how to believe in yourself

What Do You Believe About You?

This week we discussed how mindmanager, our brain’s gatekeeper, and overworked executive, can be encouraged to support our goals rather than “sticking us back in front of the tv” of familiarity. But I realized that I hadn’t clearly explained why mindmanager is so persnickety in the first place.

Why can’t we engage with any goal we want, any time we feel like it?

Ok, so first let’s clarify that the thing you want to do is difficult. No one is blocked about things that are easy! “I want to binge on Netflix but every time I sit down to watch, I freak out and disengage” said (almost) no one, ever.

When things are hard, they involve:

  • Times when you don’t feel like doing it
  • Times when it’s physically or mentally draining to keep going
  • Times when you feel so emotionally vulnerable that you almost can’t stand it.
  • Times when you really, truly just don’t know what to do next

What happens in times like these? Do you dig in and push through? Or do you disengage and check out? This is when mindmanager either needs to be on your side, or you will drop back into familiarity.

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cbt decision making models

Welcome to the Situation

I am guessing that we all agree that how we think about something impacts the experience we have with it. You wouldn’t still be here if you weren’t already pretty much on board with the idea that your brain is really powerful and can change your lived experience.

Examples include:

  • If you think that you have choice about how much fear you take on, you feel less overwhelmed by individual news stories. When you feel pursued by bad news, worried that you’ll get swept away by the currents of negativity, then every news story is cause for concern.
  • If you think that your partner is genuinely doing his or her best under difficult circumstances, it’s easier to overlook the dirty dishes and/or the nagging. If you think he or she is “taking the easy way out” then those dishes and the nagging become cause for a 2-day argument.
  • If you believe that the world needs more laughter, you will see silly posts, emails, and videos as something for which to be grateful. If you believe, on the other hand, that what we need now is to take everything very seriously, those posts will annoy you and be more evidence of how shallow everyone is.

These examples aren’t here to make a case that one belief or thought is better or righter than another. It’s the opposite of that, actually. This is to draw your attention to how your thoughts create the experience you are having.

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how to take control of your mind

Mindmanager to the rescue! …Maybe.

Listen, there’s a reason that “change is hard” is one of the biggest headnodders* of all time. We suck at changing our lives! This is why we continue to engage with truly terrible ideas! Here are three terrible ideas I am still engaging in on the regular:

  • Never exercising. Despite being known most of all as “that women who went from never exercising to being a triathlete,” I spend most days chilling on the couch, especially right now.
  • SUGAR. Despite being almost entirely “sugar free” because of that whole autoimmune thing last year, I bought a 5 pack of Trolls Oreos on Amazon because I NEED IT. (Yo, there are POPROCKS inside. You need them, too.)
  • Speed reading. When I get interested in a book, I become compulsively committed to finishing it.I read fast already, but I also have a setting that kicks in that is way more about finishing than savoring.Then, I’m done with my book and SO SAD it’s over. I’ve known this forever, and yet I finished “The art of inheriting secrets” in 36 hours.Errrggghhhh, so frustrating. Because now I don’t get to read it anymore! SMH.

Today is just another example of our whole lives. We know what’s up.

Said another way, we already know what we need to do differently!

So why don’t we? And why do we get so emotional when someone suggests that we could, in fact, respond differently?

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how to live with chaos in your life

F*ck It!

This message is brought to you by the coronavirus, two and half weeks in.

[Tuesday, March 31st, 6pm] I think the lesson from today can be summed up neatly with this two-word, oft stated phrase in the Crowell Home: F*ck it.

I’ve decided that for today Imma let go into the mess. Really relax into the chaos. Settle into the shit, and get comfy.

Here we go:

I spent my entire day on zoom, which was glitchy AF as the entire world suddenly logged into it (F-You, Zoom! YOUR internet is unstable!) “connecting” with clients (F-You social distancing! I want to hug my people!) and being emotionally available (F-You self control! I’m going to dip my OREOS in wine!) while also taking care of my kids (F-You color coded homeschooling schedule! One tap for the next 5 hours? SCREENS!) and trying to stay on top of the mountain of videos I’m creating for my classes (F-You youtube auto-translate! Why must it take 73 clicks to find you?!?).

And for good measure: F-YOU New York Times app of doom, Facebook panic button, and [SAY IT WITH ME]:

F-THE-H out of you, Coronavirus.

Fuck all that, is what I’m saying.

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clearing out the clutter in your mind

What’s a Mind, Anyway?

My posts for the past week boil down to one piece of critical advice: During the coronavirus crisis (and, actually, always) it’s very important for you to realize that you have CHOICE about what you think, what you feel, and how you act.

Not total choice, obviously, but a heck of a lot more choice than most of us are exercising.

And listen, I’ve heard every version of how that’s not true:

“Some people have depression and anxiety or worse, Amanda. They aren’t at choice about how they feel.” They have more choice than they know, and I want them to see if they can find some. Will their choices make them feel all better? NO. But I’m not going to let that stop me from encouraging them to do what they can to feel more at peace TODAY.

