Three questions to help you uncover the truth.
This week has been a rough one for me. Particularly because I’ve been feeling off but unable to pinpoint why. I am working but not completely satisfied with the work. I’ve been working out but not completely satisfied with the feeling in my body. I’ve been parenting but not completely satisfied with my efforts. Are you starting to see a pattern here?
As I sat and meditated this morning, I had to confront the truth. It isn’t the temperature of the air conditioner in my workspace or my workout sneakers. Nor is it my daughter’s brand of five-year-oldness, I am the common denominator. The issue lies within me.
It is uncomfortable to admit but true…
Self-awareness and reflection can be counterintuitive. When things fall apart, it is instinctual to look for/see/assess all of the external factors that contributed to a failure. Investigating our complicity in our own demise or lack of progress is an affront to most people’s sensibilities.
The truth is though, if you are captain of the ship and it’s sinking nine times out of ten, it’s because of something you did.
When you reach that pivotal moment of confronting a failure, a change, a pattern or string of setbacks, often you end up confronting ‘ the [wo]man in the mirror.’
Here are three easy-ish questions to get you started…
Where am I?
Asking yourself this question is absolutely paramount to figuring out your next step.
Ever heard the expression, “you can’t know where you are going unless you know where you’ve been?”
This question has many levels. Prepare yourself to answer at every single one:
- Where am I physically? (Location)
- Where am I mentally?(state of mind)
- Where am I emotionally? ( how do you feel about the answers to the preceding questions?)
How did I get here?
Retrace your steps.
What did you do or neglect to do to wind up in your current predicament? What did you continue to do or not do that exacerbated the situation?
This one is a doozy. For me, I had to admit that I let myself wallow. Instead of picking myself up in a productive way, I have allowed myself to sit in the shit a little too long.
Even in the midst of “pushing through,” I let my mind wander to a negative space which is highly dangerous for me. Personally, alignment — mental, physical, and emotional — is incredibly important to maintaining my delicate balance between creativity and productivity.
When I’m off, I feel it in all aspects of my life.
How did I retrace my steps to figure out that was the thing that was punctuating my shitty week?
I meditated — sat with myself for 15–20 minutes, eyes closed, mind open, in silence and I concentrated on the discomfort I felt at every level. I pictured all of the moments throughout the week that felt terrible, one by one.
Meditation is often my way of getting clarity. If it doesn’t work for you, try writing it down. Make a timeline. Start with the first incident, thing, happening that led to this moment. You can work your way backward or forward.
The important part is to plot the journey.
What could you’ve done differently?
This part is pretty self-explanatory but if you need instructions here you go.
Use either the mental notes you made during meditation or the list you wrote retracing your steps as the basis for another list.
Take a piece of ruled paper (yes, I am old school. Plus there is scientific evidence that your brain records/ internalizes things more when you physically write them down).
Fold your paper into four even columns. In the first column, write ‘Action.’ In the second column, write ‘consequence’. In the third column, write ‘desired consequence/outcome.’ In the fourth column, write ‘required action.’
In columns one and two, you will be recording the step/actions you took to get where you are and the resulting consequences.
In column three, you are going to record the change you want to see and in column four, the behavior or action that you’ll have to perform to achieve the change.
Columns three and four will serve as a map of how you’ll need to move forward. One and two — a visual reminder of what you do not want to do again.
Writing this piece acknowledging that I wasn’t okay but I can fix it was the first thing on my plan. Let me know how yours goes.
It is when you lose sight of yourself, that you lose your way. To keep your truth in sight you must keep yourself in sight and the world to you should be a mirror to reflect to you your image; the world should be a mirror that you reflect upon.”
― C. JoyBell C