"You were given a right foot and a left foot, not a right foot and a wrong foot."
I fricking love that quote!
Perspective, at the end of the day, is subjective and that's what this quote reminds me of. Our perspective, our truth, and what we consider personally right and wrong.
Oh, and before I continue I think it's important to share that I'm not talking about the absolute wrongs in this world. Wrongs like racism, racial profiling, discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes, cruelty, abuse...those are definite wrongs.
What I'm talking about is the differing of opinions, thoughts, ideas, and perspectives.
THE NEED TO BE RIGHT
That quote also reminds me of that need to be right which I recently bumped up against. My own and someone else's.
Not to bore you with the gory details. Let's just say, I was trying to convince someone to see something my way. And since turn around is fair play, I was also on the receiving end of similar behavior.
And it got me thinking...
Why, as human beings, do we have to be right?
What happens when we're wrong?
My answer to the question... my ego. It's my ego that drives that need to be seen as a value-add, to "save face", or to be seen as smart.
And you want to know something funny?
When I'm on the receiving end of someone's "need to be right", I don't see anything of those things because I'm too pissed off.
"Don't tell me what to think. Your way isn't the way for me so stop trying to get me to see it your way. How dare you discount my thoughts."
That means there's a damn good chance I'm not coming across as a value-add or smart. Just annoying and discounting.
SEEING THINGS THROUGH THE LENS OF RIGHT OR WRONG
The reality is, when I look at things through the lens of right or wrong, I close myself off from seeing a different perspective. I shut down the opportunity to learn and to grow.
I stay in that place of "it's my way or the highway" or as a dear friend and colleague of mine says, I'm "married to being right".
And worse, I put a tight lid on the opportunity to connect.
SO, WHAT IF...
What if I(we) entertained the thought that there's a right for me and a right for you? That neither is wrong.
For the sake of clarity, that's not to say that I have to adopt another person's thoughts, ideas, perspectives, or opinions. Just be open to listen and to be curious.
I do that when I'm coaching my clients and some pretty cool things happen.
I remove my ego and listen from my heart.
I create deeper connections.
I learn something new about my clients.
I get cool ideas.
And I definitely avoid being annoying and discounting.
THE CHALLENGE & CALL TO ACTION
So, I'm daring myself to a challenge and I'd love the company if you care to join me. For the next 21 days, when I catch myself "needing to be right" in my personal relationships, I'm going to switch gears. I'm going to engage my curiosity and listen open-heartedly (like I do when I'm coaching) and see what cool things I may learn.
Are you with me?
I'm so sorry for the ear worm. I really am and if you can get past it, I've got a question for you...
How often do you celebrate? If that feels like a strange question, it kind of is, actually. But there's a method to my madness in asking it.
As a mindset coach and a person who totally geeks out on all things mindset-related, I've come to realize how helpful celebrating is when it comes to quieting that inner critic and creating a more positive mindset. And sadly, I don't think we take much time to celebrate. Yours truly included. Here's why...
WE ARE MUCH BETTER AT CALLING OUT "THE NEGATIVE"
“The truth is that everything that can be accomplished by showing a person when he's wrong, ten times as much can be accomplished by showing him where he is right. The reason we don't do it so often is that it's more fun to throw a rock through a window than to put in a pane of glass." - Robert T. Allen
It's true. We're much better at pointing out mistakes and flaws then we are at celebrating efforts. (We actually have negative bias to thank for that.)
So, rather than celebrate a project or goal completed, we move from that project or goal to the next. BUT...not without first taking a moment to point out all the things that didn't work.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN...
So, what would happen if we were on "high alert" every day for things to celebrate?
Celebrating a lesson learned from a mistake made.
Celebrating taking the high road in a conversation.
Celebrating the parts of a project that worked rather than focusing on the parts that didn't.
What would be possible?
THE COOL SIDE EFFECTS OF CELEBRATING
To that last question, a lot is possible. Like attitudes shifting, mindsets lifting, perspectives changing because...
The brain can't think positive and negative at the same time. And celebrating causes a release of all sorts of "feel good" chemicals in our brain. Oh, and did you know that celebrating helps to increase memory?!
Care to experience those side effects and do a little experimenting of your own?
For the next two weeks let's deliberately celebrate every day. Celebrate the small wins, the cool things that happen, the nice things we do, the lessons learned, the strides taken... let's just celebrate all the good things.
And if celebrating isn't something you've done outside of birthday parties or anniversaries, here are some ideas to support your celebration efforts.
Create a celebration box. What you'll need is a small box, like a shoe box that you can decorate (should you wish to) and 14 small pieces of paper. On each piece of paper write down something that you'd consider a special treat. For example, the book you've wanted to buy, a special dessert, etc. Fold the papers in half and put them inside the box. At the end of the day, take a piece of paper out of the box and give yourself that special treat in celebration of you!
