One of the things that comes up pretty regularly with many of my clients, as they get to know some of my core teachings and systems that are meant to improve all areas of your life, is they want to see immediate changes in themselves and their thoughts. Unfortunately, just like many things in life, it is not a quick fix. It requires awareness, acceptance, compassion, diligence and patience in order to change your habitual ways of thinking that don’t work for you.
On this episode, we get into the process behind changing our thoughts, how you can do it (and everyone can if they do the work) and why it takes time and dedication. Join me for this detailed explanation and step-by-step course of action you can take to make the changes you are looking for in your life.
What you will discover
- The importance of recognizing the power of your thinking.
- What coaching and self-coaching can do for you.
- The relationship between your thoughts and results in your life.
- Why we awareness alone will not change our thinking.
- How to become unaffected by your negative emotions.
- The role acceptance plays in the process of changing your thoughts.
Featured on the show
Welcome to the Life Coach School podcast where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching and now your host, master coach instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hey, everyone, welcome to the podcast. How are you guys? How’s everyone doing? Awesome, I hope you’re doing great. We’re getting into now 2015. Now how’s it going? How’s that fresh start feeling? Have you let yourself down a million times? It’s okay, get back up.
Keep going, keep moving towards what it is you want. Today I’m going to talk to you about the process that I’ve been working on with some of my students. Now for those of you who’ve been listening to my podcast for a long time, so many of you have told me how much it’s changing your life and how much it’s helping you.
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All right, so today we’re going to talk about awareness, acceptance and wisdom as a process. As I’ve been working with my students this week and talking to them, one of the things that comes up pretty regularly with most of my clients as they get to know the model, as they get to know thought downloads, as they get to know the process of using the model is they want to change immediately, right. They go through the process and they want to find out what they’re thinking and then they want to change it immediately.
This is what happens, I teach that your thoughts create your feelings. I teach that your thoughts create your feelings, which drive your behavior and get your results. I teach that the most powerful thing in your life is your mind, is your brain, right. That your mind and your brain are not only the most powerful tool that you have, they’re the most powerful tool anybody has and yet they go completely neglected, right. I start focusing with my students, my clients. Hey, let’s look at your brain, let’s see what’s going on in there. It’s really important that we focus on it.
Now most of the time when we start looking at people’s brains they don’t even recognize that what’s going on in there is a choosable thought. They think they’re just making observations. I was working with someone today and she was talking to me about how her employees are all very unprofessional and she’s really frustrated by that. I told her, I said, “Hey, do you recognize that my employees are unprofessional is a thought, it’s a choice.” When you think that way you feel a certain way and you can think about it differently.
You could switch that thought to I am my employees leader and I need to lead them in a new direction. I need to teach them, I need to show them, right. You’re not having to lie to yourself, you’re not having to come up with some new thought that simply negates the old one. You’re actually telling yourself the truth about something, but just thinking about it in a different way, okay. One of the things that we have to do before that is just the process of awareness and so as she was telling me all of these negative thoughts I showed her, I said, “Can you see what a negative spin you’re in? Can you see that all your thoughts are negative? Can you see that your attitude is terrible? That’s why you’re feeling so terrible all the time.”
She’s in her life living it, right. She’s in her own brain and she’s not spending a lot of time reflecting on her life and so, of course, she couldn’t see that. She had no idea that’s what she was doing. When I was able to point that out to her and show her that that’s what she was doing, then and only then is she able to see the effect of her thinking and the power of her thinking, okay. That’s all just in the awareness piece. When you’re aware of when I think about my employees this way I treat them in a certain way, I feel a certain way, I get a certain result. When I think about them differently I’ll get a different result, but before I start thinking about them differently I need to recognize the power of my thinking now, okay.
That awareness comes from doing a thought download and what I mean by that is you sit down and you write down your thinking. You get on the phone with a coach and you talk about your thoughts, right. You talk about what you’re thinking. That’s what coaching is really is just becoming aware. Now as your coach I can show you hey, look at your thoughts here. You’re talking to me as if you’re just describing your employees, but I’m able to show you that it’s your brain and that’s what a coach can do for you and that’s what self-coaching can do when you do a thought download.
You write down all your thoughts and then you recognize each one of those sentences are choices. Now do you like the way you’re thinking about something? Do you like the way you’re thinking about your children? Do you like the way you’re thinking about your job? Do you like the way you’re thinking about your husband? Do you like the way you’re thinking about your finances? They are all choices, okay. First you have to become aware of what you’re
One of the ways that you can do this is by looking at your life and the results you’re getting in your life and asking yourself what thought am I thinking that’s creating that result? What is going on with my thinking that is bringing this to me in my life, okay. That’s step one, just awareness, just being aware of what you’re thinking. Two things happen when you start becoming aware. First one is you want to change it immediately before you really get the impact of your thinking, before you truly understand the effect of it you just want to get the hell out of there and change that thought. That’s mistake number one.
