Have you ever found yourself stuck in a thought loop that you just can’t seem get out of? It happens to all of us. That inner voice that just won’t STFU can really wear on me.
As I’ve stated previously, we have to treat our brains as if they are powerful computers. Too often, we allow them to function on autopilot. Our brains will automatically place automation on the functions it knows how to do very well, reserving that higher processing power for the harder things like concentrating on learning a new skill.
For example, things that my brain knows how to do really well and from a place of automation include walking and talking at the same, driving a car, and brushing my teeth. I don’t put any real thought into these activities (unless I’m driving somewhere I’ve never been before, in which case I’m much more focused). As a result, my mind is typically all over the place with other random thoughts that have nothing to do with the mundane task at hand.
The mundane tasks are usually harmless activities; the skills I’ve learned over time and have become extremely proficient at. Unfortunately, I have also become very skilled at negative self-talk. If I have a thought like, “I shouldn’t have said that”, it leads to a feeling of regret and I may spend precious hours of my life spinning on something that can’t be changed. I truly don’t do this on purpose. It happens by that process of automation.
The difference in my past and current circumstances is that now I know I have to leverage that higher processing power within to override that program. Yet even knowing this is not always enough. There are thought exercises and scenarios that I can apply focus to that are not always easy to see without help from others.
Close friends and family can be great resources. We certainly need to lean on them when possible and always be there for them. It’s what we do for one another. However, when I’m swimming around in my pool of misery, they will not hesitate to jump right in and splash around. They will nod sympathetically while hitting me on the head with a foam pool noodle (boink!) and say, “You’re so right. You really shouldn’t have said that! Now you know better, right?” Ha! I love them all.
So that’s why I say that we all need a life coach. Even life coaches! We have studied hard to be able to hold space for others and not get pulled into the mind drama. It’s not always easy to do the same for ourselves. Stepping outside of our own heads when thought loops and misery pools are involved can be extremely difficult, so we have learned to leverage the power of our tribe when it’s needed.
It is a indeed a powerful thing to be on a group session and witness one coach ask another a mind blowing question that leads to a breakthrough of realization. It’s wild. Even more so when it happens to me!
Last week, I found myself thinking too much. Swimming around in a feeling of regret combined with frustration that I was truly ready to move past. It’s not always easy to break the thought loops – the ones that have been with us for so long, they have been automated for years.
The automation can be undone. You have to be willing to do the hard work. You have to be willing to allow the negative emotions to run their course before you can turn it around. Allowing negative emotions does not come naturally for most of us. It’s much simpler to revert to resistance, avoidance, and to numb them away. You have to be willing to focus on the future instead of the past. And most importantly, you have to be willing to be open, honest, and vulnerable with your coach and with yourself.
I have found that I have very rapidly been able to trust in this process and in so doing, I’ve not only met some amazing humans along the way, I have come to embrace the fact that I’m pretty freaking fantastic myself! Even when I’m feeling stuck with thinking too much; immersing myself in thoughts that don’t serve me, I know that I can get through it and eventually blow my own damn mind.
The statement that I’m pretty freaking fantastic doesn’t come from a place of arrogance at all. It comes from a place of acknowledging the truth: that each and every one of us are worthy individuals who are capable of love and making positive imprints on the lives of others. Every single one of us.
Remember that the next time you find yourself thinking too much or swimming around in a pool of negativity, allowing it to soak into your pores. Really question those patterns and dig in to do the hard work. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help, no matter where you are. Because the job of any life coach is to meet you exactly where you are. Right here, right now.
What you should be left thinking is, “I’ve got this!” Now that’s the best loop of all to be stuck in.