So last week I dropped a bit of a bomb…..
Guilt, worry, stress, pressure, overwhelm, anxiety……..all these things we feel, actually come from our thoughts - not the circumstances we always blame…….
Fighting kids - not the problem
Running late - not the problem
Not enough money - not the problem
Crappy job - not the problem
The homework I gave you last week was……..
Look for moments that your body is giving you a warning light - when, and where in your body do you feel stress?
Look for the thoughts behind the circumstances, these are causing you stress, and just notice what they are.
Examine the thoughts - notice if what you’re thinking is causing you peace, or stress?
Is what you’re thinking helping you or hurting you,
Are your thoughts moving you closer or further from your goals?
Is this thought something you want to keep thinking?
How’d you go?
Personally, as soon as I posted my blog, my kids came home from school, the house exploded with lunchboxes, and people, and fights, and immediate demands, and needs, and tears, and pent-up emotions - and I felt totally overwhelmed and stressed!
Luckily I’m a professional.
I didn’t actually freak out or melt down (don’t worry - my neighbours will tell you that does happen every other day) - but I did feel that tight knot in my stomach, and the pressure-cooker-blood-pressure feeling, in my head.
So I decided I better practice what I preach, and I listened in to the thoughts in my head - Wow they were loud.
I was losing my shit - to myself - in my mind.
Here’s what I was saying to myself………
For Fucks sake
Why do I have to do fucking everything
What’s wrong with these fucking people
Fuck I hate this
Oh my god there’s so much to do
I just want to sit down for 5 fucking minutes of peace
I wish everyone would just leave me the fuck alone
No wonder I felt like shit.
Honestly how could I possibly NOT feel stressed, and upset, and annoyed, with these thoughts running through my brain?
Now your right - just thinking differently doesn’t magically make the house clean, or put money in my bank account, or even make the kids stop fighting.
So what does it do? What’s the point of thinking differently if it doesn’t solve the problem…..?
Thinking differently makes me feel differently = which fuels different actions = different results.
So, honestly the results I want in my life, are…….
For the kids to mostly get on with each other and develop lasting relationships.
For me to have really amazing relationships with the kids.
For us to have good times together and create fun memories, filled with happy, loving, relaxed feelings
I want the house to feel welcoming, comfortable, and spacious and clean.
I want our family to work as a team
I want them to think for themselves, and look for opportunities to support others
I want them to know how to deal with their emotions and difficult situations
So how do I get these results?
I look to my thinking.
I work THE MODEL.
I remind myself of my end goals (see above)
And then I ask myself…
If I was a mother who had results like these…….how would I act?
How would I feel if these were my results?
If I had the results I really wanted…….What would I think?
Here’s what it started to look like.
I would think…….
I LOVE my kids
I love being with these people, I’m so lucky
Thank you for asking - but here’s the boundary
I’m going to sit down for 5 minutes first
I can’t wait to hear what they come out with next
These kids are so interesting, and funny, and clever
It’s ok, we’ve got time
I can ask for help
I’m not doing everything alone
I would feel…..
Ease, interested, open, relaxed, happy, lucky, in love, adoration, warmth, proud
I would act……
Grateful, kindly, patiently, gently,
I would slow down and stop rushing.
I’d listen properly to their stories, and questions, and comments.
I’d help them if they needed it - and remind them of their abilities and what they can do for themselves.
I’d stop trying to be the boss and make everything go smoothly and perfectly
I’d trust them.
I’d see them, the real essence of them and not the “naughty / not listening / mean” labels I put on them
I’d see their potential
My shoulders would relax and I’d smile more and be more fun
I’d say yes more
I wouldn’t need to shout
We’d have more fun
They’d slow down
They’d be kinder to each other
They’d laugh more
They’d be easier to be with
They’d be quicker to help and follow a request
I wouldn’t be pissed off.
I’d be at ease.
We’d like each other more.
We’d have fun.
We’d laugh and be silly
Our home would feel better
I would feel better
They would feel better
Ok I know this sounds like rainbows and butterflies - and super wishy-washy.
But I’m hanging out with my kids all the time, so I can either choose to think thoughts that make me feel bad, and act bad, which give me results I don’t like - results that take me further away from my true goals.
