Do you find it hard to make decisions? What evidence or information do you think is lacking that keeps you from making a decision? When making decisions, the brain likes to point out the reasons why something is a good or bad idea; we may need more information, or we need to wait for someone else or something else to happen so we can decide. Yet, even when that something happens, our brain could still find reasons to not make a choice.
You have already made many decisions in your lifetime. If you are reading this blog you made the decision to read it. When you are done reading it you will get to decide what you think of it. Some decisions like what spice to use in a recipe, or what road to turn down give you rapid results so you can determine the significance of your choice. Other decisions, such as who you choose to marry and if you want kids could take more time to provide the information needed to determine if your choice was a good one or not and whether you would do it again. We all go through changes in life as we evolve, so our views most likely change as life progresses. Keep in mind that you get to offer thoughts about the change and apply meaning to those changes.
But, what if every decision you make going forward was one that you could look back on and say, “Wow, I learned a lot from that decision.” Making a decision is defined as a conclusion or resolution made after consideration. Below are two different scenarios on buying a new car. Which scenario is more reflective of you?
You did your homework, and this is the car you wanted. You bought it for a good price, and you feel confident about the person and dealership that you bought it from. You swear that more people are driving this car since you bought it. You even start seeing the color of your new car on other cars and in unpredicted items that you never saw before. This was the right car for you!
You are apprehensive if it was a good purchase. You made a decision, unsure about the dealership and salesman, you start to hear rumors that they are not an honest dealership. You see the same car and model on the side of the street, broken down. Others that are on the road have dents in them. You begin to question if it was a good idea and start to think maybe you need to trade it in for a different car. This car must be a lemon!
When we make a decision believing it was a good one, our brain will begin to work to show us why the choice was such a good idea. On the flip side of that, our brain will also offer evidence of why something is a bad idea when we are unsure and find evidence to prove why you shouldn’t have made that choice. Making an informed decision builds self-confidence and allows you the opportunity to learn while giving your brain a chance to find solutions. When we get stuck in indecision, we find more problems and feel unsure, often spinning with unresolved thoughts.
There is the option to give our brain the chance to make a decision and allow that decision to unravel naturally as we manage our responses instead of reacting. Seeing every decision-making opportunity as an occasion to learn something about life could give your brain the chance to open up and allow trust in yourself to make more confident decisions.
We practice so many things in our life; practice writing, practice medicine, practice piano, but do we ever arrive? The idea of arriving shouldn’t be a “deadline” to a result when practicing patience. It is an ongoing endeavor that takes time. Time is similar to patience, and I see the two concepts work hand in hand. Time can be scheduled, taken, captured, and enjoyed but time is always moving just as patience is never arriving.
When we say “practice patience” it truly is just that; you contemplate what is urgent and what you are willing to endure through the practice of being patient. I want to explore patience and time as it relates to relationships. How long will it take? How much time do I need to commit too? How many times do I have to say this to you? Our efficient brain wants to know the time it will take as if knowing the deadline on something will guarantee the result we desire.
You can make the decision that you want something else or decide that what you have is actually what you want. When it comes to the day-to-day relationship communications you commit to, you decide how to show up. You don’t get to determine their reactions or responses, but you do decide how you get to respond with patience.
Practicing patience is more about making a commitment to yourself than it is about committing to someone else. As soon as expectations are attached to practicing patience, whether it be time or action related, it is no longer patience but a tool for control to manipulate the situation, person, and outcome you want. I think about wedding vows we might make, “I, ____, take you, ____, to be my wife (or husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.”
Everything mentioned in this vow is all about what you are committing to, not what you are asking of your spouse. You each make the vow to each other and when your other half doesn’t live up to our expectations, we use it as ammunition to find fault. How long do you practice patience? According to the vow, until death do you part, or how I like to see it, all the days of our lives.
Where are you trying to arrive in your relationship? What do you think will be different when you get there? How much time are you willing to give it until you arrive? These questions again reflect back to patience and time. When you have decided to practice patience and allow others to be who they are, then your life choices have more measure behind them, and they may not be as difficult to make. When it is based on the happiness you have decided to create in your life, your relationships and interactions have very little to do with others and more to do with you.
There is much wisdom in those who have endured many of life’s challenges. Most would say it is communication, listening, and love—with a hefty dash of hope and faith in yourself. What I have observed when I look closely at their experiences is that they found happiness in appreciating the simplicity of life and all it offers. They are happy with themselves, so they never feel the need to look over the fence for a greener pasture.
I want to first be clear that as a Life Coach I am not a counselor, psychiatrist, or have the degree and schooling to prescribe medications and help those who are struggling to live a baseline life. A few examples of issues that require a licensed professional’s help are having suicidal thoughts, persistent depression, intense trauma, or abuse. I am grateful to the mental health profession and all they do to help those who need them and make society a better place as a whole.
