At the time of this writing, I'm having one of those days. Pretty sure you're all familiar with what this feels like: I was feeling good until I wasn't. Things were going great until my self-confidence dropped, I started questioning myself and everything else, and the old mantra of "you're not doing it right" started blaring from Clever Brain's speakers. Suddenly, everything seems harder, like it's taking too long, and I'm a fraud.
God bless, y'all. This is a human thing we do. We have days like this. And yes, I know there are some of you who are saying, "Days? Try weeks. Try MONTHS!" Regardless of how long you've been feeling like this, I've got some ideas you can put into action straight away. Simple shifts and experiments that can bring relief. I'm using them today myself. Excited to share them with you too.
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My Dears, if we are meeting for the first time, what a day to do it! My name is Amy Jones. I am a Progress Coach, a Strategist. I help people figure out what goals are most worth their time and energy. What were they to pursue it and achieve it would be most satisfying and life affirming to them.
I ,of course, became an expert on progress through experimenting in my own life, and coming up with ways to move forward when things were tough, when I didn't know what to do, when other people's advice wasn't quite working. So today, we are going to use my life, let's get another example. I think you all will find this pretty relatable, if you've had the experience that I have been having recently, of having one of those days when it just seems like things are not going the way that you want them to go. Things feel harder. You've start to doubt yourself. You can feel frustrated. Wondering why things are taking so long. Not feeling clear. Feeling sad. Feeling hormonal.
There are all manner of things that can contribute to having one of those days. And of course, those days can start to pile up on each other too. I'm about day two or three of having one of those days, so we're at a multi-pack, in the midst of it right now.
Yet, I can still share with you what's going on, what I'm doing to take care of myself, and navigate this little patch. And to just remind us all really, that this is so a part of progress. This is a part of being a human being. This is not something that we get to get out of. When we're in these days, and it is not feeling good, you are not feeling like you are making progress, I'm here to remind you that you actually are!
Even I'm making progress in this bleghh of these few days. Rather than fan the flames of failure, we are going to seek to extinguish some of this internal heat that you might be feeling, and the sense that there's something wrong, that something needs to be done, that something needs to be corrected, and the general stress response that we have that can lead to some panicky, anxious feelings.
If you are relating to this, if you are having one of these days as well, I'm just really glad that you're here. I would love to share with you some tips, some ideas, things that you can experiment with. I decided to break them down into, don't do this, then do this.
Let me share what I had come up with, in terms of don't. So these are the things that I don't recommend that you do when you are having one of those days.
The first is to criminalize your coping strategies. We're a human people. Imperfection kind of comes standard. We have coping strategies. We have ways of trying to deal with what we don't know how to deal with yet. That can look like a lot of things. For me, it usually is emotionally eating, often involving copious amounts of ice cream, and binging, things like that. Where I'm trying to numb what I'm feeling and escape whatever the present circumstances, feelings, thoughts that I'm having about them, into a carton of ice cream.
Thinking that that's going to turn out. Nannette says, "LOL. Imperfection comes standard." Right? It's not even an option. You know when you're getting a car and you can choose. "I want leather seats." Like, "I want to feel perfect all the time." No. It does not work that way.
This is something that we all get to share in, is the imperfection of being a human being. In that imperfection, we try and deal with our pain and discomfort the best way that we know how. So I was having the experience the other day of binging, and multiple binges mind you. Just noticing, "Oh Sweetheart. Look we're binging. Look at what's happening."
And recognizing that in that moment, I didn't know how to do it better. Let me clarify that point, because intellectually I had a thought, "Sweetheart, this is binging. This is not ultimately going to help. You're trying to escape." I didn't yet have the connections or the strength, or whatever I needed in that moment, to put the carton down and walk away.
You may intellectually know something, and when you're having those bad days, and you're having the experience of using coping mechanisms, that you know intellectually are not the healthiest for you. Just to delight in the noticing, that there's a win in noticing that period, and that you may yet not be at the point where you can connect all of the dots, and take the different action and completely modify your behavior. But just noticing is important.
