The unbecoming

We are often taught that we need to become something. We’re taught that we need to change. This often involves working harder and doing more.

We place labels on ourselves, feeling as though we need more and more. We cover ourselves in labels as though too much is not enough. But the true self is the gift beneath the surface, only revealed once all else is stripped away.

Instead of working hard to be and become something, why not spend time understanding who you already are.

Solving simple problems

I love the idea that simple things can be done to solve or reduce problems that significantly impact us.

Whilst on a walk, I pondered on a problem I knew how to solve but had avoided. Yet, I was aware that if I did nothing, I’d get the repercussions later and potentially feel frustrated at myself and the other people involved.

When the thing that is bothering us involves other people, it is often the part of us that wants to people please, keep the peace and manage other people’s feelings that stops us saying something. It’s to the point where we’d rather experience discomfort and allow something we aren’t okay with.

That’s not a healthy or helpful way to live.

On my walk, I thought about a way to overcome this issue

Firstly make a table. In the first column, write a list of problems, challenges or anything that is bothering you.

Next, write what’s stopping you solve things.

Then, for each problem write a solution, some way to fix or reduce the problem. If you find this difficult, imagine your most confident, self assured and empowered self. What would they do, how would they solve this problem?

The next step is to pick a problem and follow what you wrote on how solve it.

This is an important lesson in problem solving. Like the NLP presupposition goes ‘if something isn’t working, do something else’.

If you’ve taken a do nothing approach and find that the problem still persists, try something else.

I also think it’s incredibly helpful to come up with a solution from the perspective of your most confident, self assured and empowered self because it’s probably what you’re working to embody.

Once you start taking action, aside from the expected discomfort of doing something new, you’ll probably find that you’re seemingly burdensome problems were actually pretty simple to solve.

Why you might be overexplaining yourself and why you should stop?

When you overexplain, it’s you trying to accommodate other people by justifying yourself and your choices to them. It signals that you’re seeking some level of external approval or permission that you’re not able to give yourself.

You might be over-explaining because you have people pleaser tendencies and you’re worried that the other person might not like what you have to say. You hope that your over-explaining will be enough to nullify any potential negative reaction. And so, you over-explain.

Or perhaps you’re trying to avoid conflict. You think that by saying everything at once, every possible rebuttal to what you think they might say, that they’ll have to accept what you say and you can avoid any possible back and forth.

Whilst other people might not know the reason you’re doing it, they’ll probably be able to notice that you’re over-explaining.

I recently found myself needing to set a boundary. I spent ages planning out what I would say whilst also trying to control the outcome. It got to the point where what should have been a short clear statement was instead a lengthy monologue.

I noticed that I was making something simple become long-winded. But, my awareness of what I was doing made me realise that I could do something different.

And so, I asked myself what is the least that I can say to get the message across?

Sometimes instead of just speaking up for ourselves and what we do or don’t need, we focus too much on other people. We ask ourselves, how will they feel and how can I mitigate that? However, the problem with this is that you don’t learn to fully be yourself. Instead you learn to be a fragmented version of yourself that aims to please or appease and all your needs go unmet.

You can work to overcome this by focusing on keeping things simple. Ask yourself, ‘What is the least that I can say to get the message across?’ and just say that. Remember that a back and forth doesn’t mean conflict, it can simply be the other person trying to understand.

It might feel weird at first, it might not even go smoothly at first, perhaps you’ll even feel like you’re being inconsiderate. But when you value yourself you’ll realise that it’s worth it.

What is the most loving thing that you can do?

Imagine bearing the weight of all that is difficult and challenging in your life on your shoulders all at once. Then, imagine having to go out into the world with that load and pretend that everything is fine.

After a while the load becomes too much to bear and you reach a point where you need to step back, to withdraw and retreat.

That is the most loving thing that you can do for yourself.

When you don’t feel okay and you don’t feel well (as in your overall wellbeing is in poor condition), you need to take care of yourself.

Being in situations where you can’t fully honour and accept where you’re at only makes things worse.

When you’re burdened by challenges you need to replenish and care for yourself rather than constantly be in situations that require you to put on an act and pretend you’re okay.

That can be a a difficult lesson to learn when you struggle with being vulnerable or want to be seen as someone who always has it together.

Trying to make things happen

Have you ever found yourself putting time and effort into something whilst hoping for a very specific outcome? And then the more it seems like you won’t get what you want, the more you try to make things happen, the more things seem to not be working out.

I think most of us probably get some amount of enjoyment from working towards the things we care about. But if there appears to be no real progress, after a while it starts to feel un-fun.

