I recently heard someone refer to the excuses we make and the negative chatter in our heads as drunken monkeys on the loose.
Well my monkeys showed themselves a couple times this week.
While working out with a trainer, he was asking me a lot of questions, getting to know me better. I didn’t realize it but throughout our conversation I mentioned to him a number of times how out of shape I was.
At some point he held up his hand and said to me, “I have to stop you right there…you are not out of shape. You are incredibly strong. You have great balance and speed. You need to stop telling yourself how out of shape you are.”
Wow…I was stunned for a minute. My brain had intermingled needing to lose weight and being out of shape, which to an extent is true. But it never dawned on me that they didn’t necessarily have to coexist, that I might be strong but need to lose weight.
Think about the difference in these two approaches to my physical health:
- I am out of shape and need to lose weight
- I am strong and need to lose weight
With #1 the challenge ahead of me could seem daunting, too much to overcome. With #2, I acknowledge the challenge, yet also acknowledge that I have the strength to do it! I get it, I see the difference. So subtle, crazy how we don’t even notice how we set ourselves up to struggle.
Now the second time was related to my youngest daughter. She had her first on the road driving lesson this week. We long ago determined I might not embody the grace and patience needed to teach a teenager to drive and have it be a positive experience for them. I know this, I own it.
So her teacher comes to the house to pick her up; super bubbly, positive, over the top. Makes my daughter laugh and puts her at ease. By the time they return two hours later, driving teacher has decided she is trading her 17 and 18 year old boys for my Emma, she’ll be back to make the exchange later. Emma had charmed her with her use of yes and no ma’am, (in California this makes her damn near a unicorn), her polite and appropriate giggling at the lady’s wacky sense of humor, and apparently, her excellent driving skills.
Emma had been nervous to go but was jubilant upon her return. I told her how excited I was she got to have a great, positive experience to help build her confidence. She said, “Yeah, me too. You and dad made me feel like I was going to be the worst driver.” Ai yi yi…not only do I abuse myself with my negative mental chatter, I have totally contributed to hers!
In my defense, at least I understood this ahead of time on some level, hence the hiring of a driving instructor. I saw it, I just didn’t realize how strongly she would be able to identify it too. I definitely have some conscious decisions to make each time I let her get behind the wheel.
For some of us, the monkeys may feel overwhelming, there are just too many of them, as the picture shows. I’m going to take the 12 Step approach, one monkey at a time. Once I am aware of them and acknowledge them, I can tackle them individually. This week I will turn my monkeys on their heads, making them into positive affirmations instead.
Can you put at least one of your drunken monkeys to bed this week? Just for a week, c’mon! Let me know how it goes!