The Truth About Mental Mastery
Recently I was reading an article about the things mentally strong people do differently. It made me think about one of the ongoing conversations I have with clients – especially clients who are new to working on and developing themselves. One of the things I’ve noticed is how, at the beginning of this journey of self-awareness, people don’t understand that THEY are in control of their own thoughts and feelings.
I know right!?!?!
You are actually the ‘being’ that’s in control of your thoughts and feelings. That can be a challenging thing to wrap your head around so let me explain.
Before you start to figure out that you are the one who is in control of your life, that your actions determine what you get in your life:
- Create and stick to a fitness and nutrition plan you get physically healthy. Don’t stick to a plan and you get physically unhealthy.
- Tell the important people in your life that they matter to you and learn how to effectively communicate with them and you’ll have peaceful and fulfilling relationships. Don’t do those things and it’s likely you’ll end up with drama and unsatisfactory relationships.
- Create and stick to a budget that fits your lifestyle and financial goals and you’ll end up with an effective financial platform to live your life from. Do ‘not that’ and you’ll likely end up in debt with a lot of fear and stress while you try to figure it out.
Your actions create your life.
The thing is, it can often be a challenge to follow through with the actions you know you need to take because that little voice in your head kicks in and talks you into doing something different:
- “It’s okay to skip the workout today” or “I’ll start tomorrow” or “one donut won’t matter”
- “They’re being a jerk so you’re justified in being one too!” or “I don’t know what to say I’ll just drop hints and hopefully they’ll pick up on it” or “I’m afraid they’ll get mad so I just won’t say anything”
- “Budget? What budget?” or “We can buy this and make up the difference somewhere else”
And…. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if you can talk yourself out of doing things, that you could flip the switch and talk yourself into doing them too? Sure that might take a little more effort at the beginning and at the same time doesn’t it make sense?
Are you getting a little uncomfortable in your seat right now?
What if you started having conversations with yourself that went something like:
- “I know I don’t feel like it right now and I know I’ll be happier once I’ve worked out” or “What am I really committed to? What do I know I need to do to make that happen?”
- “Take a deep breath and be patient. Let’s find out what’s really going on with them” or “I choose discomfort over resentment so I know I have to say something” or “My feelings matter too so I definitely need to say something about this even if it scares me.”
- “Right now I might feel like I’m missing out on something and I know I’ll feel better in the long run if I say no to this purchase and stick to the plan.”
What difference would internal dialogue like that make in your life? If you can see that it would make a difference then it’s probably time you started to do something about it. So how do you make that switch?
Whether you’re looking at talking yourself into following a fitness or financial plan, or you really want to change the way you talk to yourself about yourself and in turn what you think about yourself and your life, you’re going to have to take some responsibility in the matter. You’re going to have to own up to the fact that you are the one who feeds the thoughts in your head. You’re going to have to start getting conscious about what you think and then redirecting the thoughts that aren’t serving you.
Recently I was dealing with a situation where I just wanted to be mad. I just wanted to justify why I was mad and stomp around being angry for a while. I also wanted to coerce everyone in my circle that I was totally in the right and the other person was simply a jerk. I did a pretty good job of it too…. And I know better. I’ve worked at changing the way I automatically think and I also know how much the way I think affects the way I feel.
After a few hours of storming around all righteous and indignant, I decided to do something different about it. I decided to take a different action. I could see that continuing to be righteously justified in my internal dialogue was doing nothing to bring me resolution or peace; it was actually only creating more drama and anger for me. I decided that I would buck-up and have the tough conversation that actually needed to be had. Oddly enough, the end result of having the courage to have the tough conversation instead of just stewing in my anger was awesome!! The problem got completely resolved and I’m totally at peace with the outcome – so is the other party that was involved 🙂
Another way this mind-mastery can really make a difference is when you’re feeling bad or guilty or even a little depressed… When you’re feeling that way, have you ever stopped to notice what your thoughts are? I bet if you tune in you’ll discover that they’re not very uplifting, supportive, and loving. It’s likely they’re quite the opposite as a matter of fact, which in effect is making the whole situation worse!
What if you decided to turn down the volume on those downer thoughts and turn up the volume on some more effective thoughts?
You are NOT your thoughts.
What if you started focusing on what you had to be grateful for instead? What if you started consciously looking for ‘wins’ in your life, no matter how minor, and focusing on those? What if you set up a structure to remind you to keep your focus on more positive and encouraging things? Maybe set up reminders in your calendar or stick post-it notes around your home?
In the beginning stages of making a shift like this, it won’t be easy and natural. In the same way that going to the gym for the first time can feel intimidating and overwhelming, a practice about where you focus your thoughts can too. The thing is, it’s the practice that creates progress…
You can do it! You and your life are totally worth a little focused effort to make your experience of life better!! If you’re wanting to do this for yourself and you just don’t know where to start or what to do, maybe it’s time we talked 🙂
Until next time ,
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