Want to stop losing your cool with those you love?
One thing I am constantly working with clients on is building awareness. Building awareness means you are creating consciousness around what you are thinking, feeling and needing. So much of our lives is spent unconsciously allowing our fears, shame and doubt to plague us unnecessarily.
Here is a scenario:
You wake up feeling pretty good, get showered, wake the kids and the day is humming along smoothly. Then your youngest tells you that he is in charge of bringing a treat for the Valentine’s Day celebration at school. No worries you think, I can easily pick something up at the store. And then he says, “And I really want you to make my favorite sugar cookies because I want to share them in class.” Immediately you mood shifts. It is so subtle you might not even be aware of it. But suddenly things have moved from smooth sailing to a very bumpy ride. Your stomach hurts, your chest gets tight and before you know it you are cycling down the hole of shame.
Logically you know you aren’t a terrible mother because this one time your youngest might be disappointed. Logically, you know there are many ways to solve this problem where he would be less disappointed. Logically you know cookies do not make a MOM. But logic is pointless because emotionally you think “I am a terrible mother” I take on to much” I can’t even be there for my kids” blah, blah, blah. Welcome to Perfect Patty.
Or this one:
You walk into work feeling good. Your current project has been a little bumpy but you feel on top of things now and know all will be well. As you pass your bosses office, he calls you in. A little nervous you sit down as he explains to you that there is going to be a project meeting that morning and you are responsible for leading it. The point of the meeting is to give a progress report on your project and help explain why it had been bumpy and where it is headed. You smile confidently and walk out of the office. As you walk down the hall you feel your neck tense, you have a pain in the pit of your stomach and you immediately start freaking out.
Logically, you know you can do this presentation. Yes, there were bumps but they are all explainable and all have been dealt with. Logically, you know that no one really cares as long as the project keeps moving along and you are hit the deadline. But logic is pointless because emotionally you think “I am a terrible project manager” I am going to suck at this presentation, they are gong to nail me to the wall and I am going to get fired right on the spot” “I should never have gotten out of bed this morning. Welcome to Scared Sally.
Perfect Patty and Scared Sally are just 2 examples of the mongers that plague us every day. They are the illogical parts our ourselves the emotional, shame based parts that consistently spread their message of fear, perfectionism, and shame. The way Perfect Patty and Scared Sally win is that we don’t have awareness that they are playing there. They spin out of control, unconsciously playing there over and over until we are so beaten down we don’t know what to do about them.
So the trick is to build awareness by asking yourself these 3 questions:
- What does it feel like physically when my monger shows up? (eg. tightness in the chest, upset stomach, headache)
- What does my monger tend to talk about–what are his/her themes? (e.g. perfectionism, fear, shame)
- How would I describe my monger? What does it look like? Talk like? What would I name him/her?
As you start to build awareness of your monger. You can recognize more easily when he/she shows up. In both of the scenarios above, you were fine, you were having a great day and then something negative happened that triggered shame, doubt or fear (all normal emotions) and then your monger went to town. That is the pivotal moment, the moment between the trigger and when the monger appears and start yapping. The quicker you can narrow that time between the trigger and the mongers yapping the easier it is to move past your monger.
This is the very beginning stages of facing your mongers. It is also the most important. Building awareness around your monger will allow you to start to take back control of your thoughts, feelings and needs.
You can check out these posts for more information about mongers.