Dish Drama, Part 2

Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s post! Yesterday, we talked about drama my client had around dishes and her child. Today, I want to talk about drama she had when it came to those same dishes and her husband.

Now, before we start out, I want to take a moment to note that there is no right or wrong answer about what to do here. Only options! For example, there is the option of doing the dishes and being ok with the child being upset while you do it if need be, there is the option of finding creative ways to involve the child in the task of doing the dishes, there is the option of letting the dishes sit and spending time with the child, and there is always the option of just not doing the dishes. And, with this last option, just because you don’t do them doesn’t have to mean they don’t get done (though that is also an option, ha!) – another family member could help with the dishes or you could even hire someone to come do the dishes if you wanted to. There is never anything that you have to do – everything we do or don’t do is always our choice.

So, now that we’ve set that stage, it’s also important to note that all of the options I came up with here are actions, meaning we would put them in the A-Line of the Model. The same actions done from different energies create different results. That is, imagine if you are feeling excited while taking any of these actions. Excited is going to create a completely different experience for you than if you are feeling sad taking these actions.

Make sense?

Okay then.

Let’s get back to our conversation.

During the session with my client, she felt like what she wanted to do was do the dishes quick, allow her son to have his own experience of that, and then spend time with him. At this point, because I like to explore the options with my clients, I asked her, out of curiosity, if she felt like that was what had to happen if she wanted to be able to present with her child.

Her answer was yes. And I think this happens for a lot of us, right? We feel the need to get things done so we don’t have to think about the things that need to be done while we’re with our kids. So we can be more present with them and engage with them more. But, then, the problem is that there are always things to be done and we beat ourselves up for not managing it all better so we could show up the way we want to mentally for our kids.

Can you relate?!

Often, it doesn’t even occur to us that dishes could be in the sink (or some other task left undone) and it doesn’t have to mean that we are any less present with our kids, if that is what we want to choose in that particular scenario.

So, I asked my client what she would think about just leaving the dishes in the sink.

Her response was that mess doesn’t bother her, though she prefers it clean because it feels better. Her husband, however, likes the house very orderly, and her thoughts are that it stresses him out if the house isn’t that way. So, she then worries about what her husband will think.

And, like many of us, she has a tendency to make those dishes in the sink mean some painful things about herself.

Here were some of her thoughts:

  • I’m lazy.
  • I can’t manage the household.
  • I’m not a good partner to him.
  • I’m not pulling my weight.
  • I’m not earning the privilege to be with my kid.
  • I can’t keep up my end of things.
  • I should be doing more than I am.
  • I’m falling short.

Such painful thoughts for us to think about ourselves, ya? Imagine saying these sorts of things to a friend you love who has dishes in her sink (or some other such chore not yet completed).

  • You’re lazy.
  • You can’t manage your household.
  • You’re not a good partner to your husband.
  • You’re not pulling your weight.
  • You’re not earning the privilege to be with your kid.
  • You can’t keep up your end of things.
  • You should be doing more than you are.
  • You’re falling short.
  • No matter what you do, it’s not enough.

Phew. I can’t say for sure, but I’m willing to bet these are not the sorts of things you would say to your friend. And yet, these are the types of things we say to ourselves all the time. And then, we wonder why our relationship with ourselves suffers and why we can’t trust ourselves to follow-through. So, take a minute and image – what would you say to someone you love if their situation were exactly what yours was? How would that change the words you say?

Take time to do that exercise – and I’d love to hear what you come up with!

In the meantime, let’s walk through just one of the thoughts listed above – the one my client and I worked through together.

The circumstance in this scenario is simply that 1) there are dishes in the sink after dinner and 2) my client is on the couch with her son.

As my client imagines this scenario, she sees herself, again, thinking about the dishes while she’s with her son. Thinking, “I’m not a good partner.”

When she thinks that thought, she feels sad.

