The question, “How am I creating this?” is key to being able to move into one’s true power in any given situation. It’s usually pretty easy to see what someone else is doing that is problematic (also known as “blaming”), but to turn around and look at what I’m doing? That can be pretty challenging. As someone once pointed out, even the best mirrors show only 70% of us. So how do we find that last essential 30%, the clues to what we’re doing that’s keeping a situation going?
Sometimes, just asking the question allows answers to emerge. Our attention is often so externally focused that we don’t even think to wonder what we have to do with what is going on around us. Then we end up focusing on what we have zero control over: other people’s behavior. However, to create a space of wonder about ourselves and our own motives, behavior, and underlying feelings takes us to back to us, where we could shift things in this very moment.
Try this: Choose a situation that is happening in your life that you’re unhappy about. Brainstorm a list of 20 ways that you are creating this situation. Maybe it’s what you’re saying, thinking, or doing. It might even be the energy you’re sending out, an attitude or a judgmental stance. If you can, go beyond the 20. (As I’ve often said to people, this exercise can save you years of therapy!)
Now make a new list. Take each item from the first list, and change it to what you could do differently. For example, if you’ve written, “I roll my eyes every time my partner brings up the subject of money,” what could you do instead? Perhaps, “I’m the one who will bring up money when there’s something to talk about,” or “When I roll my eyes, I’ll notice it and bring it to both of our attention that I’m feeling scared.”
Now the challenging part. Stop doing list #1 and commit to putting list #2 into action.