This week I’ve started writing a book and my research for it has prompted me to review aspects of my work with hundreds of clients to pull out before and after themes. The patterns I am finding are very striking to see in black and white. A stark reminder of the (sometimes destructive) power of our amazing minds.
The thoughts, feelings and experiences I’m about to share are familiar to me personally, I’ve thought, felt and experienced my own variations of them. So have all the coaching clients I’ve worked with. I’ve worked with a tremendously wide range of people in a wide range of professions. Everyone can relate to such thoughts and feelings at times, it’s part of being human.
In day to day life most people present the polished shiny version of themselves and keep the messy, shameful version under wraps. As a coach I have the great privilege of having my clients share their inner workings with me. I am constantly reminded that we all have the messy version with doubts, fears and self-criticism.
I also witness the relief my clients feel when they recognise what’s in their head is quite normal. Helping people free themselves from this negative mind chatter starts with this recognition. When you know it’s just normal, it takes the heat out of it, and new ways of dealing with it can be learned.
So, I thought I’d share some common messy mind chatter themes with you in the spirit of getting it out into the open.
Just so you know it’s normal. You’re not rubbish, less than or weird.
You’re simply a human being with a human brain. Sometimes your ancient programming, designed to protect you from danger, triggers negative thoughts, feelings and experiences, especially at times of stress.
Here are some common inner thoughts, feelings and experiences of super accomplished, capable, resourceful, fabulous people like you and me.
I should work harder/faster/better/more. I can’t do it. I’m not good enough. Everyone else knows more than me. I’m going to fail. I’m too old/young/stupid/selfish/lazy. I’ve got to keep going.
Overwhelmed, anxious, guilty, trapped, resigned, stretched to breaking point, fearful, hopeless.
Not taking time for oneself. Constantly thinking, not switching off. Over committed. Forcing myself to do what’s required. No time for things I want to do. Simply surviving, keeping the balls in the air, not enjoying life. Being a harsh judge of myself.
Next time you’re thinking, feeling, experiencing in these ways try and remember, you are not on your own and you are so much better than you think you are!
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