When she feels sad because she’s thinking she’s not a good partner, she becomes very introverted. She shuts down communication. She lets herself go to the place in her mind where she feels like maybe they’re just not a good, compatible couple. And then she gets more sad about that, and it spirals.

The result? The result, my friends, is that she takes actions that has her showing up as not a good partner (in terms of how she defines it).

So, she FIRST thinks she’s not a good partner and THEN takes actions to prove that true for herself.

This is really important, because this doesn’t mean that she is inherently not a good partner. But the brain is like a computer, and thoughts are like the programs or commands. When you tell a computer to execute a program or command, it does so. And our brains are the same way. When we believe a thought, the brain runs that model and ultimately creates evidence that thought is true.

We think the thought, “I’m not a good partner.” THEN, we feel a certain way. And, IF we act from that feeling, we create evidence for it. We make it MORE true for ourselves. Easier to believe. And then we look at our past and the actions we’ve taken and say, “SEE! I’m not a good partner.” But we aren’t even realizing that it is THAT THOUGHT that created that evidence in the first place.

It’s fascinating to think about. And again, it is the math for how self-fulfilling prophecies work. What we think about ourselves lays the blueprint for how we act going into our future. If we want to show up differently or create a different result for ourselves, it simply means thinking and believing differently. Simple doesn’t mean easy, but it is worth it!

Now, let’s keep going with this model, because I want to show you another thing that can happen here.

So often, when we have a thought like, “I’m not a good partner,” we can then have thoughts about that thought that aren’t serving us. In my client’s case, as she thought about this, her brain then wanted to go to defending herself and blaming her husband – cause her brain is viewing “I’m not a good partner” as a FACT instead of viewing it as an optional THOUGHT. (This is what our brains do by default!!)

When she thinks about how she “wasn’t a good partner,” she thinks, “He doesn’t notice all the good things I do.”

And, when she thinks this thought, she feels totally unappreciated. She feels short changed.

When she feels this way, she acts more defensively. She starts thinking about everything she does around the house that goes “unnoticed.” Anger pops up for her and she starts fighting with him in her mind. Then she bottles that up inside. Later on, she finds herself debating with her husband about things that aren’t that important at all, trying to prove she can do things or be right in some other facet of the world. She is more combative in conversation, playing devil’s advocate right off the bat and pointing out all the things that could go wrong.

The result? The result is that she also doesn’t notice or appreciate herself for the things she does AND she doesn’t notice all the good things her husband does. In fact, she puts herself in a place of working to make him wrong about things. All of this, of course, provides additional reasons for her to be able to keep thinking that her husband doesn’t notice all the good things she does.

Can you relate to this pattern?!

I know I can, ha!

Again, it is important to note here that the result is created by the thinking. Not by the dishes in the sink. Not by what the husband says or doesn’t say. Not by what the husband does or doesn’t do.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does; our thoughts, feelings, actions, and results are always on us. They are always our responsibility. And that is why coaching is so important, cause it is not the brain’s default to take responsibility. If our problems are someone else’s fault, there is nothing we can do. We get to play the victim card and we don’t have to do the work. Our brains see this as efficiency, and our brains like to be efficient!

But, here’s why this is the best news ever that it is our responsibility…

And that is because when we take full responsibility for all of our thoughts, feelings, actions, and results, we have the power to create whatever results we want to create in our life, and we’re not subject to the external world.

And that my friends? That is MAGIC.

In this scenario, when we realize that the husband CAN’T actually ever give us appreciation – that appreciation is always something we create FOR OURSELVES by the way we CHOOSE TO THINK – we then have the power to create more of what we want (appreciation) for ourselves, without needing anyone else to give it to us.

And, if you relate to any of what I have written here, let me ask you the same question I posed to my client: What would it be like to appreciate yourself more? To tell yourself thank you and really feel that?

When you are able to do that, you won’t need appreciation for your husband the way you think you do now. And, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if you are a good partner, regardless of what anyone else might actually think – including your husband.

