Monthly Archive: August 2019

Making much about nothing

 

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You have a goal in mind – something you want to accomplish by the end of the week, because you have other goals in mind that depend on accomplishing this particular task. But it means getting the cooperation, time and effort of others, without which that goal is not possible. Well, that’s worrying! Having to depend on the good will and cooperation of others! I don’t know about you, but it makes my stomach double in on itself: I immediately and automatically begin to think of all the things that might go wrong, that I have to cover somehow. It doesn’t take long before I feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted … without having made a single move towards getting the task done.

If it isn’t familiar to you at a personal level, then you have heard about it. There are books, papers, clichés, even movies made about this single thing: making much about nothing.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, building a mountain out of a molehill are 2 of those clichés. I still do it  – make something out of almost nothing – far too often. If I don’t snap myself out of it, I could end up making my fears come true. At the least, I might miss the opportunity I had, living instead in fear of something I’ve imagined.

It’s a mind game. I know it’s a mind game. And yet it happens again and again.  I really want to know how I can stop it, and move instead in a different and better direction. Even though it still happens to me, it doesn’t happen with the frequency or intensity that it once had. I’ve found a way of regaining control over my anxieties of future worrying possibilities. Here’s what I do:

  • Feel it. I’ve learned to know what it physically feels like to go into worry and “what if’s”: a body awareness that is unique to each of us, and that tells me when I’m going down that particular trail. For me it’s my stomach, and a clenching in my upper chest behind my breast bone.  When I feel this sensation, I gain a valuable awareness that I’m about to do something that will cause me pain.
  • Stop it. There’s one thing I know with certainty about going down that road: it’s a waste of time and will generate nothing good. So the best thing I can do is to stop the progression in its tracks. There are probably many ways to stop yourself: I do it by saying (shouting, in fact) “Stop it!”, or “Don’t go there! It’s useless.” That works for me; it gives me a breather. It gives me a few seconds to go down a different path: one of my choosing.
  • Change it. That other path is something I’ve built up for years, refining and reinforcing it over and over, until it’s smooth, stable, steady – able to carry heavy loads. A major throughway – autobahn – in my mind. Without that road, all I have is a void – a hole – that I don’t trust and that makes me nervous.  I need to replace that hole with a new path, then reinforce that new path until it is at least as well constructed as the old one. It’s called building a new habit. It takes time and persistence. At first, it’s astonishingly hard, but over time, it gets easier.  My way is to take a big breath, then bring out of hiding the fear that is always at the root of my worry. It calms me, and gives me the energy I need to do something truly constructive.

Feel it. Stop it. Change it. Making something about something, instead of much about nothing.

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters for an sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Don’t stand up when they’re shooting over your head

“Don’t stand up when they’re shooting over your head.”

An old saying, no doubt, but one I’ve only recently noticed.  Why? Because I’ve finally learned not to stand up… when they’re shooting over my head.

I’m not alone in this, having recently witnessed someone asking for an experience she was especially meant to fail miserably in.

I weep silently for her.

There was a time – a time when I had no inkling of what I did to create the situation – when I’d ask: “Do I have a sign on my forehead that says ‘aim here’?” The answer is “No”; there is no sign. People don’t search me out and then when they find me, aim and fire.  What really happens is, while there may be people out there looking for a scapegoat, I oblige them by detecting that search, and then doing something that directs their focus at me.

Finally, I got it. Finally, I no longer do that. Finally, I’m no longer a potential scapegoat.

If you find yourself doing what I’ve done for so long, it may be time to find a new way of being tough, or being strong, or being the one who takes it on the chin for everyone else.

Take “the other” to lunch

 

Quote of the Week 

Announcements 

Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co .

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

Don’t stand up when they’re shooting over your head

 

“Don’t stand up when they’re shooting over your head.”

An old saying, no doubt, but one I’ve only recently noticed.  Why? Because I’ve finally learned not to stand up… when they’re shooting over my head.

I’m not alone in this, having recently witnessed someone asking for an experience she was especially meant to fail miserably in.

I weep silently for her.

There was a time – a time when I had no inkling of what I did to create the situation – when I’d ask: “Do I have a sign on my forehead that says ‘aim here’?” The answer is “No”; there is no sign. People don’t search me out and then when they find me, aim and fire.  What really happens is, while there may be people out there looking for a scapegoat, I oblige them by detecting that search, and then doing something that directs their focus at me.

Finally, I got it. Finally, I no longer do that. Finally, I’m no longer a potential scapegoat.

If you find yourself doing what I’ve done for so long, it may be time to find a new way of being tough, or being strong, or being the one who takes it on the chin for everyone else.

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters for an sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

I don’t matter as much as … ?

