We hired a business coach for 90 days. Some of the others in the Mastermind group have done this and speak of it not only as a valuable thing to do but also as a normal thing to do. Our first virtual meeting is today. He recommended a book for me, though, and I’ve read most of it.
Some of it is too New Age for me, but it takes concepts from quantum physics and adds them to the notion of habits, which has been a constant companion of mine for a couple of years now.
Taking out all the parts that the author and my coach probably consider important, the book is basically recommending observing and then very deliberately changing your thoughts.
We get up in the morning and move into our habits — and I of course have developed a very deliberate set of habits and routines — and float along on the stream of those habits. All day we think things which set off a string of feelings, which reinforce the thoughts and the actions of our day. So a cross word from our boss triggers neural pathways established in our brains. We dwell on the cross word and slide down the chute of internal habit into feelings of unworthiness.
Our brains can’t tell the difference between real events and events we’re just creating from memory and habit, so that cross word lives on and joins the other experiences like it that we have used to construct those pathways in our minds. The result? Habits of feeling unworthy or angry or bitter or whatever.
After enough years, our experience of life consists primarily of these habitual feelings, not of the experience we’re actually having.
Choose an unpleasant emotion you want to get rid of, then, and treat it like a bad habit, because that’s what it is.
I don’t have a boss to get cross words from, of course, but I do find myself feeling like I’m the one who does all the work. This is not only an unwelcome feeling, but one that leads to unpleasant behaviors, too. So I should observe it, note the triggers and the habit loop it’s associated with, and then change it. Instead of having that feeling and expressing it to other people by snapping at them and whatnot, I should choose a different set of thoughts.
I could decide to think about how much I appreciate my team members for making it possible for me to have a great job… which I actually do. I would then feel grateful, not snappish.
And I suppose when I think that I want a cookie, I can counter it with thinking that I am not a glutton who eats cookies, but rather am a clean eater who avoids cookies, since they are full of sugar and white flour. This thought will prevent the emotions and actions habitually associated with the thought of wanting a cookie.
I tried this last night as I applied for jobs for my husband. This makes me tremendously angry and resentful, every single week, and I do it every single week, fuming. I tried to call up compassionate thoughts, thoughts about being helpful and nonjudgmental. It absolutely didn’t work.
Apparently I need more practice.