This might feels like a reason to push and pull, to apply force and pressure to get a desired outcome. We do this because we think it’ll help. We think if we encourage a situation enough, that it’ll lead to us getting what we want.

We think we can lead a horse to water and make it drink.

But the outcome is often exactly what we don’t want.

We’re actually better off stripping things back and doing much less. And in doing so we can get closer to ourselves and actually check in with how we feel and consciously decide how best to proceed.

When something is not working, often the best thing is to simply fall back, do nothing and let things be.

Time to do nothing

I recently found myself with a problem.

My initial instinct was to solve it.

I found myself focusing my efforts and energy on figuring out the best solution but at the same time, I felt stuck.

Then suddenly, it occurred to me that I could just do nothing. This problem was the sort of thing that wouldn’t matter in the years to come, it also wasn’t urgent. Whether I took action right away or in a couple weeks would make no real difference.

So, I decided to do nothing which felt strange at first but it was also liberating.

How to avoid getting caught up in your feelings?

Around a month or so ago, an idea came to me that I found really useful.

The idea was that situations that emotionally charge us are a reminder to focus on ourselves. Instead of getting caught up in the moment, feeling bad or worrying, take some time to check in with yourself.

Perhaps you were involved in a situation that left you feeling upset. You could ‘go off’ at the other people involved, blame them or get annoyed at yourself.

You could also ask yourself ‘Why is this bothering me?’, ‘What can I do for myself to shift my mood?’ or ‘How can I take responsibility for the part I played in this?’.

Asking these questions assures you’re looking at the situation consciously, taking care of yourself and not focusing on other people.

How to tell if it’s working?

When you’re working on yourself, it can be easy to overlook the progress you’re making. Sometimes it can feel as if nothing has changed.

It’s not until you find yourself in a challenging situation and you are able to manage it so differently compared to in the past, that you realise the work you have been doing is working.

Perhaps, in situations that feel comfortable you used to default to playing small and hiding away. But, now you find yourself speaking up and allowing yourself to be seen and heard even though you feel nervous.

That’s how you know the work is working.

Wasting ‘good’ advice

Your good advice is wasted on those that just want a listening ear.

It’s easy to know when you don’t want someone to tell you what they think you should do. But how often do you extend that to other people.

Have you ever found yourself giving what you believe is excellent advice only for the person to totally ignore it?

Perhaps you weren’t paying enough attention to understand that they didn’t want advice in the first place.
 

How to work through difficult feelings

When you’re going difficult feelings (or feelings that feel difficult), it’s vital to know what you need in order ton help yourself.

As a teenager, I had no clue and so would just end up overwhelmed with days spent mulling over moments that weren’t important in the grand scheme. Although i used to journal, it was very problem based and essentially just a ramble of fear and overwhelm which didn’t really benefit me.

Recently I had some difficult feelings come up. I’m at a point where I can sit with the feelings without getting carried away. I then find helpful ways to work through the feelings. Everything I do is specific to me because I’ve gotten into the habit of learning what I need in these difficult moment.

I recently had a moment of feeling insecure, in hindsight I can see that I had attached a particular outcome of a situation to me feeling good. And so when it didn’t turn out that way I felt the opposite. I wanted to share this because it’s useful to have more specific and less generic examples.

So here’s what I did:

1 Phoned a friend

I had an almost 2 hour phone call with a dear friend. This particular person is someone I trust and find easy to talk to about anything. We spoke about what we’ve been up to, future plans and we laughed a lot. They knew I was feeling a bit off however, I didn’t end up offloading and allowing my inner monologue to run wild because I know that there probably isn’t much this person could say to shift my feelings. Instead, I appreciated them making the time and supporting me. Plus, laughter is really the best medicine and probably helped more than any discussion about how I was feeling and why would have.

2 Did my morning routine in the afternoon

There are three things I do every morning at the moment: a 10 minute singing bowl meditation, my gratitude practice and reading my monthly manifesto (a passage that sets clear intentions for what I’m working on at the moment). I wasn’t feeling great that morning so I didn’t do it but later I remembered how much that simple 15 minutes each morning really helps set the tone for my day and establishes the possibility of how I can feel. And so I just did it in the afternoon and it helped me feel a lot better.

3 EFT

Emotional Freedom Technique also known as tapping is something I have been doing for a few years now. I went through the tapping points and essentially just reminded myself that even though I may feel the way I was feeling it’s not permanent and I’ll be okay. EFT is something that really works wonders for me.

4 Rest

Instead of just putting my feelings aside and getting on with my day I decided to rest. Sometimes the best thing to do is allow yourself to be bare minimum and work on things you need to do later when you’re feeling better. It doesn’t always help to just get on with it, especially when the work isn’t urgent.