Have you ever sat in a coffee store with the sole purpose to observe others? Try it. But here’s the key: your job is to watch from a place of curiosity. You are not there to judge others or label what they’re doing as “right” or “wrong”. You are also not there to watch others so you can feel worse about yourself. You are there to observe; imagine you’re a detective and get curious. Get curious about how people interact with each other. Are the leaning towards or away from each other? Get curious about other people’s body language. Are their shoulders hunched? Their arms crossed? Get curious about what people are saying: are they complaining? criticizing? complimenting? praising?
The point of this “coffee shop exercise” is that this is how I’d like you to begin to interact with yourself. I’d like you to look at your behaviors, thoughts, actions, and feelings as if you were a detective; a curious observer. When we look at our life with a curious mindset (“Gee, wonder why I did that”) versus a judgmental one (“Can’t believe you did that again”), we gain neutrality and the ability to make lasting change. When I can get clients to observe their actions, behaviors, and thoughts from a kind and compassionate place, lasting change occurs.
Last week I addressed the importance of paying attention to your wants and desires. You were encouraged to spend 5 minutes a day asking yourself: What do I want? What do I want my days to be like? What do I want to feel like? This week, I want you to reflect on what you wrote as a curious observer. Stop to think of what you wrote and notice what your brain is trying to tell you? Which thoughts come up when you think of the things you want? Too often we tell ourselves quite nasty things. We remind ourselves of why we can’t have what we want or why we’re selfish for wanting what we want. The purpose of today’s blog is to have you practice being a curious observer of your mind. What do you tell yourself? Here are some questions you can ask yourself as practice learning more about how you think:
-Is that thought helpful?
-Isn’t that interesting that I choose to think….
-How do I feel when I think that thought?
-Is there a different thought I could think?
Remember the thought model? For a refresher on the thought model, check out this blog. Simply put, things happen in our life that are neutral (circumstances). We have thoughts about those things. The thoughts we focus on create the feelings we feel. Based on how we feel, we will act a certain way. Those actions lead to the results we see in our lives. Period. Everything always comes back to the wonderful thought model, and for good reason. It highlights our superpower as homo sapiens sapiens. We have the ability to think about what we’re thinking about. We have the ability to step outside of our brain, like an observer at a coffee shop, and watch our thoughts. Why does this matter? We can be the detective in our life. We can choose to continue on as usual (and get the same results) or to stop and look at a situation in a different way (and get different results).
The more aware we are of what we’re telling ourselves (our thoughts), the more aware we are of why we’re living the life we’re living. What thoughts come up for you when you finish the sentence: “I want…..” Those thoughts are what’s keeping you from becoming the woman you want to become. What are you telling yourself? Have you heard that message before? From a parent? A teacher? An old boyfriend? Kick that person out of your head. You are an adult now and you get to choose the thoughts you think.
It is super important that you’re kind with yourself in this step. Be kind yet continue to inquire. Questions to ask yourself as you begin to inquire: What are you thinking? Why? Is that thought helpful? How would I act if I thought something else? I love asking myself questions like: “Isn’t it interesting that….” or “isn’t it interesting how…”. For example, “isn’t it interesting that he chooses to act that way?” or “Isn’t it interesting how annoyed I got when I came home yesterday. I wonder why?”. This allows space for my brain to investigate from a nonjudgmental, non-critical place. Try it and let me know if you see any shifts in your mood or life.
Come on warriors. It’s your time. This is your alarm clock. We have this one, short life; there is no do-over. Move away from blaming yourself or anyone else for where you are right now in life and move towards learning more about what you’re telling yourself. Continuously questioning and showing up as your true self is how you will feel most alive. Return to the question: What do you want? That will point you in the direction as to why you are here. Be curious about the objections that come up to stop you from pursuing your dreams but move forward. If you ignore your wants, you are ignoring the reason why you’re here on earth and you will feel a low level of un-ease and out-of-control in your life. I’m here to remind you you are in control. You get to decide how to live your life. Let’s stop ignoring our inner warriors and dive into this one, short, magnificent life we have.
I can guide you, lead you, and support you but I can’t do the work for you. What kind of action can you take for this week? Put on your detective hat and pull out your homo sapiens sapiens super power. Your task? Think about your thoughts.
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