It is my tendency to see the world as a benevolent place. I believe that life does indeed ‘have my back’ and truly wants me to become the best version of Emma that is possible in this current incarnation – indeed, I believe this to be the case for every one of us. But, every so often, I find myself in a ‘not so positive’ state of mind and questioning this belief, wondering whether life is indeed happening perfectly or whether I have somehow gone awry and taken a ‘wrong’ turn along the way.
These thoughts take on a number of familiar themes – Am I destined to spend the rest of my life travelling solo? Have I done something ‘wrong’ and walked passed a very obvious open door that had ‘all the things that would make Emma happy’ just behind it? Am I doing enough to make my life ‘work’? Is it me that stands in the way of the potential that is possible? Am I in the ‘wrong’ place – city, country, planet?! Today’s thought is – shouldn’t things be different?
Risky me putting this here in black and white for a couple of reasons. Firstly, shouting to all and sundry (at least, anyone who finds themselves reading this) that I feel anything other than elated and ‘all-together’ allows you inside of my personal experience and honestly, it feels a little vulnerable, like wearing my insides outside! Secondly, as a Coach, this is not how any marketeer worth their salt would suggest I go about presenting and marketing myself. I’m not certain it’s a great endorsement. But, sod it. If I presented a shiny, happy persona 100% of my waking life I would be nothing but a liar – a denier of how the human experience actually works.
For indeed, I am human – and having a human experience comes with the territory. Namely, that sometimes I will indeed feel shiny, elated and full of the joys of spring and other times, well, I won’t. The important question is not, shouldn’t things be different? The question that will make all the difference is actually, how seriously do I take this thought?
You see, when I’m in this place, I feel like I always am. That’s what familiar means – you know it well. And when we’re in a low state of mind, it’s hard to see outside of it. The world familiar is actually defined as ‘well known from long or close association’ or ‘in close friendship; intimate’. We’ve spent many years getting to know these thoughts and identities, befriending them and so, when we step inside of them, we wear them like a second skin. And here’s the important part, because we’ve been so intimate with these thoughts – I’m not good enough, I should be doing better, I’m all alone in the world… – this ‘second skin’ actually feels real – we take on its shape and these identities and the thinking become our reality.
And it makes sense really, the only thing we actually feel is our thinking. The outside world does not determine our experience, no matter how compelling (or indeed familiar!) this way of working may seem. No one opened my head and fed in a lot of crappy thinking – I made a choice (although it sometimes takes a moment or two to notice!) to entertain familiar and somewhat painful thinking and this is precisely what I will experience. How can it be any other way? If I’m feeling excited about an upcoming trip / a date with the guy I fancy, I’ll feel excited, but, if I’m judging myself and find myself lacking, how on earth can I feel anything other then, well, lacking and therefore, a little bit crap!
And the beauty of the situation is this – if I know thinking to be transitory, which I do, for I am the same Emma each day and can feel very different in any given moment (even if nothing actually happens other than a thought pops into my head and I give it (too much) attention) then I know that simply, this experience will pass with the passing of the thinking.
I have a choice – I can take my low grade thinking seriously, dwell in a quagmire of my own making or I can notice by my feeling state that I’m not doing so well with the thinking I’m entertaining in my head, choose to shine a light in a different direction and let it go.
And one other thing, it may be in life that there are things we can do ‘better’, things that could change and ways of being that could be upgraded, but we do not need to feel badly in the process. The irony is, the less thought we entertain and the more neutral we are in relation to our experiences and in any given situation, the clearer we will hear ‘the call to action’ and the quicker we will move through seemingly ‘difficult’ situations.
And so it is that I find myself looking at my initial question ‘shouldn’t things be different?’ once again and with fresh eyes and recognise there is no mileage here today. I have used this thinking to beat myself around the head and quite honestly, I find myself uninterested in mulling it over any longer. Quite simply, I choose to have a different experience and, the moment we have even a modicum of distance between ourselves and the thoughts we’re entertaining, we have the ability to let it all go.
So in answer to my question, how seriously do I take this thought? My resounding answer is – not seriously at all!
To your evolution!
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