PM celebration journaling. Before your head hits the pillow at night, take stock of your day and list all the cool things that happened. OR if you're like me and can't remember what you had for lunch carry an "Atta Way" notebook with you...a small notebook where you can quickly jot down the cool things so that you can re-read it before bed.
So, on your marks, get set, let's go celebrate because you, my friend are worth celebrating!!
I am so honored and thrilled to have had the chance to be on this podcast with an amazing human being, Samantha Lane. We had such a blast talking about ways to mute that PITA inner critic!
Some of the highlights of this podcast:
Rewire our neural pathways of what we thought was true
Why do our inner critics speak so loudly
Interplay between therapy & coaching
What it means to coach the whole person
Honor and empower yourself with choice
Check it out...
Have you ever expected someone to take your feelings into consideration, only to be hurt when they didn't?
During a time when you were struggling have you ever expected someone near and dear to check-in? Then when they didn't you felt hurt and resentful?
Have you ever expected someone to be there for you in the same way you've been there for them? Then when they didn't show up as you would have, you found yourself royally ticked off?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you're definitely not alone. Me too, to all of the above...many times over, actually.
A TURNING POINT
OK, so you'd think after being disappointed and having my feelings hurt repeatedly, I'd maybe get the hint that having expectations of others might not be a good thing.
Nope. Didn't get that hint...
My expectations were clearly on the rinse and repeat cycle until a coach I was working with made a suggestion.
Lower my expectations of others.
Pardon me?! What?! Lower my expectations!?
I didn't get it. I didn't get that it wasn't for me to expect other people to be decent, kind, caring, aware, giving, loving, considerate, <fill in the blank>.
I honestly thought it was OK to have those expectations. Isn't that what people should be?
In short, those expectations became a habit. A perpetual dance with disappointment, anger, and resentment. And being totally honest, they were sometimes a way for me to feel "better than" during a time when I felt the exact opposite. (Cue the inner voice..."I'd consider your feelings before doing that. I'd be there for you....blah...blah...blah".)
THE LESSON FROM A BITCH CALLED EXPECTATION
I didn't get the lower my expectations "thing" until I was ready to change the habit. Once I was ready, here's what I got; my expectations were the issue...not others.
I expected others to handle things in a similar vein to me.
I expected them to be what I wanted them to be.
I expected them to show up for me in the way that I'd show up.
No wonder I was disappointed, resentful, hurt, and angry. Those people weren't me and it was unfair of me to expect them to be. And in hindsight kind of pompous of me.
Once I got that, the disappointment, hurt, and anger lessened. That was until...
I GOT MY FEELINGS HURT ONCE AGAIN
Somehow, most recently, that little lesson on expectations skipped out of town.
I completely forgot about the lowering of expectations. I completely forgot it's unfair of me to expect others to be what I want them to be or react in ways I need them to. And subsequently, I got my feelings hurt.
I won't bore you with my pity-party-ish details because they don't really matter. What matters is the reminder that expectations are an unfair bitch when it comes to others. An unfair bitch that I can...that we can kick to the curb.
And in honor of her departure, I offer these...
EXPERIMENTS AND INSIGHTS
But here's the caveat, take with you what will work for you and leave what won't. OK?
It's OK to have reasonable expectations. Yep, for yourself. And here's a little "litmus test"; if you've set an expectation for yourself and you're having a difficult time meeting it...could be a cool indicator that it's time to lower it a smidgen.
It's not personal. Someone not showing up in the way you wish them to or not taking your feelings into consideration isn't because of you. Trust me. It's because of them...and how they see or don't see things, how they feel, what's going on in their world, etc. The bottom line; it's not personal.
Ask for what you need knowing that people really aren't mind-readers. I don't say that to be snarky. I say that because it's true. Sure it would make things easier, especially since asking can be kinda challenging to the old ego. The one thing I remind myself of consistently ...if I don't ask, the answer will always be "no".
So, my friends, I don't know about you but I'm going to take a page out of Stephen Hawkin's book and lower my expectations again. That way anything positive someone else does is an unexpected bonus! I love positive surprises...how about you?
Normally I wake up jazzed to dive into my morning ritual of journaling, meditating, coffee, and an intuitive reading with some intuitively guided writing. It's my time to just tune-in and see what comes bubbling up and out.
Not this morning. This morning something was off.
But I did as I always do…
I put on my headphones, turned on some soothing, meditative music, and opened my journal. My pen poised and ready for action and then….NOTHING! Nada. Zilch. Zip. A big blank page.
Enter the frustration, which of course didn’t help!
My one saving grace was remembering something Julia Cameron suggested in her book "The Artist's Way"…just write. Write anything on the page even if it's "I don't know what to write" over and over until something comes.
THE JOURNAL ENTRY THAT HAD ME SITTING WITH THE "MEH"
Hmmm…not sure what to write about. I know that not every journal session is going to be filled with "aha" moments of clarity. But this sucks. Nothing is coming up. Hmmm.
