Thursday Thought: I Know What To Do

Since I’ve been working on confidence this month my go-to thought is “I know what to do”. I sincerely believe this. I believe we all have inner wisdom that helps us be our best selves.

When I’m making decisions, even seemingly split-second decisions, oftentimes I find myself wondering what other people would do, or what other people think I should do. When I think the thought, “I know what to do,” I go inside and tap into my inner wisdom to make the decision. I find that I really DO know what to do. I don’t get so caught up wondering if I’m wrong, or if someone else would know better. Deep down inside I know I can handle making mistakes, and it doesn’t matter if someone would do it better. They’re not doing it. I am. The only way I can do it is my way.

Do you have a thought that helps you tap into your inner wisdom? If so, comment and tell me about it.

Thursday Thought: Maybe I’m Wrong

Our brains are wired to want to be right. Even if there’s a lot of evidence that we may be wrong, our brains will ignore a lot of it. That’s why this thought can be such a relief sometimes. Think of the last time you were trying to convince someone that you were right. Even if you were just “defending” your position. How did you feel? Defensiveness doesn’t feel very good. What if you were willing to be wrong? What if you just accepted that, “Maybe I’m wrong about this.” How would you feel?

What this thought does for me is open me up to listening. When I’m so sure that I’m right, I totally close down to any other possibilities. Just because I think this thought doesn’t mean that I’ll change my position, but I’m open to listening to other possibilities.

How does this thought feel to you? All of these thoughts that I put on the blog will resonate differently with different people, so you just get to try it on and see how it makes you feel. Sometimes even just tweeking it a little will change the feel for you. How does, “I’m willing to be wrong” feel? Or “It’s okay if I’m wrong about this”?

Confidence

This month I’m working on confidence. I wouldn’t say I’m a naturally confident person. I used to think that if I was good at something then I’d be confident. But then I noticed that even when I was more skilled at something than someone else, oftentimes they were more confident than me.

Brooke Castillo taught me that confidence is an emotion. It’s not a way of being. The great news is that our emotions come from our thoughts, not our actions, and thoughts are all optional. That means I can choose thoughts that make me feel confident. What thoughts do you think that make you feel confident? Did you know you can think those thoughts whenever you want?

The Manual

Have you ever bought a new microwave? Did you see the manual? It’s huge! Would you ever read it? The nice thing about a manual is it’s super detailed. If you want to know how to do anything with your microwave, it’s in the manual, in detail. However, if you wanted to know how to use your dishwasher, it wouldn’t do you any good to read the manual for your microwave.

We all have manuals for the people in our lives. Guess what, they’re usually just as detailed as the manual for your microwave. Just like the manual for the microwave, we don’t usually even know what’s in it unless we really think about it. We also very rarely share our manual with the person it’s for. We have all of these ideas of how they should act and think, and then we feel disappointed, angry, annoyed when they are thinking and acting that way.

The other problem with holding onto our manual is that people aren’t appliances. They’re not all made alike. They’re individual. They have their own thoughts and feelings and ideas of who they want to be and how they want to act. Our manual wasn’t written from how they are, it’s written from how we think they should be.

If you really want to love someone and get to know who they really are, throw your manual out the window, and get curious about the person in front of you.

Who triggers you the most? How would your relationship change if you threw out your manual of who they SHOULD be, and observed who they really were from a place of curiosity?

Thursday Thought: How Do I Want To Spend My Minutes?

To keep going with last week’s thought….

I have a spin toothbrush that has a timer on it. The recommendation is to brush your teeth for 2 minutes, but I usually shoot for a minute and a half. It’s interesting how sometimes I brush for a minute and 15 seconds and feel like I’ve been brushing for a long time. Other times I’m surprised to hear the 4 beeps telling me I’ve been brushing for 2 minutes. How is it that sometimes a minute can feel so long, and sometimes it can feel so short? It just depends how absorbed I am in my thoughts.

A few minutes absorbed in positive thoughts really energizes me, while a few minutes in purely negative thoughts can really drains me. I can’t always be in the present moment, but whenever I am it orients me to more positive thoughts, which in turn energize me.

Of course I need to correct our children. But if I’m going to use some of the minutes of my day to correct them, would I rather spend those minutes correcting in anger or in love?

Of course I have to have difficult conversations with my spouse. But would I rather spend those minutes of conversation in frustration or in understanding?

Would I rather spend minutes angry about the “spilled milk” or crying about the “spilled milk” or laughing about the “spilled milk”?

When I think of it that way, I realize I don’t really want to spend so many minutes angry and upset. I’d rather just let it go and use those minutes for love, peace, understanding, sympathy, empowerment. It’s also more productive because those emotions are energizing whereas the other ones are draining.

Observing vs. Interpreting

This Summer, my boys and I were in Utah visiting family and I was taking care of my sister’s kids while she was at work. While we were away, my husband had to put our dog down. She was old and not doing well. The boys and I were sad and we talked a lot about it the first couple of weeks, but then a month or so went by and we didn’t talk about it much, and I thought about it even less. Honestly, I was more sad for my husband and my kids than really sad myself when we put her down. (I’m sorry to all of those dog lovers out there.)

