"Cancel - Cancel"
CANCEL - CANCEL
by Fred Zurofsky
How many times a day do you have an idea, fear or simply a tune that you can't get out of your head. You can't not think about it because that will make it present in your mind.
This is all kind of insignificant compared to the situation where you have an ongoing, repetitive internal conversation about a dire outcome or values conflicts which generates strong, negative emotions and fear or anger to the point of immobilizing you. You can't think of anything else because your mind is going round and round in this fearful conversation. You can try everything you can think of and yet it returns to haunt and dominate you.
Perhaps this conversation is about your mounting bills and your lessening ability to pay them. Perhaps it's about your suspicions that your husband is cheating on you. Perhaps your boss said something that you took as having significant meaning relating to your job.
These upsets are not limited to personal relationships however. Road rage is a perfect example of internal conversations that can escalate as you replay them over and over. We all know of the conversation the pops up automatically when someone cuts in front of us in the checkout line. We could kill. Sometimes these thoughts are the result of a problem that you're not conscious of and is causing you to be more sensitive and reactionary. If your child is ill is an example of a mood determining situation.
Be aware that you are making judgments about this event and these judgments are tied to your beliefs and values.
What ever it is, this ongoing conversation is controlling your life and ability to perform in the present. You would do anything to shut it off so you can move on with your life.
Where Is This Conversation?
The first thing you need to understand and acknowledge is that this conversation is something you are creating in YOUR MIND and because of this, you also have the ability to change it if you really want to.
My question for you is, "Why do you keep it going in your mind? What's the payoff for you by staying in this self-defeating conversation?" Remember, if there is no payoff (some psychological benefit), you wouldn't be so involved in a conversation that defeats you. Perhaps all you are doing is to validate the role you see for yourself as a victim of life.
It is a law of Physics that two object can not occupy the same physical space and this law extends to your mind. While the mind is very capable of processing thousands of bits of information in a second because it is so fast, it can only focus on one main thought at a time.
If you're serious about changing this behavior, you have to acknowledge this for yourself. Then instead of re-hashing the conversation, set your mind to answering the question, "What's the payoff for me? What am I getting out of living like this?" And, "do I really want to continue this way and if so, WHY?" If you stay in this questioning mode long enough, eventually, you will start to gain some insights about your motivations and this first step will give you a new way of responding.
"You can't change what you don't see and are willing to acknowledge!" Once an item is distinguished, you can begin the process of managing it.
Now that you're becoming aware of your reaction via the ongoing internal conversations, you can start removing yourself from the automatic reaction mode. Please understand, your reactions to events WILL NEVER GO AWAY, but you can manage them with the following simple technique. But, you must be aware of your reactions and be willing to change them so you can move on in your life and mature.
Cancel, Cancel! It can be very easy to change the reactions you become aware of. For example, I used to react strongly whenever a car cut me off to the extent of wanting to ram he. George Carlin, the stand up comic said that at these times, he wished he had .50 caliber machine guns mounted on the front of his car.
As soon as I became aware of this and was willing to change my own violent reaction, I would simply say, "Cancel, Cancel" which had the effect of interrupting that reaction. Then I would switch my internal conversation to something like, "I can't educate all the "bad" drivers, there's too many of them." Them I switched to a more generous one like, "they probably didn't even know they cut me off." I know I must have cut off other drivers and was unaware. In time, I became free from these violent, destructive reactions and better off for it.
Since most of us are controlled by our values and value system we need to modify our reactions to these strong, negative responses or add a new value in it's place in regards to the trigger event. This is consistent with the laws of Physics.
So, whenever you become aware of being stuck on one thought or see that you're having a strong reaction to an event or person that you now want to manage, do the following:
1. Stop for a moment and focus on saying "Cancel, Cancel" to yourself. At first, you may not want to do this because at some point, your mind wants to stay in its' present state, but do it anyway because do you want to change. Then shift your mind to a peaceful place like the beach or mountain top and keep saying "Cancel-Cancel." Don't worry because this will get easier each time you do this part of the exercise. Get into a peaceful state of mind and this will interrupt your current thought.
2. Next, create a different, positive conversation to replace the one that popped up in reaction. Start actually speaking to yourself about a different way you might handle this event, thought or person. This will reframe the event in your mind and value system. Add to this, a picture of how different your life will be when you're in charge of your minds' reactions. Make this picture as real as you can so you are actually living in that new way of being.
3. Take a moment to acknowledge to yourself and your progress in self management and to thank the Universe for your new found wisdom. This is an important step because it reinforces your desire to gain control over those reactions that don't work in your life.
Don't give up on this process. The more you do it, the easier and more desirable it will become. Remember, it's your life!
"Change your thoughts and you change your world." -- Norman Vincent Peale
That's it. Simple but effective if you use it and build upon it You will probably have to do this repeatedly until your automatic response becomes your new value. It's worth it.
About the author
Fred Zurofsky is an author and internet publisher who writes ebooks covering topics ranging from investing strategies, self help, personal transformation and internet business development at his web site: www.divorce-survival.com