Do You Have a Hamster Wheel Inside Your Head?

The truth is, I can be anxious. Yep, I’ve been known to sweat the small stuff. To worry. To chew on a “problem” like a dog on a bone.

Can you relate?

For those of you who share my hamster wheel-like brain affliction, I’m sorry. It can be a bit exhausting, can’t it? Sure, it can serve us well at times- helping us to be creative, motivated and engaged. But, it can also tend to focus on things we can’t control which, as you probably already know, is crazy-making.

The desire to quiet the hamster wheel inside my head is what lead me to finally give this whole meditation thing a try. As you may have read in a previous post, I signed up for an 8-week meditation class at Peacebox so that I’d have some accountability and structure around my efforts (because, as it turns out, “meditating” whilst lying prone in my bed at 10:30 p.m. just puts me to sleep. Shocker!).

I’m three weeks into my meditation class and I am happy to report that I have found my place of Zen and feel as though I know the secrets of the Universe. Kidding! Meditation is actually one of the most awkward, difficult things that I’ve ever tried. But, dare I say, something is shifting a bit…

One of the side effects of having a hamster-wheel kind of brain (or, as my meditation teacher calls it “monkey mind”) is that you feel as though you must be in doing mode all of the time. Action, talking, movement, reacting…doers love these things. And, honestly, not doing can make us really uncomfortable. So, as you can imagine, sitting quietly and “doing nothing” for even 10 minutes kind of freaks me out.

So, in the course of three weeks I have maybe meditated a total of 30 minutes at home on my own. I need to be doing things for goodness sakes! There is no time to just sit still! Yup, if this were a graded class I’d be far from passing. But, that’s the thing, the practice of meditation is intended to be the antithesis of judgment, expectation and “grading” of ourselves.

When I go to class each week and talk about how I “should have” meditated more during the week and start verbally flogging myself for resisting the practice, my teacher gently reminds me there will be no judgment from her, even if I never meditate one minute outside of class. So I guess the only person judging me is…me.

I certainly don’t have this meditation thing all figured out. My foot still falls asleep when I try to sit cross-legged on the cushion and my mind races thinking about all of the to-do’s sitting there waiting for me in my calendar. But, the practice of meditation is telling me that I can choose not to judge myself harshly for this, or anything else in my life for that matter.

And guess what happens when you stop choosing the option of judging the hell out of yourself? Yep. You tend to stop judging situations, “problems” and others so harshly, too. I’d say that’s a pretty important shift.

Whether or not you ever sit on a cushion to meditate, I do hope you’ll think about releasing the judgment that you direct at yourself. Slow that hamster wheel brain down by releasing the pressure and expectations you are heaping onto beautifully imperfect you.

I think it’s a really good start (and we’ll figure out the secrets to the Universe next week).

Namaste,

Amanda

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I Want Everyone to Like Me

So, here’s the deal…

I want everyone to like me.

I mean, everyone. The people who read my posts on Facebook, the cashier at the grocery store, everyone I meet at networking events, my former bosses and co-workers, the mail carrier, each of you who reads this newsletter…

It’s true. In my fantasy world I am pleasing to everyone. I’m just the cup of tea that everyone wants to sip with glee! With GLEE, darnit!

Of course, I do not live in this fantasy land. And neither do you.

Most of us want to be likeable (and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing) but our desire to be pleasing to everyone, all of the time, can become a draining and negative force in our lives.

For a very long time, I operated with a belief system that everyone should like me. I measured my success as a friend, employee, co-worker, and and overall human being against this (highly unrealistic) bar.

Guess what this belief got me?

  • Anxiety

  • Horrible boundaries

  • Constant worry that I wasn’t “measuring up”

  • Inability to be truly present

  • Wasted energy in relationships or friendships that weren’t healthy

  • Resentment (or regret) about doing things that I didn’t really want to do

  • Lack of clarity about what I stood for and valued

  • Missed opportunities to be joyful and celebrate the good things in my life

Do you find yourself worrying a lot about how others feel about you or perceive you? Maybe this fear rears its head at work, or in social settings, or in your dating life… 

I’ve worked with many clients who have endured the pain of feeling compromised emotionally, physically, and even sexually, because they were afraid of not being pleasing, polite or “liked.”

Whether it’s saying yes to (yet another) visit from the in-laws, following a career path because of family pressure or having sex on a date when it’s not really what you want, the desire to avoid being disliked can be powerful and can lead us away from our truth.

So, what is the truth?

The truth is, the belief system “everyone must like me” is flawed. It’s unrealistic. And it is only going to set you up for frustration, sadness and the endless pursuit of being “good enough.”

The good news is that we can challenge and change our beliefs! So, in this case, a healthier belief might be: “It is unrealistic that everyone on this planet is going to like me. As long as I am being kind, authentic and living my truth, I am enough.”

Whew! Doesn’t this new belief sound so much lighter? More attainable? And more full of freedom for you to shine your unique light into this world without so much fear of judgment?

Listen, I still love being liked. And I am a believer in kindness, generosity, acceptance, and showing love to others. And, yes, we should never stop pursuing the best version of ourselves. But, we aren’t going to please everyone all of the time.

Sure, in my fantasy land everyone loves everyone. And there would also be no jealousy, bullying, scarcity mentality or comparison culture…but, unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. We can only control how we treat others. We cannot control the lens through which others see us. Their perception of us is shaped by what they bring to the table as a result of their own fears, insecurities and life experiences.

So, give yourself a break. Choose to adopt a belief about being liked that is rooted in reality; one that gives you freedom to be yourself, to find your tribe and to ignore the haters.

And, hey, don’t just take it from me. Listen to this really smart woman in a really fancy robe who also has a message for you. (Not trying to get political, but this tickled me too much not to share!)

Need some help with setting better boundaries, resisting people pleasing or feeling more confident about YOU? Drop me a line at coachingwithamanda@gmail.com and let’s chat!

Amanda is a trained Life Coach and holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling. As a recovering risk-avoiding scaredy-cat, she is passionate about empowering women to live and love boldly. Amanda shares her inspiration through personal coaching, corporate training, workshops and international retreats. She particularly loves working with women in the areas of dating/relationships, career growth, and overall self-confidence.  Learn more about Amanda at lifecoachamanda.com