You’ve got your way of thinking. You’re dead set on something and there’s no swaying you. If someone else tries to question your thinking or reason with you, you say, “It’s my way or the highway”. That’s all there is to it.
You want something special to happen in your life. You’re counting on it. But life is fraught with challenges and roadblocks. You know this and begin to doubt that anything good can happen. You’ve been disappointed before and believe it can and will happen again. You say, “Things never go my way”. That’s just the way it is with you.
You are a perfectionist. If you do something less than perfect, it bothers you. You strive for the best because you know it will reward you in the end. If something fails to live up to your expectations or if you fail to live up to them, you immediately think the worst. Your trail of thoughts begins in a low place and goes even lower. Before you know it, you envision the worst case scenario, total failure. You aren’t good enough for success.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Maybe it’s time for you to “try on a different coat”.
When we have an automatic way of looking at something, it keeps us from seeing other views. We become stuck, unable to move in a different direction. In these situations, using a metaphor like “wearing a different coat” can help you see things differently. We “wear the same coat” over and over because it is comfortable, after all, hasn’t this coat served us well in the past? Stand in front of the mirror and look at your “coat”. It is worn, faded, and doesn’t always hold up to the elements. Now, picture yourself removing that “coat” and putting on a new one, something fresh and bright. “Wearing a different coat” changes the way you look at things. It gives you a new perspective.
Perspectives tell us about ourselves. Each time we experience something, we add a new list of definitions to our life view: we can do this or we can’t do that, or, this is the right way and that is the wrong way. We design our life from circumstances. The dictionary defines perspective as “a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; the state of existing in space before the eye; or the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one” (dictionary.com). Once we develop these views, we often fail to recognize that we have choice in how we see things. “Changing our coat” allows us to find a new view that suits us better, one that opens us up to the possibilities ahead. While we can’t change the situation itself, we can change how we look at it.
When “trying on different coats”, it is important to recognize that none are good or bad, they are just different. When you find yourself in a stuck situation, sit down and make a list of the alternative ways in which you can look at things. Try on different styles of coats. What coat would a successful business person wear? What coat would a young person wear? What coat would you wear in a different season? There are a multitude of different styles from which to choose. Try them all. Perhaps you can cut some pictures from a magazine and use them to help you visualize. Give each coat a name. Picture yourself with each coat on. Some you will discard immediately as they won’t feel good on you. Others will be intriguing and full of excitement. I’ve never tried on a coat like this before! Notice how you feel after each coat change. Write it down. When you are done with your different coat changes, take a look at them and choose which one you would like to wear for a while. “This coat makes me feel powerful. I’m going to wear this when I’m in a situation that makes me feel powerless.” Remember, you are not obligated to wear any of them forever. “Coats” can be changed as needed.
Take some time this week to notice yourself in a perspective. When we feel we have no choice, our vision becomes narrowed and possibilities cease to exist. Try on some different coats and notice your choices. What possibilities exist for you now? What can you see wearing this “coat” that you couldn’t see with your old one? Have some fun and let me know how it goes!
Yours in transformation,