I can recognise that my kids are essentially out of my control. I can’t make them do anything. And even though in the moment I really want to be in control of them. I actually don’t. I don’t want to be in control of my kids.
That would be horrible and weird.
Thinking differently may not change their behaviour. It may not change the way the treat each other or the mess in my home.
Thinking differently will change how I FEEL - and that’s the only thing that is in my control.
So to break it down into steps…..
Look for the feeling of stress in your body - when and where does it creep in - what does it feel like?
Notice what it is you think is causing the stress - what’s the circumstance?
Get curious and go looking for your thoughts about the circumstance.
Examine your thoughts - decide from a detached point of view, if these thoughts are helping your or hurting you, and consider if they’re thoughts you want to keep thinking, you know, if you could choose.
Recognise what you’d like your results to be (knowing you can’t change the circumstances - circumstances are usually out of our control).
Imagine, if you had those results, how you’d be treating yourself and others, notice what kinds of specific action you’d be taking.
Imagine, if you had those results, how you’d be feeling emotionally.
Imagine, if you had those results, how you’d be THINKING
The only thing we have control over, is what we think.
The story we tell ourselves.
The perspective we have.
So if you find you're thinking thoughts that aren’t supportive of you, thoughts that are hurting you, thoughts that don’t feel peaceful when you think them - and you decide you don’t want to think them any more……..Then all you need to do is work out the answer to these questions
- How would you act if you had your dream result?
- How would you feel if you had your dream result?
- How would you THINK if you had your dream result?
- Or flip it around - start with thinking, then feeling, then action……..
And then it gets tricky.
Because your brain will argue with you. It will say things like;
”Well that’s not going to work, my problems can’t be solved like this, all I really need is for x, y, or z, to happen and then I’ll feel better, you can’t dream your problems away, who are you trying to kid, this is a waste of time………etc”
And then when you actually try to think the new thoughts your brain will say:
and your gorgeous, but lazy brain, will try and take you back to your old way of thinking.
And here’s why.
Brains don’t like to think new thoughts - because it’s not easy to think new thoughts.
Thinking new thoughts means you need to build new neural pathways and connections.
New neural pathways and connections means you need to concentrate, and use energy, and focus.
The brain just wants to take a break and maybe do it later.
“……..Next time I’ll think differently, this time I’m just going to get the kids to shut up and help.”
So, while this is a pretty simple process - it’s not at all easy.
Add to all this the ego - and the fact that we don’t like to be wrong. We like to think the way we think, because we feel justified and right. It feels good to believe ourselves. Good in a not-so-good way. Good in a way, that doesn’t actually give you the results you want.
“…….But my kids shouldn’t be so rude”
”…….But my ex shouldn’t act like such an arsehole”
”…….But I shouldn’t have to do……..”
”……But they really should take my advice, I’m right”
So what can you do?
Watch your brain.
When you’ve decided to think in a new way, make it your job to think that new way.
Focus on building a new neural pathway, by consciously choosing to think your new thought as often as you can.
Practice your new way of thinking in the moments when it counts the most.
Be hyper-aware of how your brain might be trying to talk you back into your old way of thinking.
Don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail - because you will. Just chalk it up to experience and
Look for the next opportunity to practice your new thought.
The truth is - our thinking actually creates our reality.
Let me say it another way.
Thinking the way you do - gives you the results you’ve got.
If you want different results - you need to think differently.
If you want to feel less stress, less guilt, less worry, less anxiety, less pressure - then you’re only one thought away from creating that for yourself.
This weeks homework?
Ask yourself what’s causing your stress?
Notice if what’s causing your stress actually for the most part out of your control?
Notice and examine your thoughts about the circumstances (these are the actual cause of your stress).
If you can’t change the circumstances - can you change your thinking?
What would your dream result be?
Notice how you’d think, feel and act if you already had your dream result?
Get super clear about the the thinking……and start to think those thoughts.
Now lets all practice together!
If you want to know more about how to do this for something you’re dealing with specifically, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consult, I’d love to connect with you. Or if you just want to share your experience I’d love to hear how you’ve used The Model in your life - or help you through any sticky points, because it can be tricky at first!
Have an amazing week,
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