Episode 25: Taking Control of Your Life Experience

Episode Transcript

Hello, podcast universe! Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast. I'm April Price and this is Episode 25. Welcome to the podcast and thank you for listening! I seriously love so much hearing how the podcast is helping you and helping you see things in a different way. So, thank you for sharing your comments and your thoughts about the podcast.

This week I was coaching one of my listeners and she said, "I was just so amazed to find out that my thoughts are what are creating my feelings and that I can decide how I want to feel." And she was just like so awestruck and giddy about this idea and I can so relate to that because when I first learned this truth I was just as amazed. And really that one idea has had almost a miraculous effect on my whole life. It was like someone showed me the behind the curtain, right? Like showed me how it all works and gave me the key to the universe.

And of course, this does not mean that my life is perfect and that I always choose happy thoughts. But knowing that I am the creator of all of it and that I'm always choosing to feel the way I feel even when I don't know it and even when I don't realize it, removes so much of the powerlessness in my life and so much resentment and blame for others and allows me then to control my own experience in a way that I didn't know was possible.

So even though I know all this, I am human. You know that, right? But I totally am. Well actually if you've been listening to the podcast, you're fully aware of how human I am. I am a human being, having an Earth life experience and the last few weeks for me have been really challenging inside my human body, inside my human brain, and I have found myself floundering a bit and even reverting to old ways of thinking. And some of these old ways include lots of moments where I am super good at blaming the people and the circumstances in my life for how I'm thinking and feeling and acting.

And maybe you can relate to this a little bit, like even though we know these things then life happens, and we have to work through them and put these ideas into practice. And so as I have worked through my own difficulties the past few weeks, there have been a few thoughts that have really helped me to remember that the experience that I'm having is the experience I am creating and how I think and feel and how I act is always my responsibility.

So, I want to share some of these experiences with you, some of these thoughts in case you are a human too and struggling in your own human experience.

So first I want to give you a little bit of background. Throughout my life I have had some health challenges. I had cancer when I was a child and many of the side effects of that treatment have affected my health over the years and I've had lots of close calls and plenty of miracles. And sometimes it hasn't been easy living in my body. And for much of my life I felt like a helpless victim of my own body. I had this thought that I was limited in many ways because of my health.

And a couple of years ago when I figured out that that was only a thought and that I could believe anything I wanted about my body, that's what started my journey to be able to question all the limiting beliefs I had about myself and my life.

Well anyway, a couple of weeks ago I had another health challenge and I actually ended up having to have emergency surgery to remove a fibroid that was causing me to hemorrhage. And everything turned out amazing, right? I'm still here. I had the very best medical care. I was so grateful for the doctors and nurses and everyone who helped me and use their gifts and abilities to bless me and heal me yet again.

But by the time I got into surgery and got this taken care of, I had lost a lot of blood and this loss has had an impact on me. So, a few days ago when I went back to the gym and was extremely weak and lightheaded. And this wasn't because I lost two years of muscle mass in five days, right? But I think it's because I now have so much less hemoglobin which makes it so that I don't have enough oxygen to feed both my muscles and my brain at the same time.

And so, when I'm working out, suddenly my heart rate is going so fast I'm breathing so heavy, even on the simplest exercises. And the other day I was doing a simple set of 12 curl presses and I was only using 10-pound weights and I was dizzy, I was breathing hard, and like the black dots are right in front of my eyes, right? And I was so devastated. I felt so discouraged because I worked so hard to get my body in shape, right?

And I felt like in that moment that my body was working against me again and it was amazing when I thought that thought how fast my thoughts started to spiral in a negative direction. And like suddenly now I can't walk as far as I want to. I can't lift what I used to be able to lift, and I even getting out of a chair makes me dizzy and black out a bit right now. Right?

So, after I had this experience in the gym, I sent my health and fitness coach an email and I wrote:

"I'm just so sad about all of it. I'm kind of broken hearted about it and discouraged and mad at myself and swimming in self-loathing, all of which makes it hard to stick to my eating plan, which I haven't been great about this week. I know I need to rally but I'm really struggling."

