New Year New Me! Or maybe not but I am sure we are all surrounded by the cries from family and friends that are now on a ‘juicing detox’, training for a marathon or are googling gyms to sign up to and frantically searching for a PT that can save them – until the end of January at least.
I’ve been there and no doubt will probably revisit some extreme fad again at some point but for now its a combination of everything in moderation for me and being more mindful about the choices that I make. That said my Fitbit is now firmly back on my wrist and I am grateful for my wonderful dog who forces me out to ‘move’ more and get my fresh air fix.
In that ‘in between’ Christmas and NY state of confusion we all find ourselves in (when no one knows what day it is and can justify drinking anything alcoholic at any time of the day and eat mince pies and chocolate for breakfast ) I announced that I was taking said dog for a big walk. It was a beautiful crisp morning and I am really lucky to live in the part of the world where there are scenic walks in abundance. Choices, choices and more choices. I was mulling over the options in my head and then my very ‘helpful’ husband starts firing suggested routes at me and telling me where I ‘should’ go.
Who asked for your opinion? Did I say I needed advice? Have I suddenly become incapable of making decisions for myself?
Yes the shame. I did say those things and many more that ended up in a full on ‘discussion’ about my ability to decide where I was going on a dog walk! Even writing this I agree that I sound like an ungrateful diva! I know what you’re thinking – the poor bloke was just offering some friendly suggestions. Yes I know.
Why did this behaviour trigger such a strong reaction in me? Why was I so irritated that he had was firing all of these options at me to solve a problem I didn’t have? I practised some self-awareness and realised that Richard was showing me something I didn’t want to see in myself. Offering unsolicited advice.
‘You spot it, you got it’ occurs when we get irritated by behaviour in others, which we are choosing to deny in ourselves. In other words, what I hate the most in you, may be what I hate the most in me. Talk about double standards.
Our hypocrisy comes from the fact that we have blind spots. We simply can’t see those parts of ourselves that we condemn in others. Or we choose not to. But by raising our self-awareness and understanding the ‘you spot it you got it’ phenomenon, we can start to reduce those blind spots and accept all the parts of ourselves. When we own our flaws we become aware of our triggers and are less likely to become irritated when we see them in other people.
“What we resist persists”.
Our brains are funny things. We invariably experience more of any thought or feeling when we try to avoid it. Let’s try something. For the next 10 seconds, do not think about pink elephants. Go.
Cue Nelly! Her big pink trunk swinging in the breeze. She has friends! Hundreds of pink elephants, dancing through your mind like that scene in the jungle book. Only pink.
When our brains hear an instruction to get rid of something, they seek out and find all the thoughts, feelings and emotions connected to it, in order to delete it. It’s the same reason why, when you’re on a diet you obsess about food, or if you do dry January, it seems everyone around you is drinking. To really free yourself from what is holding you back, you must go into it. Explore it. Understand it. See it.
Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. So, what we experience repeatedly is an opportunity for us to learn something about ourselves. For example, if you are constantly experiencing aggressive behaviour in others and are triggered by it, if there’s a consistent pattern and certain thoughts become very dominant, then there’s a good chance that you have what you’re spotting.
This opportunity to learn is never more apparent than with our children. Children are great mirrors. The things that wind us up about our kids are often an indication that there is something to get curious about within our own psyche. Remember this the next time you scream at your kids to stop shouting.
If you want to get technical, ‘you spot it you got it’ is a psychological defence mechanism where our sub conscious denies our own thoughts, attributes or emotions and then ascribes them to other people. It validates the theory that you cannot experience a feeling, emotion or trait, if you don’t have an inner experience of it. You have to have a connection to be able to notice it in others and when it triggers a negative response in you, it is because you are denying it in yourself.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom. The good news is that ‘you spot it you got it’ works positively too. If you find yourself inspired by someone who is creative, intellectual, a great communicator or visionary, you must have an inner experience of that which you admire, to be able to notice it in others. Furthermore, it might be that this trait is bursting to get out and you are suppressing it. The wonderful possibilities are endless.
“The outer conditions of a persons life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs”. James Allen.
Reduce your blind spots. Here’s how.
1. Think about something that’s really irritating you at present. Where does it keep cropping up? Where do you see it in others?
2. Write a quick and wild journal. This is where you write exactly what comes to mind. Where are the patterns? What is the most common theme?
3. Now think about where these traits show up in you.
You may be surprised at what you find. Initially there may be resistance if you don’t like what you see. But this is the time to have the conversations that matter with yourself. Be honest and really explore where and why these traits are showing up.
We all disown aspects of ourselves, positive or negative. But be curious about those traits that have come to light as a reflection of what you see in others. Herein lies a great opportunity to learn, raise our self-awareness and grow.
Now I am off for some more reflection time on another long dog walk – on a route that he kindly suggested
Happy New Year to you all Jo x