The stories I’ve made up about you

I have a running conversation in my head and it’s not just with myself. I imagine conversations I might have with people I know and then I make up their response. More often than not it’s a negative conversation. Sometimes it’s a friend picking me up on my shitty behavior or my boss pulling me up on my bad mood. Whatever the situation I always have the best answers to their reprimanding.

Apart from the obvious issues with having a chat with yourself, there are a few other problems with speaking on behalf of someone else, even if it’s in your own head. The biggest issue is you have absolutely no way of knowing how the other person feels about this situation, let alone might actually say in reality.

Now, as our brains are constantly looking to make sense of the world we live in, we join the dots where possible. And, when there is no obvious connection we make it up. This creation of a story will always reinforcing the view you already have, because after all it’s you making it up. Whatever you believe you’ll find ways to confirm.

As I run though these made up scenarios in my head and allow myself to play every role, I muster an emotional response towards these people, and just like that, my brain subconsciously applies it to real life.

With very pieces of information (fiction or real) I construct a linear story that reinforces my views of the people I know and the world we’re in.

As I write this I can’t help but wonder if anyone else is doing the same thing inside their head? And if they are, how different is their world must to mine? Have they already made up my responses and crafted an image of who they believe I am. Will they even be able to hear me if I answer differently to what they believe? Do our realities ever cross?

All I can do is consciously tried to stop myself when I feel those stories stirring in my head.

 

Getting to the bottom of things

There’s no denying it, it all feels like too much today.

Certain life choices with unknown out comes loom over head, bigger and scarier than ever, while the daily practice of functioning like a normal adult human just seems like too bigger task for me.

Looking around, it’s as though my surroundings reflect the inside of my head. 100 jobs started and not finished, too many good intentions to count, disorder rules – it’s a mess.

I look to my phone, surely this faithful distraction will take the edge off. But in a rare moment it looks blankly back at me, as if to say “don’t even think about it.”

I’m stuck here, in this moment forced to take it in. And, unless I want to stay here forever, lost in the disorder, starting but never finishing, I’d better find a different rout out.

But, when you don’t even know what the problem is, how could you possibly find a solution.

For me, it’s with 3 simple ‘why’ questions.

Q1. Why are you feeling like this?

  • There’s too much to do, nothing is getting done, I’m late with everything, it feels like chaos.

Q2. Why is nothing getting done?

  • Because I keep getting distracted.

Q3. Why are you distracted? 

  • I’ve got so much on my plate, I don’t know where to start.

Obviously you could ask why forever and this example is a pretty basic one. But this exercise is useful non the less.

For me it cuts through the surface level emotion and gets to the point – I’m feeling over whelmed and with so much to do I don’t know where to start.

All that’s left to do now is find a good starting point, work out what exactly needs doing and how I’m going to get it done.

 

 

Standing down

I guess at one stage or another it happens to most of us. Maybe it’s age, or perhaps it’s the change in commitments the follow day that’s got me looking at my watch at 9pm in a busy bar, wishing I was at home.

The problem is, there’s another side to me that disagrees very strongly to that thought. Unfortunately she tends not to show up when I’m actually out.

No, she appears at the planning stage, popping her head up with a nostalgic glow anytime someone mentions a night out. She fills my heart with anticipation when I hear others talking about big nights and whispers softly in my ear “if you want to be fun, you know what you have to do, staying in is for boring people.”

But, as I find myself waiting at the bar, trying so hard to enjoy something that 5 years ago would have been pure pleasure to me, she disappears and leaves me alone.

It’s time to admit it, this just isn’t fun any more.

It was, but not anymore.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still have a good time, it just show up in a slightly different form these days. Like an afternoon BBQ or, dinner with friends. Unlike the old days where we’d dance off into the night chanting  “eating’s cheating and sleep is the enemy.”

It’s time to admit those days are gone.

But once again she raises her head and cry’s, “but you’ll be no fun”.

It’s true, those days are gone, and it’s not even a matter of seeing what’s replaced them as fun. I already know that.

What’s hard to admit, is what used to be the best thing in the world, no longer is. No matter how hard I try to recreate it, it’s gone. It’s time to stand down.

As I look around the packed dance floor I’m happy to see, it’s someone else’s turn now.

I’m no longer hard wired to believe a good time is only had if it ends with a spew. I’m thankful for the fun I had and grateful for what’s replaced it.

I love my mornings, my family time and not to mention feeling healthy. I love a few beers in the afternoon sun and laughing until it hurts at dinner with the greatest friends.

In this moment I cherish them just that little bit more, as I realise time will pass and soon enough it will be someone else’s turn.

You don’t need to leave to feel free

I’d never felt more in touch with myself than I did right then.

In that moment, as I stuffed very few belongings into the worlds smallest bag, I knew I was doing the right thing. This trip to me, was a celebration of what I’d achieved, not an attempt to find myself.

If anything I wanted to get lost.

Over the last 6 months I’d had control over every element in my life. I knew what I needed to do to feel great and how much I could get away with before I felt bad. I had exactly the right amount of sleep and just enough late nights to convince myself I was having fun.

I was in control of my diet and in the best shape I’d ever been.

I was bored!

Maybe I was trying to find myself after all.

Whatever it was, it worked.

I felt amazing, with as much time and space to do whatever I wanted, I came home feeling fully charged and totally in touch with myself.