So, it's really good, right, that I'm not dramatic at all? But it's the end of the world in my mind that I can't lift these weights. But what I want you to see you and I want to point out is that it's not the health challenge that is making me so sad and causing me so much discouragement and causing me to give up on my eating protocol. It's the thought that my own body has betrayed me. This makes me feel discouraged and so mentally it just kind of causes me to throw in the towel and my actions from that are to just give up. I had a challenge and my brain was like, "Okay, I guess we're going to be fat and broken now." It's like all or nothing, right? And this is what our brains do.

I want you to remember that our brains don't like spending energy. They don't like pain and they really like pleasure and they like to think thoughts that give them these kind of results, that prevent us from taking action. So, in this case my brain was like, "This is too hard. Let's give up and eat, right?"

So luckily, I have a coach. So, I love my coach and she wrote me back. This is what she said:

"Some of what you are dealing with right now is out of your control. This is when it's even more important to focus on what you can control. Each day think of what can I take the reins on and succeed at today. There's plenty you can do well right now and feel good about it."

So, isn't this awesome? Right? This is why it is so valuable to have a coach to show you the victimhood in your own thinking and where your brain is betraying yourself. So, as I read that and I read those words like "this is the time when it's even more important to focus on what you can control,” I thought, "Oh yeah. I forgot I am in control." I may not be able to control the fibroids in my body, but I always have control over the way I think about myself and my life and my challenges. And it is the same for you.

So, I want to talk to you today about control. I want you to know that it's easy to believe that we have no control in our lives that it's all just happening to us and it's unfair and we should just give up. This is the natural state of the brain. Your lower brain wants you to seek pleasure, avoid pain and save energy. It does not want you to change anything. And it likes to sell you a lie about how you are the victim and how you have no control so that you will stay the same.

The truth is we don't get to control many of the things that happen to us—though even here I think there is some wiggle room, but that is a podcast for another day. For right now, let's just assume that's completely true. We don't always get to control the things that happen to us. There are circumstances that just happen, and we don't ever get to control other people, though we'd really like to. Right? What we get to control, as you've heard me say many times, is our own experience—our own thoughts about the circumstances of our lives, our own feelings about ourselves and the people in our lives, and our own actions and results that are fueled by those feelings.

Now I want to stop here and show you something amazing. The whole reason that we want to control the circumstances and the people in our lives is because we think that by controlling these things, we can then control our emotional experience in the world.

Right? We want to feel good and we want to feel good more of the time. So, our answer to this is to try to control the circumstances and the people in our lives so that we don't have so much negative emotion about what's happening. If everyone and everything could just behave then we could relax and be happy and feel safe.

If I could just have a healthy body and never get sick and never have fluctuations in energy or stamina or blood-oxygen levels, I could just be happy. So, control feels really important to our brains because theoretically our brains think the more control, we have the safer we will be and the better that will be. We think if we can control everything outside of us then we can feel better inside of us.

Now here's the amazing part: What's happening inside of us is entirely up to us and has nothing to do with the outside. How we feel is entirely up to us, regardless of what's happening outside of us. So our human brains spend all this time worrying about the things outside of us outside of our control—what other people think, how other people act, what's happening in the world, and in our bodies, and in the stock market, and in the presidential election; what's going to happen, what could happen, how we can guarantee the best outcomes for ourselves and our loved ones.

All of that...our brain wants to control so we can feel good and yet none of it ever makes us feel anything—good or bad. It is only ever what's happening in our own mind that makes us feel anything—good or bad. We want to feel better and we go outside of us when all we have to do is go inside of us, no matter what the circumstances.

And this is really crazy when you think about it, right? The only thing we can control is our own thinking. And yet this is the last thing we try to control. Our brain is constantly going outside of itself to find control and feel safe when the only place this actually works is inside itself.

