While we are working on being the best at being me it is important to remember one mantra: No negative self talk. At the beginning of this school year I was introducing myself to a new group of students. I was discussing how difficult grad school can be at times. Throughout the process there will be times you want to give up on this. I asked them to refrain from negative self talk. The “I can’t do this” and “I am so stupid” (this is one of the most detrimental). It is dangerous to put those thoughts in your head. They just sit in the corners of your mind and grow, like mold. It is a dark warm place hidden away from the lighter parts of your brain. Before you know it this mold has creeped into your outlook on life. Danger! Danger! Red Alert…Move away… Recently a student pulled me to the side and told me how important that message (No negative self talk) was to her. She showed me where she wrote it in her journal. She uses it with her kids and her own students. There are enough negative messages out there, we don’t need to create more.
I think I have more to say on this idea of being the best at being me thing from last week. What I have below was originally part of last week’s post, but I took it out to concentrate on just the idea of the four me’s – for lack of an identifier. I would assume that many people are like me in that being me is an ongoing process. The fact that we can’t just “handle that” “fix this” “get that over with” and be done with all this me-growth stuff can be trying. This is also something to revel in and be happy about. Looking within and stepping outside for a minute opens the space to realize some really good stuff. Don’t underestimate yourself and your abilities.
Me – an ongoing process.
“The important thing is to take that first step. Bravely overcoming one small fear gives you the courage to take on the next” words by Daisaku Ikeda. It is like the rent or mortgage; it happens every month. That monthly approach to bills is often seen as a labor, or a downside of life. It is the shelter for your head, the food in the fridge…it puts the HOT in hot water. It really breathes life into our lives. We have to attend to those small details to make our lives more comfortable, more capable. Little things like water, power, rent, cell phone, reflection, confrontation, and recognition. They just happen. But the thing we can often neglect is the PERSONAL side of us. Sometimes it is hard to face and sometimes it is too much to face. But, as we have said before, looking back is usually much easier. How else can we see how far we have come?
Thoughts and Actions
Everything we do is a thought before it is an action. What we do is cause and effect. We create the cause and then obtain the effect. The do your best is a function of cause and effect. Nichiren, (the Buddhist I refer to), says, “just as the flowers open up and bear fruit, just as the moon appears and invariably grows full….so will human beings never fail to prosper when they make good causes.” (WND, 1013). When you strive to be the best you can, or to do your best you are setting the intention (or the cause) for what you will effect. There is a dark side too…but let’s stay in the light on this one.
Matt Hires is a singer songwriter. He has a great song, A Perfect Day. I first heard this song on a pretty significant day of my life. It was the perfect song for a not-so-perfect day. I had never heard of Matt Hires. Nor had I heard his music. This song has a great message:
…So let’s not walk away
From the one thing we know is great
Life can trip you up, on a perfect day
And let’s not run and hide
From the truth we know inside
Life can trip you up, on a perfect day
You want to make an escape
You want to prove this was a grand illusion
Oh but maybe it’s wise we look inside and work it all out…
Ready for a change… wasn’t ready for a revolution
Even on a day that we knew, or thought we knew, was perfect things can trip us up. But we have the ability to rely on that truth inside…that truth to be the best me. Lessons are all around us, all the time. When things are good we might miss the lessons. Things are good. We are in a state of contentment. There is little urgency to look at what we are learning. When things are difficult we can avoid the lessons, or not be in a place to accept the lesson.
We all have the ability to create this bigger sense of me. It just takes some intention and some stick-to-itiveness. It can be tough to do, even on a perfect day. But creating that space of mindfulness and attention to the details of ME is important. Identify your main approach to you (see last week) and figure out how to attend to you. Do your best.
In leadership the guidance we can offer to our colleagues is so important. We can encourage others to avoid the negative self talk. When it creeps into their conversation or comments about themselves all we need is a subtle reminder…just a quick, “no negative self talk” to interrupt the dangerous habit. You will be doing them a favor. It will be fun to see how they hit the No negative self talk speed bump before you do in future conversations.
So – What is your perfect day? What trips you up? What are your fears to address and hit straight on? Life isn’t life without some struggles…. it’s part of the package. It makes life interesting.