Last night I had a bit of a freak out.
I was on the door welcoming people to the launch of the new 1 Giant Mind meditation app (which is LEGENDARY, by the way), when I suddenly found myself going into an old story:
“I don’t fit in” my mind said to me.
“I’m that weird chick that no-one wants to talk to.
Everyone is catching up and chatting, and I’m an outsider, as usual.”
All the while I was smiling and striking up conversations with everyone who came in the door, hugging old friends and dancing around. I’m pretty sure I appeared cool, calm and confident.
Bloody Good Chap even mentioned that he watched me and thought how cool it was that I was so confident and energetic and able to befriend anyone.
All the while I was in inner turmoil, doubting myself and feeling like shit!
I used to be really shy and insecure.
I feared meeting new people because I would get all awkward and worry they wouldn’t like me, so I’d try really hard to make them like me, which of course had the opposite effect. Through high school and uni I never felt like I fit in; I always felt like the black sheep.
In hindsight it’s one of the reasons I loved travelling so much –
I didn’t feel that I belonged where I grew up, but when I was travelling I met loads of people who were also black sheepers. Most travellers are these kind of people, we end up really good at meeting lots of new people and appearing really confident, but we’re really bad at establishing deep, vulnerable friendships. Before we get too close to anyone, we move countries. Travellers are masters of the facade, appearing to be popular and friendly, but never sticking around long enough to be found out as the regular, insecure humans that we are.
That’s my take on it, anyway.
As this was all happening, I noticed my thoughts bring up all sorts of reasons from the past of why I was an outsider, even though my rational brain knew it was all bullshit.
I’ve now been in Melbourne two years (it’s a record – it’s the first time I’ve lived anywhere for more than a year in the past 6 years), and I’m no longer an outsider by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve got some serious roots, some amazing friends, and most people perceive me as confident and out there.
So instead of getting caught up in the negative thought spiral like I used to,
I was able to catch my mind in the act. Once I’d noticed that it was happening, I used the techniques I teach in Bloody Good Life 101 and focussed on the physical reactions that my thoughts had set off in my body – cold sweat, jittery feeling, elevated heart rate, sick and panicky feeling in my stomach.
I go into this technique in depth with my Bloody Good clients and they very quickly learn to diffuse anxiety and stress without needing to change their external situation.
While I was doing this I was still chatting with people like nothing was wrong.
I doubt anyone had a clue it was happening.
After a while of focussing on the sensations the panic started to fade, and I was able to look at the situation logically. I recognised that is was just an old thought pattern that had been triggered by being put in a position that would have previously been up there in my top fears – striking up conversations with complete strangers.
Yet, as I wandered around the event chatting to people, I found that my mind was still in such a tiz that I couldn’t focus completely on anything anyone was saying. I started looking around the room when I should have been listening, totally distracted by my own thoughts and completely out of the present moment. The excitement that I normally get from chatting with these people who I admire so much was completely absent; my mind activity replaced the joy of the situation with a numb feeling where I couldn’t quite focus.
And then I remembered – wow – this is how I used to feel all the time –
this is how most people feel most of the time!! I used to get bored easily, couldn’t focus on conversations, and was always looking around for something more entertaining.
Life seemed dull; colourless; dissatisfying.
This is why I’m so passionate about teaching people Bloody Good Life tactics – this shit is essential for a bloody good life!
Even still, I lay awake at night thinking about it over and over, even though I knew I was doing it, I couldn’t quite let go. This almost never happens to me these days, but it used to happen all the time!
I was quite shocked at how easily the emotions took me over again.
This morning I awoke feeling neutral, and then a few seconds later my mind woke up and piped up: “don’t forget, Andrea, you were feeling shit about last night, remember how you felt like an outsider?
We should think about that some more”.
Luckily I had a business coaching call and a few clients this morning so I could focus on those and drop the thoughts completely. Then I meditated and went for a run, and now I feel completely fine again.
Previously this kind of thing could have put me in a shitty, distracted mood for weeks. But nothing gets me stuck for long these days – I actually kind of enjoyed the opportunity to practice my techniques on a difficult situation. Life has been so fricken good lately, I’ve not had enough bad stuff to practice on. This is something that I also teach in Bloody Good Life 101 – you get to the point where you almost want a negative emotion to come up so that you can practice defusing it!
The point of this post is twofold:
First, no matter how confident, arrogant, or together someone seems to you, NEVER assume that you know what’s really going on for them. Often the most confident, arrogant or snobbish people you meet will actually be the most insecure, they’re just putting up walls so you can’t see it.
Secondly, no matter how much self development you do in life, your human mind machinery is still going to be triggered and bring up stories of how shit you are from time to time.
Once you accept this, you just need to learn the tools to recognise when you’re triggered and the techniques to defuse thoughts and emotions before they take over your day/ week/ life!