“Some people have lost their jobs and have no money and nobody is hiring right now, Amanda. What do you want them to do?’ I want them to know that even SUPER hard times don’t have to be the only thing happening in your life. Where can you find joy? What delights you? How can you get a little bit of that TODAY?

“Some people are sad, angry, and frustrated, Amanda! And what’s wrong with that? You shouldn’t shame people who are feeling entirely rational, albeit negative emotions.” I would NEVER shame anyone for feeling badly.

And I never said that exercising your choice about how you think, feel, and act during the coronavirus would mean that you will feel great all the time.
How bizarre would that be? Our world is in crisis, people we know are sick (and maybe we will be, too), and there are real worries about how we are going to recover from this economic free fall. Being present and intentional often means feeling sad and angry and frustrated. That’s totally fine.

AND! Being present and intentional can also mean feeling grateful. It can involve laughter. Sometimes it means that you restrict your exposure to the news so you can be present with your kid without that crushed feeling in your chest. Sometimes it means that you tell your husband that “If pajamas are on my body, NO ONE WILL SPEAK about the coronavirus!” All of those things are allowed.

Being alive during a global crisis does not mean you have to BE in crisis.

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not losing hope

There’s Always Hope in the Humans

In our previous post, we discussed how to counteract the negativity and fear that threatens to consume us by tapping into the beauty around you. You may not remember, but beauty was part of a three-part list, along with hope and opportunity.

Just like beauty, hope is available to us at all times if we choose them to see it.

If you’ve had even one “emo” moment in your life, you’ve probably had this two-part thought:

“What is hope, anyway, and isn’t it entirely naïve to be hopeful?”

This usually comes up when you’ve experienced a moment of chaotic unpredictability [Like that time the entire world decided to work from home (including the kids!), except for the doctors and nurses who HAD to go to work (but without fundamental protective gear) because a highly contagious virus was on the loose.] At times like that, you begin to seriously worry that things “Won’t be OK.”

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finding beauty in a broken world

Beauty is everywhere if you choose to see it

In our previous post, we talked about how psychologists estimate that it takes 10 compliments to counteract a single critical comment, 10 exposures to beautiful, hopeful images to neutralize the fear of seeing a scary picture. This rule of 10 dictates that fear will draw you in at 10x the power of hope, beauty, and opportunity.

In practical terms, this means you need to surround and immerse yourself in proof that the world is, in fact, beautiful.

How can we do that?

First, what IS beauty? I’ve been thinking about this and my current definition is that beauty is the honest expression of emotion. Human history is the parade of one unprecedented thing after another that simultaneously pulls us towards each other and pushes us away from each other. The expression of how that feels IS BEAUTY.

We feel connection and beauty when our heart says “I know that feeling… despite our differences, we are the same.” And beauty isn’t all hugs and pollyanna hand-holding (though… bring it on!), it’s honesty about pain, loss, and rage as well as connection, pride, and even routine.

Beauty is EVERYWHERE… are you choosing to see it?

Here are some examples of the beauty I see:

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letting go of fear

The Opposite* of Fear is Presence

The opposite* of fear is not a lack of fear. The opposite* of fear is presence in the present.

Are you present to the person you are with?

Are you present to the intentions that you set?

The goal you are pursuing?

Are you present to the opportunity of now?

How would you know?

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how to stop living in fear

Manage your Fear to Hope Ratio

In our previous posts, we discussed how there is nothing more fundamentally “alive” than fear. In fact, it’s fear that keeps us alive despite the tigers, freezing cold, and food scarcity that have historically plagued our species. Perhaps this is why fear is so much more powerful than hope.

Psychologists estimate that it takes 10 compliments to counteract a single critical comment, 10 exposures to beautiful, hopeful images to neutralize the fear of seeing a scary picture. The rule of 10 dictates that fear will draw you in at 10x the power of hope, beauty, and opportunity. During times of overwhelming fear, this means that you need to PROACTIVELY reduce the number of exposures you have to the fear and intentionally jack up your exposure to hope, beauty and opportunity.

How can we do that? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

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Fear has the gravity of a black hole

Fear Has the Gravity of a Black Hole

Yesterday I wrote to you with a new Coaching With Gloria video about how you get to choose whether you live in a competitive world or a collaborative world. But it’s not only your beliefs about the competitive/collaborative nature of the world that you get to choose and then create by the way you show up, but it’s also way more than that. Two other huge reality markers that you get to choose and create are fear v. presence and scarcity v. abundance.

There is nothing more fundamentally “alive” than fear. All sentient beings have fear, even the single-cell organism in the petri dish will pull away from sudden bright light. And, the more complicated the brain involved the sneakier fear becomes; by the time you get to human beings (Oh, ye of the prefrontal cortex, most complicated brain structure on the planet) fear can show up in literally any costume. Here are some of fear’s favorite characters:

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