Keep writing. It's important to just keep the pen moving, regardless of what lands on the page. I have to remember this is my time with me so it's not what I write that matters. What matters is that I take this time to just be here in this moment of mindfulness.
I'm noticing that as I'm journaling I'm feeling flat and kind of "meh". I'm not sure if it's the headache or what it is but I'm really feeling uninspired… like I don't want to do anything but close my eyes and go back to sleep.
I hope it's just a temporary moment of "blah". All I really want to do is nothing. No "have to's"…just nothingness. That's what sounds awesome right now.
I wonder if it's time for a break? Just to chill and take it easy. Or is it that I just a need to shake up my morning "ritual"? Add something new or do it in a different way … I'm not sure... But what I'm sure of, I'm just feeling "meh".
Wait, maybe I'm not meant to do anything with the "meh". Maybe, for once, I'll do nothing with it … I'll give myself permission to not push through it, to be okay with feeling "meh".
Hey, maybe there's a gift in the "meh"…and I'll never know if I try to chase it away.
Which reminds me of Rumi's Guest House poem… every emotion a visitor to be invited in. Invite the "meh" in ... Have coffee with it and maybe ask it a few questions.
Hey "Meh" tell me about yourself.
Where do you come from?
What brings you here today?
Maybe it will enlighten me and I'll learn something new. Maybe it will remind me of something I've forgotten and needed to be reminded of. Who knows?
What I do know, I'm going to sit with it. Acknowledge it and see what it has to say. I'm sitting with the “meh”.. I'm not pushing it away or sending it out the door. I'm just sitting with all its flatness, it's colorlessness... just sitting with it quietly waiting for it to share whatever it wants to share.
AND THEN ODDLY THIS HAPPENED...
As I sat with the "meh", it left. It went away. I went from feeling like I wanted to do nothing to re-connecting with my usual jazzed feeling. YES!!
And here's why that was odd…I'm the type of person that wants to get to the source of why I'm feeling the way I feel. It's been my MO forever.
Not today. Today I just sat with the "meh" and as a result I learned something really cool!
It's not always necessary to understand "why" we feel the way we do. Sometimes that's just not important. Sometimes what's most important is to give ourselves permission to feel whatever we feel. To sit with it.
In sitting with it, we don't stuff it. We don't push it away. We allow it to come and then go.
Especially during times when the outside world is a little topsy-turvy… sometimes the most helpful thing we can do is give ourselves a little grace to just be with our feelings in an observant kinda way.
I close with this question, the next time you feel "meh" will you sit with it?
Have you ever read a book that just lit up your brain? And when I say "lit", I mean it made all sorts of light-bulbs go off. I'm currently reading one of those books.
At the beginning of the year, I started reading The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. Each day there's a short passage followed by some action-based prompts. I'm not going to lie, there are a few passages that don't really click with me, but the ones that do...boy do they click. My brain lights up like a Christmas Tree and I can't get my thoughts down in my journal fast enough.
Now, since I'm a sucker for a good a-ha moment, particularly ones that are shareable, I thought it would be fun to share some of the love with you.
This is a snippet from the passage titled "Being Kind-I"...
"The great and fierce mystic William Blake said, there is no greater act than putting another before you. This speaks to a selfless giving that seems to be at the base of meaningful love. Yet having struggled for a lifetime with letting the needs of others define me, I've come to understand that without the healthiest form of self-love - without honoring the essence of life that this thing self carries, the way a pod carries a seed - putting another before you can result in damaging self-sacrifice and endless co-dependence."
I've lived up close and personal to co-dependence. Been there, done that. Have the t-shirt and the tiara. So, this passage reminded me of the many times I used to confuse people-pleasing and peace-keeping with being kind. And I don't think I need to tell you....there's a HUGE difference.
For example, stuffing my feelings to keep the peace all because I didn't want to trouble someone else or run the risk of ticking them off. (I still fall into the old habit of saying, "I'm fine." when I'm really not.) Stuffing wasn't kind; it created all sorts of internal chaos.
Doing/Saying things that didn't fit with me to please someone else. That wasn't kind; that got me lost and there's nothing kind about losing your identity. Not to mention, I was lying and lying isn't kind.
ENTER A-HA MOMENTS, STAGE LEFT
A-ha moment #1: The most unkind thing we can ever do to ourselves and others is to not be ourselves. Genuine, heartfelt kindness comes from being who we are.
A-ha moment #2: True kindness doesn't hurt and it sure as heck doesn't cost us our identity or our well-being. EVER
So, I have to ask, do you find yourself being authentically kind? Or do you find that you're being kind at the cost of yourself, your feelings, and/or your well-being?
All things mindset related
About this blog
This is the place where I share my personal journey, insights, ideas, and a-ha moments helping me to mute my own inner critic. It is my hope you find what you need to mute your own.