One morning over a month later, it was very far from my mind, when I was crying over something very different. My son, Donovan, came into the bathroom and asked my why I had been crying (I thought he had been asleep). I told him I was just having a hard morning. He looked at a magazine, with a dog on the cover, sitting on the chair in the bathroom and said, “I thought maybe you looked at this magazine and you were sad thinking about Ellie (our dog) dying.”

That was probably the furthest thing from my mind that morning. But he was curious to what would cause me to cry, so he looked around and thought of something that would make him sad. There’s no way, with his experience, that he would have been able to know or understand what I was crying about. All he could figure out was from his experience.

How often do we observe people and make interpretations from our experiences what they must be thinking and feeling? Even if we are going through the exact same situation, there’s no way, from our point of view, to know exactly how they are thinking and feeling. It’s possible we think and feel similarly to them, but it’s also just as possible that we think and feel completely differently because we all have different life experiences. How helpful would it be to observe and ask, rather than to just observe and interpret?

Thursday Thought: We’re On the Same Team, We Can Figure This Out

Raise your hand if you have ever disagreed with your husband about how to raise your children. Everyone, right? When I would disagree with my husband about something that had to do with the children, I realized that I would get pretty uptight and defeated about it. I was curious about this emotion and saw that it stemmed from a few thoughts, the main one being, “I’m so alone.” In my heart, I knew this wasn’t true. I knew we both just wanted the best for our children.

Now when we disagree on what to do with the kids or how to raise them, and I feel myself putting up walls and ready for a fight, I remind myself, “We’re on the same team. We can figure this out.” I can literally feel myself melt and open up. I work a lot better from those emotions.

What thoughts help you when you’re about to get up-in-arms with your spouse?

Feeling Guilty About Feeling Bad

Sometimes we make things worse by tacking emotions on emotions. Have you ever said, “I shouldn’t feel bad about that,”? Does it matter if it’s “appropriate” to feel bad? Why not just feel bad, and get curious as to why you feel bad? What thoughts are causing your negative emotion? That’s a lot more useful than just telling yourself you don’t deserve to feel bad, or you shouldn’t feel bad. It’s all about what’s useful rather than what’s appropriate.

“I shouldn’t be mad that my husband is doing his bishopric work on Sunday instead of coming home for dinner.” But you do feel mad. So you can feel guilty about it, or you can get curious, “Why am I mad that my husband wasn’t home for dinner because he was fulfilling his calling?” Maybe you’re having thoughts like, “This isn’t fair that I have to do this all alone.” or “Isn’t the church supposed to make us closer as a family?” Those thoughts are causing you to feel resentful. What thoughts could help you feel some relief? My friend was telling me about when her husband was a branch president, and for two weeks she felt a lot of resentment. Her thoughts were making her feel less close to her family. Then it just came to her to let go. She had no expectations of when her husband would be home. She had thoughts like, “I’m the best one to do this because I’m here.” “I will enjoy my family when my husband is here, and when he’s not.” “I am grateful I’m here to take care of my family so that my husband can take care of the ward.” That didn’t stop her from making requests, but she didn’t get resentful when he couldn’t fill those requests, she found other ways to meet her needs if he couldn’t.

Maybe you could thank yourself for taking care of your family so that your husband can take care of the ward. (You’re the best person to show gratitude for yourself.) Maybe you can feel gratitude for other bishops’ wives who have done just what you’re doing, so that you could have a bishop that took care of your ward.

How do you want to feel? What thoughts will help you get there? Decide to drop the guilt about feeling mad, and just get curious instead. Curiosity feels a lot better than anger and resentment, and it’s a lot more useful.

When do you pile emotions on emotions?

UBU, I’ll Be Me

Growing up, I had a friend that had a t-shirt with this written on it. It didn’t have such a significant meaning to me until I started realizing that the way I think about people is totally optional.

What happens when you release people from behaving the way you want them to behave? RELIEF. It’s exhausting always wanting others to behave differently. We want them to clean up their clothes. We want them to love us. We want them to listen to us. We want them to open up to us.  We want them to stop throwing tantrums. We want them to get along with each other.

What if we just let others behave the way they are going to behave, and feel the way they feel? And instead of focusing on how others should behave and feel, we focus on behaving the way we want to behave, and feeling the way we want to feel?

The truth is, we can’t control how others behave and feel. Only they can. But we can definitely decide how we want to behave and feel.

How do you want to feel when someone doesn’t like you? Why do we almost always choose to feel offended? Why not choose to be confused? “That’s weird they don’t like me. I like me.” Why not choose to be understanding? “Yep, I’m not for everyone. There are people that are hard for me to like, too.”

How do you want to behave when your 5 year old throws a tantrum? Why do we almost always throw a tantrum ourselves. It’s not fun. Why not choose to stay calm? “You can scream in your room. When you’re ready to speak kindly, I’d love to hear what you have to say.”

How do you want to feel when your spouse and your parents don’t get along? (If this is you, know that it’s really common.) Why do we so often choose to feel uncomfortable, tense, and/or disappointed? We try to fix it or buffer it. Why not just let them not get along, and choose to feel love yourself? “I know it’s hard for you guys to get along. I feel confident you’ll figure it out when you’re ready to. Until then, I’m going to leave the room when you argue.”

Let me know of a time when you just accepted someone as they were, and how it felt.