So, let's go back to what my coach wrote me: "Some of what you're dealing with right now is out of your control. This is when it's even more important to focus on what you can control." I want you to look at your life right now. Make a scan a mental scan through your life right now. Right now, there is something you wish was different. Right now, there is something that you wish you could change or control in some way. And just like me at the gym, you feel a little bit victimized and your brain is selling you on the idea that it's unfair and that you need to fix this thing in order to feel better.

What I want you to know for sure is that you don't have to fix the thing to feel better. You only have to fix how you're thinking about it to feel better. The thing isn't making you feel bad. Your thoughts are making you feel bad.

For me, I don't have to have a different body to feel better, right? When I came home from the gym crying and so upset, my husband started Googling ways to increase my iron. He was ready to change my diet and buy all the supplements and call all the doctors so that he could change how I was feeling. But my current hemoglobin levels are not making me feel discouraged and brokenhearted. My thoughts about those levels are what is making me feel so discouraged.

And guess what? I can continue to think those thoughts and feel bad as long as I want. But anytime I want to feel differently, I don't have to do all the things and try to control other things outside of me. I only have to think different thoughts. So later in that email my coach offered me other thoughts, right?

She said, your body will recover, and you will come out on the other side of this.

She said, when the lows are really low the highs are even higher.

She said, you'll get better and your strength will come back and you'll look back and be so thankful that your body's capable of recovery and further building and healing.

Every one of those thoughts is powerful and every one of them was available to me in that moment in the gym. I just couldn't see them. I could have chosen any one of them instead of the thought "I'm broken and my body always lets me down. Let's eat something."

Okay. so as I did my own work on this and I did my own self-coaching the thought I decided to choose was: My body is amazing. You cannot kill it. I should have died so many times already. And here I am. My body is stronger than anything else. My body is amazing.

Now think how different that feels in the circumstance I'm in, right? It fills me with hope and determination and motivation instead of sadness and discouragement. So, what I want to point out is that there is always always a different thought to think. There are a million different thoughts to think, so ask yourself: Of all the thoughts out there, why am I choosing this one? Because you are you are choosing it. It feels like you don't have a choice, but you are choosing your thought. Ask yourself curiously, "Why am I choosing this thought? My brain must have a good reason for choosing it. Why am I choosing it?"

In this case my brain would prefer not to live a life where we get up early and work out and monitor what we eat. My brain, like your brain, wants to avoid pain. It wants to seek pleasure. It wants to save energy and so it offered me a thought and I chose to think it. And actually, it's an easy thought for me to think, right? I've practiced it a lot throughout my life. I'm good at thinking my body lets me down. It's an old habit. But my coach reminded me that I don't have to keep choosing it and I get to control how I think about my body and how I think about my life.

Now let me be clear. I want you to ask the question "why am I choosing to think this thought?" so that you can see that you are in fact choosing it, that you do have agency. But I don't want you to spend a lot of time digging deeply into your psyche to figure out why you're thinking it and all your motivations and past traumas. I just want you to notice that your brain always offers the thoughts that keep us safe and protected, that notices dangers. And then because it likes to save energy, it tends to rethink the same thoughts that it has thought in the past and use the same old neural pathways.

It's really not that deep. Our brain is interested in our survival in the easiest least painful most pleasurable way possible. It's like this narcissistic hedonist, right, and it wants to sell you on its way of thinking.

So, another of my coaches last week compared this process of choosing our thoughts to going to a "thought store" and it really shifted a few things for me, and I want to share it with you. So, I want you to imagine you're going to the Thought Store or you're going to like Thought Amazon, right? And you're picking out a thought, you're putting it in your cart, then you're taking it home. You unwrap it. You unpack it, you take off all the tags, and you try it on.

And if you get to take home any thought and buy any thought in the store, in all of Thought Amazon, would you really want to buy that thought and take it home?

