Archive | April, 2013

If you’re a hot mess, mind your hot thoughts!

30 Apr

hot mess party of oneWhen I first heard the phrase “hot mess” I didn’t  know what to think. I experienced the same feeling I got when I sat in the theater watching the screen just prior to the  trailers running, when the voice said, “Do us all a solid…” and proceeded to ask the audience to silence their cell phones.

What the heck does that mean?

Okay, maybe I don’t get out enough. Or maybe my nose is buried in research so much these days that I am not accustomed to any terms used outside of academia.  Regardless, upon finding out the meaning of these two words, ( truthfully, these words conjured images of a Sunday night dinner I may have been presented with when I was in high school during what my mom would call “Experiment Night” when all the leftovers were thrown into a baking dish and we dug into a steamy surprise) it took me straight to two words that I use to describe the antecedents to some pretty messy, impulsive, reactive, and oftentimes ugly behavior:

HOT THOUGHTS

No, these aren’t sexy fantasies of Fabio (really, ladies?!) or pornographic images of a decadent bananas foster (for those of you who are dieting and like to use the term ‘food porn’ to describe your imagery escapades)– they are the reinforcers of our often misguided perceptions that lead us into hotmessdom.

I’ll dish out the down low. (See, I can’t even sound cool when I try).

We are conditioned to respond in ways in which we are often unconscious. Without a level of attentional awareness, we move through our lives; our relationships; our responsibilities; and our roles at home, work, and school in a largely automatic fashion. We look down and our dinner is gone. We get to work and don’t remember driving down the road.  We are confronted by a spouse 15 years into marriage with the words, “you never paid attention to me.”  We react rather than respond.  We want, so we get. We avoid instead of approach. We speak before we think. We cross the road before looking both ways.

You get my point.

We’re impulsive. And without being mindful and aware, we end up in the middle of Hotmessdom, wondering how the heck we got there. Once there is when you typically wake up, open your eyes, listen to the sounds around you and recognize that something just doesn’t feel right. You’ve made a mistake. You took the wrong turn. You didn’t follow the right directions. And now you’re in a really uncomfortable and scary place. An anxious, anxiety-ridden, “get me out of here” place. You want to run but you don’t know where to go. You want to hide, but you don’t know who you’re hiding from. Yourself, maybe? You’re scattered and fearful and you just want to be feeling something else. A hot mess with some hot thoughts that now, as you’re reading this and you’re in a rational state of  mind, standing on the outside looking in, you may take some time to zero in on.

What are those hot thoughts that keep you in that emotionally messy, stuck place?

I’ll share mine. It yells at me, and when I hear it screaming I have to turn around and say, “Look, I know you think you’re helping me, but you seriously have no right barging in here to tell me who I should be, how I should act, what I should look like,  how I’m not good enough, or how I won’t measure up. ”

ListenIt’s this: You need to do more. You’re not working hard enough. Who do you really think you are writing this blog hoping that you can reach someone and help them understand they’re  not alone in Hotmessdom? Only, none of these thoughts are blanket, 100% accurate. Can I improve? Yup. And I strive for this daily. Do I need to work hard? Yup. And I do. But if those hot thoughts are grounded in fear or unworthiness, they need to be reassessed.

You don’t have to live in Hotmessdom. The better you get to know yourself and are able to access your wise and rational minds– the minds that can assess your hot thoughts in a more objective, open, non-judgmental, and approachable manner– Hotmessdom becomes a smaller and smaller land, way off in the distance.

Most of the time.

I Am My Own Worst Enemy?…….BS!

14 Apr

Screaming Inner CriticWhoever came up with this quip clearly doesn’t understand how beating ourselves up is not only unhelpful and shaming, moves us further away from our goals, and demands a removal from what is  best in us, but also hasn’t paid enough attention to that inner enemy to recognize that it’s not our voice screaming at us.