And after you notice, not continuing to criticize yourself, or let your Clever Brain have a field day, as to why you are a terrible person for having coping strategies. And that you should know how to do it better. That you should be making a different choice, and this is the reason why you're not getting where you want to go.
Our Clever Brain, what I call that primitive part of our brain that is very much based in fear, that mistakenly believes that any change of any kind, even ones, and especially ones that are good for us, that are constructive in allowing us to move forward, are somehow suspect and should be avoided and sabotaged at all costs.
So please don't criminalize your coping strategies, okay? Next thing is don't self-harm where you can self-care. I was just making the point that you may, in your coping strategies, be recognizing in intellectual level, this actually is hurting myself.
I can have that experience now when I'm binging, knowing, "Sweetheart, this isn't kind. It isn't loving. You're going to feel sick, if you aren't sick already, and there are other actions that can be taken." When you are in the moment where you can recognize it, and you have the wherewithal, or whatever is required to actually do the thing. Then please choose the self-care over the self-harm.
Last night for example, I chose to take a bath. I was feeling really cranky and irritated, and angry. I didn't know exactly why. I had rallied to go to my barre class, when I really did not want to go at all, not even a little. Was cranky through the whole class. My instructor, love her. She's a wonderful woman, and I just remember thinking, "Please don't come over here. Please do not come over here and touch my person, and make any kind of correction, because I think I might violently snap like a turtle."
I'm thinking, "Oh wow. What's going on? I don't know." But I was so pissed off and just like, "Gyaah!" I didn't want to be there, and yet I chose to be there because I knew that afterward I would not have regretted having gone. Perhaps if I had, actually psychically accosted my instructor, which I will not ever do!
But you know what I mean? I just really did not enjoy that process. And yet I knew that that was a decision that I would feel better about. And I did feel better about it. I still felt cranky, and I still felt shitty, so I decided, "Okay. Let me take a bath."
Instead of driving to the grocery store and going for yet another round of another pint of ice cream, let me just take a bath. So this is not an either/or kind of thing. You're working on the spectrum here of like self-harm to self-care. You do the best you know how to do. You do the best that you can do. Is this making sense?
So where possible, self-care versus self-harm. Hey Vanessa. Hi Sweetheart. Number three, don't view this as evidence of your unworthiness. Don't have your shitty day be evidence that you're a shitty person. This is a human thing that Clever Brain loves to capitalize on, where we somehow feel like, "This is it. This is the evidence that we've been waiting for. This is proof that I can't do it. That I'm not going to be able to do what's required. That I don't have enough of what it takes, that there's something wrong with my character. That there's something that other people have that I don't."
Clever Brain again, will love to prosecute you with that, and will come up with exhibit after exhibit of evidence that can be presented as to why you suck. Please don't do that. Please notice when your Clever Brain is firing those thoughts at you. Just notice that they're there. You may not be able to do anything with them, but refusing to believe that this is evidence, that this shit day that you're having is the evidence that you are not enough, please don't go there. Don't believe it.
Next thing, don't pretend that you are anything but human. This is another Clever Brain super fun tactic that it uses. And it's actually a function of our own arrogance, where we think that somehow we get to not be human. That we get to be smarter, or less feeling, less sensitive. More capable in some regard, and that we should somehow be able to avoid having these days. That if we just did it right, if we just did enough, then we wouldn't have these days that feels so crappy.
I don't believe that it works that way. In my experience, it does not. One of the things that I love to share with my clients, and my students in my courses, is that this actually may be evidence that you are making progress.
When you are making progress, you're Clever Brain is going to have even more incentive to sabotage, to bring forth the crappy day, because it believes that it's got a good chance of convincing you that something's off. Something's amiss, you don't have what it takes, and what evidence is there of it? This shitty day and how terrible you feel. And how you're not doing enough, and how it's not turning out, and how you're behind, and all of the things that it can broadcast to suggest that things are terribly, terribly wrong, and it's going to stay that way.
