You are remarkable. Perhaps you don’t feel like that is true. I assure you, it is. If I spent time with you, I’d be able to see it. I could see things in you that you don’t see in yourself. I could find and celebrate things in you that you haven’t even thought about. That’s about insight, but it’s also about knowing where to look. What most people don’t know about me is that I spent a lot of my life feeling unremarkable. That is why it is so easy for me to spot what is noteworthy in you.
Today I was walking my dog. It’s March. The dirty, half-melted snow at the side of the street caught my eye. I don’t like it when the snow gets dirty like that. It looks ugly. I normally walk right past. As I was walking today, I reminded myself to slow down and look closer. I’ve been practicing slowing down and paying attention, especially through the pandemic. Sometimes I remember. Often, I get caught up and forget. I started as a way to find things to be grateful for, but it has turned into much more than that. It is in slowing down and paying attention that we find the most amazing things. We find things to celebrate in our surroundings. We also find things to be proud of in ourselves.
When we’re moving at our normal pace and paying attention to the task in front of us, it’s easy to see only the dirty snow of our lives. We are so focused on the stuff we’re dissatisfied with or our struggles we can’t see anything else.
Let me show you what I mean in pictures.
Being grateful is simple when life is going well. We can easily see things to celebrate – like the beauty of the sun shining on the snow in this picture. At other times we have to pay very close attention to find the gift. This doesn’t come naturally. We have to build up our muscles for seeing the beauty in everyday grime and monotony. Do you see the remarkable in the picture below? On first look it is garbage day on an unremarkable street lined by a dirty snowbank.
Let me show you what I see in this picture. I didn’t see it right away. I had to stop and look for it.
Let’s try another one. Do you see something here that catches your attention?
Here is what I see.
We can change our perspective with what is happening around us (like examining the dirty snowbank), but we can also do it by focusing inward. I regularly ask my coaching clients to reflect on the past week or two. Then I ask them one of these questions.
- What are you grateful for? (Most people can find something. It’s not hard to be grateful for sunshine, food or a warm place to sleep.)
- What are you proud of? (This is harder for most people. This is about external wins or accomplishments in the past couple of weeks, but it is also about internal things. My clients learn to recognize that having a courageous conversation is something to be proud of, choosing integrity, or persevering through a difficult situation are all things to be proud of.)
- What are you celebrating? This is a harder version of #2 – at least for most people. I know it is hard for me. I’m working on it but I am no where near a black belt at celebrating. It’s taking the things you’re proud of and allowing them to sink in. It’s about finding the joy and letting yourself be there for a while. Training yourself to see the small things every day that can be celebrated will change your life.
It is easier to see the dirty snowbank than it is to see the beauty of the sun catching the shining icicle, especially in our own lives. This is not about denying that dirty snow is dirty snow – a kind of false positivity. It’s about discovering if there is more in the dirty snow – something that you can be grateful for, be proud of or can celebrate. We can train ourselves to see beauty where others do not. It starts with externals like the dirty snow along the side of the road and moves to internals like finding things you can be proud of and can celebrate. It’s all in where you look and where you look makes a difference.
What has your attention?
I work with people who are too hard on themselves and don’t want to be. I can see things you don’t see and find the remarkable you don’t see in yourself. I can help you learn to see it too. Connect with me if you would like to have a conversation.
Mental fitness is all about training your brain where to focus. In essence it is about teaching yourself to see the icicle instead of the dirty snow. Here’s what some of my clients said after completing the 6 week mental fitness course.
This Mental Fitness Course has given me the tools to take negative thoughts captive & redirect into positive thinking, to redirect stress & anxiety into a sense of peace & calm and to improve my personal relationships & overall well-being.
A very positive and worthwhile experience!
This has made a huge difference in how I was able to navigate some tough stuff.
I feel happier.
Sue Das, CPCC, ACC, B Soc Sc (SW)
Learn more about mental fitness or about coaching with me. Please put me on the waitlist for the next mental fitness course.