Tag Archives for " meaning making "

2 UpSurge Coaching Filtering

Glass half-empty, half-full or spilled all down your shirt?

UpSurge Coaching Filtering
Have you ever been looking for a certain type of car and from then on you see them everywhere? Did everyone suddenly buy one because they heard you wanted one? Maybe, you rockstar trendsetter you! But more likely your ‘filter’ for seeing this type of car changed.  Our senses take in millions of bits of information every day and only a very small portion of it gets the attention of our conscious mind – the rest gets filed by our sub-conscious.

Meaning making madness

We adjust and refocus our filters constantly to make meaning of our lives.  Humans are hardwired to make meaning of big stuff, little stuff and all the stuff in between.  Different people can make a virtually endless list of different meanings from a single event – a high-five to freewill!  Depends on our age, personality, upbringing, mood, energy, environment, what happened just before, what needs to happen after this event…the list goes on and on and on like your granddad talking about the good ol’ days.  I love freewill – it’s a bit like a mobile phone on public transport – you love using yours but it drives you bonkers when others use theirs!

Freewill made me do it!

Because our conscious mind doesn’t want us to freak out and spiral into overload it stores pre-programmed meanings for us to grab at a moment’s notice based on how we have previously felt about similar events  – this is just a waffly definition of ‘experience’. Thanks conscious mind for helping my head not explode with information overload (that would be so messy), but what if I wanted to feel differently about something this time? It’s kinda like going to a restaurant and there is only one thing on the menu – emm,  I wanna be able to choose.  Especially when the meaning I have made of an experience in the past led me to feel pretty crappy about it.

Take a situation I had recently.  I rocked up somewhere where I knew all the people pretty well – all good so far for someone who has their slider sitting 2/3’s towards the introvert end of the continuum. But this day one person looked like a bulldog chewing a wasp and snapped at me when I offered to help with a mundane task. I could feel my stomach churn and my heart race as I scrambled frantically to pin down what I had done, hadn’t done, had said, hadn’t said that could make them so hostile – this was my habitual filter kicking in ie. ‘someone is hostile = I have done something to upset them’.  BUT, this day I had had enough sleep, breakfast, hugs (you just fill in the list for what makes you resilient) and I was able to tie a knot in my emotional unravel and keep calm and friendly.  Yahh me!  So in this case I changed the filter through which I interpreted this situation to ‘someone is hostile = they are upset and if it has anything to do with me I trust they will share their feelings with me if they need to’ (not a very snappy alternative meaning but you get the idea I am sure).

I knew I was going to have a ‘Self-fulfilling Prophecy’

Next stop on our fantastic filter fun-ride is a funky little phrase called ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.  Wikipedia says “a self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behaviour”. In ‘people who don’t have a long list of letters after their name speak’ it means we decide what things mean and then filter the evidence to make it true. Think of it as a smorgasbord of meaning – we pile our plate high with the things that fit with our world view; completely ignore the things that don’t fit at all and for the meanings that partially conflict we pour so much tomato sauce (aka spin doctoring) on them that we can make them familiar enough to stomach.

Another way of getting to grips with the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy is Anais Nin’s delicious quote “We don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as we are”. All very interesting I might hear you say but why is this relevant? Well, my fellow filtering friend it’s relevant because we create, uncreate and recreate meanings for our experiences depending on our relationship with ourselves, others and the world at large. So, why not reframe a difficult event as an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself rather than ‘the worst day of my life’.

Darn that Jam, or maybe not

What I really invite you to put in your doggy bag from this post is that you get to choose the meaning. It can come down to viewing life through the filter of fear or love.  Do you believe the universe is a friendly place that has your best interests at heart or a hostile place that has it in for you? There are so many ways of saying this that it could become a cheese-fest of synonyms so I will restrain myself and slip only one more in. Do you assume the best or the worst?

Let’s build our meaning making muscles – how many meanings can we come up with for a traffic jam?

1. Pain in the butt
2. Opportunity to listen to music you love
3. Stressful because you will be late
4. A bonus because you don’t have to make dinner
5. A chance to be grateful that you have a car and don’t have to cycle in the rain
6. Some much needed alone time after leaving a busy office and before you come home to a busy family
7. The universe’s way of making sure you were or weren’t somewhere at a certain time that wasn’t for your highest and best
8. …over to you – let your creativity run wild…

Try reading an ‘assume the worst’ and an ‘assume the best’ meaning, pausing to notice how your body feels with each one. One single traffic jam can have so many meanings – why not choose one that makes you feel calm and living in a world that has your best interests at heart.

If this gave you a laugh or a ‘yep, I do that’ moment please share it with your friends – they might need to build their meaning making muscles too.

UpSurge Coaching Deservability

Dial up your Deservability

UpSurge Coaching DeservabilityI hadn’t heard of deservability until my 40’s.  Oh the deprivation…well not really but it did get the gray matter fizzing like a freshly dunked Berroca (btw, beware these little orange suckers – they are full of artificial sweeteners’, but I digress). Deservability isn’t even a real word according to the squiggly read lines my spell check so decoratively denotes dodgey words with but to me it should be coz it’s such an interesting viewpoint from which to look at your life and decision making.

If I’m getting all loved up about this word then best I explain what it means to me.  First stop is what it’s not – entitled.  Man, entitled flares my nostril (I have a really small nose but it’s still flarable!) in a ‘get over yourself’ kinda way.  Soapbox alert – look away if you just don’t want to go there…I am a big believer that no one arrives with a Willy Wonker golden ticket  – our contribution to others and the kindness and love we embody are the measures of who we are, not our lineage. Whether we are born rich or poor we stand on our merits not those of our parents, grandparents etc.

