Have you ever noticed what thoughts are quietly running through your head as you move throughout your day? Are they positive, negative, neutral? How are those thoughts affecting the choices you make, the conversations you have, and the energy with which you engage in your daily activities?
Most of us believe thoughts are simply thoughts and they don't have the power to change our daily lives unless we speak them out loud.
Think about this scenario. You are picking up your child after school and run into the mom who talks your ear off. Do you say to her, "Not today, you talk too much!" or do you politely listen and excuse yourself as soon as you see an opportunity? It's highly unlikely you actually voice what you are thinking and instead opt for politeness and run away. That seems like your thoughts had zero power, right?
The way you think about mom-who-talks-a lot actually shapes how you interact with her. You probably limit your responses to one word or nodding and smiling. The thought you are having about mom-who-talks-a lot forms one goal for you and that is ESCAPE! Your energy and your interaction with her carries the element of escape instead of presence.
Now, this might not be crucial in the context of your relationship with this particular woman, however, think about these two ripple effects.
One, do you want to be a person who doesn't give full presence to other human beings?
Two, what happens when the relationship deeply matters to both of you?
Do you see where I am going with this? If we aren't cautious of our thought-patterns, we can unconsciously communicate messages we didn't intend to send.
I am guessing mom-who-talks-a lot wrestles with her own thought patterns that might go something like this: Why do people seem to run from me? How come everyone else seems to have close friendships and I don't? Am I worthy of another person's time and friendship?
I am not saying you should befriend mom-who-talks-a lot and become her bestie. I am asking if this how you want to show up in the world?
Let's say your main goal in how you show up in the world is to practice generosity. Generosity with your resources, your time, your love, etc. If that is your goal, how might that change how you choose to interact with mom-who-talks-a lot? It might go something like this:
Thought: Oh, no, here comes mom-who-talks-a lot!
Let's back up a bit here. What if instead of walking into the situation with that thought, you prepare ahead of time. Remember, we always have a choice. Keeping in mind your goal is generosity and you know you have a limited amount of time with your child between school and practice, you want to generously give that time to your child, right? So, make a different choice that honors generosity. Use the pull-through line so your child can jump in the car. Arrange with your child to look for you in the parking lot. There are other options. And, here's the beauty of this option...you could make a choice to go early another day to pick-up your child with the purpose of being generous with mom-who-talks-a lot. Plan to give her 20 minutes of your time while you wait for your kids and give her your full presence while thinking thoughts of compassion and understanding on her behalf.
This has gigantic implications for all of us in everything we do.
My go-to script in my head when I am not my best self is: Of course you forgot the details. You aren't a detail person. How can you forget something so simple? Stupid me. No wonder I can't succeed. If I can't remember little things, I can't accomplish big things. Worthless. Yep, I am worthless.
I am not making that up. Yes, the life coach has a pretty negative thought pattern between her ears too! I am not exempt because I am a life coach. I am in it too because I am human. The only difference is I might have a few extra tools in my toolbox for correcting those thoughts when I find myself circling downward.
What is your go-to thought pattern when you aren't your best self? The first step is awareness. Start noticing what is happening between your ears. Don't judge the thoughts. Notice them and be grateful for what you are about to learn. Next week, I will share your next step in reigning in those thoughts and creating a new reality.