Hey Danielina, hi! Number five, don't make decisions that you can delay, until you are feeling more like yourself. This is not the time for big decisions. This is not the time to sort out your life. I caught myself trying to think about how I was going to expand the company, and partnerships, and possible investments, and things like that. And was like, "Hang on! These are not decisions that need to be made today, nor am I in the best thinking space to make these decisions."
Anything big, especially regarding your life, your career, where you live, who you love, whether or not you should get a dog. Whatever those decisions are that would have lasting impact, give yourself permission to not figure it out today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe the day after. Maybe when you start feeling more like yourself, and a return to some semblance of peace, or self-confidence, that's the time to revisit those really important decisions.
I am a fan of limiting decisions where possible, particularly when you are not feeling great about it. To not have to make a big deal out of what you're going to eat even. "What am I going to have for lunch? I don't know. I had this yesterday. I should have something different."
Clever Brain's going to try and distract and wear you out, this stupid shit like that. So please do not feel like you have to make more decisions than are absolutely required of you on a day like today.
Vanessa's saying, "Yep. Yep." Yes. This is human stuff loves. The next one is don't believe that you need to know why this is happening, and that you need to solve it today. That whatever it is that you're feeling, whatever is uncomfortable, painful, stressful, whenever those things are, that it needs to be clear and it needs to be handles. Those are not things that need to happen today.
Those may not even be possible for today. It's okay. I think one of the best things that we can do is just recognize that we are feeling upset, that we are feeling the fear that we are believing what our Clever Brain is broadcasting in our head, with our thoughts. It is enough to just register what is happening.
One of the best ways to do that is to pay attention to what you are feeling in your body. Many of us that are achievers, that are really focused on goals and value ourselves based on the things we can do, we could get really separated from our body, and not be tuning into our emotions. But we're just up here, we're up in our thoughts. See how that was sort like a little bit vogue? Yeah. Me too.
Danielina, "Your words always come at the right time. Tomorrow is the answer for today." Oh yes. Amen. Love that. Beautiful. Beautiful mantra. Just let yourself be in today. Then we let tomorrow be tomorrow, okay? So if you are feeling that you are just up in your thoughts, and you're arguing with Clever Brain, and all of those things, I want you to check in with what's going on in your body.
What does your stomach feel like? What does your chest feel like? What does your back feel like? Just check in with the various aspects of your body, and notice what is feeling tight, notice what is feeling restricted. What doesn't feel. I mean this in a very literal sense, doesn't feel good. Doesn't feel at ease. That can be a really good way to check in and go, "Hang on. Body's having the stress response. There's something going on."
I don't know exactly what's going on. I have some ideas about it. I might be ruminating for hours about what it could possibly be. But that doesn't contribute to any sense of peace. It doesn't contribute to you feeling a bit of relief, feeling a bit of space, that it's going to turn out, that you're going to be able to navigate this rough patch. Hey Monique. Great to see you, Dear!
Those are the things that I recommend that you don't do. When you're having a bad day, let me just recap real quick. Please don't criminalize your coping strategies. Please don't self-harm when you can muster some self-care. Please don't use this as evidence of your unworthiness. Please don't pretend that you are anything but a human being, and that you're not going to have bad days or doubt yourself.
Please don't make decisions that you can delay, until you're feeling more like yourself. Please don't believe that you need to know why, and to get this solved, whatever's going on in this day, okay?
Let's get into what I do recommend. This is what I am practicing myself. Once again, my life gets to be one giant science experiment that I am reporting in on a daily basis, in the hopes that whatever I am learning and practicing can be of service to you.
So these are the things that I am doing and going to continue to practice, and I recommend for you as well, to see if it works for you. Really check in and see if these things have a positive impact for you. If it feels like it's extinguishing the flames of the failure and upset, rather than inflaming them.
First I want you to listen to something else, other than your Clever Brain. Other than that barrage of fear-based thoughts and internal propaganda, that suggests that all is lost, and things aren't going well, that you should know how to do it better, that there's something that you're missing, you're not doing it right. I mean, those are my Clever Brain's favorites.
