So a thought pops into your head *ding!*: I am OVERWHELMED!
And it travels around and around and around overwhelmed overwhelmed overwhelmed, and your whole laundry list of the things that are making you feel overwhelmed join the chorus, too and there’s too much to do and not enough time and carpool and what am I going to do about the baby and Sara’s ear infection and clean the house and what about dinner?
Until you remember - Hang on a sec. My brain might be lying to me. So you tell your brain to hold the horses, press rewind a little bit and say: Says Who?
Well, what if I told you that you get to choose how you see it?
And what if I told you that being overwhelmed is not a reality, it’s a perceptive reality?
Deep stuff? So let’s dig into some grooves, ditches and the Grand Canyon.
Grooves, Ditches, and the Grand Canyon
We humans are really great with patterns. With cycles. With doing things again and again and again (and again and again).
And that’s why we get stuck in grooves, ditches and the Grand Canyon.
We all have patterns of thinking that we use. Oftentimes, those patterns are patterns that we’ve practiced for decades, sometimes even going back till childhood. And usually, those patterns are not even conscious.
An action or event triggers a thought or series of thoughts that is/are so well practiced, so well rehearsed, that we don’t even realize we’re reacting.
Think of it like you would water. As rain falls, it will be directed by the flow of gravity. If there's a slight groove in the ground, the water will naturally follow its path. The more water that passes through, though, the deeper the groove becomes, until it’s a deep ditch. More water and more time passes, and that groove becomes the Grand Canyon. It gets to a point where all the water will naturally flow to that spot, and follow its path.
We use these patterns, the cycles of thinking, without realizing that they’re there. Stimulus - response, stimulus - response; that’s how our brain works best, and that’s how it works in this area as well.
What glasses are you wearing?
But just because the water is naturally flowing there, that doesn’t mean that it HAS to flow there.
Patterns may be cyclical in nature, but you can break the pattern.
And the first step is awareness: noticing that you’re thinking that thought, noticing that it’s making you feel the way it does and asking: says who?
Because our perception, our perspective, the way that we see the world, is colored by the subjectivity of the thoughts that we see.
Meaning to say: we experience life through the lens of our thoughts. But like any lens, you can remove them.
If you were wearing yellow glasses and you told your friend, “Woah, that’s so weird, the sky is green!” she’d think you were nuts. No matter how much you persisted in your belief that the sky turned green, your friend wouldn’t agree with you - because, in fact, the sky had not turned green.
You were simply SEEING it as green.
(And if your friend was a wise and helpful friend, she would advise you to remove your yellow glasses so that you could see, once again, how blue the sky really was.)
If you break the cycle and remove your glasses, though, then things that may seem real, things that may seem true and absolute… suddenly change. Suddenly they are no longer quite the way they seem.
And, yes, a green sky can turn blue.
You get to choose
And here’s the thing: You get to choose.
The thoughts might simply be coming, be streaming into your brain, but you get to choose which thoughts you are believing, which thoughts you are “wearing” and viewing the world through.
You get to choose whether it’s overwhelming, or doable.
You get to choose if your baby is impossible, or if you simply need the tools to help him
You get to choose if she was being nasty or is just nebach.
You get to choose if you’re a bad housekeeper, or if your house looks just as it ought to with, say, 4 kids under 5.
You get to choose if your value is tied up with any of the myriad external aspects of your life… or not.
That thought is just a thought. And you choose whether or not you want to believe it.
How do you choose? Well, that’s up next.