Disembarking from a rush-hour train and racing to catch my connection, my haste dissolved in an instant – first mentally, then physically – as the thought expressed itself that, ‘I’ll make it.‘ In and of itself, this is unspectacular, but for someone whose default position is more concerned with what might go wrong specifically, or just that, generally, something will go wrong, it represents a departure from the norm. My cautionary, nay negative, attitude is such an automatic position that I barely notice it, but on this particular morning it was replaced with ease. The thought came naturally, I relaxed, and then another thought came: ‘Even if I don’t, I’ll be fine‘. And I relaxed even further.
As I enjoyed the feeling it produced in me, I thought about someone I know, and that this must be how she feels much of the time. We are all challenged by life as it pushes us to evolve, but there are people who are better equipped to deal with it than others. Actually, we are all equipped to deal with life but these people have been imbued with more effective messages from an early age. The rest of us must seek or stumble upon those messages, or have them passed on to us later in life. It is then up to us to internalise them and make habits of them.
This is not straightforward because they are new, unfamiliar messages, competing with the more established ones we have been carrying with us for years; messages we have long since internalised and which have become part of us. But that’s my point here, they are not part of us; we merely carry them with us. Yes, there is something familiar and comfortable about them, which is why we hang on to them so tightly, so unconsciously, but we can just as easily let them go, especially when we have ready-made, more effective replacements.
The change in attitude on that station platform was undoubtedly prompted by two journal entries I posted recently (see below), because both pieces contain brief reminders of my negativity and encouragement to think differently. The shift in perspective has also been brought about by the influence of the woman mentioned above (happy birthday, by the way), and is unquestionably the germination of a seed planted many years ago. It took time, support and persistence, but when it came, it refreshed and reassured me. ‘I’ll make it’, I said to myself. And I did.
Referenced journal posts: Becoming Visible | Don’t Change Your Own Procedures