Well the last couple of months or so have been pretty tumultuous with significant personal change for me, but everyday we move forward one step at a time. One of the things that has helped me move forward was triggered by the interesting and enlightening James Clear, who I often cite in these blogs, he posed a question in his weekly email a few weeks ago which really resonated – “How are you contributing to your own struggle?”
He went on to clarify – “Don’t take it the wrong way. This question doesn’t mean your current situation is entirely your fault or even that it is 50/50. But the truth is you bring something into every interaction you will ever experience (at the very least, you bring your attitude).”
This got me pondering and asking the question – whose side am I on? As often as not when we are under pressure we can forget to bat for ourselves and do our very best to get in our own way. When we struggle, it is partly because the chatter and self-talk that proliferates is of the questioning, doubting and negative variety. We can invariably ‘collaborate in our own defeat’ as James puts it.
If you reflect on something you have struggled with recently, something that you may have considered a failure or at the least felt disappointed in – what role did you play? Honestly and critically – what actions, thoughts and attitudes did you bring to bear that made the situation tougher than it needed to be. We cannot control everything that happens to us, but we can choose how we respond. Over the last few weeks I know that the times when I have felt beaten are when I have chosen to ignore what know to be best, I have absolutely collaborated in my own defeat. When I have been too lazy to get along to running club, chosen to cancel a catch up with a friend, stayed in the house rather than get out for some fresh air, avoided having an important conversation and let an issue fester or prioritised emails over meditation. Now I am not defeated, far from it, I am positive, optimistic and excited about the future, but there have been times when I have felt defeated, a failure, that I have done the wrong thing and felt guilty about the impact on others.
My learning and the action I have taken moving forward has been to try and treat myself as a 3rd party friend when I feel myself struggling. I focus on the very question that James Clear has posed, instead of getting caught up in blaming, denouncing or deflecting I ask myself – ‘what part have I contributed in creating this current situation/issue/challenge?’ I’m not pretending that it is easy or the answer comes readily to hand – but the act of asking it creates a pattern interrupt which in itself is often enough to jolt me out of the doom loop and into a more proactive and action orientated frame of mind.
So the call to action I would leave with you is to reflect on the nature of your relationship with you – are you on your side or do you sometimes switch and play for the opposition. Life is tough enough without self-sabotage, we all need all the players we can get on our team! 😊
Onwards and ever upwards!