I’m calling BS to the statement that I am my own worst enemy. “I” am not the critic. “I” don’t want to pursue my goals with the sinister voice of negative appraisal and toxicity shouting to be heard and demanding respect. “I” wouldn’t speak to myself in a way that causes me to cower and lower my head, hide, and begin believing that I’m not good enough to be authentic. And “I” am fully aware that the disconnection I feel and lack of compassion that I hear sometimes in my head does not lift me up, give me confidence, or support positive efforts to grow. No. In fact, that insidious, hateful inner critic causes me to shrink into myself, isolate, and question why I even try.

The Inner CriticSo BS that I’m my own worst enemy. That voice that says to me, “Kori, you have to push harder. Don’t let them see your vulnerability. If you don’t do _________, you’ll be rejected and ostracized. Don’t even think about earning that person’s respect!” Yes, that one. I can feel my chest tightening as I type this. That voice will always be there, but it’s not my voice. My voice wouldn’t tear me down. My voice rises up. My voice quiets itself to listen to my truth rather than talking over it, interrupting, and shoving its way to the front of the room.  The critic’s voice – the heckler at the front of the auditorium- rings loud and clear. But its not my conscience. I can listen to it, but I can decide how much attention to pay to it. I can hear it, but I get to choose how much power it receives.

So heckle away, inner critic. Do your thing. But you are not me. I am my own best advocate.

Vulnerability Just Ahead

Willpower as a Scapegoat?

11 Apr

Yesterday I started the day with willpower on the brain. No, I was not thinking I needed to exert it  or muster up the energy to power through a difficult task. I was thinking through what I wanted to cover in my Willpower podcast scheduled for later that afternoon.

My Willpower is Stronger than my Won'tI had decided to title it Willpower Without White Knuckles because of the common misconception that willpower is this intangible, mysterious concept that we are either born with or without and if we’re unfortunate enough to have been left with the short end of the stick, then we’re white -knuckling our way through the effort it takes to meet a goal, stop procrastinating, achieve a task, you name it. Whether it’s dieting to lose weight, increasing exercise to gain strength and enhance our functionality, or studying each night to get closer each day to holding that diploma, willpower is at play. We’ve all got it- some of us are just better at using it, and each time we do, we strengthen it!

As I was contemplating how I wanted to convey what willpower is, isn’t, and what makes some of us more effective at utilizing it, I came to the conclusion that there’s something besides a lack of it that can get in our way. If we’re always thinking that it’s willpower that is going to power us through the tough stuff, does that give us license to take a free pass when we perceive that “I just don’t have it in me today”?

In short, I want you to consider how you might be using willpower as an excuse to NOT do what’s congruent with your goals. Are you looking at progress that you’ve made and the willpower you’ve already exerted and using that as justification for doing something outside of what is between the lines of the path to your dreams? “Meh, a little detour won’t take me too far off course…..I avoided the cupcakes that Anne brought in for the birthday at work! I deserve this chocolate after dinner.” Or this, “I exercised for an hour this morning, so I can afford to eat this burger and fries for lunch.” Or this, “Well at least I only had 4 slices of Efficacypizza…before, man, I would have eaten half of the whole pizza!”

Stop! How does this make sense? If losing weight is your goal, how does eating the chocolate help facilitate you getting closer?  It doesn’t.  The cupcakes- One challenge that was approached successfully. The chocolate- A separate challenge. The exercise- One step in the many steps toward losing weight. Eating a healthy lunch- a completely independent step toward that same goal. Four slices was two more than you had committed to eating when it was served.  Don’t let your feel-good emotions or comparisons get in the way of remembering what your goal is in the first place, and don’t mistake your progress toward the goal as having reached the goal.
Willpower without white knuckles means thinking one step at a time, objectively. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot to Each Step Brings you Closer to the Finish Lineavoid tripping over yourself. If you find yourself saying, “I just need more willpower!”, take that a step further:

  • Assess where you get tripped up.
  • Under what circumstances are decisions that you’re less than thrilled about happening?
  • Are you justifying? Reasoning?
  • Listen to the stories you’re telling yourself that get you out of taking responsibility. 
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