Just accept the status quo already!
How would you feel if I told you to just accept the status quo, to just go with it?
I’ll tell you how I would feel, gypped… and maybe a little defiant.
I don’t want to be told what to accept, and I certainly don’t want to be limited. After all, I truly believe there is endless possibility to up-level and change. This can not coexist with just accepting the status quo.
And yet, are you aware that we do this all the time? TO OURSELVES?!?!?!
Yes, that’s right. We accept the mental status quo all the time without even questioning it.
Let me tell you what I mean (so we can stop gypping ourselves).
Our brains are hardwired to look for problems. This is left-over, self-protective programming from more primitive times when one wrong move could result in isolation and death (we are going way back…to caveman days). Obviously, in our current situations this type of hypervigilance is not as useful. Despite this, it is still part of our programming.
But this type of thinking can be exhausting AND can very subtly keep us from our goals and make happiness more elusive.
Let me explain. We are wired to focus on the negative. This sounds like terrible news but it doesn’t have to be. We are more than just our primitive wiring. It isn’t our ONLY wiring. Our more evolved selves have the capacity to problem solve, to imagine, to think about things ahead of time instead of just reacting.
The negative, primitive part is the mental status quo. Let’s not accept that. Sure it will still be there no matter what but we can intentionally choose other types of thinking if we want to.
I like to think of it like an amazing buffet of food. If there is a beautiful buffet and you were hungry, would you accept a stale roll? What if you couldn’t see the buffet but I told you it was in the next room and all you had to do was reject the stale roll. The roll will protect you enough to keep you from starving but it may also keep you from walking through the door to the buffet. Honestly if you aren’t sure, you can keep the stale roll and put it in your pocket while you check out the buffet.
Our negative thoughts about work, family, finances, schedules, our bodies, are just the stale roll. These are just the result of our brains being protective by looking for dangerous problems. We think these thoughts without even choosing them. AND THEY MAKE US FEEL AWFUL.
The truth is, there is a whole buffet of thoughts that feel so much better, they just don’t pop into our heads in the same way.
They aren’t hardwired in.
And that’s not a problem at all.
We can create them any time we want to.
Before settling for the negative thought, go peruse the buffet. You have to walk through the door and LOOK for the other food just like you will have to take a second, recognize the negative thought for what it is and then remember that it’s totally optional if you keep it or not. You don’t have to keep it just because it is offered to you. If you can’t drop it altogether, just put it in your pocket and load up on other, more delicious thoughts.
Let me give you an example.
Default/status quo thoughts:
It sucks that my last 3 patients are late and I will hit traffic on the way home. (stale roll.)
Intentional thoughts that make me feel better (tiramisu):
I have some time to go through the things that have been piling up on my desk.
I wanted to get home so I could exercise, I could walk in this area after work so I could drive home after traffic.
I hate when it’s me who is running late, I hope my patients aren’t too stressed out.
I am glad I still have an opportunity to help these people.
These thoughts are just as true, but I had to look for them and I couldn’t do it if I was obsessed with the stale roll.
This approach has literally changed my life. Once I realized I could stop living at the mercy of the crappy first thoughts that I reflexively believed, a whole new experience of peace and purpose opened up for me.
Welcome to the buffet.
I can’t wait to hear what possibilities you open up for yourself.
P.S. If you don’t feel like you have any control over how you feel, reach out and I can help you. I promise that this is fixable.