Mistake number two is people want to beat themselves up. They want to go oh, my god, what a mess in there. Why am I thinking so many negative thoughts? Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I wasn’t aware that I was thinking this way about my employees, my husband, my friends, my life. Oh, my gosh, there’s something wrong with me, I have such negative thoughts, okay. That is not the next step. The next step is acceptance. Once you become aware of what you’re thinking without trying to change it and without beating yourself up, the next step is acceptance, is truly accepting what you are creating in your life.
When I say creating I mean the feelings that you’re creating for yourself every day, the actions that you are driving yourself to do, the results that you’re getting. Can you accept it with compassion? Can you create awareness and see what’s going on in your mind and then can you see the effect of what’s going on in your brain in your life with acceptance? I would say this is the hardest part. People get the awareness and they just want to change it. They don’t want to accept it, they want to negate it, they want to resist it, they want to change it, okay. That’s where I do so much work with my clients and allowing them to just be in the space of the truth.
For example, with my client this morning. The way that she was thinking about her employees was really creating a lot of anxiety for her and a lot of disgust for her and because of that she was acting in a way that wasn’t serving her. Now so immediately she’s like oh, let’s change that immediately and I said slow down, I really want you to own this, I want you to own it in a way with compassion. The reason that you’re doing it is because you’re trying to protect yourself, you’re trying to take care of yourself and you’re trying to take care of your employees and have them do a good job and take care of your business, so it can be successful. You’re very well intended, it’s just misguided.
What you need to do is stop, take a pause and see it and understand it and own it. If you aren’t willing to own what you’re doing and take full responsibility of what you’re doing with compassion you will never be able to change it, okay. If you’re constantly beating yourself up and rejecting yourself and rejecting the patterns of thought that you have in your life you can’t change it. You can’t have authority over something, right, without owning it first. Be careful not to beat yourself up and be careful not to try and change it. My students and clients will say to me, “What does that look like? Do I just have to feel crappy all the time?” I say, “No, but you have to allow yourself to feel the emotion that you are creating long enough to truly understand that you are the one creating it.”
There is so much power in knowing that you can feel that negative emotion because remember if you are willing to feel any negative emotion then you will be willing to do anything. The worst that can happen is a negative emotion then you know that there’s nothing you aren’t willing to do. That moment of acceptance isn’t just accepting that you’re responsible for it and that your thoughts create your reality, but also accepting that emotion into your body, allowing it to vibrate through your body. Most of us don’t even know what negative emotion feels like, right, because most of us are constantly resisting negative emotion. We know what resisting shame feels like, we know what resisting anger feels like, but how many of us really know what those emotions feel like when we’re not avoiding them or reacting to them.
Very key distinction there. Are you willing to accept that you are the creator of your feelings and are you willing to feel that feeling and know that there is no feeling that you can’t feel, it’s just a vibration in your body. When someone says to me I’m not willing to feel deprivation, I’m not willing, especially when they’re trying to lose weight, right. I’m not willing to feel degraded, I’m not willing to feel unappreciated. I always ask them why. First of all, you’re the one creating that emotion for yourself even if you don’t realize it and second of all it’s just a vibration in your body. It may be unpleasant, but it’s certainly not worth gaining a bunch of weight over, it’s certainly not worth doing drugs over or hurting yourself in any way. It’s just a vibration. If you’re willing to feel it meaning you’re willing to accept it then you will gain authority over it and there’s nothing it can do to you, right.
First step, awareness, look inside your brain, see what’s going on in there. You will be tempted to want to change it right away, you will be tempted to want to reject yourself and be mad about all your negative thinking. Do not give into that temptation. The next step is acceptance. I am willing to see the effect of my brain in my life, I am willing to feel the emotions I’m creating, I’m willing to be present with my brain and I’m willing to be present with my emotions. Now that phase of acceptance, what it does is it allows you to hold the space of the watcher.
Let me tell you why this is so important. When you learn how to be aware of your brain meaning you are watching your thoughts instead of being your thoughts, you immediately go into the space of the watcher, the witness, the compassionate witness. Now when you are witnessing your thoughts you immediately get relief because you are not identifying with them, you are not immediately at the effect of them. That watcher space, that perspective where you look at your life instead of being in it is immediately bringing you to a place of peace because if you aren’t your brain what are you? If you’re watching your brain what part of you is watching your brain? That is the part of you that is timeless and the more that you can do that watching, witnessing, the better you are going to be able to get yourself into a place of acceptance.
