[00:00:00] Welcome to today's TLC. Whether you found this podcast on my website, through the emails I send, or simply from a friend, I'm glad that you've decided to add some TLC today.
[00:00:17] Hey friends, I need to tell you something super important today—it has been changing my world! Two weeks ago I had this moment where I was in a panic. I felt like I had made this huge mistake. Because I have put my son in a new school and it is different from where all the other parents in our neighborhood are sending their kids. But we have chosen to go a different way.
[00:00:42] And at first I was so excited about the new focus of this school where they had a lot of parent involvement, and the day is even shorter so my son gets to be home more, there's a restriction on who can actually even apply to the school (if you have a disciplinary record, you can't go there) and it's a mix of homeschool vibes and church school vibes, and public school vibes—it's just a really good atmosphere and I was so excited. Because I believed that the type of people that my son would be interacting with would be people that would help him learn and grow —not only mentally, but emotionally and spiritually. And I felt like I had found the jackpot in this school. Until two weeks ago, when I walked in the door from getting my other children from school and my son was on the phone with a friend doing homework and I heard his friends say something that was encouraging my son to be dishonest.
[00:01:44] In that moment, I panicked. I thought, "No, no, no, no, no we are going to this school to have friends that are going to influence my son for good. This is not what I signed up for!" My mama bear turned on real big. In the next day or two, I kept just noticing different things that made me feel even more anxious. There were some friends that my son had at his previous school that started saying that his new school was dumb and that he wasn't going to get a good education.
[00:02:13] I also started seeing more homework coming home, which at a shortened day, we knew that we were signing up for that, but it was a little bit more involved than I thought it was going to be.
[00:02:23] This queued my time scarcity mindset, where I was thinking about all the time that it's taking to drive him to this new school and do this homework and all of the things that were costing me, energy, time, emotion and making a case against this school in my mind. And I felt awful. I ended up completely deflated by the end of that day and feeling overwhelmed, like, "Why are we here?"
[00:02:49] That moment of struggle is real. And the freedom came when I realized that I was creating the struggle.
[00:03:02] *Here's why: I was allowing my brain to see all of the bad, all of the negative.*
[00:03:11] It was like I had put on gray glasses and everything that I looked at I was looking for all of the gray where I felt like it was heavy and "Oh no!" this and "Oh no!" that and I was pulling all the evidence to support my feeling.
[00:03:27] And this is totally natural and normal, we do it every day in our brain because our brain is looking for what we tell it to look for. If we have the filter of "Oh no!" it's going to look for "Oh, no!" Why? Why does our brain do this? Well, one of the reasons is because part of our brain is in charge of keeping us alive and helping us be safe. So it pays attention to the things that could hurt us in an effort to avoid them so that we don't get hurt.
[00:03:58] And we're grateful for this part of our brain when we notice cars, right. We know cars can hurt us. So we're paying attention. Our brain is pretty good at watching for cars and, "Oh, there's a card don't get in the street. Don't get hurt by that car." Thank you brain for doing your job. But when we tell our brain that the school is what's going to hurt us or our children's friends are what's going to hurt us then our brain says, "Got it! Look for all the things that are in between where and where we want to be and find that gap so that we can fill it and be safe. We don't want the gap!"
[00:04:33] I know that you have felt this way at some point of your life, because I help so many clients who go through this. They pick something that they're going to do or this goal that they're going to work on and they get all excited about it and see the good that can come from it. And then as they start practicing it, reality hits and they get some bumps and they struggle to believe that they're in the right place.
[00:04:56] Unfortunately, there are always gaps. Always. If you are looking for a gap, you will see them.
[00:05:05] If you're looking in the mirror for all of the reasons you're not where you want to be, your brain will point out all those gaps.
[00:05:12] If you're impatient with your children and then you sit and think about all the ways that you could be a better mother, your brain will point out all those gaps.
[00:05:20] If a friend says something or does something that feels unkind and you're looking to see if they really are a good friend or if you shouldn't have them around, your brain will point out all the gaps.
[00:05:32] *There will always be gaps. *
[00:05:35] Because guess what? No life is perfect. No friend is perfect. No mom is perfect. No body is perfect. And no school is perfect. I was training my brain to see all of the things about that weren't perfect. And it was so exhausting! But here's how we get out of the gap mindset.
[00:05:59] First, I got on my knees and I said, "God, I need you to remind me why we are here." Because I was very purposeful, prayerful, fasted even with my son to make the choice for him to go to that school. It wasn't just some dart I had thrown at a board and said, "Oh, it landed on this school and we're going to go there." No, I had made that choice very purposefully. But I was letting my focus of the gap take away, my confidence and my faith.
[00:06:29] *So I needed to reset and remember why. *
[00:06:34] Why had I made this choice?
[00:06:36] Why was I in this place in the first place?
[00:06:39] Why was I committed to doing it, even if there were some gaps?
[00:06:45] *Once I remembered that why, I asked for strength to see the gain instead of the gap. *
[00:06:52] The gap is what's missing. The gain is what we have.
[00:06:57] Training your brain to see the gain helps you recognize what you already have, what you're learning, and what you can do to progress.
