creating a story around how bad it is the less it will bug me. I don’t suffer with that much pain though so I don’t feel I can say as much from experience.
In my experience the more I can be aware of the layers of story that less likely I am to get dragged away by them.