1 way to find your voice and reduce your stress levels
Let's talk about those voices in our heads that are making our life miserable, but that are actually not our own. Now this might sound a little bit weird but let me tell you a story about a client of mine.
When Michèle came to work with me, she was pretty much at the end of the rope. She didn't sleep, she was tired, she didn't have any energy and couldn't enjoy the job she loved doing. She was in conflict with a lot of different things: people and workplace. She was stuck and not sleeping was literally killing her or it felt like it was. I think if you don't sleep, you know what kind of feeling I'm talking about.
Now here is one thing I uncovered pretty quickly with her and once we changed it, it made a massive difference.
As soon as I started talking to Michèle, it was very clear that she was a loving person, but that she was also super stressed all the time. She tried to get it right for everything and everyone.
Everything had to be PERFECT! Everything had to be done. You don't start a project and don't end it. You must tidy up everything right after you change something in position.
You need to stick to deadlines at all times, even if you make 'em up in your head. All of these things created a tremendous amount of stress and as we all know, stress is having a deteriorating effect on our body.
It basically breaks our body down at a certain point. We are not made to be stressed over an extended period of time. We're made to cope with it for an emergency situation.
Now here's the thing: When Michèle and I started talking, I asked her a few questions and it turned out that a lot of those values she believed in, were actually not hers. One of the sentences constantly haunting her was 'when you start something, you have to finish it'.
That sentence was applicable to everything in her life. Whether it was starting to try and sew something, she had to finish the sewing project. Whether it was starting a book, she had to finish it. Whether it was starting a meal, she had to finish it. Whether it was starting a project at her workplace she could see was not working out, she had to finish it.
When I asked her why that was the case and what would happen if she didn't finish it, she couldn’t answer it. She didn’t even dare go there. I asked her, if she would talk to someone else this way and she said no and I understood that this was not her voice. But whose was it? Was it her parents or someone else in her family? A teacher? A friend? Was it someone in her surroundings?
She remembered exactly who said it. It was her Primary school teacher's voice. When she was little and they started an arts and crafts project, a classmate was told off because he didn't want to finish it; he didn't like it. It was a tricky kind of project and that was the sentence the teacher said.
When you start something, you have to finish it and she always thought that was a value of hers.
WE continued working on those beliefs and as it turns out, I asked her, if this was true for her. Was this her value? It's a very simple question; it's either a YES or NO category. Can you live with this not being the case at this time? CAn you live with not finishing that book? Can you live with not keeping every appointment, but actually saying:
'Hey, Today I'm not feeling well, can we cancel?'
I know some people are stressing out immediately, because they don't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
As we went through those questions, we started to really uncover her. Tearing layers of wallpaper off her and those different pieces of wallpaper were basically thoughts that weren't her own. They were put on top of her and as we went through that process, we started to see her. As we did that, she was capable of telling people ‘No, I don't value this’, or ‘I don't want to do this’ and saying ‘this is my priority right now’. ‘I am my priority right now and this is my integrity!’
It created such a relief for her; better yet a stress relief. She could finally relax. I'm not saying that you should always start and not finish, but you need to know if it makes sense or not and be okay if it doesn't. It's totally okay not to finish something and to move onto something else. For a lot of people that's not possible and here I am asking you, would you be so harsh to someone else? Most likely not, so why are you to yourself? Whose voice are you listening to?
Who is creating that stress for you? Is it legitimate; yes or no?
If it is and you say if I don't finish this project, I'm going to get fired; then yes, it is legitimate. Now, let's see how we can deal with it. Do you need help, do you need to let something else pause for a while? If it's not, then take it lovingly (I like to imagine creating a bubble around it) and let it go.
I can feel my mind prioritizing this, but it's not legitimate. I can see you, I acknowledge you, but you're not helping right now, so off you go in peace.
The more you do that, the more you start to ask yourself is this actually me? Is this me talking to myself or is this someone else? If it is someone else, do I want to be like that person? Would I transmit that value to someone else? Is this a true core value that I believe?
If you manage to do that, the more and more you practice it, it will set you free. You will be in integrity. You will be able to prioritize much easier and you will be able to let go of things that aren't you!
You will get to know yourself and that is a huge gift and it's going to make you so happy. Sleep will be back because less things are unsettling and stressing it out. That is just a little question I want you to ask yourself as soon as you start to remind yourself: ‘ah, I need to do this!’
Even if you know that it's not logical, ask yourself ‘is this actually me thinking that I have to do this right now?' Is this actually me thinking that I have to wash up these dishes straight away or am I so exhausted that it's okay for me to let them here in the kitchen sink and deal with them in the morning.
You might have different examples, so go ahead and try it out. Let me know how it goes. Just enter it in the comments section on my facebook page. I'm sure you will be triggered at least once today, because we all constantly are.
You can always still choose, yes, it's my value, but if it's not, let it go.
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