It wasn't a wasted week though; I found a lot of value in the exercise. In those moments of catching myself when I was irritated and replacing my grimace with a small smile, I had a chance to catch up with the moment, rather than letting my mind, in its frustrated frenzy, take me down a long and increasingly windy trip to anger/frustration/fear ...
Mind you, I also noticed that sometimes the half-smile itself irritated me. As the corners of my mouth were forced upwards, I'd hear a little voice in my mind whisper harshly, "but I want to be irritated! I have every right to be ..." And maybe that's true. Just two weeks ago, for my week eight challenge, I set out to notice my feelings - without analysis or any agenda to change them. Irritation certainly falls into that bucket. What, then, is the point of the half-smile?
For me, I appreciate the pause it allows. Distraction? Maybe. But it's more than that. The frustration that I feel is one thing; the story and inevitable 'dipping' into the past that that brings with it are something else all together. It's that excess baggage that comes along with the feeling that are nipped in the bud with this exercise.
And, I have to admit, a little smile is sometimes all it takes to get a bit of perspective.