Audio Day 10
Welcome to Day 10!
What’s good about that? So much! We’re here another day to experience all the amazing things this planet provides, all the beauty, all the abundance, even all the challenges that we often take for granted. Whatever the weather, whatever the to-do list, I’m grateful to be here! I’m guessing you are too….and that’s good!
More on the power of questions today to not only redirect our brains but to provide answers to the things we want to know. Sick of the same breakfast? Ask your brain (‘google’ your own brain) something like, “What new and wonderful thing can I start having for breakfast?” Your brain’s creative side perks up and off you go!
Today’s question is one of my absolute favorites: what else could it mean?
I read somewhere that we humans make a judgment about something in as fast as 11 seconds! That’s unbelievably fast. We’re tapping into stored memories, beliefs we’ve downloaded since we were born to come up with an assessment of someone or some situation. What’s truly amazing is that our memories and beliefs are not particularly reliable indicators of the value of what we’re looking at. That’s why witnesses are so different in their assessments. Each filters what they see through their own beliefs.
I do a whole seminar/series on beliefs which we don’t have time or space for here other than to say a belief is neither true nor false. It’s just something we’re heard often enough that it’s become a habit of thought. We humans carry around a lot of beliefs that don’t serve us but let’s save that discussion for another time and place.
Bottom line is we’re in a situation and jump to a conclusion. Based on what we’ve stored away in our sub-conscious, based on the somewhat negative society we live in, the conclusion is most often not a positive one. Sometimes we’re way off the mark and cause ourselves a great deal of stress in the process.
Let me explain with a couple of recent examples. As the oldest and only female sibling in the family, I’ve been working on most of the details for my mother’s 90th birthday party. I sent an email out asking my brothers a series of questions, things I needed answers to so I could proceed with the arrangements. I kept grousing that none of them got back to me. What was taking them so long? Time was ticking away. A few days later I was going through the messages on my phone and noticed I had a draft there. You guessed it. I never sent the email. I jumped to the wrong conclusion based on a wrong assumption.
Here’s another. A few years ago I was staying at my timeshare in Ft. Myers Beach which was having the roof repaired. The 5th floor was vacated because of the proximity to the roof and the noisy conditions. One morning I went to see the people in the office and everyone was buzzing that someone had broken into unit 502 the night before which should have been closed. The maintenance man said he saw indentations in the couch where two people had sat and someone on the beach had seen lights flickering. Had someone broken in? Had the Condo Cop (the resident who holds the key after hours should some get locked out) gone in? Why? What were they going to say to him? Lots of possibilities, lots of stress.
What else could it mean?
A few minutes later, the newest employee came into work. I don’t know how the conversation turned but here’s the result: she had been the one in there with a friend. Having just moved to the area, she didn’t have cable yet and wanted to watch Oprah. She had gotten permission to take the key that day at work…but everyone had forgotten. Now known as the Mystery of 502, this is the perfect example of how we can misinterpret what’s going on, usually grabbing the more stressful explanation.
Somebody cuts you off on the highway? Were they out to get out? Probably not. What else could it mean? You could have been in their blind spot. They could have dropped something. They could have been texting/eating /putting mascara on and the myriad other things people do in the car that they shouldn’t while driving. But out to get you? No.
It also isn't a good reason to be offended. I was in a car once with an ex-boyfriend who got cut off as we were about to turn into one of the tunnels in Boston. He was so offended that he chased the car, not caring that my friend and I were also in the car. It was not about him because the other driver didn’t even know him. This time the meaning really is negative - the guy who cut us off was indeed an idiot because he crossed the lane of travel which could have injured both him and us. But not out to get us.
We get to put the meaning on every incident that happens. Two people can experience the same exact situation and walk away with totally different interpretations of it. I told you about my flat tire on the overpass yesterday. I’m sure that could have ruined someone’s day. They could have talked about why everything happens to them, why life isn’t fair, you know the drill. It didn’t ruin mine. I was filled with gratitude…and a great seminar story!
Want less stress at a holiday event when a relative does something? Asking ‘what else could it mean?’ might help you see things in a more positive way or at least not be stressed or offended by it. Have a big day at work or maybe a new job? Choose to see it in advance in the best way possible.
A friend and I are filling in part time to help out a wonderful young lady who is at boot camp right now. Neither of us have time for this but we wanted to help. This could have overloaded us – and at times it does – but we made an agreement with each other and with ourselves that the meaning for us would be that this will be a great experience and it has been. Although skeptical about whether or not I made the right decision when I agreed at first, I wouldn’t have missed working with her for the world.
This is a great strategy to use with kids who jump to conclusions very quickly. Teach them to see that the world has many possibilities by asking them the other potential meanings when someone says something to them at school, when they get ignored, when they don’t get what they want. I used it almost daily with the Strategies students in some capacity as new rules were put in place that often didn’t make sense to any of us at first. By asking, we could at least see things from another perspective and that cuts the stress right out of the picture.
So now, you have two great questions at your disposal:
What’s good about this? (and all the rest of the parts of that series)
What else could it mean?
Keep them handy and use them to shift those negative thoughts any time they drop in for a visit.
As you head off to work or wherever your travels take you, find 2 things that just make you feel happy. Pick something you’re going to see daily because that way you know for sure that you’re going to be happy each morning as you go by. As you pass it, tell yourself out loud, “This makes me happy” and let yourself feel the emotion of that happiness. Touch your middle finger of your left hand to the thumb of that hand as you feel the happiness. Do that every day as you pass. The more feeling you put into this process, the better because you’re tapping into those positive hormones. You’ll also ultimately be able to feel the happy feeling whenever you touch those two fingers together.
Have a wonderful day!! I’ll tell you my two ‘happy’ things tomorrow.
P.S. Now you can choose to continue to the next day or wait until tomorrow. Either way, here's a link to the next chapter.