Walking to the train, I found myself replaying an exchange from yesterday. Not just once, but on a continuous loop. I kept seeing myself being less gracious and less connected than I aspire to be. I was judging myself… and every time the memory started over, I felt worse. I knew how the story ended.
No matter how hard I tried to think of something else… the story crept right back to the front of my mind and started over again. Shame seems to get priority billing at the theatre in our mind.
Enough already! This is what I did next…
I stopped walking, and focused. Out loud, I told myself, “It wasn’t all bad… you did actually connect with someone new and you care enough to care to be better.” I repeated this affirmation three times.
Then, I said out loud, “next time I’m in that situation, I will… slow down, extend more time to interact, and be more giving.” Again, I repeated this slowly, three times, to help it sink in as my action plan to be better.
That’s all it took.
I recognized some value in me, made a decision on how I will be better, and dropped off a bunch of remaining baggage on the sidewalk. With that, my mind was instantly open to more positive things… and became more present in my day.
It was pretty cool.
On the train, I drew a diagram to help me apply this techniques more often. As I sketched, it was apparent that I was dealing with a bad habit — something that follows a cue > response > reward sequence. I’m pretty sure my “cues of self-consciousness” will continue… I just need a tool to create a better response (instead of mindlessly hitting replay every time any memory starts looping).
Here’s how I’m thinking about it…
Habits can be bad… and good. Hurtful… and fulfilling. It’s all about the “response”. By being more intentional, I’m sure we’ll get to more fulfilling “rewards”.
Here’s to your great memories… and a new perspective on making the most of your less-than-perfect moments!
Keep looking for awesome all around you…and, keep Believing in Better!
P..S. As for the rest of my day — I actually found myself slowing down with others. And, honestly, I have yet to replay the not-so-good story that took over my mind walking to the train.