I’m sure you’ve heard about how if you just shift the way you think about things, everything would be better. And if you’re anything like me, you’re like “umm yeah right”.
Because whatever’s going on in our own lives - seems true.
We can see how if other people just shifted their perspectives a little, they’d do better, but our own personal problems, challenges, and struggles, feel different.
This morning I was going to an event that honoured my son as a Rangatira, a leader.
(He’s 4 - it’s super cute).
Anyway -this ceremony’s a big deal for a a four year old. We bought a tree to donate to the Kindy, gathered some jars of Grandad’s Honey to gift to the teachers, practiced my son’s Mihi……to me it felt really important that we supported him as a whanau, a family.
Now, my eldest daughter loves school, she loves her friends, she loves the stuff they do, she’s the lead in the production, she likes to do well from an academic perspective……….to go to Kindy for the morning was not something she was keen on. School stuff was way more important to her.
Old habits die hard……..Without even trying, I started to guilt trip her into coming.
(Don’t worry I caught myself - it didn’t last long)
Next - I considered taking a hardline approach - We do things as a family, and you’re coming! - kind of deal.
But both of those ways of living suck.
No-one likes to be guilted into something
No-one likes being forced to do things.
And being the one forcing and guilting is a loveless place to be too.
So I asked her if she wanted to come, she said no, and that was that.
She gave her brother a big hug, told him she was really really proud of him, wished him luck - and went to school.
They were both happy.
I was still feeling pissed off.
Driving over to Kindy I started talking to myself in my head, imagining what I’d say to the other mums…….(You do this too right??)
”Oh my daughter is a nightmare, I just can’t get her to do anything, it’s so hard”
”She’s so dramatic, I’m gutted she didn’t come to support her brother today”
” Sometimes she can be a real pain in the butt”
I could literally see myself rolling my eyes, and flipping my hair, as I stood in an annoyed pose, tilting my head to one side - and in my mind, all the mums joined in, commiserating about how hard motherhood is……
And then I caught myself.
Who’s being the dramatic nightmare?
I didn’t want to go to Kindy badmouthing my daughter, feeling all stressed, and embarrassed, and self-conscious, connecting with other mums by making myself the centre of attention and bitching about my daughter.
My values say; whanau supporting whanau, and here I am gearing up to make her look like a pain in the butt!
Our thoughts create our feelings.
Our feelings fuel our actions.
Our actions give us results.
My thought: “She should be there”
My feelings: Pressure, stress, shame, guilt, embarrassed, annoyed
My Actions: Rehearsing a stressy conversation that I would have with other parents and teachers, that would let them know I was a mother who was dealing with difficult children (OMG I’m so embarrassed - but true story!)
Follow up questions…….
Does this thought help me in anyway? No
Does this thought (she should be there) feel stressful or peaceful? Stressful
Will thinking like this support my whanau? No
Do I want to keep thinking this - is there any reason to keep thinking this way? No
If I wasn’t thinking this - who would I be?
My feelings + Actions…..I would be relaxed, I’d enjoy the ceremony, I’d be happy, I’d be able to be present with people. I’d feel ease. I would respect my daughter’s decision and know that she’d made a really great decision for her. I’d feel good that I hadn’t added more pressure onto her. I’d know that I was truly being the supportive mum I want to be - and not stabbing her in the back. I’d feel really, really, good.
And just like that - my morning shifted.
It’s so easy to believe our thoughts….. thoughts like; “She should be there”.
But when we really stop to question them, we realise that sometimes our thoughts are sabotaging us, hurting us, ruining relationships, and undermining our values.
There you have it - my mindset shift on a Monday morning.
I share this with you in the hopes you can relate, and maybe notice where in your life you’re feeling stressed or pressured - because of the way you’re thinking about things.
And also to give you a sense of what you can do about that.
And to let you know you’re not alone - we all have brains that drive us crazy.
And to inspire you to think differently, act differently, and have different results.
And to let you in on the secret that we’re all just doing our best.
Have a gorgeous week - and keep and eye out for the thoughts that are keeping you stuck and stressed - because you can shift them, and feel differently - you’re that powerful.
Loads of love