How-To 2020

October 1, 2020 Level Up Coaching 0 Comments

It’s October in the glorious year of 2020. I’ve crocheted like 28 hats (merry Xmas everyone). I allowed myself to be uncertain. It was going well. Then some things happened in the news. I had some thoughts about those things. I blew a gasket. I was looking around, waiting for other people to be outraged with me. I felt sucker-punched. After I spent a good chunk of time spiraling, my coaching skills kicked in. Phew. Tricksy, tricksy, that brain of mine. Sound familiar? I bet it does, if you’re human and living in this world. My thoughts were:
“It shouldn’t be this way. People should know better. I can’t accept this is really happening, this is wrong!”
These thoughts, right or wrong, created my feelings of despair, rage, and confusion. Emotions that directly shaped my actions, and the results that followed:
  • Sobbing
  • Buffering with Netflix
  • Stress eating
  • Raising my voice
  • Defensive/adrenaline
  • Waffling between actions, unable to make decisions
  • Constantly angry
Really, the biggest result from those thoughts was I was useless. I was bouncing all over the place emotionally, unable to land, and unable to move in any direction. I was angry at the world for it’s lack of action, and yet I couldn’t act myself. Also, it feels like crap to be angry all the time.
I was experiencing a thought-error. My brain was caught in a loop. Thought-errors are super common, and our brains default to them most of the time because they’re easy. It’s something that takes practice for us to recognize, but they’re totally changeable. Here’s my technique for ending my loop, and regaining control of myself again.
How-To 2020:
  1. Accept 2020 is Happening
    • A lot of us (including me) are refusing to accept what has already occurred in 2020. This person should have acted differently. This event should have been prevented. The problem is, when we resist reality, reality wins 100% of the time. We can deny it all we want, but it doesn’t change what has already happened, and resisting what we cannot change only results in pain. We are powerless and miserable because we can’t force our way. This is the world we live in, even if we didn’t expect it to happen the way it did. 

    • Accepting reality doesn’t mean approving of reality. You can still decide what beliefs you have about anything, while accepting that it IS HAPPENING at the same time. The difference between resisting reality and accepting it, is how you are able to show up in it. In one case you are completely powerless, reactive, and at the mercy of your surroundings. You cannot produce anything useful because you are too busy using all of your energy to push it away. On the other hand, when you accept reality you can be completely present in it. You are able to let go of the things you cannot change, in order to focus on deliberate choices, instead of knee-jerk emotional reactions. This is where I was. I wrote down the thoughts I was having (see above). None of them were truths, only beliefs I had chosen. I then chose new beliefs that feel just as true, but get me different results. Isn’t that awesome? That’s the power we have as humans. My anthropology degree shows up in my new thoughts here, which I love.


      “Of course this is how things have happened. Humanity is young, and we still have so much to learn. History is full of tragedies, mistakes, progress and regression. This must happen for humanity to grow. We don’t understand ourselves yet.”
      “I see the pain we cause ourselves and others, because we are imperfect, and I will show up in a way that demonstrates what I think humanity can be. I will do my best to help.”

      “Humans have only been around about 300,000 years. We are basically toddlers in the grand scheme of things, stumbling and falling as we learn to walk, and then run. This is one of many stumbles. We don’t judge toddlers who are learning to walk. We encourage them as they learn to be better, help when we can, and own our mistakes. This is how we evolve.”

      These thoughts fill me with compassion, motivation, and strength. I want to be a presence that will help move humanity forward. I am not paralyzed with anger. You can play around with your own thoughts and try out alternatives that are believable, but create a better result than you have now.

  2. Decide Boundaries

    • We use boundaries to make clear what we will stand for in our lives. They help us clarify what is acceptable for us and what is not. They are not threats. Boundaries don’t control people or tell them what to do. They are used to protect and honor our personal, physical, and mental space. They are what we use if another person continues to violate boundaries in our space. A boundary is not an ultimatum. People don’t like being controlled or forced, and the truth is an ultimatum is actually a boundary violation against the other person.

    • Setting a boundary means deciding ahead of time what you will do when someone is in violation of your    personal, physical, or emotional space. It is important to understand boundaries are not things that we tell other people they must do. Boundaries are what we will do to remove ourselves from the violation. We let other people choose how they behave, because how other people behave is none of our business. How we respond is. 

    • Others may not know that they are crossing a boundary because we have never told them the expectation.  Before setting a boundary, you must be clear to yourself about what your personal boundaries are. Set the boundary and then follow through. When we don’t follow through, our boundary is not taken seriously.

    • Others don’t have to understand or agree with your boundary, and you should be prepared for that. They may choose to cross it. When you set the boundary out of love for yourself AND the other person, you can tell them your truth without attacking or yelling at them. Always remember that the other person in the relationship gets to choose how they will act, and it is possible you will interact less with that person in the future. That is OK. Remember, boundaries are what we choose to stand for in our lives. 


      The request: Ask someone to stop doing the thing that infringes on your property (literally or emotionally).

      The consequence: Tell the person what you will do if they do not comply with your request.


      Hey, I want to talk politics with you, but if you continue raise your voice, call me names, or us offensive language I will end the conversation and leave. I’m not going to be mad or upset at you—I just don’t want to be in that environment. If you want to talk again later we can.

      I love spending time with you and want to see you, but I also want to be careful with my health. I really need you to wear a mask when we are out in public together. If you don’t want to wear a mask, that is OK, but I will probably choose not to join you. We can reschedule for another time.


      You shouldn’t be OK with this.

      You have to change your political views.

      I want you to stop talking to them.

      In these scenarios, the person isn’t violating your personal or physical space by not honoring your request, so it’s not a boundary issue and it’s not appropriate to create a consequence. Doing so is a form of manipulation or constitutes threatening behavior. Boundaries should always come from a place of love to promote self kindness. Do not make decisions based on what you think other people think you should do, or what you think society would say you should do, or any preconceived ideas about what the other person should or shouldn’t be doing. You can still make the request, but it is not a boundary issue.

  3. Be Curious

    • Be genuinely curious about what you can create out of this experience.

    • A sucker punch is that feeling when something terrible happens that just takes your breath away. Life is filled with sucker punches, we all have to deal with them. In these sucker-punch moments, when we feel powerless, we start acting out of control. Should you build a bunker and hoard toilet paper? Hyperventilate in your bathroom between zoom meetings? What do these actions create in your life?

    • Pause, breathe, and remember to allow 2020 to happen. See tip #1.

    • Ask yourself if this is what you want to create in your life. If you could use this moment to create anything you want, what would be ideal? In my example, I went from creating inaction and despair, to compassion and motivation. If I know crappy situations are going to inevitably occur, I can also choose how I show up, and what I produce for myself. Lemons to lemonade. Doesn’t mean I am in love with the lemons. I can still disapprove of them. It means if I have to have them, I’m going to get something useful out of them.

    • Once you know the result you want, you need to know what actions you need to take to create that result. What will you have to do? Again, be curious. Explore thoughts and options. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be right for you.

How-To 2020 was last modified: October 4th, 2020 by Level Up Coaching

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