But listening to something else. That could be turning on music. It could be watching a movie. Could be listening to an audio book, that's one of my favorite. Or even just other people. If you're want to go and go to a meeting, go hang out somewhere where there's other stuff going on. But where you can get into perhaps a conversation, is something to disrupt that broadcasting. Because the broadcasting is not serving you. It is keeping you stuck. It is keeping you distracted. And keeping you in that cycle of, "I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know how to fix this. Something's terribly wrong. I'm terribly wrong." And all ... Is a miss.
The next thing I would recommend that you do, is consider calling a friend, so that you can get outside the range of what Anne Lamott calls KFKD, radio station K-Fucked. Where it's just that Clever Brain’s, again, going in loops talking about how we're all going to die, and you haven't figured it out. You could have prevented it. What's wrong with you?
You want to go out of the range of that particular broadcast. One of the easiest and beset ways to do that is to pick up a phone and call a friend, because they don't have your Clever Brain. They have their own Clever Brain. So they can very easily look at you with context, and with an ability to recognize, "Oh Sweetheart, you're just having one of those days. There's nothing wrong with you. I love you. You're wonderful. You're so amazing."
That's what our friends are for, to be able to lift us up when we are in the mire of these shitty days. And it just happens. So call in a friend, in getting out of that. Highly, highly recommend.
The next one is to underachieve where possible. Even if it's just for a little bit. Again, this is a really tough one for those of us that are type-A, perfectionists. We believe that somehow, something is at risk if we were to underachieve. And God if we were ever to choose it, so uncomfortable. But choosing to underachieve. Choosing to have this not be the day where you get all the things done, or where you make sure that the dishes are handled, and all the little tasks of adulthood, and the laundry. Maybe today is not the day where you get it all done. Maybe today you choose to scale back, you choose to let certain things be. You choose to just give yourself some more space, to be able to navigate what you have to do.
Underachieving, for those of us that are chronic overachievers, feels terrible. It feels like something's amiss. But when you can consciously choose that, and find a rational and a reason for it like, "I am choosing to underachieve in the spirit of self-care." Then that can feel kind of adulty. Then you can feel a little bit more permission to underachieve, just for now. Just for today.
Next thing. Do remember that you're feelings are real, but the thoughts that are driving your feelings may not be true. We have a lot of thoughts in our heads. We have a lot of thoughts, compliments of our Clever Brain, that are sourced in fear, that are dressed up to look like responsibility, and good ideas, and doing the right thing. When they're coming from fear, ultimately when you start to feel into it, it doesn't feel good. It feels stressful, and it just fans the flames again. Which is not what we're looking for on these days.
Just noticing, "What am I feeling? And what am I believing, that is causing these feelings?" Because our feelings are a response to our thoughts. The thoughts, some of them may be true for us, or seem true. Gravity's a thing, right? That seems true. Whatever. We don't need to get into debating all of the thoughts, but there are some thoughts that may not be true. Like the, "You should have figured this out by now." That is classic Clever Brain.
So when we're believing, you should have figured this out by now, then the feelings that come with it feel very real, feel in our bodies very real and tangible. And it does not feel good. It feels like shame. It feels like guilt. It feels like we're failing some sort of test. I don't know what test this is, but it still feels very real, even though the thoughts may not be true.
So just notice that for yourself. What it is that you're believing that is causing you to feel the way you're feeling. Do notice, when it's like, "Okay. Here's what I'm feeling right now. Here's what I'm believing that is causing these feelings." Whatever you're believing, we got to just love that one. Whatever one inside you, that's believing that thing to be true, that one needs some love.
This is a concept that I talk about in the First Five Steps to Accomplish Any BIG, Scary Goal. It is all about loving all of the ones inside you. So loving the one that feels like she's failing. Loving the one that feels like binging is a good idea. Loving the one that is convinced that she's not doing it right.
Whatever those ones are, that are believing whatever the thoughts are, be they real or not real, whatever, those are the ones inside of us that need love. How do you do that? You can literally just start with, "I love the one who believes that I'm failing." You can say it out loud. You can write it down. You can look in a mirror. You can have a conversation with a friend.
