In my last musing, The 8 Steps to Changing your Mind, we looked at the very real issue of how to break the old ways of responding to something in your world that aren’t working. Ultimately it is my experience and research that we can add choice, but we cannot remove the neural connections in our brain that dictate behaviour, internal emotional states etc. By adding a choice we can see clearly how the situation we are dissatisfied with could be different from using the new way of thinking, as compared to the old way.
Let’s look at a real example.
- Joe continually finds that he is unhappy when it comes to his health. He is about 25kg overweight and is considered fat by himself, his doctor and most people who know him.
- Joe has had enough. He realises that something has to change, although he has no idea what to really do. He has tried diets, exercise etc, yet he keeps falling back into the pattern of “the fat guy”.
- He makes a conscious choice that he is going to once and for all take responsibility for the change.
- He also realises to do this; he must own the gain he is getting from being “the fat guy”. When he asks the question “what am I getting – safety, control and/or acceptance”, Joe has an epiphany – he feels that in a lot of his life (work particularly) that he has lost control (perceived) of so much, and that when the stress of this is too much, he knows at least that he can control what he puts in his mouth. Not only this, but the layer of fat acts as protection from the world. People stay away from him. WOW!
- Realising this, Joe accepts this is no longer good enough. The gains from being “the fat guy” are insignificant when compared to the pain it is causing. He has shone a torch on the minds little games.
- Jo, with a little helps realises that to be happy, he must create a gain that is worth “changing his mind and behaviour” for. After much thought, he realises that the gain is to be able to stand tall at his school re-union in six months.
- Joe decides to create the mindset that says “I am worthy and deserving of being a slim, sexy man again”. Now, will this automatically guarantee Joe success to overcome the old mindset that kept him as “the fat guy”? Not if Joe forgets the intention of that mindset – to give him some control and safety. So, every time he is feeling unsafe and losing control, Joe can now THANK, the old mindset – yes you heard me right – thank it for its desire to keep him safe and in control. And in that moment Joe will have the one thing that matters the most – REAL CHOICE. Where in the past there was only one option – behaviour that was there to keep him safe and in control AND fat.
- Joe might not be perfect at first, but the more he practices the new mindset, acknowledges its positive intention and in the same moment focuses on the worthwhile outcome, the more evidence he will begin to build that he can do it. And the more evidence he gets, the more powerful the new mindset gets…..and on it goes gathering more momentum.
Enjoy the re-union Joe.
What about you? What choices do you need to add to your mind to begin living your best life?