Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

When is the last time you saw someone talk to the chair on their porch and say, “You shouldn’t be here”? Or, “What’s wrong with you?” Or, “You should be ashamed being here”?Chair

I’ve never seen it.  And if I had, I probably would have thought them a bit crazy.

Most people see and accept the fact that there is a chair on the porch wherever it is. They don’t argue with reality.

And if they like where it is, they leave it. If they they don’t, they do something about it. Like give it to someone else, put it at the curb, or bring it to Goodwill.

We can probably agree that that makes sense.

When it comes to our thoughts, though, we act like a crazy lady: “This thought shouldn’t be here!” “This thought should feel ashamed being here!

We argue with reality. We challenge what we are thinking, even though it is right there in front of us being a thought.

If we fight reality, we can’t spend our energy doing something that might actually be more productive.

I think our lives are easier when we start from the beginning. Accept what is here, whether a chair or a thought. It is. Just that: there is a thought. Then choose what to do about it. Maybe work around it. Maybe change it. Maybe accept it.

One of my favorite clients told me that when her thoughts are too distracting, she writes them on a piece of paper. I think this is brilliant. By writing it down, we manifest in the external world what we experience internally. In writing our thoughts on paper, we create distance between ourselves and our thoughts: here’s what I am thinking, there is the thought.

We can become an observer of our thoughts. Literally: “There is a thought.”

Now we can soften our identification with our thought. And in that softening, we can stop arguing with reality and get on with what we want to do about it.

What do you do when your thoughts come up?

Safe travels David. Thanks for editing!

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