It is important to take the time to identify the negative patterns of “overs” in your life. In this episode, Dawn names 8 “overs” that can prevent you from authentically connecting to others.
“If you don’t take a Sabbath, something is wrong. You’re doing too much, you’re being too much in charge. You’ve got to quit, one day a week, and just watch what God is doing when you’re not doing anything.” ~ Eugene Peterson
Today, discussion surrounding the connection you have with yourself will continue. So far, we have looked at our own personal patterns and identified our own negative patterns of behavior. In order to identify other negative patterns in your life, take the time to look at your “overs”. Not our “unders”, but our “overs”.
- Overabundance~ of weeds in your garden that are literally choking out your very life. There may be more than one or two pet weeds you nurture quietly in the back corner of the garden of your life so that you can relax and experience greater peace? Matt 4:1-20; Prov 28:13; Luke 12:34; Matt 6:24
- Overextended~ we overextend ourselves often to the point of exhaustion, with zero reserve. There is very little self-care. Down time often brings guilt. What would happen if you began to respect yourself and your body~ your own personal limits? The more you wear yourself out, the more you will become less of your true self. Matt 11:28-30; Gen 2:3; Heb 4:9-10
- Overcritical~ literally sucks the life out of you. ‘There is nothing a critical word can do for you that a strong and loving word cannot do better‘. This statement is true for all imaginable directions in your life. Overcritical of yourself. Overcritical of others. When these “overs” are present, instead, focus on treating yourself and others with kindness. Notice what happens or doesn’t happen when kindness becomes a significant part of your life. Eph 4:29; Matt 7:1-5; James 4:11-12
Nature of Patterns~ the neurological connections you establish or are established in your brain. Patterns develop from neurological connections which occur slowly and from repetition over a period of time. You can think of it like this: there is a tiny little creek. As the water runs over the rock, it eventually becomes more profound in it’s action. The once one creek, will eventually, over time, turn into the Nile. Movement of the water will certainly take the path of least resistance, leaving a permanent path in its wake. This analogy helps explain why patterns or habits are so difficult to break. In fact, the longer you practice a negative behavior, the more ingrained it becomes and the the more difficult it becomes to change. In a sense, your brain has quite literally been hijacked. But, there is good news. Thankfully, God made your brain to be super elastic. You can learn and relearn and recreate new neurological connections, which means new pathways and new habits. This is indeed good news!
Developing new habits, though very possible, does not happen easily. The following steps will be helpful to you as you engage in this very rewarding and redemptive process.
- Practice Patience~ then practice, practice, practice different steps and different methods to change your ‘stinking thinking’ into a more positive lifestyle…and then practice some more.
- Name the Negative Behavior~ and replace it with the alternate truth.
- Get Out of Your Head~ get off the hamster wheel of negative, untrue repetitive thoughts. Move from inside your brain to inside your body.
- Know when your brain is running a negative pattern.
- Grab that negative thought.
- Put the thought into a boat, and send it down the river.
- Return to the task at hand.
- When an intrusive, negative, and/or untrue thought returns, again and again, this is referred to as being in a battle.
- At this time, grab the thought, put it back into the boat, and send it down the river again.
You will wash, rinse, and repeat these steps as many times as is needed in order to be free from your ‘stinking thinking’. You are actually creating or digging out a new path. It will begin as a tiny little path that you can wander off so easily. You may not even be sure that you’re on the path at all. Bu, after traveling on this little path that you are creating, the old path~ the old super highway, will become filled with potholes. You will then not travel down the old path as frequently as the new path that you’re creating. With these actions, you are quite literally changing the neurological connections and pathways in your brain.
Developing New Habits cont:
- Get Grounded~ find your feet, put them both on the floor, feel the ground below your feet. Notice what shoes you’re wearing and wiggle your toes. This is a mindfulness exercise and allows you to focus on something else~ to redirect. The goal is to change the pathway that’s typically taken.
- Notice Your Brain~ and where it’s ‘going offline’. You may be familiar with the following: you are in a conversation. You are fully aware of where you’re headed in the conversation. Then, you lose your train of thought and direction for the conversation. Being triggered or having strong emotions, especially negative ones, can lead to your brain ‘going offline’. Going offline is when your brain starts to fight, flee or freeze. At this point, you will begin to not make sense with what you say nor be able to hear what someone else is saying. Your brain is actually shutting down. Take note of and recognizethe pattern or dance leading up to just before your brain starts to shut down. Consider what is going on in your brain and with your body. Notice your heart rate increasing. Notice if/when you start to sweat. Notice when you want to fight, flee, or freeze.
- Contain Yourself~ what does this look like in your life? It is such an important skill to be able to step back, breathe (or other tool) in order to get your brain back online, and continue forward with your conversation. When you’re not containing yourself, then you’re leaking out all over the place, and that’s not helpful for us, nor for the people around us. You need to name; you need to own. Take a time out, rest, release, relate. Do whatever you need to do in order to get back to a place of being grounded and calm +, so that you can then return to the present and connect.
- Don’t Steal Your Friend’sEmotion or Problem~ this happens when you are in conversation with a friend who has a problem and when you find yourself trying to ‘fix’ her. Or this can come into play when your friend is sharing her problem with you and you decide to share a similar problem. Maybe she begins to cry and then you begin crying more than she is crying. When you do either of these actions, you are essentially stealing your friend’s problem or emotions. Remember, her emotions belong to her. Her problems belong to her. She is a capable human being. She is able to solve her own problems. She is able to ground her own emotions.
- Be Loving and Kind to Yourself~ recognize and celebrate how and where you are practicing healthy behaviors with yourself and others. You are enough. You are valuable. You can take good care of yourself.
Rom 12:2; I Cor 10:13; I Cor 6:12
By naming negative thoughts/behaviors and practicing changing the neurological connection in your brain, you will be amazed at the changes in your life. You get to experience yourself, mirror reflecting in God’s image, as you become healthier and whole. Additionally, as you become healthier, those around you often become healthier, as well; the payoff for that is huge. You will find yourself being able to live in the present, and enjoy your brain not being hijacked. Living, loving in the present, and being present to others brings about wonderful contentment in the here and now. Finally, you get to really take off the mask. You get to know that you are doing the best that you can do and that you really are good enough. You have been living your story and your efforts come from you, from deep inside of you, with God helping, moving, creating. You know the path that he has been set ahead of you before time even began.
See yourself as the beautiful woman you really are, a precious child created by the almighty God. Remember, it is OK to be happy. Notice what happens in your body when you permit yourself to embrace being fully happy. Do you really believe that it’s OK to be happy? Feel the freedom that comes from being grounded and growing all in the same moment. And for certain, love yourbroken and beautiful soul.
Gal 6:9; Rom 12:2; Gal 1:27