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 If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging  … Will Rogers!

A great football coach once said,” Just because you’re
doing something wrong, doing it more intensely won’t help.”

Yet, how often do we do just that? We are making a mistake, getting
ourselves into trouble – and, instead of backing off, reflecting, and
doing it differently, we roll up our sleeves and do the very same thing
even more intensely!

The same pattern exists in many areas of our lives. Many people have a
great deal of conflict to manage. Whenever a potential new conflict
arises, or the environment or circumstances seem to be encouraging that
development, instead of backing off and looking for new ways to defuse
the situation, they charge straight ahead, as always – repeating their
identical patterns and responses, taking the adversarial approach – and,
once again, find themselves in the middle of another drama or conflict.
Then, frustrated and stressed, they assume the world is to blame, or
that they need to find more effective and more aggressive ways to deal
with things. This is the essence of being in a vicious circle. The same
essential problems come up over and over again, unless and until you see
your own contribution – and vow to do something differently.

The solution is simple, but not always very easy. The trick is to
recognize when your part of the pattern is being repeated; for example,
“Here I am, arguing again,” or “I’m upset by the very same things – this
sure feels familiar.” Then, rather than clenching your fists, feeling
frustrated, filing your mind with stressful thoughts, and trying the
same old thing, you instead relax, back off, and empty your mind. Soften
and try to see the situation in a whole new way.

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