Get out of your head
I tried, I failed. I tried and almost got there, only to crash and burn once again. I read the books, listened to podcasts, spoke with therapists and counselors. I knew a lot of the stuff. But it was one step forward, two steps back.
My problem was, and still can be, that I was all in my head. When I live in my head, I run into problems.
I knew all the theory, the answers, the right things to say. I could explain a problem and theoretically know the answer. I was aware of what I was supposed to be doing. I understood how it worked, how to be the man I wanted to be. I knew what needed to change. But I kept failing.
I could offer wise advice to other men in similar situations. On the outside I could look like I had it all together. And it wasn’t that I was fake. I was really trying hard. But therein lies the problem.
I was (and still do sometimes) try really really hard to get it right.
It’s frustrating. It’s disappointing. It’s disheartening. It makes you question if you know anything at all. And the fact is. I did. I do.
So why do you know what to do, but you don’t do it. It’s not for lack of trying or lack of effort. Here’s what it comes down to.
You’re using a tool that was designed to identify, assess and solve problems, for the wrong purpose. Your brain was never designed to help you live a better life. Sounds stupid I know.
Your brain was designed to solve problems. It’s a problem solving machine. It is forever looking for problems to solve. That’s why it’s so much easier to see what’s not working rather than what is working. This is the job of your brain. Give it a problem and it will go about trying to solve it, like a puzzle.
But when you rely on your brain to live your life, you will forever be focusing on problems. You will forever be attracting problems. Why? Because you’re all up in your head.
Now you would think that at some point, if this is the case, that your brain would have solved enough problems by the time you were say, 30, for you to then live a great life.
But that’s not how it works. The intelligence that is lacking is emotional, not intellectual.
No doubt, you’ve heard of mindfulness – the practice of being mindful. Here’s the problem I have with mindfulness. It keeps me in my head. Mindfulness suggests that it’s in your mind that you live your best life. I disagree. I don’t like the term. I understand (again with my brain) what it is. You focus, you relax, you pause, you step back and reflect. You get mindful, right…
A phrase I like better, at least in this context is mindlessness. I want less of my mind involved. I want to switch my brain and my thoughts off, in a way that allows me to connect with my heart.
For me, I need to find a way to get out of my head and into my body. You can’t rely solely on cognitive behaviour, to live an emotionally healthy life.
If you’re in your head, trying to work everything out before it happens, your problem solving skills will be great. But guess what. To be a great problem solver you need to have problems. And if you need to have problems to solve, you will forever create them.
I am guilty of trying to second guess other people’s moves before they make them. I do this to try and pre-empt problems. My brain is doing this. I’m in my head.
This year I’ve been taking some dance classes again with my wife. We took dance classes when we first met 5 years ago. Not that I’m any better now. So when I’m learning to dance, the key to it is, I’ve got to feel it more than work it out in my head.
When you’re in your head, doing the steps in your head, you’re not present. It takes listening to the music, feeling the beat, and going with the flow. It’s all about self awareness. You need to be ‘tuned in’, not ‘working it out’.
If you’re not into the dancing analogy, think of it this way. Head knowledge vs heart felt.
When you start making the emotional connections, you can start to move through life at a much deeper level. Being emotionally safe, emotionally stable, emotionally smart, is the key to it all.
But how do you do that?
Start with this. STOP TRYING TO WORK IT ALL OUT IN YOUR HEAD. Stop asking a billion questions. Stop trying to get it right. Stop trying to figure out what other people are going to do or say. As my wife tells me “stop trying to chess move”.
If you have all the head knowledge, but little or none of the heart felt experience, you might be able to sit and talk for hours, but to practice emotional intelligence, it takes time, it takes getting out of your head, it takes going deeper.
Start with trusting yourself, trusting that you know what to do, trusting that your natural way of being, is your authentic, true self. Stop trying to be the man, and be the man. Start noticing how you feel. Start relaxing into your body and start allowing your heart to lead.
You instinctively know how to ‘be’. You really do. You were born with this. So whilst I am not saying to never use your head, it’s important to use it for the right reasons. Don’t live in it. What’s just as, if not more important, is to follow your heart, and live from there.
Release your grip on the world around you.
You’ll be ok. Really you will.
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