Ever had one of those days where things are pretty normal yet you just feel a bit “off”? Where something inside is niggling you and despite your best efforts to ignore it, it always seems to resurface throughout the day? You just can’t put your finger on it…I had one of those days yesterday. I’m very grateful for the life I have. My workspace is divine, I don’t have an overly demanding work schedule, and I manage to add “me time” into the mix every day.
Yet still I had this nagging self-talk throughout the day. In fact, I could almost feel the disquiet in my stomach as it churned from time to time. It was like it had to remind me that my life was far from perfect.
Like a wayward stone in my shoe, it was uncomfortable.
Thankfully my recent lessons about self-compassion lead me to be more mindful of the experience I was having. I stopped distracting myself with other tasks and took a moment to listen to my body. I literally said to myself “what is the problem?”
Then I listened.
I’ve been looking at the work of Byron Katie lately. She espouses the need to question our thinking on all levels, and truly challenge our beliefs. I think it provides a good beginning, and I have taken that idea and used it in my own formula to catch myself when niggling thoughts arise. Yesterday, in an effort to quiet my unrest, I took five minutes out of my day and asked myself the following questions (number 3 is the real doozey).
1. What is the problem? I can be super honest here because I’m the only one listening.
2. Is this true in all situations? Here I apply my problem to all situations I can think of. Usually, my issue isn’t true to every situation I can think of. Funny about that!
3. What is the *real* issue? This is where I go for my underlying belief that wants to remind me of my deficiency in some way. I let it surface – ‘I’m not good enough’, or ‘I’m not loveable’, or ‘I’m a failure’ – we all have a repertoire hidden inside.
Once I got to the real, underlying issue I simply acknowledged it. One thing I learned at the Byron Bay program was that we all suffer – it’s universal and it’s what makes us human. As Kristen Neff has said:
This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. Let me be kind to myself in this moment. Let me give myself the compassion I need.
I didn’t have the time (or desire) for a self-help therapy yesterday, but I did have time to give myself a break, acknowledge my uncomfortableness and give myself a mental hug. When I’m thirsty I’ll get a drink; when I’m hungry I’ll eat and when I’m out of sorts I’ll take the time nowadays to put my finger on it and show myself some compassion. I hope you can give yourself that time as well. xxx