So last week we had this little trip planned to go to Utah for fall break and see our kids who are up at college there and I had had surgery just a few days earlier and I was still in the middle of feeling really sorry for myself about that. And I didn't feel great. I was still really swollen and I had all this edema from the surgery. And I had all these things in my business that really, really needed to get done. And most of all, I really, really wanted to rest.

In fact 24 hours after my surgery I had gotten on a plane and flown to Dallas for the Life Coach School Modelthon and I flew back home 24 hours after that, and then after that I had a full week of coaching and entrepreneurship, and I just didn't want to go to Utah.

And I was angry and resentful and also ashamed. Because what kind of a mother doesn't want to go to Utah and see her kids. And so, I went to the Thought Store and I picked up the thought "I'm a terrible mother" which felt, by the way, terrible. And so, then I blamed David for making me feel so terrible because he had planned the trip in the first place. Do you see how human I am? I know it's starting to become clear for you.

But again, what I want to show you is that I thought the circumstances—the trip, the surgery, my work, the amount of sleep I was getting, David's travel plans— all of it, I thought needed to be controlled so that I could feel better and not choose the thought, "I'm a terrible mother." And wanted to change all the other stuff so that I could feel differently.

And I happened to talk to my coach that morning of the trip and I was just so mad and angry about the whole thing and feeling sorry for myself and then blaming David for how I felt and she said to me, "Of all the thoughts in the Thought Store, why did you choose to own, "I'm a terrible mother?" Is that really the thought you want to keep and wear this weekend? Because you get to have any experience you want. Is that the one you want? Or do you want to return that thought and think something else?

So, I want you to go with me, right, and imagine this Thought Store. And there are a million thoughts to choose from. Ask yourself, “Is this the thought I really want?" Now, remember your brain is a good salesman. And as we've already said it likes to save energy, avoid pain, and seek pleasure, and so it really, really wants to sell you on the thoughts that will achieve this outcome for itself. It's got all these billboards and flashing lights and discounts, and it puts all these negative thoughts out there, all these thoughts that we've thought a lot, out there on the end caps where they're easy to grab. And they seem almost necessary to buy. They are the hard sell from your brain.

But you never have to put them in your cart. You never have to take them home. You never have to take off the tag and put them on. They might be more highly advertised but you are never obligated to buy them.

So, ask yourself, "Is this the thought I want to buy? Would I buy it again?" For me, just asking the question, “Of all the thoughts, why did you buy that one?" shifted at all for me and allowed me to give up the thought immediately. It felt like I had to buy it. It felt like thinking "I was a terrible mother" was the only available thought.

When my coach asked me why I bought that one, I realized how much it wasn't serving me and how I actually had a choice and how much it was changing how I was feeling and how much those feelings would then change how I acted on the trip and how I showed up around the people that I love. And I no longer wanted to own the thought at all.

Okay, so I want to give you a couple more ideas here about controlling how you feel and act by taking control of how you are thinking. Remember that in every situation our focus needs to be on what we can control, which is always just us and that always starts with our thoughts.

So, the first concept that I want to make sure to explain to you that I've seen come up for several of my clients recently is when they have a lot of negative judgment about their own thoughts.

They think they shouldn't be thinking something and it makes them identify themselves as a bad person for thinking and feeling the way they are. And this added layer of judgment about your thoughts will keep you stuck. So let me show you what I mean.

If we go back to my previous example "I'm a terrible mother," as soon as my coach asked me, "Is this the thought you want to keep?" I was able to release it. But this was because I didn't judge myself for buying the thought in the first place. I didn't think the thought was who I am. It was just a choice I made. I didn't think it was bad to even have made that choice. I just got sold a bad thought. I took it home. But now that I can see that it doesn't serve me, I can take it back anytime I want. I chose the thought. "I'm a terrible mother" and now I want to choose something different.

