I just came back from groceries shopping at my favorite store. Oh, I love that store! I can buy fresh local high-quality fruits and veggies, decently treated protein. And the sauces, and the pasta and yumm…I love that place.
And while I started unpacking my produce, I noticed there was a heavy sensation in my stomach. Sadness, a sense of loss, a broken something in me.
Why wasn’t I feeling the joy that I was bathing in most of the previous times, when I would unpack the food and imagine the delicious meals they will make?
Because while I still go to that place for the foods, and I still love their products, what I have NOT been loving is the overall experience.
Actually, let me drop the political correctness and tell you upfront that I am eff’in hating it.
I am hating the way the culture of that place has turned.
Perhaps it’s the overwhelming success and the arrogance that followed?
Perhaps the employees aren’t motivated for xyz reasons.
My list of excuses can go on for a long time.
What stayed with me though is the bitter feeling of not being a customer anymore but a sheer annoyance to the staff.
I am not going there for the overall experience anymore. I am going there just to buy foods. Even more disturbing is that I now come back home with said foods and my jaw clenched.
And because I wanted so much to stay in the illusion of what it was, a dream, an adventure; I was now settling for subpar.
But here is the thing: I have choices.
So do you, every time you realize that you are settling out of habit, out of fear or sheer lack of motivation.
Why are you giving away your purchasing power for free?
Or in other words, why do you do what you do? What is this job, relationship, friendship or object bringing you?.
Being aware of the reasons behind any behavior is the first step to owning this behavior as a conscious choice, then it’s a matter of take it or leave it.
I can see several reasons why we settle for what we have even when it feels like a little death of the soul.
It’s a habit!
We, humans, tend to do the same things over and over again. Our minds like routines and the habitual. No need to rethink everything. And sometimes the good old has its usefulness.
Who wants to search for their car keys for 10 minutes every day, when you can just drop them and take them back from the same place?
Habits can give us a sense of safety and familiarity. They help us drop some of the overall control freakism that we hold.
They provide us with peace of mind: doing the same thing over and over again will yield the same result. So why change a winner?
True, very true.
But what if the results you are getting from that habit are not what you want anymore? What if you realized that what you have been doing is sucking your good spirits and your morale?
You’ll tell me it’s time to change.
When you have been in that situation or behavior for a long time, what has prevented you from changing?
Feeling our Fears, are we?
Yes, those fears will creep up at any mention of the word ‘change’. The fear of change, the fear of the unknown, the fear of lack, the fear of not being skilled, smart enough, too old, too young and the list can go on.
I am not saying it’s bad to have fears. We are programmed to survive first. And fear is that custodian keeping the crazy side of your risk taker at bay.
Until it isn’t.
Until you start clenching your jaw at the thought of that situation. And there could be a point of no return when whatever benefits you drew from the situation become heavily outweighed by the prospect of the status–quo.
What lights your fire?
Now, I am certainly NOT advocating destroying your life, foundation or what have you for the sake of change, and certainly not doing that on a whim. Unless of course there is a sense of urgency or safety, but this is beyond the point of this chat.
However, what I am pleading for is for you to start soul searching for alternatives.
Not only as a mere replacement, what’s the point? Better the devil you know, right?
No, what you need is your next level up. And don’t be afraid to aim high in the sky.
Once you are crystal clear on what you need and what you want, you give yourself the power of choice.
And here is the mega-million dollar trick: it doesn’t mean that you will need to change the situation!
Only the annoying part of it.
Feel your fear and say hello to courage
And it could be having a conversation, having the courage to say what you need and what you want.
Or perhaps you can just to walk away.
In any of these cases, you have made a choice. A grown-up decision of not feeling victimized, of not distributing blame.
Nope, just doing what feels right for you. Amen to that!
For the next few days, observe certain of the situations in your life without judging them as good and bad.
How do you feel after that meeting, talk, etc? Anxious, angry, neutral or happy? How would you have liked it to be different? What was missing? What can you change today to get it closer to what you want?
Identifying 1/ how things or situations felt for you then and 2/ questioning what’s behind that comfort or discomfort will mean that
i/ you will know what you don’t want, first step, and
ii/ that you can start working towards what you want.
So here is a little exercise for you. It will not take more than 5 minutes tops, I promise.
After an event that left you wondering, sit in a quiet place and picture what happened.
First from your point of view, then from the other person’s and finally, as an observer. Review the body language, the words, and the reactions.
Which parts did you like? which ones did you dislike? Make a mental note to remember the important points.
Now still in your imagination, picture how you would have liked things to turn out to be. What words would you have said? What words would you have liked the other person to say, or to do? How would have liked the final outcome to be?
How does your current perception of the outcome differ from what you have wished for, and what you can do now to get it closer?
Now continue with the image of that same event turning the way you’d have desired. And remember win/win situations tend to stick longer than pissing contests.
Each time you do this exercise after an upsetting or an uplifting event, you tell your mind that things turned well and you give your mind and body the experiences of a positive outcome.
As your mind accepts these victories as real; you are programming it to make them a reflex for you.
So that the next time a similar event is to happen, you are not going there with preconceptions, but with the confidence that you have enough winning tools to nail it!
Try it and let me know how it goes!