Maybe It Is You...
Continuing our search for ways to take care of our 3 Homes, there's more self-reflection ahead! Let's look at some of the patterns within ourselves that hold us back from real change
Making the kinds of changes that make our Three Homes - our Bodies, our Minds, our World - nicer places to live starts with opening our eyes to the problems first, then the solutions. In the last post, we unpacked a bit about how there are problems that are in our control and those that are out of our control - and being able to identify which is which can help us stop the cycle of getting trapped in negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors that don’t get us any closer to better health, wellbeing or environments.
Another piece of the puzzle in identifying problems is determining patterns. Patterns in your own thoughts, behaviors and relationships often all stem from one place: you. Many problems we face come from external forces, but lots of them find their roots in our own limiting beliefs, bad habits and unchecked, unconscious values.
A tweet I found a long time ago has helped me to think more deeply about this:
Check Yourself, Check Your Patterns
No life is perfect and no one is perfect. It can be easy to blame external circumstances and other people for the problems in our lives - and some of that blame is deserved! But sometimes the problem is ourselves.
If there are things in your life that seem to come up over and over again, it might be time to examine where they originate from. Do you have trouble maintaining relationships or connecting meaningfully? It might be time to look at whether the problem is everyone else, or if there’s something you need to work on before you can make those levels of intimacy click. Do you want to have a healthier body but can never choose habits that support that? It might be time to speak with someone about how to have a better relationship with food or movement or body image. Do you care about the environment you live in but it’s always untidy? It could be that you need to make some time to address the mess - and you do have time, you’re just not choosing to spend it on improving the situation.
You might just be the answer you’ve been looking for, because you’re not stuck!
You are Not Your Thoughts
If you’re actually interested in checking in on yourself and your patterns, one of the important things to note is that you are not your thoughts. Thoughts come and go, and many of them are just patterns that you’ve recognized, messages that you have internalized or ideas that have been repeated to you over and over - usually from the media and people you spend a lot of time around (offline and online). You are not the sum total of the things in your brain - you are the sum total of your choices.
Often, the first thought we think doesn’t actually come from us. It’s ok if it’s not congruent with who you are or want to be. It’s how you decide to deal with that thought this is the key. You can choose to agree with it, you can choose to reject it and think a new thought, you can choose to sit with it and try to figure out where it came from, or you can let it pass by and come back to it later.
An example I read about this recently had to do with judgemental thoughts. Like when you see a stranger on the street and think “Whoa, that outfit is over the top. Who are they trying to impress?”
- You can choose to agree with that thought and judge someone you don’t know.
- You can choose to reject that thought and say to yourself “Actually, that’s a bold choice. I bet they feel amazing and confident wearing it”.
- You can sit with it and wonder if the media or certain entertainment or your social circle might be impressing on you that this is the way we should treat other people.
- You can move on from the thought and accept that it is not a part of you, just a thought. Perhaps you circle back to it later, perhaps you let it go and try to see if those kinds of thoughts come up a lot and deal with the pattern another time.
You don’t have to accept that a judgemental thought is how you actually feel - it’s ok that it was the first thing that came to mind, but what did you think next?
You are not the sum total of the things in your brain - you are the sum total of your choices.
What's Hiding Behind the Curtain?
Humans are funny creatures - we can hold inconsistencies and opposing attitudes within ourselves. Like when you really want to get a jump on the day, so you set your alarm early, but when it goes off, you snooze it until the time you would normally get up… You wanted to get up, it would benefit you if you got a few extra things done in the morning - but you also want to be comfortable and to get enough sleep so you don't feel drowsy all day. Two different attitudes, but the one that wins is the one you want most or the one you’ve practiced most.
Sometimes we like to think of ourselves in one way, but when push comes to shove your actions show what you really value. It takes time to unpack the ideas and values we have about, well, everything! And it takes a lot of self-exploration to determine whether you’re running on someone else’s auto-pilot or making your own decisions for your health, wellbeing and environment. If you're not taking control of your psychology, someone else is...
Self-Awareness Leads to Self-Mastery
Whew. Ok, deep breath. That was a lot. We’ll look into many of these musings deeper in other posts, because there is some heavy stuff here. Ultimately, just taking a bit of time to read and think and become more aware of yourself is the best first step.
The more you can become aware of the things you bring to the table that perpetuate problems you want to solve so that your Three Homes are nicer places to live, the more you’ll be able to make conscious decisions. Like @YoloAkili tweeted - it’s about “patterns to unlearn, new behaviors to embody & wounds to heal… It takes time.”
Thank you for spending some of your time and energy wondering, musing, unpacking, wrestling and thinking here with me!
With love, Jess
A Thought for Your Thoughts:
Take 2 Minutes - Reflect
This was a big reflection. Take your two minutes to revisit the section above that spoke to you most and reread it. If something is speaking to you, revisiting it and take a little more time to digest it will reenforce something that needs your attention in a deeper way, at another time, and you can pick it up when you have more time to give it that attention.
Take 5 Minutes - Reflect
An awareness activity - take a couple of minutes to write a list of some adjectives that represent the kind of thoughts you would like to have (if you need some inspiration, you can find a ton of adjectives here - not affiliated). If you’ve made a long list, try picking your top three that would make your Mind a nice Home and write them on a post it note, or write them in a note on your phone. Check in with your thoughts through the day - do they match up?
Take Some Time - Research
Mindfulness meditation is not just a trendy fad. It can be a very helpful practice that will allow you to get to know yourself and your thoughts better. There are lots of places to get resources on meditation - if you’d like a starting place, check out this page from Mindful https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/ (not affiliated)