When you choose how to spend your time consciously, with intention, and you like your reasons, you typically like how you show up. And when you are solid in all of that, it doesn’t matter what anyone things about it.

Inner peace is the ultimate reward.

Can you create more of that for yourself?

💕 Deise

P.S. If you’d like help figuring out the drama around the circumstances in your life, book a free session with me!!

The pilot program I’ve been doing is coming to an end next week, and I have spots opening starting the week after that. I’ll help you understand where you are now and where you want to go, including any obstacles that are in your way. We will talk about what your problem is and how to solve it. I will help you take this work to a new level.

Click here to book now; and if none of the available spots work for you, message me with your availability and I’ll do my best to find a time that works for both of us!

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Dish Drama, Part 1

Imagine one of those times when you just finished dinner. You want to do the dishes and get the kitchen all cleaned up so that part of your evening is behind you.

Perhaps you start doing dishes, but then a child wants your attention.

On the one hand, you may decide to let the dishes wait…but then it’s hard to get back to them. And in your brain, you’re thinking it’s going to take forever. You feel like things take longer to do than you think they will. And you feel bad about not having things done.

On the other hand, you may want to keep doing the dishes and get them done…but then your child is unhappy and you feel bad about prioritizing the dishes over spending time with them.

It seems no matter what you choose, you can’t win. And you may feel a variety of emotions, like frustration, guilt, and overwhelm.

This is a real life scenario I coached a client a couple months ago. I want to share some of what we talked about with you so that you can benefit from the experience as well and perhaps learn a little bit more about what the coaching experience is like.

Once a client has descried a problem to me, we take a few minutes to separate the thoughts from the facts (AKA, circumstances). As humans, our brains provide a lot of thoughts, and we can cause ourselves a lot of unnecessary suffering in instances where we are thinking our thoughts are facts.

So, with that, let’s take just a moment to differentiate between the two.

Circumstances are things that happen in the world that we cannot control, like other people, our past, and the weather. Circumstances are factual – strictly the facts – with no drama or opinions or subjectivity. They are neutral.

Thoughts are what we THINK about the facts. They are things that happen in our minds. They are sentences in our brains. It is important to note here that the root cause of ANY problem is always our thinking (and this is where we coach!!).

In the particular scenario provided above, the facts were that my client was a wife and a mom. She had one young son. The time of day was after dinner. There were dishes in the sink. Her husband went outside. She started doing dishes when her son asked asked for her attention.

Those are the facts – stated very neutrally – and something everyone would agree to be true. These are the circumstances for our coaching.

My client had a lot of thoughts happening within these circumstances. Here were some of her thoughts:

  • I can’t be in two places at once.
  • I’m choosing dishes over him.
  • I don’t want him to throw a tantrum.
  • I’m worried about what my husband will think if dishes aren’t done.

In coaching, we look at just one thought at a time, with the intention of raising our awareness of how our thoughts are affecting us and creating results in our lives. There is no right or wrong here – we raise our awareness around what we are thinking and then we get to decide it that is what we want to continue thinking intentionally, on purpose.

Let’s look at the first thought above. That is, “I can’t be in two places at once.”

When my client thought this thought, she felt frustrated and overwhelmed. And, when she felt this way, she would start to spin in survival mode self-talk. For her, this meant thinking about how she has so much to get done and yet not enough time to do it, thinking about how she feels she needs big chunks of time to get things done, and thinking about how her child needed her, too. Then, she would typically choose to go be with her child and let the dishes sit. But, while she is sitting with him, she is spinning in her brain about what she has to do and wondering when she’ll get it done – feeling like its either/or.

Now, the fun part of these exercises is taking a look at the result that is being created, because this is the part that is often outside of our awareness, and it also brings it all together.

See, our results always prove our thoughts true, and our brains are always looking for evidence to support the way we are thinking (this is called confirmation bias). The Model is the math for our self-fulfilling prophecy works. That is, we think a thought, which creates a feeling, which drives an action, which creates a result. And, that result always provides evidence for the original thought.