Put the soapbox down and walk away…I am being a cow talking like this – if someone is working the ‘entitled’ angle then fear is the place from which they operate – usually the fear of not being enough just as they are so they call in family history backup. I know I still visit ‘NotEnoughVille’ but I also know now it’s not a one way journey so I scull some self-worth and get the hell outa there – nothing beautiful ever grows there.

Deservability Dissected and Defined

So if we know deservability is not entitlement then what is it? Deservability reflects the settings of our expectation dials – expectations of ourselves, of others and of the world.  Many things contribute to your settings including the expectations of your parents, peers and friends.  It will also build in what your young self heard and experienced.  For example did you come from a ‘you can be whatever you want to be’ or a ‘life is hard, get over it’ household?  Or did you ever hear ‘our family just aren’t good at [fill in the blank]’ or gross generalisations like’all men/women are [fill in the blankety blank]’.  Your young ears, eyes and hearts will have witnessed thousands of dial setting scenarios and since the aim of your young self was to survive often you take these on as ‘how to keep physically, emotionally and spiritually safe’ guidelines g. Have you ever heard your inner voice say ‘that’s too good for me’?  That’s your deservability talking. How about the classic ‘I will never [fill in the blank]’. Who said you will never [fill in the blank]?  Was there a decree from god written on a stone tablet? Didn’t think so.

Work that Deservability Mixing Desk DJ

Deservability is certainly not one dial – it’s a whole dashboard – in fact picture one of those mixing decks they have in a music studio with knobs for Africa!  You might have a high setting on deservability for ‘being loved’ so you won’t accept anyone treating you in a unloving way but you might have low setting for ‘feeling fulfilled in my work’ so you will stay in a job that sucks your soul.  How about health – a high setting means you make time to exercise regularly and get nutritious food but a low setting would mean you don’t nurture yourself.

Do you reckon these dials are wired separately or somehow interconnected?  I have a rigorously tested theory (sample size of one ie. me) that the dials are all connected to a master dial of ‘self-love’.  When I am self-aware and self-compassionate all my dials seem to ramp up simultaneously – spooky ha!  When I feel resentful, focused on trying to get on the mythical ‘good person’ list and generally seeking approval from other therefore not fit for public consumption aka visiting ‘NotEnoughVille’, my dials drop down into the red zone of self destruction.  I eat crap, my self-talk goes from supportive to downright bloody mean and I feel I have nothing worth sharing with the world.  Luckily I now have plenty of tools to dial up self-love PDQ.

My parents stuffed me up good and proper – you too ha!

Trying to forensically interpret what has shaped your deservability can become a witch hunt aka ‘my parents stuffed me up good and proper’.  It plunges you right in the tar pit of victimhood.  You just gotta get outa there before you go under! Victimhood gives away all your power to create a life of your design.  You couldn’t even fill an old fashioned phone box with people who have had a perfect childhood filled with nothing but unconditional love from everyone who has ever touched their lives. Funny aside – my kids didn’t believe such a thing as a phone box existed – why would people need them when everyone has a mobile?  You lived in the olden days Mum!  Anyway back to the topic at hand.

Belief in you (well, lots of beliefs actually)

A more useful way of looking at deservability is realising that you have some low dial settings in some areas of your life – these are your ‘disempowering beliefs’ about yourself, others and the universe in general. You also have some high dial settings and these are your ‘empowering beliefs’ – can’t get enough of these babies! Like anything you want to change you can’t do anything about it until you know what you are dealing with – ignorance is not bliss in this case, rather it’s frustration, confusion and patterns of behaviour that don’t serve you. Thanks but no thanks – I much rather have freedom, fulfillment and fabulousness any day. BTW, just between you, me and the gatepost I think you deserve the most beautiful life you can image and that you have a unique contribution to make in the world.

So how do you find out what your disempowering beliefs are?  We go on a magic mystery tour into your sub-conscious mind… If you are picturing dark forces at work in your mind then take a deep breath of self-compassion. Your disempowering beliefs don’t have some grand plan to make you miserable, they are just stories that your mind created to make sense of the messy and complicated business of living. At the time of their creation they made perfect sense but from your adult minds point of view they simply no longer stack up (remember what I said above about most of your beliefs being formed before your sixth birthday).  They can be very compelling stories but when you realise they are just stories you can re-write them to have much better endings. It may not make the pain of some events go away but they will lose their vice like grip on shaping your current reality.

Identifying and changing your disempowering beliefs is very difficult to do one your own. Our sub-conscious will often protect us by taking a painful experience and creating a disempowering belief to save us from  having to relive this pain – a kinda ‘don’t go there again’ warning system. With  vigilant self-awareness and abundant self-compassion you can free your self, but this road is much more comfortably traveled with a supportive companion.

Wheelbarrows of horse poo

If you feel any of your dials are stuck on low and you want some help freeing them up, then give me a call.  Just think of me as coaching ‘CRC’ (this is awesome lubricant in a spray bottle if you haven’t had the pleasure of using it – smells a bit funny though. I don’t smell too bad as a rule unless I’ve been wrestling with wheel barrow of horse poo – smell don’t worry the dog but my husband and kids are not so keen – funny that).

Please share with your friends if they vacation in ‘NotEnoughVille’ -some people set up camp there and get stuck in a Hotel California style loop…”you can check out anytime you like, but your can never leave”…