As a life coach, I personally help those with codependent behaviors who are living a baseline or above life. They are sad sometimes, get frustrated and overwhelmed, experience moments of anxiety and depression along with feeling out of control. The Lady I love to help is the one that knows there is more to her than how she is showing up in her relationships. This Lady wants help to create clarity and implement it into her life.
A fixed mindset will give you what you already have. An open mindset can show you what is possible. Unconscious or not your life reflects what you believe in the core of your soul to be your reality When looking back on your past experiences can you see moments in your life that you manifested from your own desires? We can only become the effect of a situation if we allow ourselves to see it as something that is happening to us. When it comes to our past, we can decide now, in the present, how we want to view that memory.
Being human, we have memories of pain and experiences that leave their marks. The truth is we all experience pain, no one will go through life without experiencing pain on some level. When you talk to enough people you begin to realize that there are many who have had pain; some pain you don’t relate to and others you do. Then why is it that some can move on and others get stuck? As a Life Coach, I believe it has a lot to do with conscious mind management.
The future is wide open for interpretation; how you navigate your future plans will create the reality that is to be. If we are that powerful when it comes to our thinking of the future, can we not use that same power on the past? Here are four questions that might help you in changing your past:
What did I learn from this situation?
How is this memory hurting me today?
What do I need to let go from this memory?
How can I see it another way?
Might it be possible that we are using our past to reason with our present as it allows us to excuse ourselves for why we stay where we are? Remembering that life is 50% good and 50% bad is a thought that might help you see your past in a different light. The bad stuff is formed in memory but there were good times, too. When life is rough, asking yourself, “What is the good that I can see in this situation?” or “How is this creating me into the beautiful lady that I am today?”
I am not suggesting suppressing emotions from the past, but rather come to a conclusion of how you want to use this information when you look back and decide how the events in the past were part of creating the perspective that you needed to live for today.
When it comes to self-coaching it is important to have a basic working knowledge on how the brain works. By having this basic knowledge, it can help you, “be onto yourself.” It might be helpful to know when you don’t feel like doing something new it is a completely normal feeling to have. That tells you that your limbic is doing its job, trying to protect you and keep you safe. In fact, it is only through repeatedly engaging your prefrontal cortex and making the decision ahead of time that you are going overcome the limbic’s natural response.
For example, most of us have to talk ourselves into exercise or even just to go for a walk. It’s not just the thinking it is the action you decide to do after the thought. The idea of not getting up will not completely go away but you can create a neurotransmitter pathway that is so strong that you don’t necessarily have to talk yourself into anything anymore; you just get up and do it. Creating a Habit truly is a conscious decision.
When it comes to the human brain, I will be the first to admit that I am an amateur as to understanding its complexity. I find it so interesting that I’ve completed much independent study on the matter. I marvel at the way our brain works and how throughout history you can see us evolving as our world evolves.
We would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the hard wiring of our limbic system. As we grow from infancy to a child, we learn the boundaries of what is safe. Memories of each life event are stored so we can use it as a reference point when something similar occurs later in life. The Limbic System keeps us safe from things that might harm us allowing us to react when needed based on instinct. From the beginning of time, the limbic system allowed us to conserve energy, find safety, reproduce, and protect ourselves and our loved ones. My thought when I think limbic is “caveman.”
Our Prefrontal Cortex fully engages when we stop reacting and start creating with our own choices. This is the reasoning part of our brain; it helps us to navigate our daily lives through problem solving. As we became more self-aware, we grew more creative as can be evidenced by the Industrial Revolution and the many objects of convenience we use today. Someone thought it out, then created it, not knowing if it was possible or going to work, then it became a reality. Such an action as this is us deciding to use our prefrontal cortex.
Realize your limbic system is there to protect you from potential danger. This realization could be helpful when trying something new, if you foresee obstacles ahead of time and plan for them, this is you being in the driver’s seat using your prefrontal cortex. You are not ignoring the warning signs you are aware and say thank you to the Limbic but move forward in spite of it.
If It was up to our limbic, we would stay in bed, eat what and when we want, watch what we want, and make little to no decisions. If the caveman had our resources that might be exactly what they would have done. Animals also have a limbic system, so animals instinctively do what is needed to survive. What animals don’t have is the reasoning part of the brain. As our world becomes more automated it is up to us to make conscious decisions on how we want to live our life; constantly afraid or creating solutions to obstacles in our path.