Now once you create that process of awareness and you’re able to watch your brain and you’re able to watch yourself and hold that witness, hold that space is through the process of acceptance. Without judgment I’m feeling shame, I’m feeling anger, I’m feeling frustrated, I’m feeling … Whatever it is you’re feeling, right, and feeling needy. If you’re willing to allow yourself to feel those feelings as part of the human experience and you’re willing to accept that that is part of your life, it will change your life forever because you will keep moving forward because there is no feeling that you’re unwilling to feel.
Once you’ve done that, right, once you’ve created that awareness and you’ve created the process of acceptance the next step is to use your wisdom to change. Now the way that you know that you’re ready to change your belief is because you’ve fully owned what you’re thinking, you’ve fully owned the effect of what you’re thinking and from that place you are willing to change. Now let me tell you what it feels like and what it doesn’t feel like. It feels like I can continue to feel this negative emotion, I do not need to react to it, I’m able to hold this space for it and I can choose something different peacefully.
If you are in a hurry to change it, if you are wanting to change it immediately, if you want to feel better right this second you haven’t gone through the process of acceptance yet, you haven’t truly owned what it is. Even though you will try and change a thought, you’ll try to believe in your thought, you won’t be able to because you are trying to do it from a place of getting out of negative emotion that you’re unwilling to feel and rejecting yourself and the thoughts you’re currently having. One of the questions that I get from a lot of you a lot of the time is oh, my gosh, how do I change this thought and I need to change it immediately and how do I think different thoughts? Most people that are asking me that question have only gone through awareness, they haven’t gone through acceptance.
You will know when you fully own that a thought you’re thinking is creating a result in your life, of feeling an action and a result in your life, when you really see that. The change will almost just come from within you. You will see the effect and you will see that it’s not working and you will change it from a very peaceful place. You will know that every decision that you make will be made from a place of peace. It will be made from a place of knowing I can stay doing what I’m doing or I can change. I don’t have to be in a hurry either way, I don’t have to reject myself in order to change myself. There is nothing more important I think when it comes to making decisions to be able to know that there is no wrong decision. If I stay doing what I’m doing I can take responsibility for that, but I have the opportunity to change and I know how.
You will not be able to make a wise decision if you haven’t gone through acceptance and if you find yourself saying I don’t know, I’m confused, I don’t understand, you are blocking yourself from your own wisdom, okay. I’m always telling everyone whenever you hear yourself saying I don’t know, I’m confused, I don’t understand, you’re usually just blocking yourself from all of the answers that you do have. Find yourself in a place of acceptance, find yourself in a place of truly owning the experience that you’re living and that you’re creating and then and only then make those changes. They may not be as fast as you want, but here’s the truth, they don’t need to be as fast because you’re not in such a hurry to get out of pain.
If you are willing to accept that possibly 50% of your life you’re going to be in emotional pain and that is part of the process of living and, in fact, it’s one of the most important parts of evolving, being willing to experience negative emotion is how you will evolve into the highest version of yourself, then you will always keep moving forward. You will always keep pushing yourself towards the best version of yourself and it doesn’t have to feel like resistance, it doesn’t have to feel like pain. It can feel like acceptance, okay.
The process I’m inviting you to do here is use awareness to see what you’re thinking, use the model to see what you’re thinking and the effect of your thinking. Then move into acceptance, really owning that model, owning what you’re doing, owning what you’re thinking and finally from that space of pure acceptance and that place of peace use your wisdom to change and repeat and repeat and repeat. It doesn’t ever stop. No matter how much you work there is no other side of the human experience except when we die, right. The more you evolve and the more you grow, the more you’re going to have to repeat the process of awareness, acceptance, and wisdom.
I invite you all to do it because it is well worth it and the alternative is hiding from yourself and not being aware and not being present and not being conscious. When you do that you miss out on your life and not only that you miss out on yourself. That is just a damn shame because some of you don’t believe that you’re even worth getting to know, but I promise you, I promise you, you are. You were not created by yourself, something created you, so you are already worthy of it, so don’t miss out on getting to know yourself. I invite you to work really hard this week. Please bring me your comments. I would love to know what you guys think about this process and if you understand it and where you are in it. Have a wonderful, awesome week and I’ll catch you all next week. Bye-bye.