Select Page

By Mrs. Debbie Selengut

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz

To My Dear Kallas, עמו”ש

Firstly, a guten chodesh!  Welcome to summer, and a change of pace for many of us!

I want to share something I learned a number of years ago that has helped me immeasurably, in so many areas of my life.

It’s called the STEAR cycle, and if we can learn to apply it over and over again, we will see how it transforms our interactions with people, the way we look at our day, our mood, and our level of joy.

Here we go:

 S– is for Situation. We have a situation. A situation is anything outside of our control. Neutral, and independent of me. The weather, the President, someone banging their car into mine, my water heater breaking. The bus not showing up. My Shabbos company cancelling. The milk is spoiled. My child waking up with fever. It’s simply a situation.

T– is for Thought. A thought is a sentence that pops up in my mind. Thoughts appear in my mind all day, millions of thoughts. What a gorgeous day, or, ugh, rain. The President is making terrible decisions, oh no! Another dent in the door, or no big deal…. That water heater was so old, I’m so grateful that it lasted as long as it did, or, this is not what I needed now, how can he have fever TODAY??? We have to be aware that thoughts are coming up all day, every day.

E– stands for Emotion. One word that describes how I am feeling. Happy, frustrated, scared, overwhelmed, confused, irate, embarrassed, concerned, sad, undervalued…. We might be feeling a few things, but what is the primary emotion? Emotions are feelings because we can actually feel them in our bodies.

AApproach. The actions or the set of actions I will take. There are different ways to go here. Action, reaction, inaction. What am I going to do next? Have a conversation with that person? Speak gently? Fly off the handle? Write a letter? Set up a meeting? Buy them a present? Change my plans? Call the plumber? Clean up the mess? I can also decide that the best way to go is inaction. I don’t do anything.

R– is for Results. Results are what happens based on my actions, reaction, or inaction. Can adjusting my approach bring about a better result? Usually-yes!

Let’s plug this in a scenario:

I have an appointment and I cannot find my car keys- that’s the situation.

Here is the tipping point, because what I think, my thoughts, are going to determine the trajectory of this situation.

I can think calmly, “where would they be, where was I last, what jacket was I wearing yesterday, what bags did I bring in?”

Or, I can think, “My husband, daughter, son etc.…definitely took them and didn’t put them back, I’m sure of that!” Or, I can think, “I am such a scatterbrain, I cannot keep track of anything….” Those thoughts are going to lead to my emotions.

Am I calm, and possibly thinking of other options to get to my appointment? Am I angry (and getting angrier by the second…?) Am I upset with myself, and thinking self-deprecating thoughts? Am I frustrated with myself or with another person? That emotion is going to determine my action, reaction or inaction.

Will I call a car service? Will I reschedule my appointment, will I call my husband at work (and either ask sweetly (?) If he knows where the keys are, will I wake up my teenage daughter sweetly (?) and ask her if she knows where the keys are…  will I yell at someone?  will I finally make a spare set of keys?

And all of this leads to the result.

The thoughts determine the emotion, which determines the action, which creates the result. This is not about controlling situations. I cannot control situations.

But I can learn to control my thoughts, and when I do, I am often able to control the result.

What’s difficult about this, is that it puts a lot of responsibility squarely on my shoulders, and what’s great about this, is it puts responsibility squarely on my shoulders.

Instead of feeling out of control, and victimized by many situations, I can bring them to better conclusions.

This concept speaks to me. I am a terrible spectator.

Although it demands of me, it helps me tremendously in creating the tone of my day, and the quality of my relationships.

Wishing you a wonderful month,

Mrs. Debbie Selengut