Rose-colored glasses? Blue? Green? Red?….What color do you typically use? How does your lens affect the level of success in your life on a day-to-day basis? Do you get dragged down by behaviors and thoughts you can’t seem to shift? Do you try to put on another lens in order to “be positive,” “attract abundance,” “get along” or believe “tomorrow will be better,” but can’t sustain it?
You really want to make a lens shift, but it’s just not clear exactly how to make it happen.
How to break the pattern and change the lens–one that will really work for you? Pay attention to yourself. Truly mind your own business–here’s where mindfulness is critical for self-change. You simply can’t fix what you don’t see.
Self-observation, also known as mindfulness, is a learned skill. It begins with realizing that, “Oops, I did that again.” After some self -forgiveness you can try again. At first it’s once a month, then once a week, and then you are down to once a day. Then several times a day!
Once you begin to self-observe in the moment enough times, you will begin acquiring the skills to catch yourself in the act. Then a funny thing happens. You instantly have choice in the moment. Do I want to keep sulking, complaining, going along, being judgmental, eating ‘that’? Or, do I want to choose something different right now?
And eventually, in this mindful self-observation, you will observe your thought processes before the behavior ‘happens’. You will catch yourself considering behavioral options.
What about my emotions?
What’s quite awesome about this process is that it can be applied to so much more than thoughts and behaviors. You can use it to change how you feel about anything. Some people believe emotions should be allowed to just run through us like a wild child, the wind, or a storm; others believe emotions should not be allowed free rein. In fact, they should not be revealed at all.
We are animals that respond to living and dying with strong emotion; a beautiful thing humanity across the planet shares. Emotions are felt as a cascade of amazing sensations, but our brain can control how we respond to them. We call this response our feelings.
Because our most advanced brain, the prefrontal cortex, has the ability to be altered, we can choose the color of lens in our glasses. We can control feelings, which are interpretations of our emotions–the true lens we hold. By remembering you have a choice, you can exercise the response to your emotions and influence how they make your day unfold. Just use that knowledge and practice!
A good example of choice is the typical way we all get cut off in traffic from time-to-time. First, adrenaline surges due to a required quick response, followed by a spike in rage, some humiliation that you were not important, and a feeling of defeat follows that reinforces how unimportant you are. Does the feeling of anger and helplessness turn into an opportunity to blame the other driver? Or, do you self-validate your feelings, and notice an opportunity to experience something positive by saying, “Whew, my reflexes are in really great shape; glad I saved us from any problems!”
What does freedom really mean to you? Are default responses setting you free? Or, would consciously choosing the lens through which you want to experience the world offer you true freedom?
Good news abounds in current research on brain plasticity, with studies showing that our brains have a great capacity to change well into adulthood by developing new connections between neuron cells. This means we have the capacity to change our brain’s default patterns. Give it a try. We all deserve more freedom every day.
Just start by minding your own business. 😉
–Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.
— Bruce D. Schneider, Energy Leadership: Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core.
Christine Brodmerkel is a Transformational Life & Leadership Coach and lives in Charlottesville Virginia. She engages people with growth-mindset to harness their incredible but often unseen super powers to live life on purpose. Learn more at http://www.coachedbychristine.com