Life Coaching Tip: Telling yourself a story that something is “not supposed to happen” will send you into a tailspin. As soon as you catch yourself feeling anxious, disappointed, overwhelmed, angry, shamey (or any other similar emotion) and you are thinking “supposed to” about a situation, ask yourself: “Says who?” Then, shift your mindset again by asking yourself, “How can this be ideal?” instead.
It was a little unusual, and some folks were irate about it.
“This is not supposed to happen,” they complained, especially on social media.
It was April 21, 2021 and it snowed in Northeast Ohio (7” in my neighborhood). And because many of the trees were already covered in blossoms, the heavy weight of the wet snow caused damage to some of them and powerlines all over town.
After unusually warm weather in March and April, many of us had already put away our snow boots and winter coats. So having to dig them back out again due to the late-season snow led to some grouchiness and complaining.
People made it mean so many things, from a continuation of the “bad luck” of 2020, to an overall description of just how crappy life is in Northeast Ohio. And a few of my clients let it be an excuse for falling back into unhealthy habits and procrastination.
And what was their reasoning?
It sounded something like this: “I felt so inspired and happy when the weather got warm and the sun was shining! And so, when the snow returned, it depressed me. It would have been different if it were fall, but it’s springtime. It’s not supposed to snow in April!”
Aha! There we have it. That was the story we needed to bust.
“It’s not supposed to snow?” I asked them. “Says who? I mean, isn’t that up to Mother Nature?”
Weather, or any other circumstance, is never the actual cause of your mood. It’s your story about the situation that can light you up or send you back to bed pulling the covers over your head.
“It’s not supposed to” generally implies “something has gone wrong” to us; and that freaks our primal brain out big time!
This can come up with all sorts of situations, not just weather, of course. One common circumstance I see this happen with is time.
I frequently hear my clients say, “It’s not supposed to take this long,” when working on accomplishing a goal.
This is a doozy for sure, because then the “something has gone wrong” thoughts lead to shamey-type feelings, disappointment, and hopelessness. And then, more unhealthy thoughts like: “I am taking too long,” or “I have done something wrong,” and this can slow down progress to a halt.
The irony is that it often involves a self-imposed deadline, something the person completely made up in their brain. It’s as subjective as expectations about the weather, yet to the person it feels like a fact Jack!
So, if this happens to you, here’s how you can reframe those thoughts that turn you into a stress ball…
As soon as you catch yourself feeling anxious, disappointed, overwhelmed, angry, shamey (or any other similar emotion) and you are thinking “supposed to” about a situation, ask yourself: “Says who?”
A coach once asked me this when I was feeling mad at myself for taking “too long” on a project, and it totally rocked my world! “Says me,” I said, cracking up, as I quickly realized the “deadline” was one that I created.
Then, the next helpful question is “How can this be ideal?”
Asking yourself these questions can help you retell the story in a way that keeps you feeling inspired, energetic, and going strong!
It really is, but you must be willing to change the thought patterns that are holding you back.
And why wouldn’t you want to do just that?
Remember, nothing has gone wrong.
It’s all unfolding perfectly!
After I wrote this blog post, I had a déjà vu type feeling and wondered, “Have I already written a story like this before?” And so, I looked back on my blog posts from last year. Sure enough, I wrote something similar, after a late-season snow fall in Cleveland on MAY 9 and 11, 2020! So much for the “not supposed to” stories about April snow in Northeast Ohio! Bananas!
If you’d like to check out that blog post, you can find it here: