Try This: “Everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. If I want something different, I must do something different.”

Self-talk / mantras / affirmations can be surprisingly powerful.

As a therapist, my experience sometimes includes imagining exactly what I would do if I woke up in my client’s body/life but I was able to bring along my belief system/vision.

If I could bring my belief system with me, then I’d want to bridge the gap between mine and theirs.

(As a side-note, if I really did wake up in someone else’s life but could bring my vision with me, the first steps would be: add rigorous exercise, improve breathing skills, remove nutrition-less calories, add more vegetables, fix their sleep situation, and take some time off of drugs to let their system re-calibrate.  But those are tangents because that’s not what this post is about.)

So, mantras…

For example, try this one on for size:

Repeat this phrase over and over again as you go through your day:

Everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be.  If I want something different, I must do something different.

It’s not too profound.  Pretty straight-forward.  Just repeat it over and over again.

If you can, say it out loud. Don’t worry about putting yourself in an uncomfortable, cross-legged, meditative position.  Just say it as you’re getting ready for work, or if you’re driving, or if you’re walking the dog.  If there are people around and you’d rather not look like a weirdo, then repeat it in your mind.  Grocery shopping, for example.  Just keep the phrase going, over and over again.

The first part will likely do one of two things: (1) frustrate the ‘should’ part of you or (2) increase your peacefulness.

If you’re walking around with a ‘should energy’ then it will be frustrating to entertain the idea that everything is exactly the way it’s mathematically supposed to be. This will feel all wrong. But it’s important to challenge the ‘should’ part of you so that you can harness more energy to make the life you want.  A ‘should’ can put the brakes on you.  If you think, “things just shouldn’t be this way,” and then that’s the end of the story, then you won’t put accurate effort into making change (usually because effort is supposed to come from somewhere else at that point – whomever you’re pointing the ‘should’ at – government, God, spouse, a different part of you, whatever). Nothing changes. It’s good if your ‘should’ gets frustrated. Let’s try and remove ‘should’ from your vocabulary.

On the other hand, the first part of this mantra might increase your peacefulness. If everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be, then maybe you’re ok. Maybe things are ok. Maybe this isn’t life or death. Maybe your fight-or-flight can turn off. Maybe your efforts from here forward can simply be bonus efforts that you give from a surplus. Icing on the cake.

The second part: “If I want something,” re-centers your energy with the “I” and the “want.”  You move back into driver’s seat with an improved orientation of which direction you’re hoping to drive.  Some people don’t consider a ‘want’ to be a ‘feeling,’ but it’s better if you do.  Now you’ve traveled from a cognitive error of a ‘should’ to a more potent area of a ‘feel.’  And since ‘want’ is directional (as opposed to a ‘sad for no reason’ which has no direction) you’re already a couple steps on your way.

The last part: “I must do something different,” shifts you from feelings to behaviors.  Always remember the value of looking at behaviors and feelings as two very, very different things. The goal is to try like hell to control your behaviors; but try very little to control your feelings.  People get it backwards when they hope their feelings change so that they can change their behaviors. You have to change your behaviors first and then your feelings will change later on their own.  So when we clearly say: “I must do something different,” we’re viewing the world through the lens of behaviors which is where we can more effectively make change.

Everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. If I want something different, I must do something different.

We don’t look at the planets and think, “that planet should definitely be closer to that other one.”  We don’t look at the clouds and think, “that cloud is shaped all wrong.” We don’t even look at other species and think, “that turtle sat in the sun way too long. It should’ve moved.” But we do that with our own species.  Stop shoulding.

If you want something different, you must do something different. And mathematically everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. There’s no way it couldn’t be.