How to notice the choice you already have
Have you ever taken a moment to notice what your default narrative is when something doesn’t go to plan?
When the internet goes wrong before an important meeting, when the delivery driver comes just as you get in the shower or when you get a flat tyre and it's raining outside. Where does your mind take you at a time like that? What is your choice of narrative?
For many of us, it might be something like: "that's just typical!", perhaps accompanied by a sigh and a tut. I offer you a chance to notice if that sounds like you, I think at times we will all have that as a response.
Take a moment now to consider the choices we have next time we have that train of thought and the impact it can have. How typical is it, really? How does this type of habitual thinking make you feel?
When we take the narrative of "that's just typical!", it serves to put us in victim mode, almost preparing us for and expecting other things to go wrong in the day ahead of us. Have you ever considered, if we create space within ourselves, we actually have more of a choice as to how we respond and the type of energy we invite in for the rest of the day.
There is no doubt that it is okay and healthy to feel our feelings, so of course, if you are frustrated or annoyed at a situation, it's a good idea to feel this. However, when we choose to attach to and identify with the feelings with the thoughts of "just my luck" or "well that's my day ruined" that doesn't serve us. This serves only to feed the negative narrative.
Next time something goes wrong for you and you notice the victim mindset showing up, it's a good idea to gently consider the following:
Is there anything here now within my control that I can do to change the situation?
If there is, then taking action (if you can) can help you to move swiftly on from whatever it is. If there is not, then how can you improve the situation? What is the reframe? How do you want to choose to respond? Perhaps now you have time for something else instead (I sit writing this as part of a three-hour flight delay, I have a choice to moan, to no avail, or to put my energy into something productive like writing this article, having a conversation with a stranger and messaging some friends).
Hold space for the negative feeling but then choose what you want to feel instead, tap into your body and see what feelings of joy you can generate, perhaps focusing on something you’re grateful for.
We have the power to choose how to respond and if we are always choosing the victim-led “woe is me” narrative, we are topping ourselves up with negative energy, feeding into the narrative that things don’t go well for us. How does that serve you? The upshot is feeling bad.
Thinking also about those things that don’t go to plan because of a mistake we have made, perhaps forgetting to submit something on time, stumbling through a job interview or burning dinner - whatever it may be - we have two options here also:
We can berate ourselves, feel bad about the mistake and allow it to define us, attach and take it as a label “I’m no good at x,y,z” because I messed it up that time. Or “I’m useless” - we can speak to ourselves in the exact opposite way we would to a friend. Again, how does that serve us?
We can take a moment to reflect, with self-compassion, to respond in the same way we would to a friend, with kindness. We can ask ourselves what we can learn from the situation and we can ask it with the love we deserve.
And sometimes really annoying things do happen, in what ways can you find a way to let those feelings dissolve? Perhaps through meditation, journalling, talking about them and then moving on, not attaching or allowing them to define you.
Do you notice for yourself how long or short the gap is between the event and reaction? If it's a really short gap and you find yourself reacting quickly, there are many ways to create a bigger pause so you can begin choosing how to react and respond in any given situation. This is through working to create more space inside, more headspace, more heart space, more inner peace, whatever you want to call it. Regular mindfulness practices can really support this. Also through deep knowing that you have the power to choose. You do, you do, you do.
If you're interested in exploring your inner world and creating more space inside, get in touch for a free discovery call to see how we could work together.