When your mindset goes rogue

I have a confession to make, my mindset needs to be adjusted again. I have slipped back into some
bad habits and I need to regain my mindfulness around some of the thoughts I believed I had under control after My Year of TED.

I’m not surprised, habits of a lifetime are hard to break, but I am a little surprised at just how bad I allowed it to get before I realised just how bad it was. Do you do this? Do you find yourself feeling unsettled and unhappy, but you aren’t able to put your finger on why? And then one day you wake up and realise that it’s all in your head, it’s all about your attitude and the negativity that has crept into your life.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this – and I’m sure that I’m not alone in my reaction to it. Of course my first reaction was to beat up on myself, because that is how it always used to work, and remember this was a slip back into old mindsets. I caught that one pretty quickly though and sat myself down to have a supportive conversation about what was happening.

The problem with being brave
Reminding myself that the old mindset wasn’t productive, I gave myself a big internal hug and started to work through what was going on. It turns out that this has been a slow spiral since late January. As you know one of my words for 2014 is Brave, and I’ve been pushing bravery pretty hard this year – so hard that a small voice in my head (that used to be much louder) has had too much opportunity to get in under my skin.

You see, one of the main issues with being brave is that you live with a constant level of fear and anxiety. There are heaps of quotes about this, but it boils down to this – bravery is when you are scared but you do it anyway. If I wasn’t scared then doing something wouldn’t require bravery, and quite frankly for the longest time I’ve been in a constant state of fear (I’ll write more about that at a later stage).

For me, and again I don’t think I’m alone here, this constant state of uncertainty and discomfort has allowed an old mindset to creep in – the one that likes to tell me that I’ll never be able to do this, that I’m not good enough, that I’m not worthy of success anyway. It snuck in under the cover of darkness and set up camp in the corner of my brain again, but this time it was more cunning. It quietly started chipping away at my positive mindset, rather than drawing attention to itself so I could send in the troops to banish it back to the recesses of my brain.

Tackling the problem head on
Fortunately, I have some incredible people in my life now who don’t let me get away with bullshit and they will call me on things I say that aren’t aligned to who I want to be. There were two conversations in two days that alerted to troops to a disconnect that we hadn’t identified earlier. It took a few more days, but we finally found her hiding in the bushes.

So you might ask what we did about it? Well we gave her a really big hug and explained that we understand that she thinks she is helping protect us, but that we don’t want to be protected any more – the fear and anxiety are part of a greater process. They will eventually subside, oh they will never go away, but all of us live with a level of fear and anxiety in our lives.

We took her by the hand and showed her all of the dreams that we have, and how wonderful our life will be when we make them a reality. We made her a cup of tea and sat her down and explained that what she does is important for us, but that the world has shifted and if she wants to pull us up on possibly overstretching then she needs to do it while sitting at the table with my confidence, my self-compassion, my ego, my wisdom and the other parts of me with skin in the game. No more hiding in the shadows, no more subterfuge, because when she does things like that we all suffer far too much.

She seems to be deliberating about it at the moment, I don’t think she’s at the table, but she has gone quiet and my mindset is clawing it’s way back. Which is a good thing because I have quite a few new things to be brave about in the coming months – stay tuned for details.

How do you deal with the the rogue elements of your brain when they turn on you? What’s your method for getting your mindset back on track? I’d love for you to share it.

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