In this model, my client’s result was that she actually was in two places at once. She was physically present with her child, but mentally with the dishes. And this provided evidence for her thought, because it gave her more reason to keep thinking, “I can’t be in 2 places at once.”

She gets a similar result if she attempts to keep doing the dishes. She thinks, “I’m choosing dishes over him.” She feels guilty, so she then still decides to go be with him. But, again, she is physically present but mentally spinning in dishes and to-dos. So, even though she chose physically to be with him, mentally, she is “choosing dishes over him.” Thereby creating evidence that supports her original thought.

When she thinks she doesn’t want him to throw a tantrum, she feels anxious. Then, she gets really frustrated prematurely cause she feels like that tantrum is coming. And in this case, again, she ends up physically with her child but then spinning in her find thinking about dishes and all her frustrations. The result, of course, is that she is throwing a tantrum.

So fascinating how our minds do this, right?!

I can tell you my brain does the same thing.

Regarding each of these thoughts, you might argue, “But it’s true!” We can often make a case for our thoughts being true, because we’ve created evidence that helps make them more true. So, even if it is true, we really have to pay attention to a few things – namely, “Is this serving me?” and “Do I want to keep thinking this way and creating this result for myself?”

See, even if something is true – doesn’t mean you ever want to think it. How we choose to think about something lays the blueprint for our future.

For example, in the example above with the tantrum – it could be proven true that she doesn’t want him to throw a tantrum. But, notice that “tantrum” is a subjective word, and there are other ways to interpret a child’s behavior. When she interprets his behavior (or anticipated behavior) as a tantrum, she ends up throwing a tantrum. In this case, we talked about why a tantrum is a problem and how else a tantrum might be defined, and I loved her response. That is, “He’s having some big feelings that he doesn’t know how to express with words, and that’s okay.”

Notice that nothing changed about the circumstances or the child’s behavior. And yet, when she thought this way about his behavior, she felt immediate understanding. From this place she was able to find other options for how she was able to access other thoughts. Like how she wanted to be a peaceful presence and safe place for him (not a whirlwind of emotion herself).

From a place of understanding, she felt she had many options she could take with her son. She could redirect him to playing with a toy or allow him to experience those emotions he’s feeling and let him work through it. She could respond calmly and unattached, “Mommy has some things to get done right now and it won’t take long” while telling herself, “He’s feeling big emotions right now and that’s okay.” Or, she could decide that leaving the dishes in the sink is fine and give her son her full attention. (This brought up more thoughts around what she feared her husband would think, but we’ll save that discussion for another post!)

Her take-away from this session was that other people might be upset and that can be okay. That other people can be upset and she doesn’t have to be. That she can hold space for what she needs as well without having to enter into their actual emotion. That she can show support and hold space and be there for them in their moments.

This is the work of coaching my friends! It is a practice – not a one-and-done experience. But it is life changing. It is the work of freeing yourself from the chains of your own mind that you don’t even realize you have because it just feels like “the way it is.”

And, it is the work coaches do, as well. Coaches need coaches just like doctors need doctors. A brain surgeon would never perform surgery on his own brain!

We all benefit from taking a look at what is happening inside the most powerful tool that exists – our brains. And mental and emotional health is for EVERYONE. At least, that’s my opinion. 😉

If you have any questions you would like to ask, please reach out – I’d love to help!!

💕 Deise

P.S. If you’d like help raising awareness around what is happening in your own mind and taking this work to the next level, book a free session with me!!

The pilot program I’ve been doing is coming to an end next week, and I have spots opening starting the week after that. I’ll help you understand where you are now and where you want to go, including any obstacles that are in your way. We will talk about what your problem is and how to solve it.

Click here to book now; and if none of the available spots work for you, message me with your availability and I’ll do my best to find a time that works for both of us!

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