As I stuffed the final bag into the car for our family’s extended summer trip, I realized that the most important thing I needed to bring couldn’t even be packed—my skills in a special form of martial arts, “mental jujitsu.”
These are even more essential to have on a summer trip than a favorite t-shirt because they help mitigate the thing that also doesn’t get packed but inevitably shows up on trips—family drama.
A favorite tee may offer temporary comfort and ease, but mental jujitsu can provide lasting peace, even in the face of ugly family dynamics that arise when conditions are “supposed” to be blissful.
I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but I think it would be naive to not expect some discord during vacation time, especially after family members are coming off of months of being quarantined together!
Pulling mental jujitsu out of my proverbial self-care toolbox instantly helps me feel empowered, as if I am a deft warrior. With it, I can protect my heart and my mind well when loved ones (unintentionally) hurl emotionally triggering comments.
I’m sure you know how it looks…the fight or flight response leaps into action to defend old emotional wounds, and you end up saying something or behaving in a way that is regrettable.
That feeling is sometimes more of a downer than the triggering offense.
Fortunately, practicing mental jujitsu suppresses this reactive system. It can be employed in one of two ways (or both), depending on how severe the “assault” is:
1. Slightly tip your head, neck and torso to one side. As you do so, imagine that the triggering stimulus whizzes by, rather than attaches and affects you.
2. While closing your eyes, make a sweeping or tossing motion with your hands as if throwing away the hurtful comment. Simultaneously, talk to yourself silently but boldly. Say something like, “I’m letting that one go.” Or, “Nope, not gonna let that junk in my space.”
We may have been conditioned to believe that not reacting fiercely connotes that we are weak or passive.
Practicing mental jujitsu is far more difficult than reacting harshly, and requires much more discipline. What’s more, it usually yields more pleasing outcomes.
I’d say these factors indicate that someone is strong and assertive—the exact opposite of weak and passive!
Whether you’re headed on a trip or staying local this summer, pack mental jujitsu skills into your personal wellness tool kit. Adding them just may help diminish any Emotional Baggage you’re hauling around. And you won’t even have to sacrifice your favorite tee!
Need support with unpacking your reactive tendencies so you can experience more comfort and ease wherever you are? Contact me and together we can unleash the martial artist in you!