My clients often assume they’re the problem.
“I want to exercise regularly but I’m so undisciplined.”
“I’m so unfocused at work; I’m just lazy.”
I don’t try to change their thoughts about themselves; I just ask new questions.
One of my favorites is: What else could it be, if you were not the problem? In fact, I cheekily suggest they think of ten things. Ten!
This gets their brains thinking widely about possibilities.
Maybe they don’t actually want to keep track of their movement. Maybe they love walking in nature but hate the treadmill. Maybe the news on the TVs at the gym stresses them out. Maybe they don’t enjoy exercise but are trying to force themselves to love it. Maybe their feet hurt. Maybe they think about their ex when they’re on the elliptical. Maybe they hate wearing exercise clothes. Maybe it’s the coldness of the air in the morning. Maybe after work they just want to get home. Maybe they used to walk with a friend and now she’s moved away.
It's so helpful to send our brains off to think of answers other than, It’s me; I’m broken.
From here, we can be curious and try different things. We can ask, How can I make this easier?
I learned this from my Etch-a-Sketch. Oh, how I wanted to love it!
I mean -- so fun, right? Making lines with dials and then -- you just shake it and it all goes away.
In fact, that's mostly what the Etch-a-Sketch is known for -- erasing.
But the actual drawing? So frustrating!
I could never get it to look the way I wanted to.
One dial made vertical lines. One dial made horizontal lines.
I thought, "I'm not good at this."
The thing is -- I didn't want to make pictures with horizontal lines and vertical lines.
But I never even allowed that thought to enter my mind because I was holding an Etch-a-Sketch.
Sometimes we just need to put down the Etch-a-Sketch.
This week, consider an issue you’ve been struggling with. Come up with ten things things that might help the situation – knowing that who you are (beautiful, courageous you) is not a problem. Be creative and write things down even if they seem unlikely – the point is just to get your brain thinking in new directions.
Look over your list and see if there is anything you can try or adapt. Is there a way to just start and to make it easier?
If not, shake the Etch-a-Sketch, and start again.
Sometimes it doesn't feel like us -- it feels like the world. Some days it's all too much. If you can relate, this week's podcast is for you.
Episode #38: When it's all too much
Some days, it's all too much. I know -- two weeks ago, I spent a Saturday under the covers. In this episode I share what I learned and what might help when it's all too much.
➡️ Why "it's too much" is both a thought and a fact
➡️ Why it isn't helpful to think "it's just thoughts"
➡️ How self-comfort and self-trust are the dynamic duo when it's all too much
➡️ How being specific creates a path out of misery when our brains think "it's too much"
All this, plus a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail -- Take a listen.
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