“In a way, all of us have an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be *the actual* El Guapo!”
– Lucky Day, The Three Amigos
Whatever you want to call it… threats, problems, obstacles, hopes, worries, struggles, anxieties, suffering – we all have our own triggers for our emotions and fears. These fears clutter our thought process – they block our creativity, constrict our choices, and force us to react in predictable ways.
If we don’t learn to face our fears head on, and work with these powerful emotions as they bubble up, they can have a negative impact on our mental, physical, and spiritual health – tripping our fight or flight response and actually shaving years off of our lives.
So, how can we overcome some of our personal obstacles and fears?
The next time you feel a powerful emotion or fear rising up, try to imagine that fear as your own personal “El Guapo“.
In Spanish, El Guapo actually means Mr. Handsome, that’s why calling your fear, your own personal “El Guapo” is brilliant. It helps you to loosen up and relax a little.
Sometimes your fears are only as serious as your mind makes them out to be. When you’re able to label that emotion your own El Guapo, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to step back for a second and reflect on just HOW serious the situation is. You learn to be present with your fear without buying into the story YOU created around that present moment experience.
Also, Catching yourself before you react impulsively helps you to understand your fears and their triggers better. You’re able to sit in the present moment – even as uncomfortable as it may be – and befriend your fear… even laugh at it. When you are able to see the situation clearly, you’re able to deal with it confidently, in a very direct manner. You’re less likely to immediately react and you become more lighthearted.
Now, I’m not saying that I never have fears, because we all do, I just choose to face my “El Guapos” head on – instead of allowing the “what if” stories to run wild and grow like weeds in my mind. ( A quick aside, my son likes to call these “what if” stories, “Mumma Fiction”… a topic for a future post;).) The moment I notice I’m constricted, instead of tightening up, I feel the tightness, smile, and breathe right into the tightness. Then I’m able to relax a little, sort out the details, and figure out if I’m taking the situation, or myself, too seriously.
By not “reacting” to life’s problems, you give yourself space to solve them – and you may just find the silver lining within the problem. It also allows you to make more creative choices instead of forcing you to behave in the same old predictable ones… just like the good people of Santo Poco did in the movie “The Three Amigos”, when they used their creativity and their resources to face the real El Guapo – by “sewing like the wind”.
As my friends and I have said for years now, “We all have our own personal El Guapos that we have to face”. And, it’s not necessarily about cracking jokes to lighten the mood in a stressful situation (although the Irish in me says that usually works), it’s about knowing that you’re really OK, and to find the ability to be happy in the midst of a stressful situation. When you use humor to diffuse the situation, your whole attitude about life changes. Instead of being in that constricted state, you are now open to ALL of life.
Sometimes when it seems like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, having a sense of humor is essential.