But look at what happens if I judge myself for the thought or I think that I am the thought in some way. If I judge myself for thinking the thought "I am a terrible mother" then I would be thinking on top of that "I shouldn't be thinking that," "Why don't I ever buy good thoughts?" "What's wrong with me?" "I'm such a negative person." " I'm never gonna be able to change my thoughts."

Do you see? Now that I have added a whole cartload of extra thoughts that aren't serving me and are adding shame and judgment onto a thought that already isn't useful. Then I'm kind of stuck. It's not easy to return the thought "I'm a terrible mother" because it's buried under this cartload of other shameful thoughts about how there's something seriously wrong with me, right?

There's nothing wrong. You are not your thoughts. In that case I just chose a thought that wasn't serving me. And I'm here on earth to learn to choose. Once I see that I want to make another choice, then I do, and I learn a little bit more.

So, here's what I want you to see. You are not your thoughts. You are not your feelings. We sometimes just think we are negative. We are angry we are sad or depressed or hard to live with. None of which is true. We have just chosen a thought that isn't serving us and it is creating anger. It is creating sad. It is creating prickly. But we aren't ever the thought itself and we aren't the feeling either. We just made a choice and we aren't bad people for making it. We're just humans learning how to choose and that is exactly why we're here.

We're not here to get it right every time; we're not here to make perfect purchases. We are here to learn. Choosing your thoughts at the Thought Store is the learning process. Stop judging yourself for learning. You will be able to release the thoughts that aren't serving you so much easier when you can realize they are not an indictment of the kind of person you are. They're just a choice.

Now the last idea I want to give you dovetails so nicely with the idea of the Thought Store. And it was first taught this idea by my mentor at the Life Coach School, Kris Plachy, and she offered us the idea that there are thoughts and experiences that you could just choose never to have again. Like, what if there are thoughts at the Thought Store and you've just decided I've had enough of that? I'm not buying that anymore. I don't want to think that anymore and you ever have to experience it again. You're done. You just don't want it anymore. I've tried that. I've tried that life experience and I'm done, right?

So like last night I went out to dinner with my parents and my dad was looking at my pizza that had peppers on it and he was saying how much he hates green peppers and that he's just never eating them again, right? Like he's done with green peppers. What if you could treat your thoughts the way my dad treats green peppers? No thanks. I don't want any more of that. I don't like how that thought feels that I don't like what it does to me after I think it. Just like the green pepper. My dad doesn't like how it tastes. He doesn't like what it does to his body after he eats it. He's had enough green pepper for a lifetime.

What thoughts do you have that you've just had enough of?

So I want you to really think about this idea and play with this idea. And let me give you a little caveat. I don't want you to do this to remove negative emotion from our lives. Like sometimes we think like, "Oh I'll just decide never to feel bad again, right? But negative emotion is part of the deal. It is how we learn how we distinguish which thoughts we want to have and so we need negative emotion to have a complete earth-life learning experience.

So, we don't want to say like, "I never want to be sad again," because first of all that's not even true. There will be times in your life where you want to be sad. So, I want you to think about this in terms of not avoiding certain emotions but instead in terms of creating what you want in your life and your life experience. There are things you can simply choose not to experience again because you have chosen not to think those thoughts.

So, let me give you a little example. When my coach Kris Plachy was talking about this, she was saying it in terms of things that she no longer wanted in her life like bread, she said, and hangovers, right? She's like, "I'm done with those. I don't like how they make me feel and I'm done having that experience." And the thoughts that create desire for those things, she's just chosen to stop thinking.

So, I started thinking about this in my own life. What am I done experiencing? If I'm creating my life, what have I tried that I no longer want to experience?

So, one of them is debt. I've had the experience of debt. And I'm done with that. I'm done thinking "I don't have enough" or "I might run out" or "I can spend money that I don't have." I'm not thinking those thoughts anymore because I'm not buying that experience in my life anymore. So I'm going to choose different thoughts when I go to the Thought Store.

Another one is being overweight. I've had that experience. I don't want to do it again. I've thought the thoughts, "It doesn't matter what I eat" and I'm done thinking thoughts like "I don't matter enough to take care of myself." I'm done thinking those thoughts that make me feel worthless and not worth the investment.

