Today’s blog is written by retreat presenter Andrea Springer. She offers a great reminder to help us deal with things that get under our skin. What techniques do you use to cope with life’s irritations? Andrea will be with us for a day retreat this August and it will be added to our website soon. Stay tuned to learn more about this inspiring day, which will be themed around ‘courage’. Now, let’s take a few quiet moments to read Andrea’s reflection. We hope that it will give you a little laugh and help you to ‘shake off’ the day’s little worries.

Shake It Off!joy, shake it off

Recently a friend reminded me of the words of the great pop culture philosopher Taylor Swift, when she told me to shake it off. My friend was helping me give myself a break and I greatly appreciated it. And, when I thought more about it, I realized this was also good advice for those times when we are irritated with others. Whether they know it or not those close to us, and those not so close, can get under our skin. Who knew that the pop star could offer a real life lesson AND provide dance moves and hand gestures!

As I look at it, shake it off is similar to give the benefit of the doubt.  I don’t know about you but this is a tough one for me. The person in front of me in traffic going slow just to irritate me, the person behind me is riding my bumper just to irritate me, the slow checkout person at the grocery store, the delivery that’s taking forever, or the kid behind the counter at the deli who could not possibly go any slower while the line is growing.

Then there are the people interviewed on the news with thinking completely foreign to me.  How could they possibly believe that and what would possess them to say it on live television? The family member who does not know where the dishwasher is located and also has an allergic reaction to taking out the overflowing trash. I’m sure we all have a variety of examples to insert here.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not at all suggesting we shirk our personal responsibilities and dance into the sunset swinging our hands and hips. I am, however, suggesting that we take a breath, take a step back, and, well, shake it off, shake it off, off, off. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt at least once in a while.

It’s been my experience that I’m the one who gets more aggravated when weaving a story around the offense. When I stop and make an intentional shift, I realize that I am more at peace with giving someone the benefit of the doubt. It’s okay to let the driver behind me pass on the road, it’s okay to put the towel in the right place and, once in a while, I can just take out the trash.

The added benefit is that it makes it easier to forgive myself and let go of my own mistakes.  It helps too when I add the music, the dance steps, and the hand motions.

Give it a try, let me know how it works.