Have you ever wondered why we get into a deep blue funk from time to time? When you are in a deep blue funk, do you try to blame other people for putting you there? “Why can’t my husband respect me enough to pick up his nasty boxers and put them in the basket?” “Why can’t my kids pick up their rooms?” “Why can’t my mother stop telling me how to raise my kids?” And so on, and so forth. These types of thoughts used to railroad me right into sadness and frustration—a pit so deep that it would take a whole pint of Talenti Sea Salt and Caramel to get me out. And this led to, “Why did I eat a whole pint of Talenti? I suck.” The common denominator here is, “Why?” So, the theme this week is KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE “WHY”. What's the big deal with “Why?” I thought you’d never ask!
Behavioral modification is a powerful tool for a joyful life. Especially if some of your behaviors were set in a less-then-supportive (crappy) childhood. Or maybe your middle school or High School years stomped your creativity and confidence. If the voice in your head that’s saying these frustrated thoughts is a whine; it’s stuck in the kid place where those behaviors were learned. The behavior that attached itself to those old hurts will not change without a little adult attention.
That old baggage doesn’t unpack without some work.
If you’ve had some trauma in your past, anything from extreme disappointment to outright bullying, you could be using an outdated operating system. This leads to a disconnect between your heart and your head. And THAT leads to despair, depression, frustration and anger—they all come to the party. So how do we unpack that baggage and put it away? We ask “Why” and then pick apart the thoughts and actions like a scientist—no judgement, just curiosity.
When I focus on the “Why”, it keeps me in the present moment. This next week, focus on your feelings, and then ask “Why am I feeling this way?” Then if it’s a feeling you like, keep doing or thinking that way. If the feeling is negative, pay careful attention to why. If it’s based on an old rule or story, question the basis for that story to make sure it’s still relevant.
Take the thought we started with: “Why doesn’t my husband respect me enough to pick up his drawers?” Ask, instead, “Why does it bother me that he doesn’t pick up his drawers?” “Because it means he doesn’t respect me, like my mom didn’t respect and love me enough to show up on time to pick me up from school. It means he doesn’t really love me, like she didn’t love me!” Whoa, there!! Is that really true? Isn’t it possible that Mom was just a little scatterbrained and hubby is just a little sloppy?
If you need respect, how about respecting yourself? What can you do in the next 5 minutes to show yourself some respect: a quick breathing meditation, watch a funny show on your phone, make something nutritious to eat, go outside and drench yourself in some nature (with our weather lately, drench is a certainty), or perhaps just take a moment to focus on all the blessings that surround you in the present moment. Why not start now? If you need a little help getting to the place of no judgment, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the front desk of GPS and bend my ear!