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Muting The Itty-Bitty Shitty Committee In Your Head

Written by: Rosalyn Palmer, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Many people go through life without the joy they deserve. They are miserable.


Recently as part of a four-year ongoing study* into depression in Scotland, UK one participant said:


“When you feel like everything you do is pointless and you’re just going through the motions. Just trying to fill in the time until you die. Sometimes you have fun or something good happens which can distract you for a while, but ultimately there is a hollowness inside which never goes away. It’s as if you’re transparent and anything positive like love or joy just passes right through you without sticking and afterwards it feels like it was never there at all.”

Another soul-sapping way to live is to feel like you are living a lie, pretending to be someone you are not.


It is invariably not your fault as we are cast into roles in our early and formative years that we often don’t choose. “Be an accountant” or “Study for the Bar and be a lawyer” say your parents, believing that this will be a steady and well-regarded profession and give you money and all the things they maybe never had. They want the best for you but dismiss your dream of being an artist or whatever you loved at five years old. When I cleared out the attic in my parents’ home after the sad death of my father, I found boxes of items I barely remembered. My Brownie and Guide badges, rusty key rings, and trinkets in a battered biscuit tin. Valentine’s cards (many in my mother’s handwriting that I had failed to recognize as a child!), padded birthday cards with kittens on them. Teenage love and my Twinkle Album 1968. In the front was a template saying: ‘When I grow up, I want to be’ I had filled in ‘An actress and a doctor in my spare time. At that age, nothing holds us back. Want to be a spaceship captain? Why certainly. Want to be an actress and a doctor? Why not? Walt Disney looked across an expanse of arid land in LA and didn’t see orange trees. He saw Disneyland in his imagination. Now within Disney are people with job titles such as Chief Visioneer. First, you have to dream it or vision it then it becomes real. When you are a child, before enough people (including teachers and members of one’s family) have said: “Don’t be silly, you can’t do that” or, in the case of a recent client of mine, “You are not cut out for the BIG stuff, just lower your expectations”, you had dreams. The big challenge is that after others stop saying “no” or “don’t be silly” to us, we are so hardwired that we continue the dialogue with ourselves, every single day. “Who am I to think I can get that job/partner/lifestyle?” Better not to try than face the hurt and humiliation of failure. In psychology, this concept is known as the Internal Corrections Officer. When you are young, your parents, teachers, etc, take on the role of the ‘corrections officer’, telling you “Don’t be silly” or “lower your expectations”. When you are older, you internalize this and in the absence of those adults, you become your own corrections officer, telling yourself that you are no good.


In fact, the older you get the more negative voices to get added so I refer to this internal negative chatter as The Itty-Bitty Shitty Committee.


Let’s ignore them for a moment. Ask yourself today: “What would I dare to dream if nothing is in the way?” As you imagine, be careful to make it a ‘How’ free zone. In business and life, you need those who focus on the ‘how’. It’s important but it can also stifle dreams. I’m a ‘What’ person. ‘What if we could what would this look like?’ A maverick. Clearly, you need a team to support your vision, including the ‘How’ people. Otherwise, you may decide to get to the other side of the river but have no idea how to build the bridge, or you start to build the bridge with no idea of how it will be secured on the other side. Focusing on ‘How’ in this scenario will mean that you are left standing on the bank of the river waiting for a ferryman. ‘How’ will never move you forward with a vision or life purpose if you get caught up in it. So back to the question: what would you dare to dream if nothing was in the way? A different job? House? Lifestyle? Body? Relationship? Let’s face it if Donald Trump can imagine being President of the USA and pull it off, anything is possible! Take a moment now. Grab a pen and paper or just close your eyes and visualize. What would you dream? If everything were available to you and everything was possible, what would your life and body, and inner self look and feel like? Then ask yourself: What made you happy at five, six, seven, or eight years old? If you imagine yourself being eight sitting in front of your Twinkle Album, question what you might have written. Take a moment and write it down now. In as much unfettered detail as a child would dare to imagine. Then think further. Between the ages of 8 and 17, before you had to be channeled into a job, career, university degree, or next life stage, what did you dream of? Again, take a moment and write that down also. Often what made us happy as children reveals our true selves. At age eight I loved to read and write. I wrote poems and short stories and won prizes for them. Now you are going to take it a step further and you will be amazed by just what is inside of you waiting to guide you forward.


LETTER TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF


You are now going to write a letter to your younger self.


It is cathartic and can heal an inner part of you that you carry around with you every day.


For this part of the exercise, choose a younger you at a time that was difficult.

Be clear about how old the younger you that you are writing to is. Be real and authentic and drill down to a few specific lessons or topics that you wish your younger you had known or felt at a heart level at that time. This isn’t a shopping list or a way to put pressure on that former you. Be kind, imagine that younger you as you would a dearly loved younger member of your family. Imagine that you are gently holding your younger self by the shoulder as you speak to them. Use ‘you’ and the present tense.


Here is a letter I wrote to my 25-year-old self. At the time I was working in a place I hated at a company I didn’t like, living alone during the week in a bedsit and ticking off the days until I returned to my shared house in London. Increasingly I found that when I got back to London my friends would have gone away for a fun weekend. The sense of failure and isolation was so great that I felt suicidal at times and lonely pretty much all the time. It was a very difficult nine months of my life.

Dear Ros,


I want you to take five minutes, sit down, breathe deeply, and remember that you are a wonderful, heartfelt young woman.


What seems like a fork in the road now will lead to greater opportunities. You have courage in spadefuls and do twice what most people do in half the time but remember you are a human being and be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for your choices or feel life is hard and unfair. Do not allow yourself currently to feel depressed or that life isn’t worth living. It is. I promise. You are very sensitive and vulnerable but wear such an effective mask that others often see you as impenetrable and totally in control. They even try to pull you down because of it.

Know now that daring to show your vulnerability and to be open to others, to stop judging yourself and others by impossible levels of perfectionism, will be the greatest and kindest gift you can ever give yourself. Know that you are more than enough and that your intellect and emotional intelligence will take you further than you can ever imagine so you don’t need to worry about striving for success. The less you try, the more successful you will be. When you trust your inner intuition and tap into your inner power you will not just make the right choices but intuitively take the right action at the right time. Do not let those who are afraid of your light try to dim it. You are a maverick. You see things differently and do things differently and that, coupled with your great sense of compassion, will make the world a better place. You are curious, so remember that questions are the answer. Do not be afraid to ask questions, seek a better path, do not be a lemming, and follow the herd to fit in, even if this makes others uncomfortable. Yours is a path to change the world and this will not always be comfortable for you or others. Treat their fear with grace and understanding.

Smile. People will always love you for it. Find out what makes you happy and pursue it every day. Feel at ease with this as all that you need is already within you. Enjoy the journey. Even the bumpy roads will give you a new level of wisdom. Know that you do have a spiritual gift and will experience events, insights, and visions that others will try to rubbish. Don’t let them. Trust yourself. Learn to let go. It makes skiing, sex and so much more wonderful. Speaking of which, don’t confuse sex for love or see the need for human contact and connection as anything other than sacred and wonderful. Use your body and value your body as you would worship a goddess. Remember you are more powerful, sexy, physical, and sensual than you could ever know. Do not let sexual shaming or guilt diminish this either. Sex is like breath itself and vital and wonderful. Know your worth. This is true for finding your future life partner, work, friends, and all other connections. For many years you will be the power behind the throne. Notice now that much of the fame and fortune of those around you has been in part created by you. If you want to enjoy that or step into the limelight too then do not feel restricted or not good enough. Do for yourself what you do for others. Pay close attention to your health and finances. Know that to be wealthy you need a balance of faith, fitness, friends, family, finance, and forgiveness, and be mindful to keep that balance always. Learn to meditate and be present.

It is not your job to make everyone around you happy, kind or fulfilled. That is their journey. You are not a cash cow for others. Earning money and providing for your future family is not your sole responsibility. Do not sacrifice your health or happiness for success. Trust that you know what is right for you. Create great and healthy and nurturing habits.

