That dastardly Monkey Mind can be a naughty little sausage. I’ve certainly had my fair share of ‘Monkey Moments’ in the last week, so it’s apt that this week my focus is on this topic.
Just over a week ago I ventured down to see my friend Kym in Leigh-on-Sea for a body and mind overhaul. Think food testing, meal plans, yoga routines and writing therapy in preparation for the next 90 day programme I’m working with her on to get back into the right headspace for a happier and healthier me.
While I was down there I decided that I wanted to get a tattoo… and so I did! It was a really funny time and it makes me smile as I sit here writing this. You see, this year self care and love are a big focus for me. I really enjoy my work and I find it’s my default setting if I have some spare time I head to the office. It means I don’t have to think about anything too challenging and crack on through that never-ending to do list.
I know this is not healthy. But it’s EASY!
I’ve very much spent the last year taking the easy path when it comes to me and now is a time to change that… again… this time for good.
I wanted to get a little heart on my left wrist to act as a little anchor and positive reminder to make the choices that will lead me to where I want to be, rather than taking the easy or most tempting option just because it is there.
We all know that consistency is at the core of long-term change. Without it, there is no change. There will be many moments when our willpower and our vision will be challenged and this is what my little heart is there for – to remind me WHY I’m doing this and to help me choose the best path when temptation strikes.
Needless to say, the Monkeys have been having a field day and I believe we have at least 2 types of Monkey to content with:
1. The ‘Fear Of Judgement’ Monkey
This manifested for me when I was in the tattoo studio. My heart, as much as I love it, is teeny tiny. It literally took less than 5 minutes to do and when I sat in the chair I felt that Monkey pipe up “this is a tiny tattoo – I bet the tattooist is thinking “what a loser!” or “what a waste of time!” – better mention your back piece so she realises you’re not just a ‘tattoo tourist’ but you’ve actually committed to ‘proper’ work in the past…” And so on. (Note: in case you didn’t know, my back is a design that took 15 hours to complete and takes up about 1/3 of my back).
Did I mention and show my back piece? Yes of course! I laughed about it with Kym afterwards. I totally didn’t want to be judged badly for having a tiny tattoo. How crazy is that!? It’s totally irrelevant and has no bearing on my life or the tattooists. She likely doesn’t even remember I went in there, it was such an insignificant part of her week.
Yet the Monkey still had something to say, and I listened.
This happens to me reasonably often, mostly when I’m out of my comfort zone and don’t want people to think badly of me. I bet you’ve had this particular Monkey in your head before too?
- “What if they think I’m a total fraud – there are lots of way more knowledgeable people out there…”
- “What if they think I’m stupid – everyone else on this course seems to know more than me…”
- “Who the hell do I think I am doing what I’m doing…”
- “If I do that talk/video they’re all going to see how rubbish I really am…”
And on… and on…
2. The ‘I Don’t Want To’ Monkey
This reared it’s head for me today in fact. I woke up feeling in a very much ‘I don’t want to’ mood today. I didn’t want to have to think about what food I was going to have to buy or cook this coming week. I didn’t want to have to do any work today. I didn’t want to make a cup of tea. I didn’t want to go put petrol in the car – EVERYONE and everything at the petrol station annoyed me. I didn’t want to have to cook when I got home. I didn’t want to have to walk the dogs this morning… Oh, woe is me! 😉
I was full on in a pity party all morning… and to be honest I’m still a bit like it now. No reason, apart from perhaps hormones. Just that darned Monkey messing with my mind again.
On this particular one though I didn’t let him win today. Even though I still felt very much ‘I don’t want to’ I have still gone and done all the things I didn’t want to do and I’ve lived to tell the tale. LOL
Both of these Monkeys are very common in day to day life and work and it’s important that we become conscious of them so we can make a decision then on how we will deal with them. As you go through the days this week become more aware of your self-talk and when you notice a Monkey voice in your head 2 questions it’s useful to ask yourself are:
- Is what you’re saying true and do I really need to act on it?
- Or is it simply scaremongering and self-sabotage and I need to work through it or ignore it?
Once we are able to notice our Monkey Mind talking we can do something about it. Just like anything in life, when it’s happening on autopilot we’re helpless. Time to take back the power and keep that pesky Monkey in check.
See if you can spot the difference between the different talk you have going on. It’s a really interesting exercise and I find lots of ways to help shift me in to a more positive state if I pay attention to what’s going on.
Your challenge this week is simply to become aware of your thoughts and self talk and feedback any interesting insights or feelings that brings up for you.
Have a great week
p.s. The Monkey Mind is not a new concept. It’s an ancient Buddhist term but if you want to find out more about the more modern/scientific/genetic reasons why we have a ‘chimp’ and ‘human’ mind check out The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters. Great read! 🙂