One kind of ninja trick that I do sometimes, is that I will create a video of myself, which is super easy to do now in today's day and age, where you can just record yourself saying what's true. What's interesting about that, is that somehow when I can see a video of myself, I can have a bit of detachment, and see myself more like other people see me, rather than just the skewed image that Clever Brain presents. So that can be another way where you can just make a video of yourself. Nobody else has to see it.
You don't have to go on Facebook live like I do. But it allows you to hear yourself, and to hear what it it that you're believing. Then you can choose to love the ones inside of you that are believing that.
The next one is to be of service to others. If you are able to be of service, if you are able to do something kind for someone else, if it's something that you have the capacity to give ... And I really want to be clear that this is not about shitting on yourself. This is not about trying to be of service coming from guilt, or that you should do this, you should be grateful for everything that you have in your life. "How could you have a bad day? What is there to have a bad day about? You should be helping other people. People have it a lot harder than you do."
That kind of stuff, not helpful. Not constructive. Not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about is that when you can be kind to someone else. It can be as simple as opening a door for someone, as giving someone a compliment. Maybe tidying up something around the house, just a little bit, that's easy enough for you to do. But when it's coming from the spirit of, "Okay. I don't know what is happening in today, and I don't have the answers, and it feels really shitty. But I do feel better if I can you know, choose to be kind to somebody else, or choose to be of service." Then that can feel better.
One of the things that I am doing today is going live on Facebook and talking about this, because I know that it is of service to other people. I know that when I feel brave enough to say what is true for me, that it helps other people. I've just done it enough times to know that that works. And I don't think that that is unique or special to me. I think that is what it is to be human.
If you can share with someone else, what's going on, then it givers them permission to also share. It reminds them that they're not alone. That this is not some weird thing that only I am experiencing. That is unique to me. That means, that it's again, further evidence that I'm somehow flawed, or not going to make it, or whatever.
This is just what it is to be human. And a human who's wanting to grow. A human who is wanting to outside of what is comfortable and known. When we do that, Clever Brain is going to have a response, okay?
Danielina, says, “Thumbs up for your ninja trick." Thank you. You should definitely try it. I'm curious to know what you think of it. Vanessa says, "Thank you for that. I needed this." Oh you're so welcome Sweetheart. I think we all need to be reminded of these things, because this is again, this is life. We all have those days. I have had the experience of having those days string together into weeks, into months, and sometimes it feels longer than that.
I know many of you can relate to that as well. We just do the best we know how to do on any given day. And not all days are going to be the same degree of difficultly. So whether it's a really amazing day, or it's the worst day ever, it's temporary. Life moves. There's tides. There's things changing constantly. So I think the best we can do is just to come back to today, what's going on right now, what feels true right now, and be able to experiment with some of these tips and ideas, to see what works for you. And to notice, does it feel like relief? Does it feel like you can breathe a little bit more? Does it feel like maybe, just maybe, it might possibly turn out?
It might be better tomorrow. That's what we're looking for, is just to create a little bit of space, that allows you to move towards something that isn't quite so stressful and scary. All right? So I hope that this has been helpful to you. I'm so happy to have you here. Thank you for being with me. It's my joy to be able to share my truth, and have it be of service to you.
Every Tuesday and Thursday lately, I have been having these progress coaching chats. So if you enjoyed it, you are so welcome to come back, any Tuesday or Thursday at noon Pacific. You can also catch the replays either here on Facebook. There's a lot of them. Or you can listen to the audios.
For some of you that may be a lot more convenient. I know that I like to listen to the audios when I'm just doing the stuff of adulthood like cleaning or walking the dog, or whatever. So you are welcome to listen on our SoundCloud page. We've got all kinds of progress coaching session for you, depending on whatever kind of day you are having, and whatever you need. Thank you internet. Thank you so much for that my Dear.
All right. Until next time. Do the best you can. Be as brave as you can. Go take whatever your next right step is for today. As always, your next right step is the one that you can do. Okay? So go have fun, my Dears. Unless you're not having fun, then just go be with that and love the one who's not having fun. All right? Vanessa, thank you so much Dear. I love you.