Understand that you studied for an English Literature degree because you feel things deeply, enjoy time alone and have a connection to all that is real and true in this world. Write your own books and share your wisdom sooner rather than later. It will just flow from you as you tap into something even beyond your present understanding. You are meant to be this messenger and change agent but you are not supposed to compromise your own happiness or health for it. Only connect. Understand that people who need people really are the happiest people of all. We are all in this together. There is so much more I could share but you know that you will be more than OK, more than enough. You will shine and grow and love and be loved and your life will enrich others. Feel that and love it. Oh yes and have intimacy with yourself. It means Into Me See. I see into you and I’m so excited by it, moved by it, in love with it. Yabba daba doo! Love always, Rosalyn xx


(If you would like to hear this letter read out on the OLD (Optimal Living Daily) Podcast then listen here: https://oldpodcast.com/1698-a-letter-to-my-younger-self-by-rosalyn-palmer-on-learning-from-past-mistakes-overcoming-adversity/


Try this exercise to find out what would make you happy. To live your truth with the power of an unrestricted child or a less hurt younger you. You only have one life to live. Live it your way. If family or friends do not approve, that is their problem. Do not make it yours. Clearly, this is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for being completely insensitive or listening to wise external council from time to time. It is about you allowing yourself to be your authentic and best self. What people think of you is none of your business. Remember: “To thine own self is true.” Being yourself unblocks your energy. It frees you up. It allows you to live from your power. The world is waiting for you. It is time to be you. You can’t be anyone else, they are already taken. Listening to the critical voices is so draining.


CLOSING THE LOOPS AND DECLUTTERING


The next key step in silencing that internal critical committee is to simplify your life. Quite simply the voices persist because you have too much on your mind.


During the lockdown, I turned my attention to decluttering my home. I took advice from Marie Kondo. Her book: ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a blueprint for having more from less. Her tidying magic six-stage process is based on doing it once and doing it properly. It comprises:


1. Go through it all

2. Sort by categories, not room by room but by type e.g., clothes, books, papers, komono (the Japanese for miscellaneous) then sentimental

3. It is not a sprint so go easy. Take breaks. Get out into the fresh air.

4. Take time to sit down and examine each item you own.

5. Ask yourself if it gives you joy or is practical.

6. Then decide what to keep or discard and where to put it.


So far, so good.


Now I want to put my therapist’s hat on and ask you (as indeed I’ve asked myself) to go beyond the ‘how to’ steps of this process and dig deep to the ‘why’.

  • Why do you want to declutter?

  • Why do you think you acquired so many things that you now have no use for or that don’t bring you any joy?

With this added power of knowing why you can try some of the steps and help to soothe the energy in your external environment.


In the workplace you can be a true warrior and wage war on clutter in the following ways:

  • Keep it decluttered don’t overwhelm yourself with piles of undone stuff (put it out of sight and out of mind but know what needs to be done)

  • Have all relevant materials on hand

  • Duplicate your workplace at home and office if you work across both

  • Find mobile ways to work if you travel a lot

  • Have a dedicated space at home and don’t share it

  • Put the stuff on your desk away at night (even if in a box!)

  • Have filed for general stuff (concert tickets etc.) so you know where they are

  • Have your own filing in as easy a way to file and retrieve as possible (Kardex)

  • Declutter digitally. Don’t have loads of docs on your desktop or hundreds of apps

  • Use boards like Trello to have active W.I.P and easy-to-find file

But how do you declutter internally? In your head?


The unfinished tasks whirring around your head, are, according to Matt Serna (2017):


Open Loops


Your brain will remind you about them, whether you want it to or not.


Open loops are energy and soul-sapping, they stop your mind from doing your work effectively by distracting you with other unresolved tasks and issues.


Closed-loop productivity is designed to concentrate your mental acuity on what needs to be done rather than the distractions.


According to ‘The Zeigarnik effect’ the mind has a natural tendency to focus on incomplete tasks.


Open loops keep flooding your mind with unhelpful reminders well into your evening.

Result:

  • Lower quality work

  • More time at work with less productivity

  • A piling up ‘to-do’ list

  • Poor sleep

  • An inability to switch off at home

  • Guilt when you are not at work

  • Mental exhaustion and overwhelm etc.

Remove the cognitive burden of open loops with some simple task organization tools.

