This week is focused on the limitations of "Five minutes" - or rather the freedom of it...you'll see:
A (long) while back my husband and I watched the movie "Elizabethtown". I'm not going to give a critique of the film because, well...have you seen it? There was one main thought that stuck with us, though I'm not entirely sure why: the five minute rule (they didn't call it that and honestly, having any valuable life-theory presented by Kirsten Dunst is slightly disturbing).
The five minute rule is essentially this: feel anything and everything you want to feel. Feel it deeply. Wallow in pity. Sob. Decide you are worthless. Lose your mind. Contemplate the great voids. For five minutes. Then move on.
On any given day you may need the five-minute rule. There is nothing wrong with feeling something but sometimes, sadly, we don't have the time to wallow around in self-pity. The thing is, if we don't wallow around in that self-pity it just ends up incapacitating us in other ways. The five minutes we didn't take to get over something, think it through, feel an emotion or forgive can become days, months, years. Why else would so much therapy be based in the past - because we didn't take care of whatever we should have and now it goes on to touch and influence our lives on a broader scale.
The five minute rule demands three things: allowing yourself to fully feel your emotions, valuing yourself enough to determine that you are worth that five minutes, and none of the five minutes may be spent on a phone, computer or other interactive device.
So what does this mean? An example: It's Tuesday. You've worked for 3 months on a project. You really think you've done a great job on the project. Your boss lauds the work but has some criticisms, criticisms that happen to cut deeply into personal fears you have - and embarrasses you. You could either a) go back to your day, ho-humming around and turning it into a "bad day" or you could try b) five minutes. Close the door, leave the office, go to the bathroom, whatever. Be wholly alone for five minutes and allow yourself to cry if you need to, yell if you are lucky enough to have the appropriate space, close your eyes, whatever you need.
Try it, just once, and see how it works for you. Please? This technique works especially well in two other situations: If you have a partner/friend who understands and uses the five minute rule (and is willing to tell you to take five minutes - or vice versa), and/or with kids.
Say you have a kid who hates math, gets angsty, frustrated, mad at homework - as a parent you can say "I completely understand that you feel frustrated and mad," (try to find the emotions they are feeling and say them out loud so they can identify them) "You have five minutes. Take a break and go ahead and be mad, get really mad and frustrated if you need - for five minutes. When you are done we'll try again." Can I just tell you, I've done this quite a few times when I babysat/nannied - it worked wonders - and rarely do you need the whole five minutes. Remember, it's not a punishment or a time-out (well, I guess technically is is time...out but) – rather you are validating their feelings, allowing them to process them and then resuming whatever you were doing. Get it? Ok.
Certainly there are days, situation and events that demand more than five minutes to process. On a day to day basis and for the most part though five minutes is more than we usually grant ourselves to work through things (at least that's true in my case). So I challenge you to try the five minute rule - and, of course, let us know how it works for you.
Do you already use a five minute rule (or something similar)? How does it work?