It’s been said, whether true or not, that it takes 10,000 times to master a new skill. So practice, practice, practice is the key. I’m trying to master new thought patterns/new beliefs in order to modify my (often negative) conditioned responses. Active awareness is the first step.
I’m a Thinker. I probably think too much (I’ve been told that anyway). Being aware of my thinking is the first part of changing my conditioned responses to situations. I don’t want to be comparing myself negatively to others, feel like I’m failing to live up to others expectations, feel incompetent, or constantly run negative scenarios in my head. I do all these things almost automatically! I want to feel that I am enough, I am doing the things that are right for me, and I’m living in the moment and that’s what’s important.
How successful as I in changing my conditioned response? I’m sharing a few of the past weeks thinking reactions so that others can realize that they are not alone with “failures” when attempting to change habitual thinking patterns!
- Compare & Despair with J&B. During a dinner conversation with friends of friends the other night, all I could think was… they are DOING IT RIGHT and I’m NOT! Meaning retirement. They’ve downsized to the “perfect” age-in-place home with both a one-level living potential and great access to a downtown area where they have already found their “Cheers” place. They both have part-time jobs in their passion areas (their term in fact) as well as volunteering activities they love. All I could think was, “I’ve not got my act together at all. I’m once again not enough. I’m failing at retirement.” I knew I was doing “Compare & Despair” and just couldn’t stop it!
- Disappointment and other negative emotions. I keep trying to find the right volunteer activity, because I SHOULD be volunteering. The Impact 100 (a woman’s collective philanthropic group) committee experience left me feeling incompetent and frustrated that I couldn’t make an impact – I couldn’t influence the outcome of the committee and I wasn’t aligned at all with the outcome. I’m worrying about what others will think if I join the steering committee of another philanthropic group (I’ve been asked) knowing I will miss half the meetings and at least 2 of the 4 events. I’m now second guessing the grant writing class I’m taking this summer because I’ve been told it will be more about herding cats to gather information than the joy of writing. I know I shouldn’t worry what others think of me…. but I continue to worry that others judge me for not being an active volunteer!
- A Weekend of Negative Scenarios. I had a garbled call from one of my doctor’s offices late on a Friday and they said to call back as soon as possible. When I did, the office was closed. I spent the entire weekend running (negative, horrible) scenarios in my head, writing (negative) letters to the doctor about the office leaving that kind of message, and basically not sleeping much. I knew I was doing it. I knew that most of what I was thinking was not going to happen. I couldn’t just wait till Monday and call the office to resolve the entire thing (which I did). And even though I knew I was spinning negative, I couldn’t stop the negative scenarios.
- Positives turning Negative. I’ve been trying to do some book promotion with local Financial Advisors. Personally I think my book would be a great add-on for them to help their clients who are getting close to, or just entering, retirement. I had three meetings the past few weeks, with men & women FA’s I had met or been introduced to the past few years. After all three meeting I felt good. But then days later (and no additional interaction from them) I have started second guessing every thing I said at the meeting. And I’m beginning to feel incompetent about promoting the book (and reaching my internal goals for selling it).
In each case I was aware of my thinking/belief and the conditioned (negative) response and in fact, I tried to stop the conditioned response! Maybe I minimized it. I hope I minimized it. I did minimize it.
Active awareness is the first step.
Are you trying to change conditioned thought/belief reactions?
Picture Credit: Me. My summer flowers are in bloom, surrounded by yard art & bringing me joy!