Simple Task Organisation Tools


These can vary from:

  • A simple piece of paper with all your tasks written down on it starts with a brain dump and gets it all off of your mind. Write all the things you need to do down and capture it all on paper or digitally.

  • The next-stage simple list: looking back at all the tasks and items you have, highlight them with either a Red or Amber (Yellow) or Green highlighter (RAG system). Red = urgent. Amber = important but not urgent. Green = noted but not needing to be done now. Add Blue for tasks you are awaiting responses/actions from others for.

  • The simple Eisenhower Decision Matrix

  • A complex flowchart or work system that works for you or your organization. But remember keep it simple!

Weekly Loop Closing Checklist


Each week check back and do the following:

  • It’s no longer needed or has been done = delete it.

  • No action is needed right now, but you may need to do something about it later = ‘Awaiting response’ file (review weekly).

  • It’s information that you may need later, like the budget for a project you plan to undertake. Put that into the correct = reference material/library place.

  • You still must do the action and/or there is much information you are storing in preparation for it = it’s a project so create a Trello or similar project board and a new file for filing it. Have a master Projects List (with projects ranging from: ‘Complete the $$$ tender document’ to ‘Write my novel’ to ‘get a new cleaner’ to ‘fix the broken’

MORE MIND HACKS


A couple of my tried and tested simple hacks to quiet the overactive mind include the following:


1. Change ‘What if?’ to ‘What is?’. Instead of ‘What if happens?’ ask yourself ‘What is really happening right now? What steps can I take to deal with this today?

2. Put the hamster to bed. One of my brilliant podcast guests, Robin Farmanfarmaian shared that when she has a mind full of busy thoughts that don’t want to be quiet, she visualizes a hamster on a wheel in her head. Having got a clear picture of the cute rodent, she visualizes a safe nesting box full of shredded paper. She pops it in the box, lowers the lights, and lets it go to sleep. Resulting in a happy hamster and a happy decluttered mind.


With this internal and external action, you will put that internal Itty Bitty Shitty Committee on mute, and with repeated practice, it can be forever.


Reference: Journal of Mental Health:

Want to work with me in a group leadership course? Early bird registration and a special offer investment is now open for The Aligned Life. Pioneer rate is now active for early sign up for an autumn start of the Aligned Life. If you want to make your life feel as good inside as it looks outside then book your spot here – The Aligned Life


If you would love to live a more balanced life, to realign your inner happiness to your outer success then let’s talk. You can book a Discovery Call in my online diary


Or would you like my FREE eBook: Reset Your Lifeplan: 25 Proven Strategies for a blueprint for success.


Yes: then follow this link today and email hello@rosalynpalmer.com and let’s take it from there.


Follow Rosalyn on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit her website for more info.


 

Rosalyn Palmer, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Rosalyn Palmer is an award-winning transformational coach and therapist and one of the Brainz 500 Global 2021 list of Companies, Entrepreneurs, Influential leaders, and Small business owners recognized for their entrepreneurial success, achievements, or dedication to helping others. Her work combines advanced rapid transformational therapy with clinical hypnotherapy & NLP-based coaching to create deeply desired changes. She works 1-2-1 with clients and via her group courses including the 13-week The Realigned Leader and The Realigned Life transformations. As the best-selling author of the award-winning self-help book: ‘Reset! A Blueprint for a Better Life’ and three other Amazon bestsellers, Rosalyn makes emotional wellbeing accessible to all. She enables high performers to live their best lives that feel as good inside as they look on the super-successful outside. Rosalyn draws on extensive business experiences in top London PR & Marcomms (‘retiring’ as a self-made millionaire at age 40 after a stellar career helping clients including Tony Robbins and Edward de Bono) and the insight of being conflicted when the outward vision of your life doesn’t serve you. Added to this are her deeper values and life experiences born from many challenges including cancer; redundancy; bereavement; menopause; divorce; a financial loss that broke her open to finding out what really matters in life and how to live a life of balance and joy. As a natural communicator, she is the well-being expert for the radio show Girls Around Town, has a monthly newspaper column, and two podcast series: Monkey Business and Life Alchemy.

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