From wishful or realist to mindfulness
As one of those people that always sees the silver lining in life, I know I can annoy those around me. I totally get it and own it. That doesn’t mean I’m always living in a positive mindset.
Many a time, I’ve chatted with people and they’ll share with me their view in life. One view is of them being a realist. They see a problem then face it head on. Hence them giving me their definition of what a realist means to them. While others stand steadfast in their positivity and (wish) for the best outcome. Both mindsets are extreme versions of each other and have their shortfalls.
What I’ve observed with people is it doesn’t matter whether you’re a negative (dare I say it, realist) or a positive (wishful) person in your outlook, there’s a common thread in both. It’s always attaching yourself to an outcome. This can cloud your judgement and decision-making on how and when to move forward. That’s not to say you don’t want to have a direction that you desire, it’s more that you’re flexible with how, when and the outcome of your desire.
So how do we manage and get a more balanced perspective with our mindset?
I tell my clients to aim to find a centred space within themselves, so they’re neither wishful nor realistic in their external world for a moment in time. It’s a neutral aspect of yourself where you’re able to observe a situation without an emotional attachment to an outcome. Here is where you step into a mindful mindset.
We’re so focused on our outside world that we’re not aware of subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) emotional and mental triggers occurring within ourselves. These triggers shape our perception of what’s happening around us and can determine our course of action. These triggers become a habit, a pattern in how we deal with life experiences.
Once you start noticing and becoming aware of these triggers, it can help you recognise why you lean towards a certain outlook. This outlook is a pattern that can support you or keep you in a loop. If it’s working for you, great! I encourage you to keep it up; however, if you find yourself repeating the same pattern over and over while trying to get a different result, then it’s not working for you and may be time for change.
A simple practice to access your neutral (mindful) aspect of who you are:
- Choose a time out of the day where you can spend five minutes on you
- Get into a comfortable seated position and place your hands on your thighs
- Bring your focus to your navel and breathe slowly to the navel; gently exhale
- Do this a few times until you feel your body begin to soften
- Now just explore and observe (nothing else):
- Your emotions
- Your thoughts
- If you find yourself distracted by other things, bring your focus back to your navel and simply follow the steps again
That’s it in a nutshell. It’s just observing what comes up without any judgement. This way, when those subtle messages pop up, you’re already familiar with what they feel like and the thoughts that accompany them. By removing the charge of these triggers, you have the opportunity to reset, becoming less reactive and steadfast in your ways.
Instead of see-sawing from wishful to realist, you can access that neutral aspect of yourself merely by stepping into a mindful mindset for a few minutes a day. It’s so simple that all you really need is the discipline to truly hang out with yourself for a bit. As some of you may know, hindsight is a wonderful skill if you’re willing to invest in your internal world. And as for that silver lining, that just tends to drop in your lap to say thanks for hanging out!
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