[00:07:08] It's so much more motivating to look at the world through the lens of the gain.
[00:07:15] The trick here is practice because your brain is not going to automatically look for the gain. It's going to look for the gap. Because remember the automatic brain wants to keep us alive so it's going to look for all the things that could go wrong.
[00:07:27] You have to be the one telling your brain what to focus on. And that takes practice and it's okay that it takes practice. Here's how I'm practicing doing it with my son:
[00:07:40] First, I saw the gain: the opportunity to teach my son. I'm so grateful I heard the conversation he had with his friend, so that I could address it and we could talk through it. We had an amazing conversation about being the person you want to be. Even if the people around you are making choices that you don't agree with. I also helped him validate how hard it is when somebody you care about is inviting you to make a choice that you don't feel good about and how that can be hard and it's okay that that feels hard. It's human and we normalized that so that he didn't feel like he was bad because he wanted to listen to his friend. Then together we recommitted to how he wanted to show up in situations like that in the future and we opened up space to keep having that conversation.
[00:08:31] If I had just focused on the gap and been in worry and fear I would've tried to control my son and not let him spend time with that friend and worry about who else he was going to spend time with at school and it creates a negative, heavy feeling and gives my brain permission to look for all of the reasons why we should stay worried.
[00:08:52] I dropped the gap. And now my son and I have decided to make it into a little game that we play. Every morning while we're driving to school we talk about the gains from the last day. What did we gain in learning? What did we gain in blessings from God? What did we gain in joy of what we experienced? Suddenly, the time that I was so worried about losing while driving is now a beautiful opportunity that I get to have with my son and conversations that are helping me think about ways that I have grown as well.
[00:09:30] After we talk about the gains, he takes a moment to think about what gain he wants to help happen that day.
[00:09:38] Today on the way to school, we were talking about the gains from yesterday and he said, "There was a moment when everybody was being so loud and I wanted to be crazy and funny, but I decided to stop trying to be funny and instead focus on what I was learning. And I think it really helped my class and I felt good."
[00:09:58] Just take a moment to think about the win that that is for my ten-year-old son.
[00:10:04] I didn't tell him that he needed to do that in class. He recognized the gain of a feeling that he wanted to keep feeling. And then he set the goal today to find another chance to create that feeling again.
[00:10:19] *He is training his brain to see the gain. *
[00:10:23] And guess what that's going to do? Create more gain for him.
[00:10:28] Here's another example of how I'm using this in my life. A friend of mine was talking to me about her experience with prayer. And I had felt kind of a low in my prayer and wanted to do something to help reconnect.
[00:10:42] She was sharing with me that one of the ways that she does that is to start her morning with five minutes of gratitude, where she just sits and thinks about all the things that she's grateful for. And I tried it a while ago and it kind of fizzled out because I felt a little bit forced and a little bit like I was my six-year-old son who, when he wants to pray, he sits and talks about every little thing that he's grateful for the toys and the books and the windows and the lights and the trees and all the different things... which, I'm so glad that he is grateful, but it's not quite at the depth that I was wanting for in prayer. So I dismissed this gratitude exercise and was trying some other things.
[00:11:22] Then when I started thinking about the gains I decided to try it with my prayers.
[00:11:28] Over the last week I've been waking up, getting dressed, and going for a short and while I'm out, focusing on the gains: the gains from the day before, the gains in my life overall, the gains from where I was to where I am now... and just holding space for gratitude for the gains that God has given me, and guided me through, and blessed me with... See how that momentum just builds and helps me feel like I can do the next thing in my life because I see all the reasons why it's happened before?
[00:12:02] That feels like gratitude to me. And that's been really igniting my connection with God over the last few weeks as I've been doing this focus on gains, it's been so powerful! It's been powerful for my son. It's been powerful for me. And I know it can be powerful for you too. You deserve to see the gains in your life and feel the power of training your brain to focus on what you're getting and achieving and being blessed with instead of all the ways that you're failing and don't have what you want and haven't been able to accomplish yet. Let go of the gap and instead. Train your brain to see the gain.
[00:12:49] Now let's do a quick recap on how you can do this.
[00:12:52] First, recognize when you feel worried and you're seeing the gap.
[00:12:58] Take a moment to reconnect and remember your why. Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you care about teaching your kids? Why is that friend important to you? Why are you even working on this goal? Remember your why.
[00:13:14] And then take 10 seconds and find a gain.
[00:13:19] Invite your brain to be focusing on the things that will propel you forward instead of keeping you stuck in overwhelmed.
[00:13:26] This is what it means to live light.
[00:13:30] Practicing the things that help your mind and your heart come out of darkness and confusion into a lighter and clearer life where you naturally feel that momentum that moves you forward.
[00:13:43] You deserve to live that life. And if you want some help, grab one of my free discovery sessions and we'll explore how together we can train your brain to see the gain.
[00:13:55] Have an amazing week my friends. And, as always, keep shining.
[00:14:02] Life after therapy can be simple. Come learn how to think, light feel light, and live light at www.thelightcoach.com. I offer five free discovery sessions each week and one of them is for you. Together, let's discover the joy that's possible in life after therapy.