Why Are We In Such A Hurry?
I know I'm not alone in being quick to diagnose, judge or worry.
I was writing in my morning pages recently about my career as a yoga teacher and planning out my day as usual when I found myself in the middle of a list of fears and worries. Overall as a new yoga teacher, I certainly consider my progress so far a success! I've started my own blog (hello there!), am filling up my yoga class schedule (check it out) and am even building up my family of sound healing instruments. This is certainly no time for me to be feeling like I'm somehow failing!
And yet for some reason, there I was worrying about the outcome of a specific class I'd taught and making a list of everything that had gone wrong. Of course, everything that had gone wrong wasn't exactly "wrong", rather just different than I had originally planned and likely unnoticeable to any students in the room. This particular class was generally a success, but for some reason my mind wanted to move into fear and worry mode on that particular event that had already happened.
I took another moment to scan back through some of my other pages and realized how much pressure I constantly put on myself and how quick I am to judge, diagnose & worry about events that both have already happened and were general successes. Even things that weren't successes, what good does it do to worry about past events at all? This seems to be a theme not just with my yoga career, but also with every day life in general.
I used to think it was the corporate sales environment.
Reflecting back, running on "fear and worry mode" is something that my mind has always done. I certainly noticed it when I worked in the corporate sales world when I was constantly focusing on the bottom line and comparing myself to others in the company. It was just sort of the culture of the job and that's what I boiled it down to. I thought it was mostly my environment and not something that was controllable or even necessary to change. With sales, there's always something that can be improved. You broke a company record? Great, now go do it again next month. For some people, that type of stress can be healthy and keep them going. For me, it seems that it only fueled the patterns in my brain that I'm now trying to avoid.
What I'm realizing now is that even though I'd removed myself from that stressful environment, I hadn't changed my pattern of thinking. I'm in the habit of comparing and judging nearly every scenario in life.
I'm expanding on this idea because I'm sure I'm not alone here in being a bit too hard on myself. In my own process of self healing with this particular habit, I've uncovered some tips that may be helpful if you're struggling with the same thing. (You have read this far, after all!)
Use morning pages to uncover negative self talk.
If you haven't read my blog on morning pages, check it out here. Writing down your constant stream of thoughts first thing in the morning is a great way to discover your thought patterns. If you're not into journaling long term, I'd suggest just trying it for a week to understand how your brain processes day-to-day events. You may be surprised! After about a week, go back and read the thoughts you wrote down. Pay attention to any patterns that you find, but try to do so without judgement.
Give yourself a little love and encouragement! If you continue journaling in the future and catch yourself in some kind of brain spiral that isn't working for you, try and give yourself advice about how to correct or change the situation. Sometimes it's helpful to imagine the words on the page are your best friend talking to you about their issues - what kind of helpful suggestions would you give to them? Can you give that same kind of encouragement and love to yourself?
Everything Takes Practice, Trial & Error.
Breaking negative thought patterns clearly isn't easy, but I've found that acknowledging any patterns that aren't working for you is an excellent first step. Once you realize a certain behavior that you'd like to break, it's easier to catch yourself doing it in the moment. Then you either have the choice to keep thinking that way or to try something different.
For me, I'd like to focus instead on enjoying the experiences of life verses the worries. I'd like to be able to remind myself that everything takes practice. Why are we in such a hurry? Why does everything need to be perfect nearly immediately? Why does it need to be such a struggle to find our way in life instead of an interesting discovery in which we enjoy the ride?
Hold Your Mouth Right!
Everything takes practice. Like my mom used to say - and still says - you just need to hold your mouth right. The normal context of this scenario in my life is when I'm trying to open up a jar that's stuck, which unfortunately happens to me much too often. I've found that the most natural thing to do is get irritated right away and make crazy faces while scrambling around the kitchen trying to use anything that might help open the jar. I mean, when you want raspberry preserves it's usually important! After a good struggle, I would ask my mom for help. She would take the jar, look at me with a great big smile after telling me I just needed to hold my mouth right, twist the lid and of course it would open right away.
There's an analogy in there somewhere about being able to just relax and smile through our life experiences. Why go through the irritating struggle of opening the jar when you can try smiling through it, or asking for help from someone else who's mastered how to do it while smiling? At the end of the day, you won't always remember opening the jar anyway - maybe it's the sandwich that stays in your thoughts. And then what was all the struggling for if you don't even remember most of it? Isn't smiling generally a more pleasant way to live?
Affirmations for Creating Positive Self Talk
These are some examples of affirmations that I use in my journal and during meditation to try and change my habit of thinking. Try them out or feel free to add any you find helpful in the comments!
- I am confident in all that I do. I am successful and release my creative energy into this reality, effortlessly.
- I have everything I need within myself.
- I am growing and learning each and every day.
- I am exactly where I need to be.
- I am enough.