Sounds like I’ve gone crazy. It has been a crazy couple of months, lots of positive change, but what has been most ridiculous are the thoughts and self-doubts that you get when you step out of your comfort zone…
I thought I’d share the inner workings of my mind, partly for my benefit, but also for you, as I’m pretty sure this kind of thing happens to most of us!
The inner critic
There I was teaching a class in front of my Forrest Yoga mentor Brian Campbell (check him out, he’s an awesome teacher and Bodyworker), as part of my on-going yoga teaching development, when the mind demons got to work on me. I was teaching to get feedback, so already in my head, the pressure was on. All was going well and then I said something a bit out of the ordinary. The students were in a long bridge pose sequence with hip openers and I said something like: ‘This might feel like the never ending story’. It just popped out of my mouth and before I gave myself time to develop a theme, like ‘delve deep into the hips, is there any magic or anything to discover in there’ as I normally would. I immediately judged myself thinking that what I had said was stupid. In that moment the conversation in my head went a bit like this:
“Never ending story… What the hell?!”
“B*llocks, I’ve totally messed up now!”
“Argh, you always do that, you always say something weird”
I took a deep breath and carried on teaching until I heard “switch” from Brian – my 11 minutes was up and it was the next teacher’s turn. I went back to my mat and had the biggest internal fight with myself. Despite teaching 10 mins 55 secs of pretty good yoga, all I could focus on was what I considered to be a ridiculous little episode. All of my insecurities around doing a ‘perfect’ job and getting things wrong were in my head, but racing through my whole body while I was practicing…. as each teacher got up to teach, I caught myself comparing what I’d done to them and feeling really rubbish!
Things aren’t what they seem
After class something lovely happened….“Don’t change, I love the way you teach” said one of the students. Little did she know the tussle I’d been having with myself. Her words ran right through to my core… I was being such a bitch to myself and yet she appreciated what I had brought to the class. Brian’s feedback was pretty good too – yeah, he mentioned the “moment’, but not in a negative way.
Looking back, I actually can’t believe that I let that 5 seconds ruin a bit of my day, but you know what?…. It taught me quite a lot about myself and gave me something interesting to pass on:
– In these kinds of situations, things definitely seem worse to you than they do to others
– Your self-critic doesn’t always tell the truth, it’s good at creating elaborate stories, so quit listening to it and tune into what’s instinctive instead
– When you say things whole-heartedly it often doesn’t matter if they don’t come out of your mouth perfectly – people will see the warmth and compassion in you, they’re likely to trust you and won’t necessarily judge your every word
– Don’t be afraid to offer up random thanks or compliments to people, even strangers. You could change someone’s perspective, even their day! And if they feel good, maybe that’ll get passed on to someone else… Suddenly you’ve started a feel good epidemic 🙂
Catching the chat
I had worked myself into a frenzy and not from anything based on fact or truth, it was my mind’s harsh opinion of myself. Since that day, I have been pretty good at catching those thoughts that spiral out on control.
If you have or are about to change career/life direction or maybe a relationship, that’s when those gitters will come – when you’re vulnerable. You might start to question yourself and your abilities. DON’T. That’ll be sure to keep you doing the same old same old… Like me, something got me to make my change in the first place — an instinctive calling, ambition perhaps?…. Whatever your calling, definitely give yourself time to explore it!
For me, it’s not like I’ll never have another ‘self-mutilating’ thought (in Forrest Yoga this is what we fondly call this type of negative behaviour), there are bound to be times when I’m out of my comfort zone and my mind will take pleasure in reminding me of it. However, these days, I notice it — when I catch myself, I tune into my breath, which gets me out of my head and straight into my body. I focus on good times, the positive stuff and it works. Back attcha, voices in my head!