Copyright © 2010 Sylvia Braun - Inner Harmony. All rights reserved
Insights from my 84 year old Irish aunt about 3 ways of looking at something!!!
It's funny how sometimes in the course of an everyday conversation a phrase can grab your attention, stick in your head and start a process within you. I had just such an experience recently while on holiday in Ireland visiting my aunt Evelyn. For me this lady is such a good role model for aging, she's fit and healthy, with a sharp wit and keen sense of humour. She never learnt to drive so she walks regularly to the nearest town several miles away (she doesn't own a mobile phone or a computer either). She has had precious little formal education.
As we were sitting in her tiny kitchen drinking tea she started telling me about a family disagreement-nothing unusual about that---conflicts arise all the time. As she continued to explain her view point I was captivated. For her there are 3 sides to everything ---your perception---the other person's perception and the truth. Simple yet profound, I thought.
I don't know what effect this statement has on you when you think about it. For me it's a reminder that we all have our own individual way of seeing things or as they say in psychology our own 'model of the world'. Both modern and ancient teachings tell us that we 'filter' our current experiences according to beliefs, cultural and religious upbringing, past experiences etc etc and we form our perspective believing it all to be true. Just like putting on a pair of coloured glasses, look through red lenses and the world will appear red!!
Evelyn's 3 ways reminds me to ask myself-could there be another way of looking at this?? Another way of thinking about this?? If so, what might it be?? Of course, we all know that within a relationship we cannot change another person (don't we??) What we can change is the way we view the whole thing. Try it out and see what happens.
To help with the process maybe try using some of the breath awareness or grounding techniques we practised to help bring you into the present.
Until next time
What do you think?
Recently I read something which started me thinking---apparently we have around 65,000 thoughts a day and many of them negative and unsupportive!
Our thoughts, words and actions are all that we have to work with to create our experiences, and it all starts with a thought. Have you ever asked yourself just how much control you have over your thoughts? How aware are you of what you are actually thinking? Have you noticed that you tend to run the same old repetitive thought patterns over and over again which become so familiar you almost donít notice them----it's almost like they are part of who you are!
I donít know how you are experiencing your life right now, maybe certain areas are flowing along quite nicely, career going well perhaps, but there might be problems in relationship or with the family. Or maybe it's a question of being stuck in a job you donít like just to pay the bills which seem to be piling up quicker than you can deal with or it could be a health problem or it could be something else---
Why not try an experiment and become your own coach for a while. Simply pick a particular area to work on where you are experiencing limited success and for a while stop what you are doing, mentally step back and relax, take a few conscious breaths, become present and simply observe yourself. Observe your behaviour, observe your thoughts, your language, the words you use when you speak to others and that voice inside your head as you speak to yourself. Ask yourself, how do I feel about all of this? Am I sure about the outcome I want to achieve here? The time scale I expect it to happen in? Do I really believe I can achieve this or does the prospect of taking action cause me doubt and fear? How does my approach need to change so that I can get a different result to that which I am currently experiencing? After all, if I keep applying the same approach I will continue to get the same result!
I recently 'coached' myself just before I started taking German lessons again and my findings were interesting. Just to fill you in on some details here, I spent some time in Germany 35 years age (met my husband) and picked up some of the language. Several times over the years I started to work on improving my skills but never seemed to be able to stick with it and made little actual progress.
When I went into observation mode the first thing I realized was that my goal was fuzzy to say the least. I had wanted to 'improve' my German---what exactly does that mean? It is unspecific, cannot be measured, has no time frame---just how will I know when I have achieved it???
Looking at my behaviour, I had to admit that I actually gave very little time to my studies and I hadn't practiced speaking the language regularly.
My inner dialogue was not all that helpful either. I seemed to be reminding myself that I had already tried this before and it hadn't worked----I was getting along quite nicely as I was so why should I bother---At some point the voice of a former French teacher from my Grammar school days came into my head repeating a statement she had made all those years ago-something about me being useless at foreign languages!! Well now, what more proof did I need? Maybe I actually believed her and carried this belief around with me all those years without questioning it?
I caught myself saying things to others like --I'm going to try again. What does that word TRY imply---that I'll repeat the old strategies once again and set myself up to achieve the same old result.
With all of this going on how could I expect to feel motivated, confident and be in a receptive learning state?
Now over to you. So let's say you've completed your own experiment and come up with some findings of your own. What now?
It might seem like you are faced with a daunting task but from working with myself and with clients I know that there are 2 basic steps to forming a firm foundation from which we can bring about positive change.
The first could be described as 'mental house cleaning.' Every time you catch yourself thinking something negative and unsupportive, recognise it for what it is and replace it with something positive. Start today. For example, when I find myself thinking about my previous lack of success with learning German, I tell myself to stop and immediately, remind myself that I have had many successes in other areas and that when I apply myself I can get a good result. It's simply a question of shifting your perspective, looking through a different filter.
The second is linked to the first and is all about gratitude. This means constantly shifting your focus from what is lacking to what you actually have and being grateful for that.
What you put your attention on grows. If you are continually focusing on problems and what you donít have, that shuts you down inside---literally dampening the inner flame leaving you feeling de-motivated and defeated. Cultivate a state of gratitude for simply being alive and not only for successes you've enjoyed or for material possessions you have.
When you keep shifting your focus and controlling your thoughts immediately you will start to feel better and very soon you will begin to see positive results as you become a co-creator of your own reality. Prove it to yourself--- thinking more positive, supportive thoughts results in a more resourceful inner state and produces very different actions!!
It's back to school for me and I shall keep you updated on my progress.
Until next time