I heard an idea that really-yet-scarily resonated with me last week.
It’s a deeper insight into that voice in your head. That voice that perhaps is just trying to look out for you yet absolutely is not always helpful.
I’ll paraphrase author Sam Harris: who when he thinks about the voice in his head, feels like he’s been hijacked by the most boring person alive. Who just says the same rubbish over and over. Most of it negative. All of it self referential.
If you’re unaware of this non-stop conversation you’re having with yourself – it controls you.
So true right?
Now I’ve done a lot of work on my self talk and made some fab progress however absolutely I still from time to time inflict Boring, Repetitive and Glass 1/2 Empty on myself! If you can relate then today’s show is for you. Today,
That Boring, Repetitive Pessimist In Your Head!
Imagine you’re out for a work dinner or perhaps a wedding reception. It’s a sit down affair. The seats are assigned and any partners are split up for better intermingling. Long, wide tables in a loud restaurant pretty much means you’re stuck with the person to your right and the person to your left.
That’s it. So, who’s to your right and who’s to your left? Introducing…
Pines For The PAST Pat!
Pat’s best days are done certainly not yet to come. Her focus is purely on what was. She’ll harp on about the good old days. How much better-easier-more-fun it was when she was younger…
And come to think of it, you’re pretty sure you’ve met Pat before. You’ve heard her tired stories. You’re basically anticipating the next bit… though not eagerly!
=> Pines For The PAST Pat is BORING.
Perhaps Pat won’t even notice as you shift your attention to that gent to your left. She’s on a roll. No stopping her now. She’ll regurgitate the same old tediousness regardless. To your other side…
Make It About ME Mike.
The person to Mike’s other side has just excused themselves to escape to the loo. That’s the only reason you hadn’t heard from him earlier – he was captivating someone else.
However now you’re all his, how lucky are you? Mike can make anything about ME. His fascination with himself is exhausting.
It likely stems from insecurity. A desperate need to be liked and accepted.
=> Make It About ME Mike is equally BORING.
I’m pretty sure Mike will notice if you try and flag the attention of that chick across the table. He’s got you now. Each me focused insight Mike shares builds on the last – he’s got momentum now.
Do you notice a little Pines For The PAST or Make It About ME in YOU?
In the chatter that takes place in your head? Here’s how it might look:
=> “Wow, losing those holiday season kilo’s was so much easier in my 20’s… it’s not fair!”
=> “But, I ate bread 3 times a day for years. And I was skinny! I didn’t even need to exercise – beyond a couple of nights out dancing on the weekend of course… why can’t it be like that now?” Or perhaps:
=> “Did she look at me funny? Perhaps my hairs doing something weird – it was a bit windy on the way here. Or this top? Am I not pulling off this top? I should have bought the black one instead. God, now she’s laughing – is she laughing at me?”
This time let’s imagine you’re out for a couple of drinks with a good friend. You haven’t seen each other in way too long – you have so much to share – it’s a gorgeous sunny afternoon and you’re having a blast. It’s one of those perfect afternoons you wish could go on and on.
Talking of on and on – who’s that madly waving from across the beer garden? He certainly know you and he’s heading your way! Introducing…
As Roger draws closer you remember him. He’s a friend of a friend and you’ve met him a few times.
Repetitive Roger is always in the throws of some drama. Either he’s just lost his latest job, just lost his latest girl… often both, and it’s not so surprising as he doesn’t seem to take either too seriously!
“Why does this always happen to me?” whines repetitive Roger. As he scopes the room for a group of girls to approach and barely acknowledges your reply.
A few drinks later as you’re thinking of getting home to wake up fresh for work tomorrow you see repetitive Roger coming back from the bar with another jug of beer. He approaches his latest group of girls. It’s looks like he’s up for another big night. It also looks like he’ll be less than fresh for his new job in the morning.
Do you notice a little REPETITiVE Roger in YOU?