 

Most of us have unconscious go-to’s that ultimately hurt us. We have them because they helped us cope in difficult situations when we were much younger. Even if, as adults, we know they’re untrue and unhelpful, we can end up finding ourselves going down that road countless times.

My unconscious go-to is “I don’t matter as much as …”. As you, or my neighbor, or someone I know nothing about.  I don’t always find myself going there, but when I’m unsure of what I’m doing, or don’t know my surroundings, it’s pretty easy for me to begin to go down that familiar path.

I know I matter as much as everyone else. I know intellectually that I matter more than others to those who care about me.  And yet I can hear that familiar lament inside, and feel it in my body at times, and it never takes me to a place I want to be.

The way I tackle it is through persistence:

  • Recognizing the feeling, then stopping it immediately. I know it’s false, that it comes from a place of feeling wounded and uncertain, and that allowing that particular tape to play isn’t useful.
  • Replacing it with something that’s true. There are many things to choose from such as; “I do, in fact, matter”, “ I matter as much as any other living being. I’m a part of the universe.”, “I matter!”. If I’m with someone who truly feels that I don’t matter as much, it may be that it’s time to be with someone else.

The old story has been played many times. It only stands to reason that the new one will take a while to replace it.

You matter

Quote of the Week 

Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters for an sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

 

I don’t matter as much as … ?

 

Most of us have unconscious go-to’s that ultimately hurt us. We have them because they helped us cope in difficult situations when we were much younger. Even if, as adults, we know they’re untrue and unhelpful, we can end up finding ourselves going down that road countless times.

My unconscious go-to is “I don’t matter as much as …”. As you, or my neighbor, or someone I know nothing about.  I don’t always find myself going there, but when I’m unsure of what I’m doing, or don’t know my surroundings, it’s pretty easy for me to begin to go down that familiar path.

I know I matter as much as everyone else. I know intellectually that I matter more than others to those who care about me.  And yet I can hear that familiar lament inside, and feel it in my body at times, and it never takes me to a place I want to be.

The way I tackle it is through persistence:

  • Recognizing the feeling, then stopping it immediately. I know it’s false, that it comes from a place of feeling wounded and uncertain, and that allowing that particular tape to play isn’t useful.
  • Replacing it with something that’s true. There are many things to choose from such as; “I do, in fact, matter”, “ I matter as much as any other living being. I’m a part of the universe.”, “I matter!”. If I’m with someone who truly feels that I don’t matter as much, it may be that it’s time to be with someone else.

The old story has been played many times. It only stands to reason that the new one will take a while to replace it.

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters for an sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

 

Broken? Or broken open?

 

I got a chance to do something I’ve been working towards for a long time. I was planning on doing this in September, but discover I have only a week to prepare. I work like mad getting everything ready, because I know that the one thing that is required for a chance at succeeding, for me, is preparation.

I get the chance, but fail. I fail because I accepted something that was simply too much for me to handle in so short a time. The issue wasn’t the work. The issue was my reluctance to accept the facts when the facts don’t “fit” with what I want.

This scenario has occurred with me a number of times. I end up feeling like Charlie tricking myself into going for Lucy’s disappearing football once again.

It brings me down. Every time. Until the last time, when I reached a point of losing everything I’d worked for – again (I’ve been in that situation before as well). This time, I did something completely different, and managed to alter my approach to the point of identifying the facts and not ignoring them.

May seem obvious, and intellectually it is. But what it took before I could change the pattern was first, to break, and then to break open.

In 12-step programs, they call this “reaching your bottom”. A necessary step to birthing something new.

The Opportunity of Adversity

 

Quote of the Week

If we do not suffer a loss all the way to the end, it will wait for us. It won’t just dissipate and disappear. Rather, it will fester, and we will experience its sorrow later, in stranger forms.”
― Elizabeth Lesser

Announcements 

Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co .

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

Broken? Or broken open?

 

I got a chance to do something I’ve been working towards for a long time. I was planning on doing this in September, but discover I have only a week to prepare. I work like mad getting everything ready, because I know that the one thing that is required for a chance at succeeding, for me, is preparation.

I get the chance, but fail. I fail because I accepted something that was simply too much for me to handle in so short a time. The issue wasn’t the work. The issue was my reluctance to accept the facts when the facts don’t “fit” with what I want.

This scenario has occurred with me a number of times. I end up feeling like Charlie tricking myself into going for Lucy’s disappearing football once again.

It brings me down. Every time. Until the last time, when I reached a point of losing everything I’d worked for – again (I’ve been in that situation before as well). This time, I did something completely different, and managed to alter my approach to the point of identifying the facts and not ignoring them.

May seem obvious, and intellectually it is. But what it took before I could change the pattern was first, to break, and then to break open.

In 12-step programs, they call this “reaching your bottom”. A necessary step to birthing something new.

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters for an sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .