I’ve been battling issues after issues ever since I’ve embarked on this podcasting journey. Perhaps it’s just me, I’m not great with equipment or technology. The simplest things could potentially drag out for weeks. I’ve been trying to setup a Skype podcast with Faith Suzuki, luck has it that the first time we tried, Skype wouldn’t even allow me to log in. The second time, Skype could not read my mic nor could Audacity record.
My usual response would have flipped flopped between self-despair to absolute pessimism and back to self-pity on why things don’t ever work out because I’m the only person doing it. Who am I kidding? I can’t even get the hairdryer or the toaster to work on a regular day, let along setup a podcast interview.
This type of self-defeating conversational loop will add to my not so patient nature, which is – stress.
I will admit that I am not a patient person, in fact, I’m terribly impatient and annoying especially when I’m on holidays. I don’t even know what it means when someone tells me to “relax”. I understand the meaning of the word, but to experience it is something not natural to me.
From the moment I’m awake, I start executing my to do lists, my goals, and my dreams. I run on the adrenaline of doing for 16 hours straight. I pack as much as I can into my day. Everything that I’m doing is with a purpose and with intensity, from my workouts to work, including my meditation.
Then…a few weeks ago everything changed. I must have overextended myself and while on a long weekend trip, I slept 12 hours straight and thereafter I did something unimaginable. I read fiction. I have always felt that maximising my time includes cramming knowledge into the spare moments. Reading fiction would have been like watching TV to me, it’s killing time without adding any useful knowledge towards self-improvement.
But, it was a wonderful book and I truly enjoyed myself during that long weekend. I finally realised what it felt like to be relaxed. Then it hit me. I should be feeling this way all the time instead of just this moment. I want to have this moment of feeling OK to be sustainable and achievable.
To do that, I had to work backwards and look deeper into various aspects of my living. I realised I have been doing things and running high from all the doing without really getting anywhere. In between all that, I get so annoyed with the smallest mishaps and it could sometimes even ruin my day because of it. It was also obvious that I wasn’t a very nice person to be around. This was something that needed fixing.
These were the 3 things I did:
- I stop criticising myself.
It has only occurred to me, despite years of meditation and attempts at self-awareness, I have never really listened to my internal dialogue. An a-ha moment happened over that weekend when I was listening to myself complaining about something. I thought to myself, if my internal dialogue was another person, I wouldn’t want to hang out with her. She’s miserable and complains all the time! Then it made me laugh.
For example, I would beat myself up if I haven’t done the things I have set myself up to do.
Work – you should really have done this, it’s all your fault if you don’t move closer to this specific goal because you missed out on this and someone else will do it.
Fitness – you should have done that set faster, you should have stopped to rest, you should have gone heavier etc.
Relationship – that person doesn’t like/love you because you’re weird/crazy, you’re not a good parent because you didn’t do this or that.
I stopped all these chatters through allowing them to appear, acknowledging it and letting it pass without making them my identity. I know that these are thoughts stemmed from a myriad of feelings, fear, anxiety, envy etc. I use a simple phrase of “It’s OK” and knowing that they will pass and these thoughts are separate from my true self. You can use whatever phrase or even an image to reset yourself. I usually use something funny as my internal thought character. I tend to use cartoon characters that are silly makes me laugh. Use what works for you and it’s ok to experiment. Sometimes different situations would call for different words, phrases and images.
- I stop criticising others.
It’s always so much easier to blame others or situations for things that don’t work out the way you want it to. Not only that, sometimes it can be infuriating dealing with family members, friends, who are just not in the same wavelength as you are. Problem is, unless you’re very close it’s hard to tell someone they suck without causing a rife in the relationship. This is extremely hard to do but once you do it, it does dissolve a lot of the negative feelings. If it’s a person you are unhappy with, accept the person for who they are without expectations and build a mental fence around yourself. Tell yourself, you are ok regardless of what that person does, think or say.
- I forgive myself.
Forgiving myself is something very new to me. When I do look back into the past and realised how I have reacted in a situation, I could feel guilt, embarrassment, anger etc. Instead of building up all these emotions again, I just tell myself I forgive me. I’m still learning, and the only way is to know what I can do better and move on with it. Forgiving others is widely discussed and the first thing most of us were taught to do but we have never really been taught to forgive ourselves.
As in all practices, keep it consistent and experiment with what works best for you. The Key, I found was doing all these 3 together. It gives me the power to dissolve many of the problems I’m facing and working on. I was using one or the other on its own and never doing all 3 together.
Good luck with it and feel free to comment!