One’s actions and thinking are key to becoming a Leading Lady. Sometimes we can be that Leading Lady and other times we are more like a character that isn’t truly us. That is what I want to explore today; the concept of a safe or growth space and how tapping into your vulnerability is vital in becoming more of the Leading Lady that you truly are.
Let’s explore what a safe space might be. When you think of the phrase “safe place” do you envision a place or person? Does a feeling of comfort come over you? What constitutes a safe place is really in the eyes of the beholder. Someone who enjoys massages, gentle spa music, and relaxation can see a massage room as safe while others feel anxious and uncomfortable because they don’t like to be touched by strangers. The space is the same, yet the viewpoint of each individual is different.
What comes to mind when you think of growth? From infancy to a young lady, we grew and didn’t get to have a say on how or when we grew. Our bodies experienced pain when our molars came in, when our bones grew and when our menstrual cycles began. On top of the physical growth, we were expected to learn math, history, science and so much more. We didn’t know the answers; we had to learn and grow from our mistakes in order to understand the world around us.
As adults it is left up to us if we want to experience self-growth and if we view a situation as being safe or not. There is nothing you need to do to make you more valuable. You already are 100% worthy just as you are and having gone through your growing thus far. Self-growth is not needed to fix anything, Nothing is wrong with you or needs to be fixed. Self-growth is up to you if you want it.
If becoming a Leading Lady seems like a worthy goal to you, then you will want to decide that you are willing to experience an arrange of emotions. You can create this opportunity by being open and willing to be vulnerable to each situation that comes up for you. Believe the space IS safe and be willing to grow.
A safe space will be transformed to a growth space when you open yourself to all emotions that come from all situations. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable as you observe how you are feeling and doing that which will create a purposeful outcome for you.
When we don’t grow as individuals, we are bound to be that character in someone else’s drama. Creating excuses for why we are not where we want to be will keep us hidden in the world. I believe that you are a Leading Lady and your unique role is what this world needs when it comes from a place of Love, Trust, and Hope in yourself.
Just like the growing pains of childhood, there is going to be discomfort. Expect that and find ways to accept that knowledge. Perhaps reflecting on your childhood growth process will help you realize you’ve survived thus far and that by embracing discomfort you cannot only survive but begin to thrive. It is through this discomfort that you will experience personal insight that you otherwise would not have if you didn’t choose growth. The Leading Lady finds a way to embrace growth and moves forward knowing that it is through being vulnerable and believing any space is safe that she develops into who she truly is—a Leading Lady.
You need to be the Leading Lady in your own story, or you are allowing others to treat you as characters in their drama. Wanting or needing people to like you is an internal relationship situation and only you can fix it, but you have to want to. This has been called many things; being co-dependent, people pleaser, or an enabler. If you are not out rowing your own boat you are standing on the dock waiting for someone to pick you up in theirs. A leading lady would never say, “I don’t like confrontation, I’m fine with being agreeable, I want people to like me.” These are phrases that other characters and those on the dock waiting for a boat would say.
Let me give you an example of how you might know that you are playing a character in someone else’s drama.
You are at a dinner party with friends, and a lady you barely know walks up to you and says, “I’ve seen you; you are such a know it all.”
Words have been spoken that you might not agree with, in fact you may feel insulted. So, you look to your husband and tell him you want to leave, or you look to a friend and ask for the identity of the woman. Either way, you are now portraying a character in this lady’s drama and not yours. Maybe you decide to leave or maybe you complain about her. Your focus is on her so that makes her the Leading Lady.
Same situation same words have been said. But instead of turning to someone else you could approach this situation in a non-abrasive manner and ask her, “That’s interesting, how do we know each other?” Or, “I can see how that might be true,” or you could simply say, “Thank you for bringing that to my attention.” Many words can be said in this situation, but when you respond with grace and self-respect instead of reacting out of anger, always shows that you are a Leading Lady in your own story.
One of the Al-Anon slogans come to mind when exploring this concept, “Don’t be a door mat.” It’s okay to have moments that you wish you could take back. You are human and the goal is never for perfection but always for improvement. Even Leading Ladies get it wrong now and then and know when to ask for help; that is what makes them a Leading Lady. They are open to the possibilities and are willing to question their own thinking.
In the next three blogs I will explore a few concepts on becoming the Leading Lady to your own story. These concepts will center around:
Roles we play in relationships so you can be aware of the roles and parts you might be playing.
Exploring a growth space compared to a safe space and how vulnerability is going to make the difference.
Plus diving a little deeper into blame and responsibility, it can be tricky to detect when we are the victim, villain or hero.
If you are not already signed up for my Sunday Evening Thoughts and Blog sign up now. Stop being a character in someone else’s drama, waiting on the doc for a boat that may never come. Come and discover insights that will help you become the Leading Lady in your life.