I’ve missed this space the last few weeks! It’s lovely to be back at my keyboard with some time up my sleeve to share some thoughts. Thanks for your patience with me of late – I appreciate it very much. I’ve realised we’re all victim to “The Rubber Band Effect” from time to time…This is where we make a huge effort to move outside our normal selves every now and again. We decide to make a change to our lifestyle, our negative thinking, our communication or our self-talk, and we truly make an effort to stretch outside our usual patterns of living. We stretch and we stretch and the initial efforts feel really really good. Really rewarding and satisfying. We may even feel a sense of pride at our ability to resist our usual habits. We’re stretching the rubber band we call our life. Pushing outside our comfort zone – doing something new.
The ability to stretch takes strength and constant effort. However, there are many times when you’ll wake up one morning and….ping! The band has returned back to its natural state. It is no longer stretched and life returns to normal again. The resolve to behave/think differently has gone and life continues as it always has. I’ve talked before about how this simply doesn’t matter, but what can you do if you want to stretch the rubber band permanently, so that a larger shape becomes the norm?
I’ve realised a few things this week and learned some tools to help keep my rubber band stretched. I thought I would share them with you…
1. Take a moment to love yourself. Did you slip back into an old habit today? That’s ok. Would you berate a friend if they temporarily forgot their resolve? My guess is you wouldn’t. You’d remind them that they’re a good person regardless and you’re confident they’ll find their way back to their resolution. Why don’t we say this to ourselves? Try speaking to yourself as you would a dear friend. Give yourself a break (don’t worry, you can do this silently if you prefer and no one else need know!). If you reflect back on your life, you’ll likely find that learning new things has always come easier when you have been encouraged to have a go. The “big stick” approach of threats and negative talk can often make people fearful to try new things. Feeling despondent is not an ideal learning state. So, take a moment to forgive yourself and feel some compassion for your situation. It feels easier to thrive and grow in a loving state.
2. Reduce your distractions. I had an opportunity this week to attend a program that included spending some time in total silence. Although there were others around me, it was really just me and my thoughts. Wow! I didn’t realise how challenging that would be for me, and how awkward/uncomfortable I felt when I simply could not avoid my own self-talk. I had to face myself and sometimes I struggled with what I saw. I realised that if, during everyday life, I spend a lot of time distracting myself (facebook, TV, food, house work, radio in the car etc) I will never really learn how to stretch my rubber band. I’ll never really face my own limiting beliefs and overcome them. They’ll always lurk somewhere within me without a voice because my distractions smother them. Sometimes it’s lovely to have distractions from life, but not all the time. Notice yourself, catch yourself out…the next time you idle away hours on facebook take a moment to ask yourself if you can switch the machine off and spend 15 minutes alone with yourself instead. It’s not about giving them up – it’s about balance.
3. Remember, we’ve all been there. You are not alone. You are not the first person to slip back into old habits. You won’t be the first person to try, try again. Failure simply feels isolating, but it’s a myth. We’ve all been there. I think there’s some comfort in the universality of The Rubber Band Effect. We’re all working on stretches.
I hope you have a chance to play with The Rubber Band Effect this week. I’ll be back to my usual twice a week posts, and I plan to share with you some of the insights I gleaned from the workshop I had the good fortune to attend recently. I hope your week is a joyous one xxx