How I Make My Life Difficult!

Here is just one example: I am hurrying to send an e-mail to an important person in my life (it can be business related or personal) and I read it through thinking it is ready. I push “send”.

As soon as the e-mail leaves my outbox, I realize that the wrong person was CC’ed, or a word in the e-mail was unintentionally harsh, inappropriate or presumptuous.

The feeling in my gut is almost unbearable at this point. Various expletives (not for print here) dance around in my head!

Why did I not wait to send it?

Why did I not think of this before I sent it?

How can I be so thoughtless/stupid/inconsiderate/….?

 

And no matter how much I  wrestle with myself, I cannot undo the action. Done is done – there is no way back. And then comes the self-blame.

Self-blame is like fire – if left unattended it consumes everything in its path!

My day is now shaped by it. It casts a long shadow over my relationships with innocent bystanders such as business associates, and (especially) husband and kids by a sense of dread that I carry with me. I feel bad about me – therefore I have much less attention to give to other areas of my life. I am moody and short-tempered.

Isn’t it interesting that when we beat up on ourselves, we are really taking away attention from what we could be doing? We are less likely to have any excess energy, which means we won’t help our own situation or that of others,  and we are less likely to reach out and be of service. Much of our energy goes towards listening to that critical voice in our heads that is busy beating up on us!

Being in the throes of self-blame is a selfish act.

Think about it…

My daily practice has turned towards separating  self-blame from self-reflection. It is necessary to learn from our mistakes if we want to grow. And spending a little time and deciding what could be done better or more thoughtfully is usually beneficial (even if it is just to let a few minutes pass, do something else, and then read the same important e-mail with fresh eyes).

Yet to self-blame is completely useless!

Perfection is a town in Russia – but we can strive for excellence by learning from our previous actions! 

We can free ourselves from the self-imposed prison of thinking we need to be perfect by celebrating that we learn from our mistakes.  In a sense, if we learn from our mistakes, then they are indeed our greatest teachers and therefore causes for celebration!

For me, this helps to minimize of the guilt, shame and self-blame that I normally treat myself to when I screw up – and I get more done!

And still…. right now I kind of dread pushing that “publish” button over to the right….. And I take a moment – do something else – read it again. Then I push that button and move on!

(The Larger Than Life Coaching blog is in the process of moving to www.marietrout.com. To continue being subscribed – please go there and sign-up.)

 

 

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Decision Time

“If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

“Better safe than sorry!”

“The higher you fly the harder you fall.”

“Bloom where you are planted.”

“Better play it safe!”

These are all quotes from our upbringing and beyond. Well-meaning parents, teachers, friends, partners have at times tried to protect us by helping us take the safe route.

And this is fine.

And then there is this inner doubt that is created from this kind of conditioning. We fear failure.

It happens to each one of us many times in our lives: we are in a situation that forces us to make a choice. A choice between the known and the unknown. The known might have grown too small and constricting, yet the unknown seem like a mountain in front of us with untold possibilities and risks at even measure. We are at a cross road!

When we face new situations and with it our fear of failure is activated, we might look to inspirational stories. We all know the one about Thomas Edison and why he hadn’t failed but knew of 10,000 ways that didn’t work, etc. And there are many others. It is useful and inspirational to read such stories, yet might not really cut to the core of what we might be feeling.

Inside we might be hearing a little voice that sounds something like this:

“You’ll fall on your face if you try that”

“Who do you think you are?”
“They will laugh at you for trying this.”

“What makes you think you can make this work now when you couldn’t before?”

And no matter how many inspirational quotes and empowering stories we read to boost our courage, this little pesky voice always seems to yell the loudest. This voice  might even feel comforting, like a friend who is trying hard to protect us from our own foolishness.

This little voice does want to protect us. And it is important to acknowledge this. It is not an enemy we need to destroy or annihilate!

The problem comes in when that little voice of caution becomes so loud that it blocks our perception of what we might miss if we only listen for the cautionary tale it tells.

Are you going to take the Opportunity Exit – or just keep going?

This kind of work is often part of coaching sessions. We work on our inner voices of caution that hold us back from stepping into our highest potential. Here is a version that you can use yourself:

  1. Express your wish for new possibilities. Write it down.
  2. What will be possible for you when you seize this new opportunity?. Write it down.
  3. Welcome the voice of caution. It is trying to protect you. Do not fight it. Write down what it says.
  4. Ask the voice of caution where it comes from (is this the voice of a well-meaning parent, is it the voice of previous defeat, is it the voice of convention, etc.) Notice which parts of this voice truly feels aligned with your highest purpose and what parts feels constricting and not really your own. Write it down.
  5. Now with both want for new opportunities and fear of failure clearly separated out in front of you, it is time for you to make a more informed decision. You now have a clearer view of which part of these voices of caution are the voices of convention and conditioning versus the voices that align more fully with your highest purpose.

Keeping in mind that we rarely get all or nothing scenarios. Every new opportunity holds within it aspects that might be difficult to deal with as well as exhilarating new possibilities – and every staying within what is known and perceived as a safer (and possibly more comfortable in the short-term) choice likewise has perceived positives and negatives.

Here is to making a more aware choice in every decision in your life!