As part of the coaching training that I've been going through with the SuperCoach Academy, we get to attend MasterClass sessions with practitioners, who for many years, have been experiencing the benefits of the inside-out understanding for themselves
and for their clients.
And every session (without exception) has provided us with tons of little nuggets of wisdom that get to percolate in our heads, along with the wonderful experience of just hanging out with people who live what they
teach, and who regularly tap in to the well being that exists within all of us, because they simply know where to look.
All the little nuggets are just too numerous to list here, but I do get the benefit of sharing them as they pop up
in my coaching and writing, as they have today.
In one of these recent classes, Jack Pransky shared a couple of things, that sparked some thoughts in my mind about how to help clients see through the illusion of their thoughts. And it's
not that I would intentionally use his examples in my coaching, because you have to kind of wait and see what will appear as relevant in each moment, but it gave me something interesting to reflect on.
In the world of positive psychology,
every situation can be reframed into a different perspective. Something that is bad, can be seen from other perspectives where it actually is good, or at least less bad.
We see this all the time with all the "positive thinking" memes that
appear on the internet, and all the positive perspectives that others want to share with us about how to fix our problem. "So sorry to hear that your car broke down, but walking to work is great exercise, and using the bus is so much cheaper and better for
the environment." "You're right, your boss is an idiot. But you can just ignore what he says, because karma is a bitch."
And I catch myself sharing these perspectives as well, even as recently as yesterday with a fellow student. She shared
her dismay about having to go to a conference instead of attending the final training session in our coaching program, and I automatically responded by sharing some positive things that I liked about attending conferences. My response came from my insecure
desire in the moment to make her feel better, and in retrospect, it likely wasn't very helpful.
The problem with sharing positive perspectives, is based on something that Jack shared with us, to the effect of... "We can't see other perspectives
that come from a higher level of consciousness, from the lower level of consciousness that we are currently in".
In other words, a more positive perspective that someone shares with us may make sense to our intellectual/logical mind, but
in that moment, we still don't really see that other perspective as relevant or true for our particular situation. The response from us in our current lower state of mind is often in the form of... "Oh yah, I get that, but...".
is, that the only way we will "get" that new perspective (or any other relevant perspectives that are uniquely perfect to us and our situation), is when we eventually get to a higher state of consciousness around that particular problem... Where all of a sudden,
something more positive occurs to us that actually does feel relevant and real and true. And that often happens when we stop mulling over the problem, and let our system re-set, so there's space for new fresh thought to appear.
the MasterClass, Jack heard from a fellow student who was frustrated with herself for her reaction to her husband who got dressed in clashing colours for an event... "Is that what you're going to wear?"
And Jack's response in the moment
was not to advise how the student could look at the situation in other more positive ways. Instead it occurred to him to point out how we so commonly, innocently, and unknowingly, make up a TON of "truths" that we don't even realize, about each situation we're
We make up the truth that two specific colours clash. We make up the truth that wearing matching colours is important. We make up the truth that we should or would be embarrassed if we wore clashing colours. We make up
the truth that others at the party would judge us and think less of us for wearing clashing colours... and the list could go on and on and on.
Instead of pointing to other solutions and perspectives out there, Jack was pointing to the
illusion of our thoughts, and poking holes in all the crazy stuff we don't even realize that we think, and then believe as true, just because we thought it.
I'm sure that I will continue to catch myself "trying to make others feel better",
which ultimately tells me more about my own insecurity in that moment, than anything that will be of help. But hopefully, more often, I'll notice the "I feel bad for you feeling", and realize my state of mind before opening my mouth.
that just happened for me yesterday as well. When expressing my sympathy to a friend who's young relative just committed suicide, it occurred to me to forget about providing any positive perspective, and to just shut my mouth, and give them a hug instead.