As we go about our daily lives, our inner monologue often takes over our sense of reason and we ask, "What if I'm not doing enough?" or "What should I be doing more of?" or "What if I'm not where I need to be?" Whether it's in our marriage and relationships, career, or family responsibilities, we often feel the pressure to constantly ask these negative and critical questions of ourselves.
As a personal development coach, I often hear clients ask these negative questions in attempt to drive themselves forward. This method tends to create more stress and not be helpful. But what happens when we make a shift in our thinking? If we are to flip the negative questions into more positive ones, what will change? Instead ask, "What if I'm right where I need to be?"
Do we need to be constantly shifting our focus on the next thing? Can we be happy if we take a moment and reflect?
It is important to stop and smell the roses in all aspects of our lives. Yes, we should have goals to drive our short and long term progress. However, we can't know where we are going without appreciating where we've been. I know — how cliche. But we need to remind ourselves that reflection and gratitude can shift us from this critical place to a more positive and appreciative outlook.
Marriage And Relationships
We've gotten hitched and the routine is in place and we even have backup plans for our backup plans when things go awry. ...OK, maybe that's a goal to strive for. However, the day-in and day-out repetition in which we pass each other like ships in the night can take a toll on our relationships. Budgeting and finances, children and activities, family members in need, keeping up a household, and more can take a toll on even the most Type A individuals.
Striving to reach goals together while pushing constantly to keep up with the pack can turn into a critical feedback loop. Instead of feeling the excitement of getting where we want to go, we find ourselves beating ourselves up when there's a bump in the road we've so diligently planned to follow.
I want to encourage readers to recognize when this happens, and agree to take a moment to put the lists aside for just a moment. Ask yourself and your partner, "What if we are right where we need to be — right here, right now? What can we learn in this moment about our relationship?" Look at all the progress that has been made, and if none has occurred, then is it realistic to push so hard at this point in time? Refocus, come together and appreciate that you both are in the moment to create positive outcomes.
At work, we take on projects, continuously strategize for what's next and push ourselves to move up or look for greener pastures. Financial pressures, competitive co-workers and even our own ego can fuel the fire of self-criticism in the workplace. Sometimes we get so caught up in the two steps in front of us we forget to look at how the path is changing ahead and how the scenery is evolving around us.
As our national economy improves at a snail's pace, our household finances are still likely to be struggling in the last decade or so. This can force us to look at ways to improve our income potential in our current position, look elsewhere, or even take on a second job. While this is good for some, it can be unhealthy to live in this space on a regular basis for others. This outlook can cause a flight or fight response that can have negative outcomes depending on the situation.
If we take a moment to consider our current skill sets and appreciate what we bring to our current situation, then we can better plan for attaining skill sets better suited to a future position. The point here is: don't let something that you don't have keep you from realizing all that you bring to the table. Often, competition in the workplace can create a negative environment for growth by forcing us to compare ourselves to others, beat ourselves up for not being far enough along, or worse, creating negative workplace relationships.
Our egos can be obstacles in our careers by limiting our vision. We sometimes can't get out of our own way. Ask yourself, "What do I love about [insert industry here]?" Also, think about those co-workers and clients that you absolutely love to work alongside. Shift the negative into the positive to better position yourself to think about your well-laid plans and goals.
Whether you're a parent caring for children with very specific demands or you are a caregiver to a family member, family in any capacity can take its toll on our well meaning outlook for the future. Children have varying needs and activities that can pull you in so many directions you don't know which way is up at the end of busy day. Family can pull on our heartstrings, our schedules and even our patience in various ways.
Our families can force us into a place where our sense of responsibility outweighs even our need for self-care. Your brother needs money, or your ailing mother fell again in the bathroom despite all the safety nets you built to avoid these stressors, but all of sudden here they are. You canceled that massage or nail appointment to take care of your sister's sudden need for a baby sitter. Where did you lose track of you?
All of these hectic situations — at work, in love and with our families — pull us from our positive space and put us in a very self-demanding, self-critical and detrimental mind set. We can't function as everything to everyone. We also can't allow our inner GPS to lead us down a negative spiral. In order to stop the madness, we must actually be the ones to pull the plug.
Remember, we always have choices and those choices allow us to create positive pathways or negative cycles. Choose the positive pathway by reframing your thought process by asking simply, "What if I'm right where I need to be?" Reflect, reframe and appreciate the space you are in at the moment. Then, take a positive step toward your goals.
More personal development coach advice from YourTango: