Monthly Archives: October 2014

Feeling Frustrated? Try Throwing It In Reverse

complete 180

I find myself having the same frustrating discussions at work day after day. One of the students I work with tends to get stuck at different points throughout the day. What this child will do is designate something as not fair and then proceed to try and engage in a discussion about this unfair situation… for a long, long time. The rational approach for me to handle this situation is to engage in a discussion, explaining the reasons behind the decision or the rule, i.e. “No  peanuts at the peanut free table because it is unsafe for the children with allergies”, and be done with the discussion. The difficulty is that this student is not actually interested in reason or rational discussion. This kid wants what this kid wants and is willing to talk to you until your ears bleed to get it. The other day I tried a new approach and got surprising results.

Rather than trying to convince my student that I was right, I threw it in Reverse and started offering up loads of reasons in favor of this kid’s opinion. “You are  so right! It is an outrage that other kids can sit at your desk when you are not there. It is your private space! They could touch your stuff and that would be a violation. I would feel like knocking somebody out too.” I piled it on real thick and encouraged him to do the same. We determined that the rule was stupid, grown ups do stupid things, kids do stupid things, people should just listen to and respect what this child decides to is right, and on and on. It was all very dramatic with throwing our arms around and bouncing our fists off of the desks. Laughter too, in the midst of these deep and overwhelming feelings, we had a few belly laughs too. Every time my student tried to redirect the conversation back into an argument by getting me to defend the rules- I kept it firmly in Reverse. I whole heartedly told this student to trust their feelings and not go along with anything other than what they felt was right and important.  After about 5 minutes my student basically gave up on arguing with me, (most likely writing me off as some kind of nutball), and deciding it was way easier to just do the classwork than to expend any more energy on being right.

We are all like this student when we make broad proclamations about right and wrong or the way things are vs how they should be. We make these statements based upon our beliefs which are based on our own skewed interpretation of reality. I am trying this approach on myself now. When I start to get steamed up by a belief that something is unfair or wrong, I just throw it in Reverse and I immediately start to feel better. For example, “I never have time for myself” becomes, “I always have time for myself.” It feels unnatural at first, like I am trying to swallow a lie. I just continue to repeat it to myself, “I always have time for myself.” as I am faced with books I have been wanting to read, projects not yet begun or never completed, and piles of unfolded laundry. Magically my brain starts to find validation for my new thought. Suddenly I see possibilities where before there were none. Voila!

Our thoughts become our beliefs. Our beliefs become our reality. Our reality is expressed in our words. We don’t have to believe these words, these in Reverse statements for them to work. We just need to begin to say them and our mind will do the rest of the work for us.




The Path of Least Resistance

joseph campbell we must be willing

We all have the parts of our lives that we wish were different. For many of us it is our weight, but it could be career, relationships, finances, or maybe all of the above. The fly in the ointment is that the more we fight to change these parts of our lives, the more we engage in a tug of war with ourselves. I know, for myself, the moment I decide I am going on a diet, I become ravenously hungry. The longer I punish myself with memories of talk show hosts holding up lumpy, yellow, gelatinous replicas of what “five pounds of fat” looks like, and shameful images of bathing suit shopping… the more I EAT!! What if there was a way to drop the rope and walk away from this endless tug of war that is draining our energy, focus and self-esteem?

We can give ourselves permission to have things in our life that we wish were different. End of story. We can do that. We can decide that, yes, I can’t stand my relationship with my mother-in-law. We don’t have to like the ways things are, we don’t have to be happy with the way things are, but we can come to a place of acceptance. “Yes, I deeply, truly, desperately wish I was 20 pounds lighter.” Then we can begin to back away from the constant berating, excuses, and dialogue that circulates through our mind around this subject.  I have heard health coaches who say, “Don’t worry about removing unhealthy foods from your diet. Just keep adding more healthy foods and the unhealthy ones will get edged out over time.” This idea of releasing what isn’t working by focusing on what you can comfortably do that will work is a beautifully painless way to change any area of your life.

Another approach is to change seemingly random habits or behaviors and trust that the ripples of positive energy will flow into all areas of your life. Here is an example of how this could work. Hilda really wants to begin a workout routine but it has just never come together. She has a gym membership, workout videos and even a treadmill, but she still can’t seem to stick to any kind of regular routine.  For a very long time Hilda feels very badly about her inability to stick to a regular exercise routine and believes it shows her lack of motivation and discipline. Gradually Hilda begins to get excited about having a clean bathroom on a regular basis. She doesn’t have a schedule or anything,  she just begins to notice when she has let things go a little too long, and she begins to notice how nice it feels to have a clean bathroom. Now Hilda has the nice clean bathroom and is enjoying it so much she begins to see other parts of her home that could use sprucing up. After she gives the fridge a much-needed scrubbing, the grout on the back splash gets bleached, and then she even cleans out the dryer vent. She’s on a tear! It feels so good to take care of herself and her home. She feels proud of… HERSELF. Now, without struggle and sacrifice she realizes that she has begun to walk more and has been meeting a friend at the gym. She has begun to incorporate exercise into her life because it makes her feel good! You can equate this practice with the person who says, “I don’t know how I quit smoking. I tried a thousand times before and couldn’t do it. This time it just stuck and it wasn’t really hard at all.” The reason it” just stuck” is they had laid the groundwork by effortlessly making changes that empowered and motivated them.

Beginning to incorporate more of what makes us feel good into our lives changes everything about us. It turns our attention from what we “can’t stand” about ourselves or our lives to what makes us feel strong and successful.  We will always have parts of our life that, we feel, need work. That is not shameful or embarrassing. That’s life! Accepting who we are is the rock that sends the ripples of change throughout our entire existence. It is the magic that allows us to release our strangle hold on what we believe we need and to begin to relax into the flow of what is possible. Never underestimate the power of the path of least resistance!!


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