Beating Yourself Up? Get Curious Instead.
Last week, I was working with a client, Dawn (not her real name), who wants to find her life purpose. During our session, she started beating herself up about what she viewed as her lack of progress. I could feel her frustration rising--"Why can't I figure this out?!"
So often when I'm coaching a client, I find I'm coaching myself just as much. Inevitably, there's a lesson I need to learn (or re-learn)
Lately I've been so frustrated about my weight. It's an ongoing struggle. The Bible speaks about Paul's 'thorn in the flesh.' We don't know exactly what his thorn was, but, boy oh boy, mine must be food (or rather my relationship with it).
In my adult life, I've weighed anywhere from 125 pounds all the way up to 230 pounds. I've done many things to lose weight. I'd keep it off for a while and think I'd successfully changed my lifestyle. But then it would start to creep up again. At this point for me, it's an emotional and mental battle. I have to clear up some underlying thought patterns (and behaviors) to keep things on the right track in the long run. Fortunately, I've found someone to help me with it -- my life coach!
How we think is so important. Without the proper mindset, things go awry. I am living proof! Beating myself up is completely unproductive. It does absolutely nothing positive for me. Which leads me to the main point of my ramblings...
Instead of beating myself up, I'm approaching the situation from a place of curiosity.
Shifting from being frustrated to being curious does several things...
It neutralizes the issue, helping me disengage from my emotions at the moment.
It helps me start to go deeper, to get to the root of the problem--rather than just its symptoms. (I haven't gotten to the root yet but know I will!)
It gets me into action. I reframe my thoughts. I look for ways to break entrenched patterns of behavior.[push h="10"]
Next time you're beating yourself up, stop, take a deep breath, and get curious.
Ask yourself things like...
How can I be kinder to myself about this? What can I say instead of beating myself up? (For instance, what would you say to a friend in the same situation to encourage him/her?)
What are my beliefs and assumptions about [issue you're frustrated about]? Are they accurate? What is the evidence for these assumptions? What about against them? Should I reconsider my beliefs here?
What can I do to shake up the patterns I've created around this? (For example, I make an effort to eat a variety of foods rather than reaching for carbs every day for breakfast, like I used to.)