Another is thinking I can't accomplish my goals. I've had that experience. I've had the experience where I don't go after my dreams and I don't need to have it again. I've thought the thoughts that "I can't have what I want" and "I don't keep commitments to myself" and "I can't accomplish the things I want." I'm done feeling inept and powerless in terms of my goals and creating my life.

And another example is, I know I've shared this with you before, but I used to have the thought that "I'm hard to live with."(And after you hear the story about the trip you're thinking maybe you still need that thought.). But I used to have this thought that I'm hard to live with and I thought it was a fact. I didn't think it was a purchase at the Thought Store. I just thought it was the way things are.

And last fall around this very time I got coached on it and I decided I never have to think that again. It's just a thought I don't have to keep buying it. I've had that experience. I've thought the thoughts that created self-loathing and I don't need to do it again. I've thought the thoughts that I'm hopeless and not enough and that I make life hard for everyone and I'm done hating myself. I'm done creating the experience that I'm hard to live with and so I just never purchased that thought again. (Even though I don't want to go on trips to Utah.) I just don't buy that thought.

Did you know you can do that? Just like never buying green peppers again, you can just decide never to think that thought again because you want to have a different experience in your life.

Do you see how powerful it can be to simply decide you're done with a certain experience and those thoughts that create it that are so destructive?

Now my coach went on to explain that this list of things that you don't want in your life, there's another part to it. You can start to think about what you do want to still experience in your life that you haven't yet. What are the experiences you want to have before you leave Earth life? Do you want to know what it's like to be a soft place to land, like I did? You've got to buy the thoughts that will create that experience.

So, what is it you want to experience and create in your life? What are you done creating and experiencing and what do you want to create an experience? Now you just want to note that this is also why it's so important that we don't eliminate negative emotion from our life. Some of the experiences that we want to have will require us to have negative emotion.

For example, this weekend my brother is running The Javelina Jundred which is a hundred-mile race—one hundred miles, in one day, without stopping, while you're running! . This is an experience that he wants to have in his body while he's here on Earth and so he's gonna have to think the thoughts that will create that for him. And he is going to have to experience the emotions that come with that experience, many of which will not be pleasant. In fact, he calls it "exploring the pain cave."

This is not an experience that I want to have. I'm never going to choose this experience, right? But there are other experiences that I want to have in my life that will require negative emotion. Like I would like to have the experience of being a published author. That's going to require me to experience the emotions of self-doubt and fear and insecurity. I would like to have the experience of flying to Europe in first class where you can lay the seats down and sleep through it.

I would like to have the experience to be able to create a six-figure business as an entrepreneur, but that also is going to require hard work, and it's going to require vulnerability, and it's going to acquire me to go outside of my comfort zone. All of which creates negative emotion for me.

I would like to have the experience in my life that God can count on me. That means that I'm going to have to do some things sometimes that I don't want to do because he wants it for me. And that's going to require me to submit and be meek and be humble all of which may bring up some negative emotion.

So, do you see what I mean? Anything is available to you, if you are willing to find the right thoughts and then feel the feelings that go along with it. Once you imagine what it is you really want in your life, are there experiences that you're done with and other experiences you still want? What do you need to think and what thoughts do you need to purchase? What thoughts do you need to return in order to have those experiences?

What would you want if you could have any experience? Because guess what? You absolutely can. That is what you get to control—your Earth life experience—and you do it through your thoughts.

You get to control the thoughts you want to think and keep thinking. You get to control the thoughts you want to stop thinking. You get to control the thoughts you want to start thinking and nurturing. And those choices will create your feelings which will fuel all the actions and give you your results in your life.

You don't have to control everything else to have the life you want. You only have to control what you can—and what you can control are the thoughts you choose to think...and that my friends is 100% awesome! I love you for listening! I'll see you next week!


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.