We can all get stuck in our monkey mind, like having our Spotify playlist on ‘repeat.’ Until we have awareness that the sequence is repeating yet again, it will continue to run, effortlessly, even if we’re tired of the results.
Of course, being aware is the necessary first element in changing the loop, but after awareness comes action. Otherwise, we’ll see it happening, but it won’t shift.
So, first, we can recognize that we’re doing something that’s not helping…we keep getting frustrated, something ‘never works,’ we’re focused on not having what we want. Awareness is good.
What’s next? We can look at what we are telling ourselves, then opt to either keep going with that or decide upon a new statement, a new way of looking at it. What’s the belief we have, the statement that’s keeping us locked into the same experience and same result? And what would work better to think or believe or focus on instead?
One way I’ve been doing this is something my own coach suggested…replacing an unhelpful thought with being curious.
Here’s an example of me using this brilliant idea:
My neighborhood has a river access point surrounded by tall trees and accessed by a little loop drive. Until about 5 years ago my dog and I would have it to ourselves on our walks nearly every single day. Pure solitude, beauty, connection with nature…with the river, the trees and myriad critters who would join us.
As the population has increased, ‘our’ little spot came to be on the radar for the whole community, and now it’s a rarity for us to have it to ourselves. I’ve worked through disappointment with that, and it’s a continuous process. For the past few months, in spite of the winter and very random weather, there a man who’s been visiting frequently and remains for quite some time. I started getting quite irritated and frustrated that no matter what time my pup and I would arrive, he’d be there, just sitting in his car with the window down, sometimes smoking, sometimes talking on his phone or with someone who came and parked next to him.
Why does this irritate me? My message to myself was something like, “I should be able to have this place to myself more often,” AND, “There’s no good reason for him to just hang out down here, every day, not even getting out of the car to enjoy the river.”
Well, sometimes when we look at our thoughts we can realize just how ridiculous or unreasonable they are. Ha! These are judgments I had about a person I don’t even know! And with the amount of people in my neighborhood now, all ‘owning’ a right to the river access, the idea that I ‘should’ have the place to myself at all is a bit, well, selfish.
So when I recognized this, I decided to use curiosity…”I wonder what would lead a person to sit in his car at the river, day after day, at random times. I wonder what his story is and what he might be dealing with.”
Completely different experience. I still would like to have the solitude I was accustomed to in years past, but through this lens of curiosity I no longer feel resentment toward this person, and I’ve even thought that at some point I’ll introduce myself and chat with him and actually find out why he’s there so much. What a concept!
I do not have this mindset shift down cold. It’s a continuous process of recognizing what’s not working or not feeling good, and shifting it. The awareness is so powerful, though and maybe someday I will live from this place of curiosity and not find myself getting irritated or resentful. Not everything in life will go my way, but I can work toward not reacting to what I can’t change, and changing what I can.
If you’d like some guidance in shifting your mindset, you can schedule a free connection call. I love working with mindset! 😊