- TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week consisted of a mashup: the best of things, the worst of things.
And that reminded me that we can repattern ourselves. We can change our behaviour and thinking — for the better.
Notice that I didn’t say “feelings”. I didn’t say, we can “We can change our feelings for the better”
Our feelings can and do change. Sometimes they change for the better because of how we act and behave.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my children is to look in the mirror at myself, not at them. I’ve realized that everything I’ve done has had an impact on them. We have to understand that they are like little paparazzi. They take our picture when we don’t want them to and then they show it to us in their behavior. — Jamie Lee Curtis
I chose that quote because I wanted something similar to Today I Feel Silly but in Jamie Lee Curtis’ adult voice.
What she says about children is definitely true but you can extrapolate it to all children — or even any other people we interact with. It’s really really hard to look at our own wonky behavior. It’s nearly impossible to get your thoughts to slow down enough so you can just calmly notice them, without a reaction.
So: What we often do is notice others. Sometimes we try to micromanage our kids, our neighbours, our parents. Sometimes we try to help other people, too, because it’s easier to help other people than it is to turn the gaze inward and help ourselves.
So: How are you feeling today? Whatever it is, is — for now. Try to connect your feeling with a body sensation. Your pulse, your gut feeling loose or tight, your temperature, your muscles.
Here’s the idea: It is possible, with lots of practice, to notice your feelings, embrace them, and then choose your response. Choose your behaviour. When you choose your behaviour, it’s possible to make choices that end up helping your mood feel a bit better — I’m choosing the word “better” carefully. I realized that sometimes better is calmer, sometimes better is uplifted. Sometimes better is just starting to feel anything again.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
In order to listen inward, one voice you might have to help is your inner critic. This voice often gets really chatty when you are trying to change your behaviour from reactions to responses.
A suggestion: Make friends with your inner critic. Remind yourself that your inner critic is trying to protect you, that your inner critic began to pattern their behaviour when you we just a wee one — and patterns that entrenched are challenging (but not impossible!) to change.
I’m working on finishing a short course on how to make friends with your inner critic. I’ll let you know when it’s finished.