What am I making that mean?
Spam Filter for Your Brain Episode 9 Transcript
This week, I will talk about one of the most important questions I ask. Whenever something gets a bit tricky, or I feel uneasy in my body, or I'm just not quite sure... something feels off, and I can't quite place it. And there is one question which I fall back on each time to try and investigate what is going on in my brain, in the pieces that I'm trying to join together, and how I'm applying this to threading it in among lots of stories that I've decided from my past and for my future. And this one key question is, "What am I making that mean?"
So it might be, for example, that someone has spoken to me quite sharply. I can ask myself "What am I making it mean, that they're talking to me in that manner?" or that perceived manner, what I'm making that mean about them or what I'm making that point about myself.
I could be that I've made a mistake on something, I've dropped the ball on something with work, or I haven't followed through on something I hoped to get done in a day, and if I stop and ask myself, "What am I making that mean?" I'm able to pause and instead of getting lost in a spiral of drama, of perceiving my observation about what is going on or my general gut feeling at absolute fact, what I can immediately stop and do is notice where am I using this sudden new piece of information as evidence that stories that I'm telling myself, about myself, to be true? Where am I making it? Join the dots between probably something dreadful that I have been thinking about myself or saying to myself, and I'm using it as evidence to mean quite often, well.. the stock standards are "I'm not good enough" "I didn't show up well enough", "I'm lazy", "I should be more I should be doing more."
These are my standard ones. I think all of us have a handful of mean things which are quite often default insults to ourselves. And when we can notice what the incident or the interaction in front of us has brought up for us, we can start looking at some of these thoughts and thinking, okay, so let's say it's something that I have dropped the ball with on work. I've decided that that means that I'm lazy and I'm not doing good enough or I'm not enough.
I could look at any of those thoughts and think; I'm doing this terrible thing and thinking this is a terrible way to speak to myself, and I shouldn't be doing that because that adds to a whole load more pressure and self-flagellation and bullying of how I'm getting things wrong.
But instead, I think of these things like you're picking them up with a set of tweezers in a way, and dangling them in front of my nose and thinking when I speak to myself like that, do I like the results that it gets me? Well, how do I behave when I'm telling myself these stories?
What kind of things do I say and do to myself and those around me when I'm repeating these negative narratives and when I take those actions, what are the results of those actions? It could be that I'm a bit more grumpy with my partner, or it could be that I don't take as much loving care or breaks in my work for the rest of the day. And so, therefore, my back ends up hurting at the end of the day. What are the results of the actions I take when I think something like that, and do I like them? And are they things I want to keep? I try to pay attention and not judge things as right or wrong, but I keep falling back on "Do I like the results that it gets me?"
So the question I fall back on regularly is, What am I making that mean?" From there, I can work out whether the meaning I'm assigning to it is something I want in my days. I know many people in SelfCareSchool have found this to be a helpful question to take and thread through their lives, especially when things get tricky.
And I hope that you find it helpful too. I look forward to seeing you next week.