The only problem is, one year on and i’m in need of a little boost, and taking off round the world isn’t an option this time.

Perhaps it’s easy to make yourself happy when you’re only priority is making yourself happy.  But how do you maintain that level of selfishness when everyday life gets in the way?

As I think back to that time, I picture myself there. I remember the smells and imagine myself walking the street and exploring. I remember how proud I felt for achieving things on my own and the sense of accomplishment I had for just doing something for myself.

Now I bring that feel into my everyday world and wonder, what can I do to have that here?

Everyday is a brand new adventure and you don’t need to pack a bag to experience the life you already have. I’m giving myself permission to explore. To take time away from the everyday, to discover those feelings again.

Making time for you doesn’t need to be as dramatic as booking a round the world trip, it could be as simple as a weekly ritual of taking a walk alone, getting your nails done or reading a book. The trick is just remembering to doing it.

The rules of saying I love you

He told me he loved me on our 3rd date. Not in any romantic way, he just chucked it out there, like it was nothing. I wondered for a minute if it was a mistake – like when you call your teacher mum. But it wasn’t.

All that was left to think, was it must be some sort of weird joke.

When he said it again on the 4th date, I thought perhaps he did mean it, but  I couldn’t help but wonder, “how can you possibly love me, what do you know about love? You don’t even know me.”

Turns out he knew a lot more about love than I gave him credit for.

I used to think there were these rules about falling in love. Rules that if you played to, you were guaranteed love, happiness and everything else that’s meant to follow. I’d been playing by these rules my whole life.

Rule 1. Wait 3 months before you say I love you.
Rule 2. Look deeply into each others eyes.
Rule 3. Be totally blown away when you hear the words.

As I discussed his obvious disregard for the rules with my friend she said, “maybe he does love you? Love isn’t about looking into each others eyes, it’s about looking into the future together.”

I thought back to past relationships, where the moment had been right and the sacred three words had been said, but there was nothing more to it, nothing to back that perfect moment. No future, just all present.

Suddenly my rules dissolved, they crumble away. Falling in love and saying it, isn’t a one time transaction that has to be perfect or even life changing. It’s simply a feeling that you want to be around that person for a lot longer. You’re saying you want to be in their future.

And with that, on our 5th date, I casually told him I wanted to be a part of his future too.

I love you.

Why you don’t like change

I used to pride myself on liking change. In fact, I found it hard when things stayed the same for too long.

But then why, when it comes to making a few changes in my life, changes I know will transform things,  am I so resistant?

I’d dig in my heels, look away and hold my breath.

In life, it seems that we thrive off change and new challenges, even when we hate them at the time. Change forces us to adapt and learn, it’s what makes us grow.

However, I’m all too aware of the repetition we seek out in everyday life. We find comfort in doing things the same way. I catch myself drawn to the same seat on the bus every single time I get on.

And, with a wardrobe full of clothes, why then do we wear the same things over and over again?

I may like it when things in my life change, but how proactive am I at instigating that change and finding new challenges?

I recently read Mel Robins, 5 Second Rule, she explains that we’re hardwired to avoid anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, especially change.

That’s why you’ll never really feel ready to take that leap of faith, or put yourself out there – you just have to make yourself do it anyway.

From getting fit to finding your dream job, Mel says that if it means simply putting one foot outside your comfort zone, your brain will go into overdrive to protect you. It will do everything it can to talk you out of taking action.

Change is scary, staying the same is not.
Change requires action, staying the same does not.
Change is unknown, staying the same is not.

The way I see it, is we have a choice when it comes to change. Each of those 3 sentences can be split in half. One half is negative and the other is positive, it’s up to us which half is which.

Mantra this, and change your life

To say I didn’t enjoy school, would be an understatement.

I remember being 15 years old, and trying to make the walk to school last as long as humanly possible.

I started to notice a pattern on the days I dreaded going in. I would find myself repeating in my head over and over again, “It’s going to be a horrible day”. I think I honestly believed that if I prepared myself, it wouldn’t matter if it was a bad day, because I’d already called it.

And of course, it always was.

Then one day I decided to try something different. I started to repeat in my head, over and over again, “today is a great day”.

I remember it feeling so forced, and I’m sure I rolled my eyes with every repetition.

But, I kept doing it, the whole walk to school.

Today is a great day.
Today is a great day.
Today is a great day.

I’m not sure what was more annoying, the fact it worked, or the fact I actually did have a good day. But, none the less things got a little bit brighter.

Ever since then, I’ve used matras to keep me and my mind on the right track.

I repeat a short phrase to myself, over and over again, most often while I’m walking somewhere.

I’ll say anything from “I love myself”, to “I am successful”. And, from time to time I still find myself repeating the words, “today is a great day”.

The trick is to talk in the first person and as if it’s already true. Try not to use any negative words, like not. Because, your brain can’t identify them and only hears the instruction.

So if you say “I am not late” over and over, all your brain hears is “I’m late, I’m late”. And with the power of matras being what it is, you’ll most definitely end up being late.

And that’s it. Just pick something you want and start saying it over and over again.

It doesn’t even matter whether you believe it or not at first. All that matters is that you say it, over and over again.

From brightening your mood to increasing productivity, mantras will change the way you view the world.

What are you waiting for? Give it a go right now.