#92 What to do When You Don’t Know What to Do, Part II

when you don't know what to do

Posts #91 and #92 are meant to guide you through a mental activity when you don’t know what to do in life.

The first thing to remember after reading Post #91, “What to do when you don’t know what to do,” is to separate your energy (emotions) from your person. A person is one who experiences emotions; a person is not an emotion in and of itself.

Step 4 Energy, or Emotions, are Temporary

As terrible as they may feel, and as wonderful as they may feel, emotions are always temporary.

Body tissues are constantly sifting, sorting, and changing arrangements underneath the skin. We feel these differing arrangements in the form of emotions. When you don’t know what to do, remember that emotions are just temporary.

We utilize emotions for a variety of reasons including:

  • to connect with our fellow humans
  • as a gage for danger/safety
  • as information for decision-making

Think about it the utility of your energy. Don’t you want to cry or feel sad at funerals? To feel joy and elation at weddings?

The tricky thing about managing emotions is that there is much contrast. We need to feel the bad in order to feel the good. Because there is no joy without suffering. There is no pleasure without pain. Success cannot exist without failure.

Without the constant ups and downs of emotions, we would exist like a bunch of robots without an ability to be energized. I don’t know about you, but that sounds terrifying to me!

Step 5 Thoughts are Optional

Emotions are temporary. They come and go… just like our thoughts.

If nothing else, remember this: stop believing everything you think! The brain has a slick way of trying to sell thoughts to you.

The brain is like a salesperson, offering up thoughts upon thoughts, tempting you to believe everything. It wants you to get hooked onto thoughts, without regard for truth vs falsity.

Cy Wakeman, speaker and drama researcher, beautifully states in her book No Ego, “You are not your thoughts. You are not your thoughts until you give them your agreement and belief.”

Now, it is time to ask yourself:

  • Which thoughts am I allowing myself to buy into and get hooked on?
  • Are these thoughts moving me forward or holding me back?

Step 6 Thoughts Can be Reframed

When you can tune into specific thoughts that hold you back, remember that those thoughts are always optional. The next thing you can try is to reframe.

Here are simple examples to demonstrate how a reframe might work:

Instead of thinking:Try reframing as:
I hate this job.This is my job for now.
It will take forever to find a new job.It will take an amount of time to find a new job.
I am not qualified enough to apply for the job I really want.I am not qualified enough to apply for the job I really want… yet.
As a manager, I’m responsible for developing my people.As a manager, I’m responsible for helping my people develop themselves.
I don’t know what to do with my life.I can (and will) brainstorm 20 things to do with my life.
I don’t have enough money.I know I can figure out how to generate more money.
I don’t feel like I’m making a big impact.I may change one person’s life today.
Covid is putting me behind on my workload.Covid is forcing me to focus on something other than my workload – my health.

The point of reframing is not to fool yourself but to smooth out the rough edges. Find creative phrases or words that are completely believable but less painful.

When you don’t know what to do, you can always ask me!

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