(If you’re opposed to the expression ‘for realz’, I have to say that I am too. I don’t know why it showed up in the title of this message. It just wanted to be there. So be it.)
Now, onto the game-changing info.
Perhaps you’ve heard that what you focus on expands. I would love to share with you a real-life example of how to put that information into action so that your life changes faster than the winner of American Idol (is that still on? I don’t have a TV…)
I was working with a client this week who was noticing that there was a feeling of disconnect with her child and she wanted to change that. She was really longing to feel more connection.
I asked: On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the quality of your relationship with your child right now?
She pondered for awhile and then said: 6
Then she immediately wanted to go into all the reasons it wasn’t a 10.
“Hang on!” I interrupted (nicely). “Let’s focus on all the things that make it a 6 first.”
That was a struggle. She really wanted to go into the problems and what didn’t seem to be working.
I persistently kept gently bringing her back. “What makes it a 6 and not a 0 or a 1?”
She gave an example and then said, “But it feels so small.”
And there’s the crux.
We can choose to approach anything in life from either lack or abundance. And to come from abundance, it takes practice.
The mind really likes to fixate and focus on what isn’t there. And since thoughts are magnetic, if you start to focus on one thing that’s lacking, pretty soon, you’ll get a whole bunch of other thoughts that match the energy of the first one. They’ll create a brouhaha in your mind.
I’ve found that I really need to tear my mind away from the hullabaloo and consciously bring it into an opposite thought. It’s kind of like tearing apart a brand new piece of industrial-strength velcro. It takes some effort, but eventually it gets easier.
With my client, I shared that the practice is this: whenever you find yourself ruminating or fixating on how something’s not working, notice it (step 1), and then ask yourself what the exact opposite thought would be (step 2).
In this case, it would be going from I don’t feel connected to What are the ways I do feel connected?
Then you get firm with your mind. You don’t let it wallow in the lack, you guide it to the abundance, however small it might seem. Next, you allow yourself to marinate in the goodness. You might place your hands on your heart for 20-30 seconds and recreate the moment of connection, no matter how tiny it seemed. Relive it. Experience it with all your senses.
By taking that approach, not only do you feel better in the moment (3 cheers for feeling better!), you’re also rewiring your neuropathways in your brain to shift from a negative focus to a positive one. You’re literally changing your brain when you choose to focus on what you want more of.
Finally, celebrate that you were able to go from lack to abundance. This part is CRITICAL. Celebration is the missing piece, my friend.
How to celebrate?
I’m a big fan of the YAY ME!!! Many times a day, I throw my arms up in the air in a victorious V and exclaim with enthusiasm: Yay Me! Before I go to bed, I think up 5 things I did well during the day and say Yay Me! In my gratitude journal, I write down amazing things that I did (like cleaning the bathroom, staying calm with my kids or doing a yoga class even though I didn’t feel like it) and next to that I write: Yay Me!
What you focus on expands. If you choose to focus on what IS working and celebrate it, guess what will happen?
First of all, you already have clarity, because you get to do more of what’s already working. Score! Secondly, when you get yourself into the mindset and habit of celebration, you’ll all of sudden enjoy life more AND you’ll become a magnet to more things to celebrate.
Where else in life can you use this practice? Oh so many places.
Money: Got $1.76 in your bank account? Celebrate it!
Health: What parts of your body feel amazing? Celebrate them!
Relationships: What’s going well? Celebrate it!
Energy: Rather than going around declaring you’re tired (which you’ll definitely get more of, if you do), ask yourself: What parts of me feel energized?
Purpose: Feel like you’re wandering around in the fog, trying to find your purpose? It’ll stay pretty foggy if you keep your focus on not knowing. Instead, declare that you’re crystal clear on your purpose and start noticing what lights you up and then doing more of that.
Does this mean you live in a state of denial, suppressing emotions and presenting a joker-like smile to passers-by? By all means, no! I’ve shared with you in the past the steps to dealing with emotions in a masterful and mature way so they move through you with ease, grace and speed. So definitely feel your emotions.
AND, what you focus on expands. You are always at choice with your thoughts. If you don’t like how you’re feeling, notice what you’re thinking, choose the exact opposite thought and then celebrate it. It’s a simple and powerful formula that will CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.
Boom. Mic drop.
Go forth and celebrate because in the wise words of Winnie T. Pooh: Who can stop us from celebrating?
With festivals of love and fiestas of courage,
Creator of Courageous Self-Care
Enthusiastic Celebrator of Small Things
Occasional Spontaneous Dancer (especially in the living room)
PS - This month’s Self-Care Masterclass is coming up this Friday: How to Set Better Boundaries. If you’re exhausted, frazzled and overwhelmed, your boundaries likely need a little spring cleaning. Get the details here.