Not necessarily his predatory shark like patrolling of the ladies… or his prioritizing a night out over work the next day. Perhaps though in the chatter that takes place in your head? The chatter on replay. Here’s how it might look:
=> “Eating healthy food is so boring. I have such a sweet tooth. And a slow metabolism. I’m big boned. And really not built for exercise… I can’t help it, it’s hereditary – isn’t it?” Or maybe that on-auto-pilot response to the alarm for exercise before work…
=> “I’m too tired. I’ll start tomorrow… better a strong session tomorrow than a rubbish one today – right? In fact, I’ll do double tomorrow!” Even…
=> “What is wrong with me” “I never stick with it” “Why am I so inconsistent-Weak-Undisciplined-LAZY?”
Three: Glass 1/2 Empty.
Our final scenario today and this time you’re travelling interstate. It’s around a 90 minute flight and thankfully you’ve secured an aisle seat – so you’ve got extra arm room on one side! 90 minutes is a good period of time to get a bit of work done. It’s your own little flying office. There’s a consideration you may have forgotten though – who’s that seated to your non-aisle side?
As you stow your luggage for take-off, the lady next to you eagerly greats you. Introducing…
GLASS 1/2 EMPTY Glenda.
“Hi, I’m Glenda – do you mind if I share your inflight mag? I don’t have one. Typical. I always miss out. Actually, do you think you’ll need your sick bag? I’m a terrible flier. And terrible on boats… and on long car trips… travel is just such a struggle for me.
You pop in your earphones and open your laptop. Glenda has already decided it’s going to be a punishing flight – she certainly didn’t stow away her luggage pre-flight! In fact it’s apparent Glass 1/2 Empty Glenda drags her luggage everywhere with her. She’s seriously weighed down by it… however perhaps you can block her out?
“What a boring inflight mag. Typical. I wonder what they’ll serve us to eat? Probably fish. Just the smell will make me feel even more sick. I hate fish. And asparagus – how gross is asparagus? Anyway, tell me about YOU – what foods do you really hate?”
Do you notice a little Glass 1/2 Empty Glenda in YOU? From time to time is the chatter that takes place in your head a little too focused on the negative? What might go wrong? Here’s how it might look:
=> “What’s the point in giving my goal 100% as I can never stay focused and stick with it long term anyway?”
=> “I don’t want to tell my partner / family / friends what I’m trying to achieve because I probably won’t get there anyway and then I’ll look stupid.”
=> “I’ve been going really well with my early nights / meal planning / exercise… I can just feel a big blow out coming on!”
It must well and truly be time to switch into solution mode and the alternative to that Boring, Repetitive Pessimist In Your Head! Let’s also make it the time of the actionable.
Solution mode is a simple (not necessarily easy) A. B. C.
B.ACK YOURSELF and ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY.
C.HOOSE A REFRAME.
So starting with AWARENESS, which of todays characters could you most benefit from evicting from your head? To recap:
Pines For The PAST Pat.
Make It About ME Mike.
GLASS 1/2 EMPTY Glenda.
Moving on to BACK YOURSELF and ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY, what is a specific reoccurring scenario in which you can change a victim orientated “Why me?” voice into a more solution oriented “How can I?” voice?
Finally, to CHOOSE A REFRAME, what is your specific reframe you’re going to deploy to turn that old Boring, Repetitive Pessimist In Your Head into someone a lot more Interesting (and InterestED), Versatile and Optimistic?
I’ll finish todays show with a quote (again from Sam Harris): “Almost all our suffering is the product of our thoughts. We spend nearly every moment of our lives lost in thought, and hostage to the character of those thoughts. You can break this spell, but it takes training just like it takes training to defend yourself against a physical assault”.
Or, of course just like it takes training to build a fit, strong, healthy body you love.
That’s it for me today… I’m off to do a little more work on evicting the BORING old REPETITIVE Roger in me! I hope you can join me for the Friday FAQ show. I’m covering my: Weekly Wrap #4.
If you liked this you’ll also like: How To Overcome Overwhelm:
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.